Communication Major Requirements
From introductory classes to small seminars, Annenberg courses give students a rich understanding of many facets of Communication.
Graduation with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication requires a total of 34 course units, including a 14 courses in the major:
- Two introductory core Communication courses designed to expose students to major topics in the field;
- Comm 210: Quantitative Research Methods (or an approved research methods course from other departments at Penn);
- Eight additional Communication courses. A minimum of four of these must be at the 300 to 499 level;
- Three non-Comm elective courses from other schools and departments that support a student's interests in Communication. All non-Comm electives must be related to the student’s Comm major and be pre-approved by a member of the Comm Undergraduate Advising Team. Only one non-Comm elective may be an introductory level.
- Students who decide to enroll in a concentration or the Communication and Public Service program have more structured requirements for the completion of their 14 major credits.
Peruse our course offerings to learn more about the Communication major curriculum.
In addition, students can take advantage of our many academic opportunities including choosing a concentration, engaging in the Communication and Public Service (ComPS) program, completing a thesis and graduate with honors, creating their own independent study, participating in an internship for credit, conducting research with a faculty member, and studying abroad.
Communication majors are eligible for a variety of academic honors and awards.
Introductory Core Courses
Students must complete two of the following three courses, all designed to introduce students to major Communication theories, research, and substantive topics of study. If a student completes all three introductory core survey courses, the third course may count toward the Comm major elective course requirements. The three introductory courses are:
- COMM 123: Critical Approaches to Popular Culture
- COMM 125: Introduction to Communication Behavior
- COMM 130: Media Industries and Society
To fulfill the research methods requirement, students are required to complete COMM 210: Quantitative Research Methods in Communication.
Alternatively, an equivalent research methods course providing a basic introduction to the principles and techniques of social research methods completed through another department can be taken to satisfy the requirement. Below is a list of approved courses, some of which may carry prerequisites:
- INTR 350: Research Methods in International Relations
- HSOC 100: Introduction to Sociological Research
- MKTG 212: Marketing Research
- SOCI 100: Introduction to Sociological Research
- URBS 200: Introduction to Research Methods
Communication Major Elective Courses
Students are required to complete eight Comm courses in addition to the two required introductory core survey courses and research methods course. Students who complete a third introductory core survey course can count the course toward their major. A minimum of four Comm courses at the 300 to 499 level are required.
A complete listing of Communication courses can be found here. As you peruse the course list, bear in mind the following:
|100 Level Seminars||Open to first-year students only|
|200 Level Intermediate Lectures & Seminars||Open to all students|
|300 Level Advanced Seminars and Small Lectures||Recommended for Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors|
|400 Level Advanced Seminars||Priority is given to juniors and seniors.|
|400 Level Internship and Thesis Seminars & Independent Studies||By approval only|
Non-Comm Elective Courses
Students are required to take three non-Comm elective courses from other schools and departments that support a student's interests in Communication. All non-Comm electives must be related to the student’s Comm major and be pre-approved by a member of the Comm Undergraduate Advising Team. Only one non-Comm elective may be at an introductory level.
Annenberg has a longstanding policy requiring all courses that count toward the major must be taken for a letter grade (not pass/fail). In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, pass/fail courses from Spring '20, Fall '20 & Spring '21 can, however, count. The change in grading policy is an exception due to the COVID-19 outbreak. There is no guarantee that this policy will continue in future semesters.
A maximum of three major courses may be transferred from another college or university, including courses completed while studying abroad. Undergraduates are generally ineligible to register for graduate level courses. Students who may have an interest in a specific graduate course are advised to contact Dr. Litty Paxton well in advance of the registration period.
Annenberg students, as members of the Penn community, are responsible for adhering to the principles and spirit of the Code of Academic Integrity.
Understanding the Online World
“I am really interested in marketing, and being a Comm major has allowed for me to take classes that specialize in learning about human behavior, interpersonal communication, societal norms and virality, as well as how people think through different messages they receive in an online space. As a senior, I now realize how relevant and important it is to understand the online world, as it is rapidly evolving along with society.” — Raven Sulaimon C'21, Houston, TX
Sense of Community
“The Comm major has created a fantastic sense of community that I believe has been a strong part of my academic journey at Penn. I’ve made and cemented so many friendships through the courses I’ve taken in the major, and I have learned so much from the faculty. I’ve always felt guided and supported by the staff as well. Comm is something I truly love and I can tell that my peers and mentors feel the same way.” — Jaden Baum C'21, Norfolk, VA