Art + Design

Design and Communication Studies, BA

Integrate the study of communication skills and processes with the design of messages, interactions and experiences.

This combined major integrates visual and verbal aspects of the ways in which communication takes place. Students learn the fundamentals of communication theory and practice, and develop a distinct area of emphasis, such as argumentation and advocacy, organizational and health communication, international and intercultural communication, or digital communication and social media. They take a holistic and integrative approach that focuses on the quality of the human experience in concrete situations.  Developing a broad understanding of the principles and systems of perception, students apply visual form and the interrelationships of text and image to construct narratives and create meaning. Enhancing the understanding of human communication in a variety of contexts, empowers students to become informed and engaged citizens.

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Co-op Opportunities

design and media sectors

Ronik Design + Development, Sametz Blackstone Associates Inc, Rue Gilt Groupe, BounceX, Ifactory Inc., JCDecaux North America, Mullen Advertising Inc, NBC Universal, Unispaceb Smartwebs, Inc., AutoDesk, Hubspot, Ogilvy, IDEO

news and publishing sectors

The Boston Globe LLC, Patriot Ledger, Harvard Business Publishing, HMH Books and Media

arts sectors

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boch Center

food and beverage sectors

America's Test Kitchen, Kind LLC, Best Bees Company, BevSpot Inc., The Boston Beer Company, Inc

fashion and travel sectors

New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc, Reebok International Ltd., Wayfair, The TJX Companies, Inc., Trip Advisor LLC

government and civic sectors

City of Boston, City of Cambridge, Boston Neighborhood Network, Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, MassDOT/MBTA

health care and pharmaceutical sectors

Brigham and Women's Hospital, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Inc., Massachusetts General Hospital, Imprivata, Inc., Vertex Pharmaceuticals

educational sector

NU Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning through Research, edX, EF Education First, WGBH Educational Foundation

financial and business sector

Commonwealth Financial Network, Fidelity Investments, John Hancock, MFS Investment Management, State Street Corporation, Thomson Reuters, The Boston Consulting Group International Inc, Talent Acquisition Group

Career Opportunities

Account Executive

Brand Manager

Communications Manager

Content Insight Specialist

Content Marketing Manager


Director of Design and Marketing

Event Planner

Experience Designer

Graphic Designer

Information Designer

Interaction Designer

Media Planner

Product Designer

Public Relations Specialist

Social Strategist

Social Media Coordinator

UI/UX Designer

Multidisciplinary Skills


creative problem-solving

critical thinking

data analysis

design research

design software

graphic representation



human factors

information design






project management

problem framing

rapid prototyping



experience mapping

user stories

user testing

verbal and written communication

visual synthesis


Learning Outcomes

Communication Studies learning outcomes

Communication is a diverse discipline and every department is unique. At Northeastern, the Communication Studies curriculum was designed to achieve three distinct learning objectives:

  1. Basic communication skills, including the ability to research a question, prepare and deliver a compelling speech, and think critically and write effectively.
  2. An understanding of the communication discipline including an appreciation of the history of communication studies, familiarity with important theoretical principles, and the ability to apply this knowledge to contemporary problems.
  3. A distinct area of emphasis that distinguishes their major. Some of the more popular areas include argumentation and advocacy, organizational or health communication, digital communication, and media production.


Design learning outcomes

  1. 1. Apply iterative design processes to create, revise, evaluate, and develop effective prototypes and innovative solutions.
  2. 2. Engage human-centered design research methods and systems thinking to identify and understand values, goals, motivations of intended audiences as a mode of inquiry, question framing and guide to action.
  3. 3. Develop a high level of craft and technical skills in a relevant range of media and tools and effectively weigh applicability for intended audiences and outcomes.
  4. 4. Develop and realize intent, concept and content with awareness of context and consequence.
  5. 5. Implement visual patterns incorporating text, image, diagram including temporal and spatial representations to recognize, categorize, and articulate significant form and meaning
  6. 6. Employ and embody ethical practices, team and cross-disciplinary collaboration, and effective communication and 6. presentation skills.
  7. Apply relevant communication theories and principles and appreciate the pervasive and long-term impact of design decisions on people and societies.