College of Communication

The College of Communication includes three departments: Film & Television; Journalism; and Mass Communication, Advertising & Public Relations. Each department offers professionally oriented undergraduate and graduate programs.

The undergraduate program, leading to the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree, offers majors in Film & Television, Journalism, and Communication, as well as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Cinema & Media Studies.

Graduate programs leading to the Master of Science (MS) degree are available in Television, Media Ventures, Journalism, Science Journalism, Advertising, Mass Communication, and Public Relations. A Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree is offered in Film & Television Studies, Screenwriting, or Cinema & Media Production. We also offer a Master of Arts (MA) and a PhD in Emerging Media Studies, a division within COM that caters to interests within all three departments and beyond. A dual degree program is also available between the Mass Communication program and the School of Law. The master’s program in International Relations & International Communication is a joint degree program administered by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

The Mission of the College of Communication

The Boston University College of Communication (COM) is dedicated to the proposition that the free flow of ideas and accurate information is vital to the development and improvement of democratic societies. The college mission is to provide an educational center of excellence focused on teaching, research, and service in the study and professional practice of communication.

To accomplish its mission, the faculty and students maintain high standards of scholastic achievement and establish rigorous professional communication skill training to prepare students for successful careers. The college stresses:

  • A core liberal arts education that enables students to understand societies’ diverse cultural foundations and stimulates a strong sense of social responsibility
  • Critical thinking, creativity, and personal integrity
  • Detailed research, lucid writing, oral presentation skills, and mastery of various mass communication media
  • An understanding that learning is a lifelong pursuit

Dean’s Message

Think for a moment of all that you might do today. You could go to Twitter or Facebook to see what your friends are up to or to update your page with the digital photos you took last weekend. At some time you’d probably check on the latest news to keep up with world events, track the progress of a favorite sports team, or even to sneak a peek at the fortunes and misfortunes of a Hollywood celebrity. You know you can find all that and more in the newspaper, on TV, or by visiting a trusted website or blog. And if there’s still some time in your day, you could check the ads for a new film to see or book to read or vacation to plan.

Now think for another moment about how all those possibilities came to be. Think of the process you followed to take those photos and post them online. Think of how those news reports, sports scores, and celebrity sightings were gathered and packaged for you to view or to read. Think of what it took to create the ad that caught your attention. And think of all the people—all the professionals—behind each of those things.

Now think of Boston University’s College of Communication.

Nothing more defines the human experience than communication, the ability that each of us has—in fact, the need that each of us has—to convey our thoughts to others and to receive theirs. That’s what drives our interest in Facebook, in the news media, in watching films, broadcasts, or video vignettes on YouTube. It’s also what you’ll learn at COM from some of the smartest, most dedicated, and—yes—most famous teachers you’ll find at any university in the world.

Among many other things, you could learn how to build an interactive website, how to produce a documentary film, how to direct a TV program, how to craft a news story, how to photograph a historic event, how to design an advertisement, or how to orchestrate a public-relations campaign. You will definitely learn how to communicate effectively and clearly.

But Boston University teaches more than just the “how” of communicating. It teaches the “what” to communicate. The BU graduate knows that it is the quality of the content that matters, not the method of delivery. It’s the kind of quality that comes only from having had a world-class education in the liberal arts at a world-class university. For example, our journalism graduates understand that it isn’t enough to know how to construct a news story, it’s also important to know what goes into one. The same is true for the filmmaker and the advertising creative director. We don’t just train professional communicators; we educate them by requiring that they take 70 percent of their courses in other disciplines given by some of the best teachers—many of them current practitioners—anywhere.

That’s no accident. Boston not only is the nation’s birthplace of higher education, but it remains a center of creativity, of learning, of intellectual energy and, last but not least, of fun. Our alumni are among the most successful leaders in the professions that COM serves. You could be among them someday. We hope to welcome you.

Thomas E. Fiedler
College of Communication