Communication: General Communication, BA

General Comm Degree Description:  

Communication is an interdisciplinary field that draws from the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. The undergraduate Communication program focuses on the theoretical, critical, and empirical examination of fundamental communication systems, institutions, processes, and effects. Comm majors gain deep insight into how communication shapes our individual and collective social, political, economic, and cultural lives; both historical and contemporary, local and global. Our majors learn and employ a range of theories and research methods, including quantitative approaches such as survey research, experiments, content analysis, and computational science; and qualitative approaches such as historical, textual and discourse analysis, focus groups, and ethnographic fieldwork. In doing so, they produce scholarship that is rigorous, relevant, and multi-modal. 

The major in Communication is granted by the College of Arts and Sciences, but the major curriculum is designed, administered, and taught by the Annenberg School for Communication. 

Majors may complete an optional concentration. Effective Fall 2020, Communication concentrations are as follows: Advocacy & Activism; Audiences & Persuasion; Culture & Society; Data & Network Science; and Politics & Policy. Alternatively, students may also choose to enroll in the Communication and Public Service (ComPS) programStudents interested in pursuing one of these concentrations or ComPS should make an appointment to meet with a member of the COMM Undergraduate Advising Team.

See separate details on requirements for a Communication major concentration or the ComPS program.

In addition to concentrations, the Comm curriculum also offers opportunities for thesis researchindependent studyinternshipsstudy abroad, and public service (through the Communication and Public Service Program).

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

  1. Completion of at least two of the following introductory core survey courses:
    COMM 123Critical Approaches to Popular Culture1
    COMM 125Introduction to Communication Behavior1
    COMM 130Media Industries and Society1
  2. Completion of a third Communication course. Students may submit the application for the major after enrollment in the third 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
Introductory Core Survey Courses
Select two of the following:2
Critical Approaches to Popular Culture
Introduction to Communication Behavior
Media Industries and Society
Research Methods Course
Select one:1
Quantitative Research Methods in Communication
Or, Research Methods course from the approved list. 2
Elective Courses
Select eight COMM specific courses. 3,4,58
Select three elective courses from department(s) outside of COMM. Non-COMM electives must be related to the COMM major. 63
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.

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2021 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.