Wallis Annenberg Hall

USC Annenberg No. 1 in international communication and media studies ranking

John New’s journey to USC began with a Skype conversation and a challenge.

He was searching for an international graduate program that would not only provide a deep foundation in media and communications, but also ensure access to the field’s top scholars and practitioners.

“You’ll never find what you’re looking for,” New’s skeptical brother Danny said.

Like many other students, especially international students, New turned to the QS World University Rankings to help guide his research. That’s when he discovered USC Annenberg holds the No. 1 spot in the communication and media studies subject ranking.

From there, he learned about the joint master’s degree program in global communication offered by USC Annenberg and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) since 2000. Students in the two-year program explore the full range of key communication issues impacting our globalizing world. They spend their first year at the LSE earning a MsC in global media and their second year at USC Annenberg completing an MA in global communication.

New also noted that LSE ranks No. 3 in communication and media studies.

Designed to provide prospective students with an assessment of leading universities around the world, QS World University Rankings evaluates institutional performance across four areas: research, teaching, employability and internationalization.

“USC Annenberg’s high scores are a strong differentiator of the quality and significance of our communication faculty’s scholarship,” USC Annenberg Dean Ernest J. Wilson III said. “But our faculty aren’t just renowned experts and practitioners in their fields. They are also devoted teachers and mentors dedicated to imparting their deep knowledge to the next generation.”

This is evidenced, Wilson emphasized, in the corresponding high rate of employability of USC Annenberg graduates.

Ninety-six percent of the Class of 2015 found employment within one year of graduation,” he said. “And for some our programs like global communication it was 100 percent.”

This career trajectory along with access to thought leaders and the perspective offered from two of the world’s media capitals ultimately led New to apply and then enroll in the global communication program.

“We are challenged to think holistically,” said New, who graduated last month and joined international marketing agency VML. “During our LSE year, we gain a theoretical understanding of how communications could/should work, and during our USC Annenberg year, we put the theories to the test through hands-on projects that challenge us to figure out how we are going to change the world through media and communications.”

Associate Professor of Communication Patricia Riley said the program affords student like New unparalleled opportunities.

“Other schools in QS Ranking’s top 20 such as Goldsmiths, University of London offer degrees in global media and communication, but not with international partner universities,” said Riley, who also directs the program. “Ours was also the first international joint or dual degree program offered by USC and by the LSE.”

Sarah Banet-Weiser, director of the School of Communication, adds that dual master’s degree programs like global communication have never been more politically and culturally relevant.

“Both USC and the LSE are committed to training students to understand, interpret, assess and navigate the ever-changing world of politics, culture, communication and economics,” she said.

In this year’s top 20 in the communication and media studies subject ranking, USC leads among 13 others American universities, including Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, Columbia University, Yale University, and Northwestern University. In addition to global communication, USC Annenberg’s pioneering programs include its master’s in communication management and public diplomacy as well as its doctorate in communication.