Illinois Communications Degrees

There are four universities in the state of Illinois that provide Bachelor's degrees that are accredited by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC). Three of the institutions have a major in Journalism while Southern Illinois University in Ewardsville offers a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication.

Differences between the two include an emphasis in influence and persuasion and the impact course topics have socially with the BA degree, and studies will be more applied toward business and public affairs with the BS programs. Accreditation by the ACEJMC designates that these programs have gone through a rigorous review process and will provide the best education available within their disciplines across the country.

Here is a quick view of schools with communications degrees in Illinois:

Top Locations for Communications Schools and Job Opportunities in Illinois

Southern Illinois University has two locations in Carbondale and Edwardsville, and the other two major universities accredited by the ACEJMC are in Charleston (Eastern Illinois University) and Urbana (University of Illinois' flagship campus). Of these cities, Urbana is the largest and within the Champaign-Urbana metropolitan area.

In addition to communication and marketing positions at the local university, other organizations to consider are The Carle Foundation, Sinclair Broadcast Group, and the Champaign Multimedia Group. The latter offers the most opportunity in local print media, digital media, and radio broadcasting.

Chicago is easily the largest city in the state and one of the major metropolitan areas across the United States with over 2.6 million people. Therefore, the majority of media positions are available in this location and surrounding suburban areas. This is the third-largest media market in the country and is only behind New York City and Los Angeles.

Major media companies that have headquarters in Chicago include the Tribune Media Company, Tribune Publishing, Sun-Times Media Group, and the WGN America cable network. These organizations typically have communication specialist and marketing opportunities available for both those that are just graduating or experienced professionals in the industry.

School Level Program Admissions
Drake University Bachelor BA in Journalism & Mass Communication Website
American University Master Master of Arts in Strategic Communication Website
Campbellsville University Associate AS Mass Communication Website
Johns Hopkins University AAP Master MA in Communication Website
University of Delaware Master Master of Arts in Strategic Communication Website

Campus-based and online Communications programs in Illinois

Eastern Illinois University

  • B.A. Journalism

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

  • B.S. Journalism
  • Online Online B.S. in Journalism and Mass Communication

Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville

  • B.A. and B.S. in Mass Communications

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • B.S. Journalism
Notice a missing or inaccurate program? Our school and program information has been collected over a year plus time frame. If you notice a missing program or school, or one needs updated, please email schools at

Illinois Journalism and Communications Careers, Salaries, and Associations

Among the various media positions in the state, reporters and correspondents receive some of the highest pay when compared to the national median according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. They estimate salary figures at over $53,600.

This also holds true in the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin metropolitan area, which stretches into Indiana and Wisconsin, and is approximately $10,000 higher than the statewide annual mean salary. There are over 850 workers in this field in that metropolitan area alone, only lower than the densely-populated areas of New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington DC.

Over 3,800 editing positions also count toward the workforce in the state of Illinois, which is the fifth-highest employment level on a national scale. The annual mean salary is approximately $62,590, which is higher than all neighboring states – only Ohio compares within the region. When comparing the majority of the Midwest, the state of Minnesota only compares with Illinois in terms of reporting and editing.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has Illinois pegged with the fifth-highest employment for broadcast media analysts with over 260 workers. The annual mean salary falls under the national average at $76,260.

Chicago Journalists Association

The Chicago Journalists Association (CJA) was founded in 1939 to help build a local community of journalists in the area and to highlight excellence in the field. Those working at newspapers, magazines, digital media, and radio and TV broadcasting in the Chicago area or those that have recently graduated from accredited institutions are eligible for membership.

One of the programs and services offered is the annual award dinner that recognizes the best talent in the industry, the CJA Charitable Fund, that gives scholarships to high school and college-level students studying journalism. The Daniel Pearl Award that is given to foreign correspondents.