Skip to main content
Loading

Communication Concentrations

One way you'll tailor your degree experience is by choosing one of the following eight concentrations. Within each concentration, you'll have even more opportunities to choose which classes and applied experiences you'll use as you build your expertise and degree.

Public Relations and Strategic Communication

Public relations and strategic communication is an exciting and dynamic concentration in which you’ll learn to help an organization achieve its goals by developing mutually beneficial relationships with its internal and external stakeholders. Can you imagine yourself writing a news release, speaking with a journalist, managing a crisis, organizing an event, creating an infographic, developing a social media post or partnering with an influencer? If you can, then PR and strategic communication is the concentration for you. With courses that will teach you the basics, like PR Techniques; to others that will hone your skills, like Crisis Communication; to ones that will prepare you for an internship or job by working with a real-world client, like Boiler Communication, you’ll be ready to begin your career as an “up-and-coming” communication professional. What’s more, communication professionals are needed in all sectors, including agencies, corporations, nonprofits, education and government. Your first step to a rewarding career in PR and strategic communication begins here.

Sample Career Paths:

Account Coordinator (agency), PR Specialist (corporate), Marketing & Events Coordinator (nonprofit), Social Media Specialist (education), Public Affairs Specialist (government)

Sample Courses:

Public Relations Techniques, Boiler Communication (a student-run PR agency), Strategic Communication Research & Planning, Crisis Communication, Sports Communication

See the full plan of study for Public Relations and Strategic Communication with all course options and requirements here.

Media and Mass Communication

Since the nature and landscape of media and mass communication shift drastically with advances in technology, it is crucial to have skilled communicators in roles that impact how news and information is gathered, produced, and shared across large platforms. The Media and Mass Communication concentration includes courses in digital media production for broadcast news and entertainment media; professional and journalistic writing for online and other outlets; writing and video production for social media; documentaries and digital storytelling; sports media relations and sports broadcasting; media management; copy editing; the role of mass media in society; and the study of video games.

Students in this concentration recently turned a three-day hiking trip in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula into a 2,000 word article for The Local Tourist in Chicago, made a one-day coffee crawl to seven local shops the most-liked post on the West Lafayette-Lafayette Home of Purdue blog, live-tweeted Purdue softball and baseball games, took over and expanded the social media accounts for local acting and animal nonprofits, live broadcast Purdue’s annual homecoming parade and daylong Springfest events, and produced a weekly video newsmagazine that aired on the Purdue Channel on campus and on local cable TV.

Sample Career Paths:

Online or Television Journalist, Creative Content Developer, Radio or Podcast Producer, User Experience Researcher

Sample Courses:

Writing for Mass Media, Digital Video Production, Television Production, Communication and Emerging Technologies, Mass Communication and Society, Social Media for Social Good, Sports Media Relations, Theories of Mass Communication, Communicating in the Global Workplace, Video Games and Society

See the full plan of study for Media and Mass Communication with all course options and requirements here.

General Communication

A concentration in General Communication allows students to choose from the whole catalog of courses in the Lamb School to create a degree path tailored to their career aspirations, ideally combining classes from two or three of the other concentrations that have some overlapping areas of instruction. Students can choose from writing, campaign-driven, technical, decision-making, group, interpersonal, and cross-cultural communication courses to build their BA in Communication. This concentration works well both as a stand-alone major or as a one paired with another major from outside of the Lamb School.

Sample Career Paths:

Development Officer, Meeting Planner, Human Resources Officer, Brand Manager

Sample Courses:

The General Communication concentration allows students to choose five courses from other concentrations, ideally combining classes from concentrations with overlapping offerings.

See the full plan of study for General Communication with all course options and requirements here.

Political and Civic Communication

The Political and Civic Communication concentration helps students learn the content, processes, and effects of political communication, how political and civic communication influence the social and physical environment in which we live, and the practical skills related to message construction, argumentation, and persuasion. This area of study includes topics related to the interconnectedness of U.S. and international politics with media theory and effects, interpersonal and group communication, as well as public relations and advertising.


This concentration works closely with the C-SPAN Center for Scholarship and Engagement (CCSE). Through the CCSE, students enjoy unique access to the C-SPAN Video Library, politicians and journalists (e.g., speaking events on campus; May term class in Washington, D.C.), and paid internship opportunities.

Sample Career Paths:

Campaign Strategist, Government Communication Director, Political Correspondent, NGO communication and administration, Law, Academia

Sample Courses:

American Public Communication, U.S. Politics and the Media, Principles of Persuasion, Mass Communication and Society, Crisis Communication

See the full plan of study for Political and Civic Communication with all course options and requirements here.

Health Communication

The Health Communication concentration will help students learn how to use communication strategies to inform and positively influence the health of individuals and societies. Whether it’s trying to inspire people to adopt more nutritious diets, or ask better questions of their healthcare providers, students will learn and apply theories to promote healthy changes in populations. With a concentration in Health Communication, students can develop an in-depth understanding of how decision-making and culture impact health choices, technical writing skills, and health communication campaign skills.

Sample Career Paths:

Public Health Information Officer, Technical Medical Writer, Communication Specialist in biotech, medical device, healthcare system, health department, or insurance organizations

Sample Courses:

Intercultural Communication, Writing in the Health Sciences, Health Communication Campaigns

See the full plan of study for Health Communication with all course options and requirements here.

Business Communication

Business Communication focuses on the theories, concepts, and skills necessary to understand how communication functions in and between organizations. Coursework provides a background in topics such as organizational development, leadership and communication training, technology use, diversity and culture in organizations, remote work, global organizations, team processes and decision making, social network analysis, and new forms of organizing. The concentration will equip students to start their professional careers in various forms of organizations including companies, nonprofits, and government agencies.

Sample Career Paths:

Communication Director, Corporate Consultant, Human Resources Manager, Employee Relations Specialist, Community Outreach Manager, Diversity Consultant, Social Media Strategist, Nonprofit Organization Director

Sample Courses:

Organizational Communication, Communicating in the Global Workplace, Diversity at Work, Interviewing: Principles and Practice, Communication and Social Networks, Small Group Communication

See the full plan of study for Business Communication with all course options and requirements here.

Interpersonal Communication

The way people exchange information, persuade, interact, and relate with one another is the basis for accomplishing personal, group and organizational goals. The Interpersonal Communication concentration develops students’ ability to analyze interpersonal communication processes, solve communication difficulties, and build productive personal and professional relationships. Courses focus on managing conflict, providing support, leading and influencing others, and presenting oneself effectively. 

Sample Career Paths:

Human Resources, Training and Development, Customer Relations

Sample Courses:

Small Group Communication, Communication in Relationships, Theories of Human Interaction

See the full plan of study for Interpersonal Communication with all course options and requirements here.

Communicating Science and Technology

The Communication of Science and Technology concentration is designed for students who want to build their knowledge and expand their proficiency sharing ideas, expertise, and research related to complex scientific and technological principles in a variety of contexts and for a variety of audiences.  Coursework in this concentration includes theory and practice in written and oral communication with emphases on science and traditional and emerging technologies. Students in this concentration may pursue career paths in areas such as science and technical writing or journalism, marketing and communication campaigns for health organizations, patient advocacy, or project management in a laboratory environment.

Sample Career Paths:

Sciences Correspondent, STEM Lobbyist, External Relations Manager for STEM organizations

Sample Courses:

Speech Communication of Technical Information, Discussion of Technical Problems, Science and Medical Writing

See the full plan of study for Communicating Science and Technology with all course options and requirements here.