We are bombarded with images and messages every day of our lives, from billboards towering over the highway, to television commercials, newspaper ads, leaflets, brochures, and radio advertising. These messages shape our culture and define our perceptions, influencing the way we think and look at almost everything from a candy bar to geopolitics.

Mass Communication majors investigate the role mass media has played, and continues to play, in American culture. They are analysts and historians, examining everything from 19th Century Harper’s political cartoons to the newest McDonald’s commercial. Given the enormous effect of the media on our daily lives, Mass Communication majors seek out how and why they reflect our social values. They also describe how public policy draws boundaries for Mass Communication, like the near-prohibition of nudity on broadcast television.

Mass Communication majors are sometimes also located within a broader communication major that more generally examines the ways in which information is created and distributed, whether through a television commercial or a personal e-mail.


  • Cultural History of Advertising

  • Effects of the Mass Media

  • International Media

  • Mass Communication Research and Methods

  • Propaganda and the Mass Media

  • Quantitative Methods in Anthropology

  • Structure of Mass Communication

  • The First Amendment and the Press

  • Topics in American Television

  • Various electives in Journalism, Sociology, Psychology, Linguistics, Anthropology, and Business.


Strong reading and analytical skills will come in handy in Mass Communication, so AP courses in English and advanced math (like statistics) are a must. Watch the news, movies, and the commercials in between them. Listen to what your friends have to say when the conversation turns to the media. They are members of the masses, after all.