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New Brunswick found to be top city for students studying communication, media studies

 The School of Communication and Information, which was founded in 1982 and is located on the College Avenue campus, is home to classes on public relations, journalism, information technology and social media.  – Photo by The Daily Targum

A report from College Factual ranked Rutgers’ Communication and Media Studies program in the top 15% of all similar programs in the country. 

One of the focuses of the Department of Communications is the digital environment that society has become, according to the School of Communication and Information website. Founded in 1982, the school's research and teaching focuses specifically on organizational communication, social media, library and information science and journalism and information technology. 

“The school’s competitive and renowned programs prepare students for top careers in today’s digital environment,” according to the website. 

The school was founded after merging with the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, the School of Communication Studies and the Department of Urban Journalism.

Rutgers’ Communication and Media Studies program was also ranked second in the state of New Jersey. College Factual reported that graduates of the school out-earn students at other colleges by “a significant amount.”

Mary Chayko, a professor of Communication and Information and director of Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Studies at the School of Communication and Information, gave further insight on the success of the program, as well as what students learn about.

“Students at SCI are provided with skills, tools and understandings to help them succeed in today’s constantly changing communication, information and media environments,” she said. “Whether they're interested in social media, public relations, journalism, information technology and informatics, organizational communication or many other fields of study, SCI helps students prepare for top careers in all kinds of settings.”

Jack Bratich, an associate professor of Journalism and Media Studies, also spoke about the importance of the School of Communication and Information.

“Our wide range of faculty backgrounds and approaches creates a holistic learning environment that equips students with the analytic and ethical tools they need to become successful, socially conscious professionals,” he said.

When asked about the success of the Department of Communications, Chayko credited the faculty for their work, as well as the research that it does.

“It's our world-class faculty. Some of the top professors and researchers in the world who specialize in communication, information and media are here at SCI,” Chayko said.

Students in the School of Communication and Information share similar sentiments. Keyur Palan, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, highlighted the school’s use of hybrid scheduling, which includes numerous online classes.

“Most of the courses are hybrid, so it’s a break from the regular class routine, because you only go to class once a week, and then the other classes are online,” Palan said. 

New Brunswick in particular is a good spot for the School of Communication and Information's students, Chayko said, because the culture of the city provides them with content to focus on.

“It's loaded with places to go and things to do, some of which are at Rutgers and some of which are in town. There are lots of stories to tell in this busy, thriving area, and SCI students learn the most interesting, effective ways to tell and share these stories,” Chayko said.

The train station also provides access to larger cities, where students may find more opportunities, she said. New York City is the second best city for entertainment, media and public relations jobs, all of which are covered by the School of Communication and Information, according to Forbes.

Outside of the potential financial benefits, students in the School of Communication and Information find the coursework enjoyable. Palan also said that he personally enjoys the curriculum.

“It’s also a quick paced curriculum, so it’s enjoyable compared to all the other curriculums that are offered,” Palan said.

Bratich expanded on the importance of giving students the well rounded experience, and said the Department of Communications needed help students be both intellectuals and give them practical experience.

“As a professional school, we understand the need to place students in a world where they can become leaders and innovators in the growing media, communication and information industries,” Bratich said.

Chayko added that the skills necessary to perform in the world are taught at the School of Communication and Information.

“The world around us is changing rapidly, and information and communication technologies and media are at the heart of these changes. We need to understand this world and use these tools expertly to be productive and safe in it, and to be of assistance to those around us as well. These are survival skills in the digital age, and SCI equips students with them,” she said.

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