Communication: General Communication, BA

The Communication Program, housed at Penn's Annenberg School for Communication, offers a dynamic environment where students and faculty explore a wide range of communication-centered questions using a variety of methods and theories from the humanities and social sciences. Undergraduates (who major in Communication through the School of Arts and Sciences) explore how messages are created and adapted to audiences and examine the implications of those messages for individuals and society.

Areas of concentration include critical, cultural, and historical media studies; research on children, family, and media; health communication; the media business; and political communication. The curriculum also offers opportunities for independent study, internship experience, study abroad, and putting communication to work in the service of community (through the Communication and Public Service Program).

The minimum total course units for graduation in this major is 34. Double majors may entail more course units.

Students must meet the following minimum requirements prior to acceptance into the major.

  1. Completion of at least two of the following introductory courses:
    COMM 125Introduction to Communication Behavior1
    COMM 130Media Industries and Society1
    COMM 123Critical Approaches to Popular Culture1
  2. Completion of a third Communication course.
  3. Cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher in all University of Pennsylvania courses.

For information about the General Education requirements, please visit the College of Arts & Sciences Curriculum page.

College General Education Requirements and Free Electives
Foundational Approaches + Sectors1 + Free Electives20
Major Requirements
Core Survey Courses
Select two of the following: 22
Critical Approaches to Popular Culture
Introduction to Communication Behavior
Media Industries and Society
Methods Course
Select one of the following:1
Quantitative Research Methods in Communication
Survey Research and Design
Experimental Design
Methods course from approved list or a course approved by the Undergraduate Associate Dean 3
Intermediate Level Courses
Select 4 course units of Intermediate Level courses 44
Advanced Level Courses
Select 4 course units of Advanced Level courses 54
Cognate Courses 6
Select 3 course units of Cognate courses3
Total Course Units34


A thesis project is completed over two semesters during the senior year. A credit is earned in both semesters. Students who achieve a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher and earn an A- or higher  on their project will graduate with honors.

Optional Concentrations

Concentrations give our majors an opportunity to pursue their personal interests within the diverse field of Communication. In some cases, these concentrations can also help students market themselves for employment or graduate school in a related field. The concentration utilizes five of the fourteen courses listed below (three of which are COMM courses, two of which are cognate courses). No course can be used more than once toward concentration requirements. A list of approved concentration courses can be found here. Cognate courses are to be approved by Annenberg’s Director of Student Services.

Students may only complete one concentration.


  • Political Communication
  • Critical Journalism
  • Global Communication
  • Culture & Communication
  • Visual Communication
  • Media Effects
  • Media Institutions & Policy
  • Health Communication
  • Race, Gender & Identity
  • Civic Communication
  • Messaging and Marketing
  • Individualized
Select 3 course units of Major courses3
Select 2 course units of Cognate courses2

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2019 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.