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Communication degrees lead to wide career options for Australian graduates Communication degrees lead to wide career options
Posted by Lucy-Ellen Steadman | June 06th 2011

With the media permeating almost every aspect of Australian society, its importance, relevance and image has encouraged thousands of students to enrol in Communications degrees. Journalism student Lucy-Ellen Steadman looks at why this course is so popular and what opportunities it offers graduates.

Graduating Bachelor of Communication students in Australia will be entering an expanding field of work that is constantly evolving, says University of Queensland senior lecturer Dr Richard Fitzgerald.

Benefits of doing a Bachelor of Communication in Australia

Dr Fitzgerald, who has a Bachelor of Communication himself, says the communication industry is always changing, meaning this evolving environment continuously opens up new areas of work.

“While some specific jobs may be in decline, the employment environment of communication and communication skills is constantly evolving so that new areas of communication work continually develop. Also it is not always possible to separate understanding communication from other types of employment where the ability to understand the communicative environment is an essential skill in a multitude of employment areas,” says Dr Fitzgerald.

Dr Fitzgerald also believes the Bachelor of Communication degree in Australia is competitive to those given overseas.

“I think a communication degree from Australia competes with communication degrees from around the world. The Australian version is a particular hybrid of USA and UK degrees, with an emphasis on both practice and theory combined.”

Career and Study Options

Doing a degree in communication can lead to numerous careers, including journalism, publishing, advertising, public relations, and digital media (see more career options here).

Furthermore, Communication can be studied at many institutions around Australia, offered under an array of names like, Bachelor of Communication, Bachelor of Media and Communications, Bachelor of Arts (majoring in Communication), and so on (see here for a list of institutions and their communication degrees).

Work Experience/Internships

One concern for the field is the demand for experience even in entry-level jobs, with many job listings requiring an internship or work experience (which are often unpaid too). As such, these internships are in high demand by students and can be hard to come by.

Popular culture website, Pedestrian TV, is a useful resource for students looking for Communication jobs or work experience, as the website advertises many communication positions in music, fashion, arts, public relations, advertising, and non-profit too.

Despite this demand for experience, Dr Fitzgerald believed a lack of work experience wouldn’t completely inhibit all Communication graduates from finding a job.

“Not all communication employment is in specific areas of employment, though students who want to enter [certain] professions (Public Relations, Journalism, Government, or Charity) tend to benefit from an internship or field work.”

Integration of Social Networking/Multiple Media Platforms

A commendation to Communications degrees in Australia is the integration of social networking and using multiple media platforms to deliver information in line with media remediation. That is, the modernisation of the media that involves social networking websites, e.g. Facebook and Twitter, and the use of multiple digital platforms to deliver information.

Many Communication degrees in Australia either integrate these methods into assessment items, or as majors. For instance, completing a Bachelor of Communication at Victoria University, or Bond University (among others) allows students to complete a specialisation in Digital Media.

Dr Fitzgerald spoke of how the University of Queensland integrates media remediation.

“Here are UQ where I teach across the Journalism and the Communication fields there is a definite integration of both the technological skills and use of technologies, as well as the conceptual knowledge to be able to understand technological evolution and the use of those technologies as part of strategic communication.”

Requirements

Generally, Communication courses in universities around Australia require students to have completed high school and passed grade 12 English to gain entry, however a few have no prerequisites, and others have more.