What is Communication?

The study of communication focuses on how people construct, use, and interpret messages across multiple channels and types of media to inform, persuade, manage, relate to, and influence each other within and across social contexts and cultures. Communication is one of the fastest growing areas of study among UCSB’s undergraduate students. Approximately 1,350 students as pre-majors or majors are currently pursuing the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Communication. The Communication program offers an array of courses across three different areas of interest: interpersonal/intergroup, media and organizational communication.

At UCSB, the Communication major requires completion of upper-division courses chosen from areas such as language and human communicative behavior; interpersonal, family, small group, organizational, and mass communication; persuasion; gender, ethnic, and cultural influences on communication; communication in conflict resolution; and communication law. Choice of electives allows students to shape their programs according to their particular interests.

General Major Information

How Can I Tell If I Would Like Communication?

Communication majors should be interested in understanding communicative events—their psychological, social, and philosophical implications and aspects, and the development of knowledge in these areas. They will want to develop the use of empirical and critical tools for assessing the impact and quality of message transmission. They will enjoy learning about human communication theory and research. The major does not provide vocational, media production, or technical training.

What Are Potential Topics Within This Major?

Although the following list can provide students with topics that may be covered in this major, look at the UCSB catalog and consult with the Undergraduate Department Advisor for more detailed information about requirements and course offerings.

Mass Media Effects
Interpersonal and Nonverbal Communications
Health Communication
Group and Organizational Communication
Mass Media Policy and Law
Intercultural Communication
New Communication Technologies

To learn more about whether you might enjoy this major, check with a peer in the Career Resource Room for details on:

- Focus 2 to explore college majors and careers.

- The Strong Interest Inventory®, an assessment that compares your interests against six broad categories of work. This assessment helps match your interests and suggests potential careers to explore.

What Can I Do To Make My Major More Marketable?

  • Pursue relevant work, internship, volunteer, and/or research experience.
  • Choose a complementary minor.
  • Specialize in an area; take courses in related fields.
  • Develop your computer skills.
  • Learn a foreign language.
  • Study abroad.
  • Join professional associations.
  • Get involved in student clubs.
  • Participate in community organizations.
  • Seek out leadership positions.
  • Research specific prerequisites for different positions.
  • Network with others in fields that interest you.


General Career Information

What Are Some Possible Career Options?
Note: On its own, your major does not dictate what your job will be. The following list provides only a handful of possibilities. Communication majors with strong liberal arts background may pursue career options in many fields. Depending on experience, specialized coursework, and possible graduate study, options include:

What Are Some Possible Career Options?

New Media Coordinator                                                   Consumer Affairs Specialist
Web Communications Coordinator                                   Corporate Communications
Director of Integrated Media                                            Media Sales Representative
Marketing/Sales Assistant                                                News Writer/Editor Assistant
Content Strategist                                                            Advertising Account Executive
Digital & Social Media Specialist                                       Public Relations Assistant
Educational Consultant                                                    Public Information Officer
Event/Meeting Planner                                                     Campaign Assistant
Development Officer                                                        Political/Legislative Aide
Training & Development                                                  Recruiter
Cross-Cultural Communications                                      Entrepreneur/Self-Employed
Travel Agent/Tourism Promotions                                   Sports Marketing/Promotions
Media Buyer                                                                     Admissions/Academic Counselor
Mediation/Negotiator                                                       Lawyer
Communications Professor                                              Think Tank Researcher
To learn more about these and other occupations, please visit:
O*Net Online
Occupational Outlook Handbook
Come visit the Career Resource Room to see our vast collection of career books and resources.

See what other UCSB alumni are doing with their major on LinkedIn

Graduate and Professional Schools
Provides information about where graduate programs are offered throughout the nation.  Indicate area of interest and then select subject interested in pursuing.
Find where graduate programs are offered throughout the U.S.


Experience Search Strategies
Click on San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, or San Diego for current Jobs organized by Job Banks or industry category.

CA Broadcasters Job Bank
Excellent site for state radio and TV jobs.

CA Marketing Jobs
Select city and specific career options within sales, marketing and advertising/public relations.

Culver Career Services
Check out the variety of management trainee and sales opportunities on the web site in your area of interest and location. If you see positions of interest, consider registering with this employment service free of charge. For questions, email the branch office closest to where you want to work.

Hospitality Careers Online
Jobs in hotels, restaurants, cruise lines, etc.

Journalism Jobs.Com
Jobs and internships in newspapers/wires; TV/Radio; magazines/publishing, and on-line publications.

TVJOBS-Broadcast Employment Services
A national database of jobs in television major employers.

UCSB Career Services “Job Links” section
Check out job links in the following categories: Local/CA, National, International, Industry Specific, UCSB Careers by Majors and Diversity.

When you join LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do.

Professional Associations

Advertising Education Foundation (AEF)
AEF provides educational content to enrich the understanding of advertising and to expand and elevate the advertising discourse... on-campus... in our society... and in the industry.

American Advertising Federation (AAF)
As the "Unifying Voice for Advertising," the American Advertising Federation (AAF), headquartered in Washington, D.C., is the trade association that represents 50,000 professionals in the advertising industry.

International Communications Association
The International Communication Association was formed in 1950 bringing together academicians and other professionals whose interest focused on human communication.

International Association of Business Communicators
The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) is a global network of communication professionals committed to improving organizational effectiveness through strategic communication. Established in 1970, IABC serves members in more than 70 countries for networking, career development and personal growth.

Public Relations Society of America
With the vision to unify, strengthen and advance the profession of public relations, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) has established itself as the pre-eminent organization that builds value, demand and global understanding for public relations.

Society for Technical Communications
STC is an individual membership organization dedicated to advancing the arts and sciences of technical communication.

Speech Communication
NCA is a scholarly society and as such works to enhance the research, teaching, and service produced by its members on topics of both intellectual and social significance.

UCSB Resources

Communications Departmental Web Page

UCSB Library Subject & Course Guide - Communication

Career Resource Room

UCSB Office of Student Life

Campus Organizations
Employers value leadership, organizational and teamwork experience. Leverage your participation in a career oriented organization by considering A Leadership Certificate Program. Description and application available on-line. Click on the link above and then search under “Search Organizations” for the following options:

  • Communications Association of UCSB
  • Student Entrepreneurs Association
  • Toastmasters International

UCSB General Catalog

UCSB Minors