Does Park have a major for me?

SO many possibilities in a world that demands media content ...

Communications is one of the hottest sectors in the global economy: Never before has so much media content been produced and consumed across more and emerging platforms.  And you can be a part of that.

In the Park School, you’ll immediately be immersed in fascinating dialogue about big ideas and in hands-on media production and design. You’ll get a taste of the career you think you may want in your first few weeks.  You’ll prepare yourself to get a job that you love and to work in careers that have not yet been invented. Your IC experience will also help you build the personal habits and intellectual curiosity that lead to a rich and fulfilling personal life.

Which major is for me?

Don’t stress. It’s common for students to change their minds and their majors as they start taking courses and are exposed to the wide range of opportunities.  As long as you’re in good academic standing and you do it before your junior year, it’s easy to change majors and graduate on time. 

Here's how to approach your choice: 

  1. Look through the majors and courses in our catalog and see which courses appeal to you. 
  2. Then check out our degree programs in the Park School to learn more about the faculty, student activities, and alumni profiles.  
  3. Visit us - or contact April Johanns, our Coordinator of Student and External Relations who can put you in touch with faculty or members of the deans' team who can answer your questions.
  4. Apply to the major that you feel best suits your goals.  Because in Park you'll be taking several courses in your major your very first semester, you'll quickly find out not only if you like studying  about a particular area but also if you like the lifestyle in the careers for which that the major typically prepares you. Our advisors, professors, guest speakers, and alumni are here to help.   If you decide to change majors within Park, it's literally takes just filling out an online form.

I love to be on camera or behind the mic

First year student Tara Lynch on the field reporting Bombers Football live for ICTV during her first semester.

First semester student Tara Lynch on the field reporting Bombers Football live for ICTV

Television-Radio gives you many opportunities to work both in front of and behind the camera. 

Our minor in Live Event Design & Management  is a great add-on to a Television-Radio degree if you want to produce TV coverage of live events; you can add a minor during the second semester of your first year at IC.

If you dream of being the next David Muir (he's a 1995 Park alumnus) and anchoring ABC World News, consider our journalism program.

Sports Media prepares you to be that play-by-play announcer or sidelines reporter and gives you skills in media relations and public relations. (Related major offered by IC’s School of Business: Business Administration with a concentration in Sport Management)

I'm the go-to person to plan events

Ithaca College TEDx conference

Our students have the opportunity to learn how to design, produce, and manage live events such as concerts, conferences, live broadcasts of sporting and cultural events, fundraising and charity initiatives, and corporate meetings and trade shows.

Live events like concerts, sports, fundraisers, product launches, and corporate meetings & trade shows are a growing part of the communications industry. Our Communication Management and Design degree incorporates courses in event planning and prepares you to be the person who designs and manages communication strategies for businesses and non-profit organizations.  If you're interested in experiential marketing (such as pop-up stores, street teams, sponsored events such as parades or cultural shows, or virtual reality experiences), look at our Integrated Marketing Communications major which combines advertising, PR and marketing. 

Our minor in Live Event Design and Management provides access to courses in event planning, interactive/immersive design, set design, and experiential learning through internships - it's a great add-on to any of our majors at IC.  You can add a minor during the second semester of your first year.

I like to write

Students working on a newspaper assignment

Students can put their classroom skills into practice writing for The Ithacan or pitching script ideas to ICTV or The Studio.

Do you like to seek out and report the facts?

IC’s Journalism major incorporates courses that teach you to investigate and write news stories for print, broadcast, and digital outlets.

Or are you more interested in developing creative stories?

As a Writing for Film, Television, and Emerging media major, you’ll learn how to write scripts and tell stories across platforms, from traditional feature films and TV series to games, immersive media, and web series. (Related major offered by IC’s School of Humanities and Sciences: Writing)

Or perhaps you like to explain concepts or persuade an audience by writing speeches or presentations or ads.

The Integrated Marketing Communications major incorporates writing for advertising and public relations while Communication Management and Design will prepare you for jobs in business or not-for-profits where you can write content for websites, brochures, educational materials, and executive or sales presentations.

Give me a camera- I love to manipulate images and sound

Student with RED camera

Park students have access to professional-level gear such as high-definition RED and URSA cameras, 16mm film cameras, live streaming remote multi-camera setups, audio recording and editing studios, a remote truck, and 4k post-production systems.

If you want to focus your college study on media production, we have several degrees for you to consider:

Television-Radio offers coursework in field and studio TV production, editing, special effects, and audio and will give you a well-rounded overview of the business of broadcast and streaming media. 

Two degrees involve film and photography; both start with essentially the same coursework:  In Cinema & Photography, you choose, after your first year, to concentrate either in filmmaking or photography. In Film, Photography, and Visual Arts, you pursue both film and photography through your senior thesis and combine this with study in art and art history. (Related majors offered by IC’s School of Humanities and Sciences: Art, Art History)

In either of these degrees you can focus on animation, sound or picture editing, experimental film, or entertainment/commercial practices.

Documentary Studies and Production combines journalism with filmmaking and critical analysis of media impact.  (IC students’ documentaries frequently travel the festival circuit and win national awards).

I've always been involved in sports, music, pop culture, or theatre

Alum David Boreanaz directing a TV episode

Park School Cinema alum David Boreanaz directing one of the episodes of Seal Team - a show in which he is also the lead actor.

Many students parlay their passion for

I often find myself in leadership positions

CMD senior Alyse Harris at podium

Student body president and Communication Management & Design senior Alyse Harris

While there’s no particular major that will land you immediately in the executive suite of a corporation or Congress, the talents that make you good at leading others can be honed in IC’s Communication Management and Design major. You can learn about how to become a better leader yourself - or how to become a professional who advises leaders on their communication strategies.  Courses like  organizational communication, presentation design, government and stakeholder relations, crisis management, and leadership communications give you both the theory and the hands-on skills to  start leading clubs and student government while you're here on campus and build your own leadership profile.

I love exploring the latest technology

student at Consumer Electronics Show

Two of our students were given the funding to attend the Consumer Electronics Show where they were able to experience the latest in emerging media technologies.

While all of Park's communications programs incorporate contemporary media technologies, our Emerging Media degree combines coursework in computer science,  interface design, media production, and user testing/audience research.  It culminates in  labs that prepare you to work in spaces such as the interdisciplinary teams at tech firms that imagine, create, and market products such as apps, VR and immersive experiences, video games, and interactive stories. Graduates of this degree have gone onto careers in educational technology, consulting, and tech firms such as Twitter.

I have a real passion for a particular cause or special interest—like diversity, fashion, fitness, or food.

Student presenting his work for Habitat for Humanity

Student presenting his work for Habitat for Humanity

The greatest number of jobs in media are not in "show business" but in other kinds of organizations promoting products or causes.

The Communication Management and Design major is designed for students who want to create and manage the "voice" of a company including its strategies, media, and digital  - social media presence.  Many alumni work in support of specific causes such as political issues or candidates, at non-profits doing fundraising and donor outreach, communicating about sustainability and health issues, or promoting economic development such as local tourism boards.  Students specifically interested in diversity and inclusion can prepare for careers in human resources as diversity trainers, recruiters, and consultants.

In Integrated Marketing Communications, you’ll learn to combine the creative and analytical components of advertising, public relations, and marketing to promote a brand or product.

IC’s Journalism and Documentary Studies and Production programs require a minor area of study outside of communications so that you have content expertise to inform your reporting. Ithaca College offers 76 minors —including women’s and gender studies, politics, environmental studies, sociology, and many more. You can add a minor during the second semester of your first year at IC.

I love to critique and curate media

professor critiquing a website

Park School courses will help you critically analyze media

Are you the "go to" person to recommend new films, music, and shows - who creates playlists for their friends, and who loves to stay on top of stars, directors, and media industry news? 

That's exactly what media executives, scholars, and programmers do!

IC’s Cinema and Photography and Film, Photography, and Visual Arts majors include courses in film theory and history. Through mini-courses and internships, and by attending special programmers' and directors' workshops at our annual Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF), students prepare for jobs in film distribution, festivals, and managing independent cinemas.

The curriculum in Television-Radio  includes courses in media economics, developing content ideas, producing, and distribution.  Many alumni go on to become talent agents, programming executives, producers of late night and entertainment celebrity shows, and media scholars who investigate the impact of media such as children’s TV.

Both of these degrees prepare students for graduate study, should they choose to become scholars, researchers, and professors in the field.

Set up a visit or phone call

If you haven't been to campus yet, set up a visit through our Office of Admission. They can book you on a tour of the Park School while you're here. 

You can also contact April Johanns, the Park School of Communications Coordinator for Student and External Communications to set up a time to visit a class or talk with a faculty member or associate dean by phone or video-conference.