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Nowadays, there are as many media jobs as there are companies. Media is a field that many people want to enter, and the opportunities are definitely out there. Every business wants to get ahead on social media, and that’s just one small area of the communications industry. Therefore, a person who’s savvy with their media and video production skills can make the world their oyster. If you’re the kind of person who’s looking for a career in this exciting, ever-changing industry, then that’s understandable. However, there is a big challenge facing you before you can enter this exciting world. 

A huge industry means many degree options. With literally thousands of courses out there, a prospective student looking for the best media education opportunities needs to make a smart choice. They need to pick a degree that will train them up in the right way. But what is the right way? The answer is different for every single person. Most media platforms are still very young industries. That means that there aren’t thousands of years of teaching practices to draw from. Every college has its own approach. And some are definitely more effective than others.

The web is filled with many conflicting accounts of what it means to be a good media college. Some are definitely true, but others don’t bear close scrutiny. So which ones are right? This article exists to dispense with the myths and tell you the facts. We’ve researched what the best media colleges in the US are by analyzing what makes them so good. Below, we’ve listed these. And even if you can’t get into the colleges below, you can still take their practices, draw inspiration and look for something similar in your media college choices.


Our sources comprise of a mix of professional assessments and successful media student alumni stating what’s best. We’ve looked at sites that have spent considerable time analyzing the US media college options and applied rigorous metrics on the quality of the degrees offered. Some sources factor in employment rates and college engagement with global media institutions, while others are comprised of student and parent-led reviews. Out of the hundreds of articles online, these give the best impression of the top media colleges but for different reasons:

2018 Best Communication & Media Studies Colleges in the U.S.:  https://www.collegefactual.com/majors/communication-journalism-media/communication-media-studies/rankings/top-ranked/

2018 Best Colleges for Communications:  https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges-for-communications/

People who work in media say these are the top 25 colleges in America:  http://www.businessinsider.com/best-colleges-according-to-media-professionals-2015-8

Communications & Media Studies:  https://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/university-subject-rankings/2017/communication-media-studies

The Top 10 Colleges for Communications Majors:  https://www.collegemagazine.com/top-10-colleges-communications-major/

We’ve collated these lists, checked the top performers with supporting materials on the colleges’ websites and considered other data, like graduate employment and awards, into our rankings. Every college listed below is a shining example of how to teach media in a way that gets students into their dream jobs and into creating great content.

Results below:

Rank School Location
1 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
2 University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA
3 Northwestern University Evanston, IL
4 Stanford University Stanford, CA
5 New York University New York City, NY
6 Boston University Boston, MA
7 Cornell University Ithaca, NY
8 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
9 Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA
10 American University Washington, DC

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  1. University of Southern California

    Los Angeles, CA

    Placing at first on two methodology lists and third on an another, University of Southern California tops our rankings.  College Factual  and  QS  are the sources naming it as the best media college.  Niche.com  is the source placing it at third. This shows that both external assessment and peer-led review sources agree on the merits of USC. And further investigation proves that USC deserves its place at the top! A staggering is employed. And they're working in the such as  ABC News, AccuWeather, CBS, CNN, Comcast, Entertainment Weekly, Fox Sports,  Sony , Columbia Pictures, Food Network, NBC, Warner Bros  and many more impressive media businesses!

  2. University of Pennsylvania

    Philadelphia, PA

    This college is well regarded by every methodology source!  College Factual  has it at second place.  Niche.com  puts it at fourth.  Business Insider  puts it at joint 14th.  QS  places it at 10th. And  College Magazine  has it at fourth. What has the University of Pennsylvania done to deserve this universal acclaim? There are many things. When it comes to media colleges, University of Pennsylvania is one of the oldest. Its in 1958, and it's been constantly evolving ever since. But if you're thinking that Philadelphia may not be the best place to study media, the University of Pennsylvania's opportunities will make you think again. The college allows its students to take part in media-related activities across the world. One is the Prague International Communication Association Conference, which recently saw 65 students and faculty attend and, in some cases, win awards.

  3. Northwestern University

    Evanston, IL

    Niche.com  considers Northwestern to be the US's top communications college. The other lists all place it in high regard.  College Factual  has it at fourth.  Business Insider  ranks it at 19th.  QS  places it at 17th.  College Magazine  lists it at eighth. Northwestern University can  that assist students in their training. For example, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her husband Brad Hall sponsor the school's sitcom related education. And Stephen Colbert hosts a live event celebrating the school's community accomplishments. The reason why both well-known celebrities support these students is simple; they're alumni. And the college's other are no less impressive. Graduates of Northeastern have been nominated for and won Academy Awards, Emmy Awards, Tony Awards, Pulitzer Prizes, Peabody Awards and Grammy Awards.

  4. Stanford University

    Stanford, CA

    Stanford makes the top 10 on all but one methodology list.  College Factual  has it at 6th place.  Niche  has it at 2nd.  Business Insider  has it at 3rd. QS has it at 4th. What makes Stanford so consistently prominent? Stanford's communication school  the way that the school was founded and the faculty's ties with Silicon Valley and other innovative media bases. The communication school came about in the 1950s, which expanded the college's leading journalistic practices into other forms of media education. As for its ties, there are a range of opportunities, even outside of Silicon Valley, that will get students ahead. These a program that takes place in Washington DC that is taught by government policymakers and a program of experiential learning in New York City.

  5. New York University

    New York City, NY

    New York University's media school is in the top 20 of every methodology list.  College Factual  has it at 10th,  Niche.com  has it at seventh,  Business Insider  has it at eighth,  QS  has it at 16th, and  College Magazine  has it at ninth. These strong rankings mean that NYU is the best media school in NYC by a long distance. And, unsurprisingly, staff and students are winning prizes almost every week. For example, recent wins include awards for NYU media professors, a e for a professor and for students.

  6. Boston University

    Boston, MA

    Boston University is the best place to study media in Boston, Massachusetts. This is no easy feat, as it has the world renowned Harvard, MIT, Boston College and others as its neighbors.  Niche.com  places it at 10th.  Business Insider  places it at 18th.  College Factual  places it at 19th.  QS  places it between 51st and 100th. And  College Magazine  places it at third. It's able to get such strong rankings across the board due to its dedicated job placement ethic. In fact, within six months of graduating,  at places such as  Buzzfeed ,  Atlantic Media,  Apple, Amazon and  Business Insider .

  7. Cornell University

    Ithaca, NY

    Coming in at eighth on  College Factual,  24th on  Niche.com,  joint 11th on  Business Insider  and 23rd on  QS,  Cornell University is an amazing media college. It its communication school's origin back to 1874 when it created the first-ever college journalism course. Cornell will appeal to a very specific kind of person looking to enter into the media. It on the Cornell Communication school website that its degrees are more focused on the social science side of media and less on the art side. If you're looking for a more scientific media education, then applying to Cornell will be your best opportunity!

  8. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

    Ann Arbor, MI

    This college has incredibly consistent rankings on four of the five methodology lists. It's 27th on  College Factual,  18th on  Niche.com,  22nd on  Business Insider  and 18th on  QS.  This means that you can be sure that the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor will provide you with world-leading media education. It does by combining coursework with internships. This results in highly successful alumni, such as , who is vice president of New Business Partner Marketing at  Nickelodeon,  and Jamie Sztoser, who is vice president of fashion & media at  Choice Associates.

  9. Boston College

    Chestnut Hill, MA

    Placing at 10th on  College Magazine,  joint 14th on  Business Insider,  22nd on  Niche.com  and 45th on  College Factual,  Boston College's media department is only let down by QS, which places it between 151st to 200th. These results indicate that students are raving about the college! ( College Magazine, Niche.com  and  Business Insider's  rankings all draw strongly on student and alumni opinion.) This may be because Boston College's professors are still highly active in various media roles. For , the Associate Professor Matt Sienkiewicz was recently nominated for an Emmy Award for producing a public service announcement.

  10. American University

    Washington, DC

    This college polarizes the methodology lists. Both  College Factual  and  College Magazine  place American University in the top 10, ranking it fifth and sixth respectively. It fares less well on  Niche.com,  coming in at 29th.  QS  is significantly less generous, placing it at 151st. But  Business Insider's  media professional sourced list doesn't feature it at all. This Washington DC-based college provides many incredible resources specifically for their students. For example, they provideat  NBC, NPR, USA Today, The Washington Post  and other top media outlets. These look great on a resume and lead to incredible full-time employment shortly after graduating.

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