Optional concentrations are one way that students can tailor their Communication major to their interests.
Is a Concentration Right for You?
While not required for the Communication major, concentrations give our majors the opportunity to focus a portion of their major around certain topics within the broad field of Communication. These optional concentrations may also help students market themselves for employment or graduate school.
The optional Communication concentrations are as follows:
- Advocacy & Activism
- Audiences & Persuasion
- Culture & Society
- Data & Network Science
- Politics & Policy
While each concentration focuses on different aspects of the study and practice of communication, all involve the critical examination and application of relevant theories, frameworks, and methods to better understand the central role of communication in how we think, feel, and act as individuals and as local and global communities. Across all concentrations, Comm majors have the opportunity to examine issues related to cultural identity and diversity.
Students interested in pursuing one of these concentrations should make an appointment to meet with a member of the Comm undergraduate advising team.
Requirements for a Concentration
Out of the 14 courses required for the Communication major, students who declare a concentration will devote five of those to their concentration. Students select three Communication courses from the list approved for their concentration (see below) and two elective courses from a department outside of Communication.
Additional concentration requirements are as follows:
- Two of the three Communication courses specific to the concentration must be 300 to 499 level courses.
- With department permission, COMM 491 or COMM 499 can be counted as one of your Communication-specific courses.
- No more than one non-COMM elective can be at the introductory level. Non-COMM elective courses must be related to the student’s concentration and require pre-approval from a member of the Comm undergraduate advising team.
Students enrolled in an optional concentration must meet all major requirements.
See the major description for details on how to complete the remaining nine required courses for the Comm major.
Concentrations & Approved Classes
Courses in this Concentration focus on the intersection of communication and social justice. Through this concentration, students will explore vital communication-related questions about socio-political power, protest, and progress. Courses explore media institutions and the past, present, and evolving techniques and technologies of protest and social movements.
Courses in this Concentration focus on both the social construction of audiences and the influence of interpersonal and mass mediated communication. Through this concentration, students will gain an understanding of how individual and collective attitudes, opinions, information-processing, and behaviors develop, and how audiences and messages interact to create effects.
Courses in this Concentration explore the complex relationships between communication and cultural practices. Through this concentration, students will gain an understanding of the ways in which communication is central to the construction, maintenance, and transmission of culture, as well as to cultural resistance and change.
Courses in this Concentration focus on the role and analysis of data, complex systems, and networks in digital communication. Through this concentration, students will gain an understanding of the role of digital media and social networks in disseminating information and influencing the communications, attitudes, and behaviors of social groups. Students have the opportunity to learn computational social science techniques to support research in this area, including social network analysis and methods from data science (information visualization, social media collection, and quantitative data and textual analysis) using various tools and programming languages (Python and R).
Courses in this Concentration explore communication among and between political elites and other policy influencers, the media, and citizens. Through this concentration, students will gain an understanding of the attitudes, opinions, information-processing, and behavior of citizens, political elites, political institutions, and political systems.
Communication and Public Service (ComPS) Program
Another way to focus the Comm major is to join the Communication and Public Service Program (ComPS). ComPS is a specialized program that allows students to engage in public service by combining 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.
The ComPS Program has specific requirements that differ from requirements for the major in Communication or a Communication Concentration. Read more about ComPS.
“My current career interest is going into the media and entertainment industry, and I am considering a Culture and Society Concentration. Culture is an essential aspect of the field I want to join, so it is beneficial to learn about what role communication plays in cultural practices and cultural productions.” — Xinqing (Cindy) Huang C’22, Philadelphia