Journalism and Communications have been a hot topic over the past 12-18 months, especially at the end of the year following the US Presidential election. Traditional news outlets were discovered to have presented misleading (or outright false) information. Integrity is a critical component of journalism and communications; and one result of the impropriety of the “mainstream media” is an explosion of alternative sources for news. Christian colleges and universities have a wonderful opportunity to fill a need for accurate, equitable and objective journalists and communications individuals to disseminate good information to the public. In light of this, Christian Universities Online is pleased to present the top 10 Communications and Journalism degree programs for 2017.
For this ranking, members of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) or schools that could be considered member eligible were evaluated for degree programs in the fields of communications and journalism. We then collected publicly available data in the following five categories: 1) Number of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the field of communications or journalism, 2) Faculty-to-student ratio, 3) Percent of full-time beginning undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid, 4) Selectivity, 5) Overall retention rate and 6) Overall graduation rate. Weights were assigned to each of these categories with the category of the number of degree programs having a slightly higher weight than the other categories.
Eastern University is a private, Christian institution of higher education located in Saint Davids, Pennsylvania. Affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA, Eastern University began in 1925 as the Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Founded for the purpose of creating a theologically conservative seminary within the American Baptist Churches denomination, it was not until 1932 that the collegiate division of the school was formed and in 1952 the school was chartered as a four-year college. Today, Eastern University’s mission statement declares its dedication to the “preparation of undergraduate, theological and graduate students for thoughtful and productive lives of Christian faith, leadership and service.” Eastern University has a total enrollment figure of over 3,500, including more than 2,000 undergraduate students, with an average student to faculty ratio of 10 to 1.
Eastern University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and has been so since 1954. A wide range of academic programs are offered through its several colleges and seminary including the College of Arts and Sciences which offers both a Bachelor of Arts in Communication as well as a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in Journalism. This latter program seeks to develop in students their “sense of justice” and “practical, flexible communication skills” for the purpose of graduating journalists who will “make change one word, one concept, one story at a time.” Similarly, Eastern University’s Communication Studies program endeavors to equip students who will be “competent, creative, and ethical” communicators who will integrate a “commitment to faith, reason, and justice into each communication act.” Students are also given the opportunity to gain valuable workplace experiences through study away or abroad as well as internships offered within the greater Philadelphia area, Washington D.C. and more.
- B.A. Communication
- B.A. English- concentration in Journalism
Azusa Pacific University (commonly abbreviated APU) is a private, coeducational, evangelical Christian institution of higher education located in Azusa, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. Rooted in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition and APU boasts the second largest evangelical undergraduate student body with an undergraduate enrollment of nearly 6,000 and a total enrollment figure of nearly 10,000. APU’s average student to faculty ratio is 11 to 1. Originally called the Training School for Christian Workers, the school was founded by a small group of Quakers and a Methodist Evangelist in Whittier, California in 1899 and was the first Bible college established on the West Coast. Today all ties to the Quaker denomination are diminished as APU holds a more evangelistic theology and is not associated with any particular denomination. After merging with three other Evangelical colleges in Southern California, APU moved to its current location in 1949. Today, the University holds its accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, which was granted in 1961.
A wide range of undergraduate, graduate, and special programs are made available through Azusa Pacific University’s several colleges and schools. APU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers the Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies as well as the Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. APU describes this latter program as being “embedded with a Christian worldview and First Amendment values,” with a mission to enable “honest and person-driven storytelling, equipping students to seek out and reveal the truth.” A 48 unit program, this Journalism major is only offered at APU’s main campus. APU’s Communication Studies major is also offered at its main campus in Azusa and is available with a focus on Interpersonal and Organizational Communication, Media Studies, or Rhetoric and Public Address. The mission of this program is to prepare students to “combine convincing arguments with appropriate media to convey an effective and compelling message.”
- B.A. Communication Studies
- B.A. Journalism
George Fox University is a private, coeducational institution of the liberal arts and sciences and professional studies located in Newberg, Oregon. Affiliated with the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends, George Fox began in 1885 when a group of Quaker pioneers founded the school, originally calling it the Friends Pacific Academy. Eventually the name was changed to Pacific College and in 1949 was again renamed George Fox College (eventually attaining university status) in honor of the founder of the Quaker movement. Today, George Fox University’s mission is to be a “Christ-centered community [which] prepares students spiritually, academically, and professionally to think with clarity, act with integrity, and serve with passion.” George Fox University has a total enrollment figure of nearly 4,000, including more than 2,500 undergraduate students, with an average student to faculty ratio of 14 to 1. George Fox ranks high among Christian colleges in the nation and has been classified as a first-tier “Best Regional University (West)”.
George Fox University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and has been so since 1959. More than 40 undergraduate majors are available as well as several adult degree programs, six seminary degrees, and more than a dozen master’s and doctoral degree programs in the areas of business, counseling, education, physical therapy, and psychology. George Fox offers several undergraduate programs in the areas of Communication and Journalism, including majors in Cinema and Media Communication; Communication Arts; Organizational Communication; and Journalism. George Fox purposefully integrates faith with learning and takes an interdisciplinary approach when it comes to the subject of communication and requires that students take a series of integrated courses covering a wide range of topics in the field. The end result is that students gain valuable and marketable skills, preparing them for a career in communication.
- Cinema & Media Communication
- Communication Arts
- Organizational Communication
Abilene Christian University (ACU) is a private, coeducational, Christian institution of higher education, located in Abilene, Texas. Affiliated with the Churches of Christ, ACU was founded as a small learning institution in West Texas in 1906, having grown out of an idea held by A.B. Barret and Charles Roberson and backed by the Churches of Christ in Abilene. Since then, ACU has come to be known as a leader in Christian higher-education and has received a number of honors and recognitions from several sources including Apple, which named ACU a distinguished school for its innovation, leadership and educational excellence. ACU’s mission is clearly stated as having the goal of educating students for “Christian service and leadership throughout the world.” ACU requires daily chapel services and mandatory Bible courses and the majority of students spend time volunteering for community service. Approximately 4,500 students are currently enrolled at ACU, including over 3,700 undergraduates, hailing from nearly every state in the Union and more than 40 foreign nations. The University’s average student to faculty ratio is 15 to 1.
Abilene Christian University is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, offering both undergraduate and graduate-level degrees and is made up of the College of Arts & Sciences, College of Biblical Studies, College of Business Administration, College of Education & Human Services, Graduate School, Graduate School of Theology, and ACU’s Honors College. ACU offers four distinct degrees in Journalism and Communication, including a B.A./B.S. in Communication with concentrations in Corporate Communication, Interpersonal and Cultural Studies, and Public Advocacy; B.S. in Convergence Journalism; a Master of Arts in Communication; and a Master of Arts in Corporate Communication. ACU also offers undergraduate minors in Communication and Convergence Journalism as well as a Convergence Journalism/Multimedia Teacher Certification program.
- B.A./B.S. Communication
- B.S. Convergence Journalism
- M.A. Communication
- M.A. Corporate Communication
Cedarville University is a private, coeducational, Christian institution of higher education located in Cedarville, Ohio. Chartered by the New Light Reformed Presbyterian Church in 1887, in the 1950s the school came under management of Evangelical Baptists after merging with the Baptist Bible Institute of Cleveland, Ohio. Today, Cedarville University maintains this affiliation with the Baptist denomination and is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Cedarville University’s mission is to be a “Christ-centered learning community equipping students for lifelong leadership and service through an education marked by excellence and grounded in biblical truth.” The University’s objectives are to graduate students who, “glorify God; think broadly and deeply; communicate effectively; develop academically and professionally; and engage for Christ.” Cedarville University has a total enrollment figure of more than 3,500, including over 3,000 undergraduate students.
Divided into several departments, the Cedarville University’s Department of Communication offers four distinct majors, each of which offer their own unique specializations and concentrations. Major programs include Broadcasting and Digital Media, with concentrations in Digital Film and Video, Digital Radio and Audio and Integrated Digital Media; Communication, with concentrations in Organizational Communication, Public Communication, and Strategic Communication; Journalism, with specializations in both Convergent Journalism and Public Relations; and Professional Writing and Information Design. Taught by professors who care about and serve as mentors for their students, Cedarville University’s Department of Communication seeks to develop in students the “ability to communicate ideas fluently and coherently… helping [them] to cultivate [their] abilities to express [themselves] through communication in many formats: spoken, written, visual, nonverbal, and digital.” In addition to these, Cedarville University’s Department of Art, Design, and Theatre also offers a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communication Design which focuses on preparing students for careers in the fields of graphic design and interactive web design.
- Broadcasting and Digital Media
- Professional Writing and Information Design
- Visual Communication Design
Liberty University is a private, coeducational, Christian institution located in Lynchburg, Virginia. Founded as Liberty Baptist College in 1971, the institution gained university status just five years later. A high ranking institution, Liberty University has grown to be the fifth largest university in the United States and the largest Christian university in the world. The University’s 7,000 acre campus sits nestled in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. The University’s mission is to develop “Christ-centered men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential to impact the world.” This mission statement continues, declaring that its goal is to educate “men and women who will make important contributions to their workplaces and communities, follow their chosen vocations as callings to glorify God, and fulfill the Great Commission.”
Liberty University boasts a total enrollment figure of more than 80,000 – including nearly 50,000 undergraduate students – with an average student to faculty ratio of 18 to 1. Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and has been so since 1980. An impressive 500 undergraduate and graduate degree programs are offered by the University in both traditional classroom settings as well as in an online format. Liberty University is divided into more than a dozen colleges and schools which encompass a wide array of subjects. In the areas of Communication and Journalism, Liberty offers several undergraduate programs, including Journalism (B.S.); Leadership Communication (B.M.); Speech Communication (B.S.) with concentrations available in Professional Communication and Speech Communication; and Strategic Communication (B.S.) with concentrations offered in both Social Media Management and Strategic Communications. A Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis on Concentration is also available. In addition to these, two graduate-level degrees in communication are also offered, including a Master of Arts in Communication and a Master of Arts in Strategic Communication.
- B.S. Journalism
- B.M. Leadership Communication
- B.S. Speech Communication
- B.S. Strategic Communication
- M.A. Communication
- M.A. Strategic Communication
Calvin College is a private, Christian liberal arts institution located in Grand Rapids, Michigan on a 160-plus acre campus. Affiliated with the Christian Reformed Church of North America, Calvin College was founded in 1876 and was named in honor of well-known Protestant Reformer, John Calvin, who was a leader in the reformation movement of the 16th-century. Calvin College is guided by the historic creeds and confessions of Reformed Christianity and operates under the motto of, “My heart I offer you, Lord, promptly and sincerely.” Self-described as a “Christian academic community dedicated to rigorous intellectual inquiry,” Calvin College views its mission as being to equip students “to think deeply, act justly, and to live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world.” Calvin College has a total enrollment figure of nearly 4,000, the vast majority of whom are undergraduate students, with an average student to faculty ratio of 13 to 1.
Calvin College is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and has been so since 1930. Calvin College has much to offer in the area of Communication with four major programs available through its Department of Communication Arts and Sciences. Majors in Communications, Digital Communications, Organizational Communication and Strategic Communication are offered in addition to minors in Communication Arts and Sciences, Film and Media, and Theatre. Built upon a strong liberal arts foundation, Calvin College’s communication students work closely with faculty members – all of whom are top scholars and industry professionals – who provide students with individual advising and mentoring. At least 85% of Calvin College’s 2015 graduates participated in an internship during their time as students and 100% were either employed or enrolled in graduate school a year later.
- Digital Communications
- Organizational Communication
- Strategic Communication
Wheaton College is a private, non-profit, coeducational, Christian liberal arts institution located in Wheaton, Illinois. Established in the evangelical Protestant tradition, Wheaton College first opened in 1860. Well known for its strong Christian heritage and solid academic results, Wheaton College has graduated several well known Christian figures including missionaries and martyrs, Jim Elliot and Nate Saint, evangelist Billy Graham, and pastor, John Piper. The College boasts a total enrollment figure of nearly 3,000, including nearly 2,500 undergraduates, with an average student to faculty ratio of 11 to 1. Among these, 7% of students come from either missionary or third culture backgrounds and 20% of students represent ethnic minority groups. Wheaton College describes its mission as being to serve “Jesus Christ and [advance] His Kingdom through excellence in liberal arts and graduate programs that educate the whole person to build the church and benefit society worldwide.” The institution’s motto expresses its commitment to “do all things ‘For Christ and His Kingdom.’”
Wheaton College is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and has been so since the mid 19-teens. More than 40 undergraduate majors are offered through the College’s Department of Arts & Sciences, the Conservatory of Music, and the Department of Global & Experiential Learning. Wheaton’s Communication Department offers a major in communication and operates with the mission to “create competent and ethical communicators.” Students have the opportunity to focus on one of four concentration areas, including Interpersonal Communication, Theater, Rhetoric and Culture, and Media Studies. Core classes include performance, theory and research and students are given further access to Wheaton’s theater program, a nationally ranked debate team, honors opportunities, and consortium and internship programs. Through these opportunities, coursework and more, Wheaton seeks to develop in students “analytical, critical and performance skills that enhance relationships in social and professional settings.”
Union University is a private, Christian, four-year, coeducational, liberal arts-based institution, located in Jackson, Tennessee. Affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention and established in 1823, Union holds the distinction of being the oldest Southern Baptist-affiliated institution. Union University’s mission is to provide a “Christ-centered education that promotes excellence and character development in service to Church and society.” The University boasts a total enrollment figure of more than 3,500, including over 2,500 undergraduate students, with nearly all fifty states and more than 30 foreign nations represented in the student body. Union operates off of a 290 acre urban campus approximately 80 miles east of Memphis and 120 miles west of Nashville. In addition to this main campus, the University also operates extension campuses in Germantown and Henderson, Tennessee. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Union has received a number of major recognitions from names such as U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review, and has been ranked in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, among others.
Union University is comprised of multiple colleges and schools and offers more than 100 programs of study across a broad range of academic fields. In the area of Communication and Journalism, Union has much to offer with undergraduate majors available in Communication Studies, Digital Media Communication, Journalism, Photojournalism, and Broadcast Journalism. Union University is also one of only eight colleges in the United States to own a high-definition television studio which includes three-camera production, offering students access to high definition cameras and grip equipment to use for film-style productions and digital media studies. Students are also able to gain valuable hands-on experience through Union’s nationally recognized debate team, award-winning newspaper, theatre productions, daily live news broadcast and more. Internship opportunities are available for all majors through Union’s many affiliates and connections.
- Communication Studies
- Digital Media Communications
- Broadcast Journalism
Whitworth University, located in Spokane, Washington, is a private, coeducational, residential Christian liberal arts institution. The University began in 1883 when it was established by George F. Whitworth in the small town of Sumner in the Washington Territory. Originally called the Sumner Academy, in 1890 the school was incorporated as Whitworth College, named in honor of its founder. In 2006 the board of trustees voted to rename the college Whitworth University; this change was officially adopted in July of 2007. Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, Whitworth University’s mission is to “provide its diverse student body an education of mind and heart, equipping its graduates to honor God, follow Christ, and serve humanity.” Whitworth University has a total enrollment figure of more than 2,600, including over 2,300 undergraduate students, with an average student to faculty ratio of 11 to 1.
Whitworth University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and has been so since 1933. The University has become known for both its solid academic results as well as for the way in which faith and learning are purposefully integrated. Whitworth University is comprised of three schools and the College of Arts & Sciences. It is through the College that Whitworth offers its Communication Studies programs. Three distinct undergraduate degree programs are offered in communication including the Bachelor of Arts in Communication; Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication; and the Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication. Whitworth’s Communication Studies Department strives to “offer students a range of opportunities to engage in academic research… Students gain experience using social science methods, rhetorical and critical and analysis, and historical inquiry.” Students of all three communication majors are highly encouraged to participate in one of the Department’s activity courses, including Applied Journalism and Editorial and Broadcast Practicum.
- Communication, B.A.
- Journalism & Mass Communication, B.A.
- Speech Communication, B.A.