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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 14 courses in the major:

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 creditconducting research with a faculty member, and studying abroad.

Communication majors are eligible for a variety of academic honors and awards.

Course Requirements

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:

Research Methods

To fulfill the research methods requirement, students are required to complete: 

COMM 2100 is Annenberg’s flagship research methods course and is required of all majors*.  The course prepares students to understand the logic of social science research, to view research with a critical eye, and to conduct research independently. COMM 2100 is offered every semester. Students are encouraged to complete the research methods course requirement as early as possible; doing so will prepare students for all Communication courses.

*If necessary, one of the approved courses below can be substituted for COMM 2100 (formerly 210). 

  • MKTG 2120 (formerly 212): Data and Analysis for Marketing Decisions
  • SOCI 2000 (formerly 100)/HSOC 2002 (formerly 100): Sociological Research Methods
  • URBS 2000 (formerly 200): Introduction to Urban Research
  • INTR 3500 (formerly 350): Research Methods/Practice in International Relations (Note: Only available to Communication and International Relations double majors.)

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 3000 to 4990 level are required. 

A complete listing of Communication courses can be found here. As you peruse the course list, bear in mind the following:

1000 Level Introductory Core Courses Open to all students
2000 Level Intermediate Lectures & Seminars Open to all students
3000 Level Advanced Seminars and Small Lectures Recommended for Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors.
4000 Level Advanced Seminars Recommended for Juniors and Seniors.
4000 Level Internship and Thesis Seminars & Independent Studies By approval only


Non-Comm Elective Courses

Students may take up to 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 by emailing a full syllabus and a brief synopsis of why the course should be evaluated for non-comm elective consideration to Students may also email to ask if a course has already been evaluated and approved for non-comm elective credit. Students who declare a concentration must have two of the three non-comm electives approved for their concentration. Students who declare the ComPS program must have all three non-comm electives approved for the ComPS program.

General Policies

All courses that count toward the major must be taken for a letter grade (not pass/fail). However, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, pass/fail courses from Spring '20, Fall '20 & Spring '21 can, per the College of Arts and Science's adjusted policies, count toward the major. From Fall '21 onwards the College's normal P/F policies once again apply. Courses taken during and after Fall '21 cannot count towards the major if they are taken P/F.

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 the Registrar, Basha Starr, 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.

Raven Sulaimon posing in front of a colorfully-painted parking garage

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

Jaden Baum wearing a mask seated on Sansom Street

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

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