Communications, B.A. (COMAL)

My Penn State Altoona


Cody Reid, '12

  • B.A., Communications
  • Campus DJ
  • Graduate student, NYU

"Being from New York City and coming to a smaller community like Altoona was a bit of a culture shock at first. But it’s helped me grow so much. It’s been an amazing experience."

In contrast to communications programs at many other colleges and universities, the Penn State Altoona communications major was designed at a time when digital technology has become an important part of the educational experience. This means that you will be working with the very latest equipment and technology rather than learning from outdated equipment. Our program incorporates digital technology as an important part of the educational experience. You will have access to high-end equipment including new Mac-based computer systems, fully digital cameras, and the latest nonlinear video and audio editing software.

Our communications major is based on a liberal arts foundation and emphasizes coursework in both theory and practice. For example, courses in theory include media criticism, visual communications and media history. Applied courses include video production, multimedia, newswriting, photojournalism, public relations, and advertising. Hands-on applied classes provide you with the opportunity to create materials appropriate for portfolios. It is a flexible and versatile program, so that you can develop subspecialties in different communication and media forms. Upon graduation, you'll be well-positioned to go right into the media and communications industry or to go on to graduate school for advanced training.

Program Innovations

In addition to the gateway courses required for the major, you also will hone your writing and production skills thorough our innovative Convergent Media News Service. This distinctive feature of the program will provide you with experience in news writing and production in multiple formats including print, online, and broadcasting. A Convergent Media Seminar brings seniors together to consider larger media issues and provides you with a unique opportunity to connect theory and practice through a capstone project.

Penn State Altoona features small classes, which are taught by professors and experienced communications professionals rather than graduate students.

Internship opportunities abound with this program. Partnerships with our local media outlets, including television and radio stations, the daily newspaper, and advertising agencies, have been established that enable us to place you in a variety of internship settings throughout your college years. In addition, students can seek national-level internship opportunities. Our majors have completed internships in major markets, including work with Comedy Central, CMT Networks, as well as NFL and Major League Baseball organizations. Through these internships, you can gain valuable insight into the industry as well as marketable skills. In addition, an internship will help you establish relationships in the communications community that can prove invaluable as you begin your post-graduation job search.

You'll also benefit from our ongoing contact with local media professionals from the area who have agreed to take an active role in the continued development of this program. These knowledgeable people have assisted and advised the program on trends in the communications field, as well as periodically serving as guest lecturers in the classroom. Having this input from the individuals who are actively working in the communications field will ensure that this program keeps up with industry trends and will give you the opportunity to learn from the folks who are working in the communications field every day.

The communications program periodically sponsors public and College presentations on important topics in the field, including talks by visiting scholars and professionals; as well as workshops and events in support of the profession, such as hosting the Pennsylvania School Press Association's regional journalism competition in fall 2016.

For more information:

Kevin Moist

Dr. Kevin M. Moist

Associate Professor of Communications
Arts and Humanities

Office: 101D Cypress Building
Phone: 814-949-5779

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