Communication and Public Service

ComPS program at Annenberg School for Communciation ASC UPenn

A Communication major with a focus in Communication and Public Service (ComPS) offers students a special program with a more structured guideline for the completion of the required 14 major credits. 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.

ComPS Specific Requirements

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

  • Two Core Survey Courses required for Communication majors
  • COMM 210: Quantitative Research Methods (or another approved Research Methods Course)
  • Three COMM Major Elective courses. A minimum of one of the three courses must be at a 300 to 499 level. Up to two approved Comm 298: Study Abroad courses can be used toward this requirement.
  • One core ComPS course, either COMM 323: Contemporary Politics, Policy and Journalism or COMM 395: Communication and the Presidency.
  • Two specially designated ComPS courses, from the following list:
  • Comm 494: Honors and Capstone Thesis and Comm 495: Capstone Thesis
    • ​​​​ComPS students are required to complete a capstone thesis project 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 receive an A- in the course and achieve a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher will graduate with honors.
  • Three Non-Comm elective courses from other schools and departments that support a student's interests in Communication and Public Service. All Non-Comm Electives must be related to the student’s Communication and Public Service program and be pre-approved by a member of the COMM Undergraduate Advising Team. Only one Non-Comm elective may be an introductory level.

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. AIW is currently suspended due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  For summer 2021, we’re replacing it with a new opportunity: Annenberg in Public Service (AIPS). This more flexible program is designed to provide support for students doing un- or under-paid remote public service internships.

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 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.