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you to try out a few of the different communications
specialisations. On the other hand, courses with a specific title or
tag (in brackets after the degree title) — like advertising,
journalism and public relations — will offer more practical
preparation for one role or another. Remember, these are
generalisations and there is a good deal of variation between
courses of all titles and types.
Where to study
If you really have your heart set on working in the
communications field, having one degree title or another might be
less important than other factors when it comes to distinguishing
yourself in a competitive industry. Finding work experience and
getting involved in the industry are very important, both during
your course and while you are looking for work. Contacts are
everything, and once you have a foot in the door (through
voluntary work or internships) you will be in a better position to
find full-time employment.
Of course, some institutions and faculties might have (or claim to
have) better connections in the industry than others, so it’s best to
scope this out when looking at courses. The main thing is to
ensure that, wherever you choose to study, the facilities,
equipment and learning opportunities are there. The rest will be
up to you.
More and more campuses offer courses in this field, so there
is a lot of variation in entry difficulty, from the tough to the very
easy. Some of the most popular courses have high cut-off scores
or require a portfolio. There may be no formal prerequisites for
some courses, but you can count on needing good marks in
subjects such as English and media.
To compare entry difficulty at different institutions, see the
‘How tough is it to get in?’ tables in Section 4.
Caroline — Bachelor of Communication (Professional Communication) (Honours)
Why did you choose to study
I have always liked words, and this
course seemed appropriate to my
interests (pop culture, reading and the
news). In high school I never really
cultivated science or maths interests,
and my strengths lay with English,
history and all those humanities-based subjects. I completed
my International Baccalaureate (IB), which provided a broad
curriculum, but I wanted to try a more specialised field at
university level. I didn’t want to do arts as it seemed a little too
vague, so communications seemed like the next best thing.
What was the best thing about your course?
I loved university and that it opened up other worldviews on
communication. It helped me understand why society and
media are the way they are in Australia. I also loved
discussing pop culture in a theoretical sense, as it made me
see the art in everyday life.
What was the worst thing about your course?
I don’t think there was enough work experience organised
through the university. You really have to go out there and get
it yourself, which in a way is perhaps better as that’s what real
life is like. You can’t be shown how to do everything in your
career. Perhaps, instead, the importance of work experience
could have been stressed further.
Have you found work in your field?
At the moment I work as a project manager at a digital agency
in Melbourne. We make anything digital, which is pretty fun,
and provides lots of insight into the online world and how it is
evolving. I didn’t really go into uni wanting one particular job
so this suits me well.
What advice would you give to students considering
Do all the work experience that you possibly can. This will
allow you to taste-test different communications fields and
gives you the opportunity to see what is out there in the
industry. I completed an internship in a public relations firm
and it made me realise I hated working in the field with a
deep, burning passion — if I hadn’t I probably would have
applied for jobs in that area when I graduated and would not
be very happy now!
Have you completed further study?
After graduating I realised I wasn’t quite done with university
and wanted to dive into my coursework more deeply, so I
completed my honours year too. During this year I wrote a
thesis about cultural communication, framing it through a
case study on Museum Victoria. I would consider going back
for a postgraduate qualification as I really enjoyed honours,
but I’m not sure if it would help my career prospects in the
field I’m in currently. In my case, I think work experience is
actually more valuable than an extra degree.
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