Midwestern State University is the only public liberal arts school in Texas. As such, the foundation of the university is built around giving students a broad-based education. The mass communication program is no exception.

All students in mass communication take courses in reporting, broadcast media, digital media, public relations and advertising, helping them to prepare for a plethora of careers. Our graduates work as producers at television stations, as reporters for daily newspapers, in sales and marketing, as authors and as public information officers. Nationwide, graduates earn a media salary of about $46,000 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in long-term careers from disc jockey to sound engineer to social media director to technical writer.

“Mass communication is a common major among students pursuing journalism careers because of its application to all types of mass media,” Karen Johnson said in an article focusing on careers in Mass Communication for the Houston Chronicle. “The Internet has rushed in an era of communicating to the masses in real-time, making this major ideal for any communications-related job. Since communications is an integral component of so many careers, the educational background of mass communications prepares you for a variety of job options.”

Our curriculum prepares students to be good written, visual and oral communicators regardless of the medium, giving them skills to be successful not only in fields directly related to communication but also as nurses, police officers, politicians and lawyers. The skills students in mass communication master include:

  • Verbal and writing | organize and express ideas clearly and appropriately; inform, explain, influence, persuade, mediate and negotiate
  • Observation | evaluate ideas and content
  • Attention to detail | being accountable to various groups of stakeholders
  • Time management | meet deadlines
  • Design and development | design projects, generate and adapt ideas, develop programs, evaluate situations, and present information and data
  • Teamwork | work independently, as part of a small team and as part of a large team
  • Problem solving | look at complex problems, understand the big picture and the components
  • Research and analysis | take in, analyze, assimilate and interpret information and data
  • Critical thinking | develop independent, objective and precise reasoning skills
  • Cultural awareness | understand diverse cultural, social, legal, and ethical considerations in mass communication processes

While many of the mass communication courses focus on skills — from writing to design — that graduates will need, others focus on theory of the profession and higher-level thinking skills that help students react appropriately when they face challenges on the job.

While Marie Hardin, a professor at Pennsylvania State University, discussed the value of a journalism degree specifically, what she had to say applied to the more broad mass communication degree as well.

“Some people argue that the newsroom is the only place to learn journalism. Don't believe them,” Hardin said. “For instance, newsrooms aren't the place to learn about ethics. You need to learn about ethics before you get there so you don't make mistakes that could hurt others and your reputation. You also need to learn about media law, news judgment and professionalism.”

What concentrations, if any, are offered within the major?

Students in our major are required to pick one of four minors: broadcast journalism, public relations/advertising, digital media or journalism.

Does the program focus mostly on analyzing the media or does it also offer courses on working for the media?

As a broad curriculum, our faculty teach courses in media management and introduction to mass communication in which students spent time analyzing the media. But faculty also teach hands-on courses from public relations writing to web design in which students get hands-on experience and build skills.

Will you have access to up-to-date computers, video cameras, and other equipment?

Yes. Our Macintosh computer lab has Adobe Creative Suite 6 installed on it now in addition to other software packages that students use in a variety of classes. In the spring of 2016, all computers in mass communication will have Adobe Creative Cloud installed on them, including such software packages as InDesign, Photoshop and Premiere. Video students also get the opportunity to work in Avid Media Composer. Broadcast students work on a range of video cameras, including hand-held, digital cameras. 

Will you have opportunities for hands-on learning at a campus radio station, cable TV station, multimedia lab, or newspaper?

Faculty encourage students to get their work published in the weekly student newspaper, The Wichitan, or as part of the student broadcast, Campus Watch. Many students also work part-time for local broadcast and print media outlets. All students are required to do an internship.

Will the department help you find work after graduation?

As part of their coursework, student refine their resume and other materials in preparation for the jobs search. Faculty members maintain close ties with alumni who often provide job leads for current students. In addition, the campus has an active Career Management Center.