The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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What it Means to Be a Communication Major

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UMass Integrated Learning Center

When I tell people one of my areas of study is communication, the most commonly asked question is, “What is that?” I haven’t figured it out yet, and to be honest, I don’t know if anyone can explicitly define what communication really is.

Communication is a principle aspect of our daily interactions with the people and the world around us, which is sometimes too broad a concept for people to comprehend. The broadness of this usually deters people from wanting to study it, as it is less concrete than other disciplines. However, in communication, you are constantly learning new things about yourself and the world in which we live. We subconsciously communicate in ways we don’t even realize, which to me is a fascinating thing to learn about. While it is a very broad field, communication is ingrained in our day to day lives, which is what I personally find makes the major so interesting.


UMass breaks down the major into five main areas of study: interpersonal communication and culture; media and popular culture studies; media, technology and society; rhetoric and performance studies; and film studies. The undergraduate department of communication at UMass explains their philosophies toward the major in great detail on its website. Thus far, I have taken all types of classes for the major focusing on media, interpersonal communication, technology, and film. A potential career plan of mine is to go into broadcasting; I plan on taking more classes in the Media and Popular Culture Studies field. However, I would recommend any of the classes I have taken so far because of how much I have learned from the lectures and how interesting they are. The department of communication at UMass offers amazing internship, job, and study abroad opportunities, complete with an enthusiastic and passionate faculty. Professors and advisors in the department have a great amount of knowledge of communication and are an extremely useful resource on campus. The Communication Hub is located on the third floor of the Integrative Learning Center (ILC).


The beauty of having such a broad major is that you really can do whatever you want with it. Most commonly, people with communication degrees go into something corporate (human resources, public relations, marketing, management, etc). However, you are by no means limited to these options. People with degrees in communication also become educators, advertisers, government officials, public policy makers… the list goes on and on. Being such a broad area of study, communication is applicable to really any job for which you can apply. Even if you want to go into medicine or research, being able to communicate is still a key skill everybody needs. You can actually take classes specifically for public speaking or leadership and service learning. The cepartment of communication at UMass is very resourceful and welcoming, and I am very proud to call myself a part of it.



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