Have you ever found yourself wondering why a celebrity decided to respond to a social media post or why your spouse did not listen when you explained your feelings? If you are interested in understanding how and why people share messages with one another, a degree in communication may be the right choice for you. Here are five reasons to consider a bachelor’s degree in communication and how JWU can prepare you for success.
1. You’ll Develop Valuable Communication Skills
In any communicative situation, a lot of thought is required for the construction of clear messages, including an awareness of the author, audience, purpose, and context. It is also vital to understand the beliefs, attitudes, and values of the people with whom you share messages so that you can increase the impact of your words. Communication—regardless of whether it is verbalized—is present in settings of all sizes, from formal ceremonies and large public events to small meetings and informal gatherings. Cogent and concise communication matters more than ever in our social media age, as messages are shared at dizzying rates. A thorough understanding of the context of any setting in which communication takes place is critical for succeeding in your desired future career.
JWU’s online program in communication offers an opportunity to specialize in a particular area, as well as gain the well-rounded knowledge that employers require. Graduates of the program demonstrate excellent written and oral communication as well as critical and creative thinking. The B.A. in Communication provides an overview of the key areas of the field, such as organizational, interpersonal, intercultural, rhetorical, and media communication. Exposure to these areas will allow you to leverage what you learn in the program for any kind of situation that involves face-to-face communication, social media interactions, communication across cultures, relationship building, and contexts where persuasion is essential to reach your desired outcome.
2. Learn How to Communicate to Anyone, in Any Situation
Communication varies greatly across levels of formality, from informal gossip to formal speeches. We write and speak for different audiences and purposes all of the time, whether the goal is to inform, persuade, or entertain our friends, family, coworkers, or strangers. This major will prepare you to do all of those things as effectively and efficiently as possible, and, in time, you will come to understand the psychological, sociological, and historical processes behind how people think and turn their thoughts into words and actions.
For example, after an introductory course that surveys the main areas of the field, you will take a class on social change that teaches how thought leaders and social activists put their ideas into practice through movements related to the rights of women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ communities, environmentalists, laborers, and many more. And throughout the history of human communication, visuals have surrounded us. A class in visual communication is thus imperative for understanding the persuasive messages contained in billboards, memes, and countless other modalities. These courses will be taken early in your time as a communication major.
Most of us are not natural communicators in our social relationships. This becomes apparent when we look at conflicts between countries, disagreements among employees, and the divorce rate. Specialized knowledge is needed to understand the intentions of individuals when they communicate or, just as often, fail to communicate with one another. Silence can be a marker of thought and feeling between two or more individuals. Increasingly important is the art of listening. Unfortunately, that art is rarely taught in colleges across the country. As a result of poor listening, the need for conflict resolution may become apparent; indeed, it is a life skill that is essential for understanding how to bridge gaps across all kinds of communicative situations. You will gain exposure to listening and conflict resolution through JWU’s online degree in communication.
3. Discover How Communication Helps You Excel in Your Career
Many individuals enroll in a communication degree program to prepare for future careers in organizations of all kinds. In the case of large or small businesses, nonprofit or otherwise, power becomes apparent to those who are conscious of hierarchies and the ways that decisions get made. Although we have seen a flattening of hierarchies and experiments in governance models in recent history, it is still critical to understand how power works so that you can effect change from within an organization. The personal ideologies of coworkers, managers, and owners influence how organizations formulate their public identities through branding, missions, and visions. This information can work to shape the public’s perception of an organization’s identity. The “Organizations, Power, and Identity” class will teach you how power works so that you can take an active role in creating positive change in your future career.
“The Art of Persuasion” is one of the most important courses that you will take in the program because it teaches how what we say—or do not say—can influence those around us. It is one thing to have an objective in mind that we wish to achieve, but it is quite another to convince people to agree with us enough to take action. This is an impractical goal if we do not understand the motivations of the individuals that we are trying to persuade. A class in persuasion will teach you about the social psychologies of groups of individuals so that you can find common ground along the way to achieving your personal and professional goals.
4. Communication Matters More than Ever
According to the Pew Research Center, more than seven in ten Americans use social media to communicate with friends and family as well as share informative or entertaining content. The BA in Communication prepares you to understand key issues in new media so that you can apply what you learn to everyday life. TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram are just the latest installments in a long history of software applications that were designed for bringing people together. This class will teach you about more than just the reasons for public video sharing, private conversations, and self-expression: you will also learn about key issues related to privacy, community, identity, misinformation, and disinformation in the digital age.
Rounding out the required courses are the research methods and capstone classes, both of which prepare you to create a high-quality project. Employers value research skills and attention to detail as well as an understanding of how to collect data. Artificial intelligence and data analytics have permeated nearly every industry and that reality will only continue. You will learn various ways to gather primary and secondary sources in our research methods class so that you can make data-driven decisions in the future. You will then finish the program by gathering and interpreting evidence in the creation of an original research project that will serve you well in a future employment opportunity.
5. You can Specialize Your Communication Interests
In addition to providing an internship opportunity and a well-rounded experience in the liberal arts—you take classes in traditional areas such as science, math, social sciences, arts & humanities—this program allows you to minor in human resource management or leadership studies or choose elective credits in a variety of useful domains, from accounting and advertising to business management and marketing. There is also the possibility of creating a specialization in professional communication, depending on which of these options best aligns with your professional goals. And you will receive plenty of personal attention from academic advisors throughout your journey.