Communication and Public Service

ComPS program at Annenberg School for Communciation ASC UPenn

The concentration in Communication and Public Service (ComPS) offers students a special program that combines individual research opportunities with hands-on experience in the public arena. Classes, seminars, internships, field experiences and individual research projects provide students with opportunities to meet and learn from current and former officeholders, journalists and public servants who have been leaders in government and civil society.

General Major Course Requirements

The program is closely matched to the undergraduate Communication major. ComPS students must complete the following 14 courses:

  • Two introductory courses required for Communication majors
  • One methods course required for Communication majors
  • Two intermediate Communication courses
  • Two advanced Communication courses.  One of the two advanced courses will be completed with enrollment in COMM 494 Honors & Capstone Thesis in the fall of senior year.

ComPS Specific Requirements

  • One core course, either COMM 323: Contemporary Politics, Policy and Journalism or COMM 395: Communication and the Presidency.
  • Two specially designated ComPS courses, from the following:
    • COMM 211: Media Activism Studies (Pickard)
    • COMM 213: Social Media & Social Life (González-Bailón)
    • COMM 226: Introduction to Political Communication (Jamieson)
    • COMM 292: WARNING! Graphic Content - Political Cartoons, Comix and the Uncensored Artistic Mind (Booth)
    • COMM 300: Public Space, Public Life (Marvin)
    • COMM 322: History and Theory of Freedom of Expression (Marvin)
    • COMM 323: Contemporary Politics, Policy and Journalism (Hunt)
    • COMM 375: Crisis Communication (Felzenberg)
    • COMM 377: Philosophical Problems of Journalism (Romano)
    • COMM 390: The One Hundred Days (Eisenhower & Margolies)
    • COMM 397: New Media and Politics (Winneg)
    • COMM 404: Media and Politics (Mutz)
    • COMM 428: Conventions, Debates and Campaigns (Eisenhower, Margolies)
    • COMM 431: Is Public Opinion the Voice of the People? (Lelkes)
  • A cluster of three cognate courses from the following departments: Anthropology, Economics, Education, Health and Societies, History, Legal Studies, Political Science, Sociology, Urban Studies, and Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies. No more than one introductory class is permitted in the cluster. Students may propose their own cluster. Courses selected should be related to a student’s area of interest.
  • A capstone thesis project is completed over two semesters during the senior year. Students choose the topic of the capstone thesis from a range of public policy or public service issues. During the year they work with a thesis advisor and are enrolled in a thesis seminar to complete their project. A credit is earned in both semesters. Students who achieve a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher will graduate with honors.

Annenberg In Washington Program

The Annenberg In Washington Program (AIW) aims to develop skills and knowledge related to communication in public service through internships at selected government, political, nonprofit, advocacy, media, and private organizations based in Washington, D.C. 

How and When to Apply

Students interested in applying to the concentration are encouraged to consult with Alison Feather, Director of Student Services and Registrar, and D. David Eisenhower, Director of the Institute for Public Service, as early as possible to match the requirements for the major and the ComPS concentration with their own individual goals.