School of Communication

Student Success Rates

As a nationally accredited program, the School of Communications monitors four indicators of student success: enrollment, retention, graduation and employment.


The School of Communications is home to about 20 percent of Elon’s student body. The school offers six undergraduate majors: Journalism, Strategic Communications, Cinema & Television Arts, Communication Design, Media Analytics, and Sport & Event Management.

  Fall 2016 Fall 2015 Fall 2014
Journalism 170 180 185
Strategic Communications 503 531 504
Cinema & Television Arts 203 209 216
Communication Design1 122 72 5
Media Analytics1 58 30 5
Communications Undeclared 6 32
Sport & Event Management 181 192 192
UNDERGRADUATE TOTAL 1,237 1,220 1,139
M.A. in Interactive Media 26 36 32

1 Major implemented in Fall 2014


Retention refers to the number of students who return to school the following year. One method of determining retention in a major is based on the entering first-year class. Another method is based on the last declared major of all students at the university. This section provides data for both methods of calculation. The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications specifies that retention, graduation and employment data be provided for the accredited Communications program.

Retention and Growth Based on Entering First-Year Class

When students are admitted to Elon, they are free to enter the major of their choice, unlike some journalism and communications programs that have their own admission process or restrict students from declaring a major until the junior year. As a result, high school students who express an interest in Communications in their application process to Elon become the entering first-year cohort in Communications.

The chart below shows that 193 students expressed an interest in Communications when they applied and were admitted to Elon in Fall 2011. Three years later, 165 of them (85%) had become seniors at Elon, with 123 (64%) as Communications majors. This means 42 seniors remained at Elon but had gravitated to other majors since their first year. Meanwhile, an additional 106 students from that first-year class became Communications majors after they began at Elon, resulting in 36 more students being Communications majors in the senior year than in the entering first-year cohort.

Source: Elon’s Office of Institutional Research

These tables reflect full-time first-year students entering Elon. It does not include transfer students, and it counts a student (for instance, those who double major) only once. The technical description is “unduplicated, first-time, full-time and first-year students enrolling at the university.” These tables and later ones do not include Sport & Event Management, which is a separate department in the school and not part of the accreditation process.

Retention Based on Last Declared Major

A second method of determining retention in a major is based on the last declared major of all students at the university - both those who eventually graduate from Elon as well as those who leave the university with Communications as their last declared major. 

The chart below shows Communications was the last declared major for 258 students in the Class of 2015. Some entered Elon as first-year students in Fall 2011 having expressed an interest in Communications, some became Communications majors after starting at Elon, and others were Communications majors when they left the university.

Of this last-declared-major cohort, 239 (93%) returned to Elon the following year, 233 (90%) remained Communications majors by their junior year, and 229 (89%) remained Communications majors in their senior year.

CLASS OF 2015CohortSophomore YearJunior YearSenior Year
Communications Majors 258 239 (93%) 233 (90%) 229 (89%)
All Elon Students 1,379 1,250 (91%) 1,211 (88%) 1,118 (81%)
CLASS OF 2014CohortSophomore YearJunior YearSenior Year
Communications Majors 262 246 (94%) 234 (89%) 230 (88%)
All Elon Students 1,361 1,219 (90%) 1,136 (83%) 1,109 (81%)
CLASS OF 2013        
Communications Majors 258 247 (96%) 242 (94%) 237 (92%)
All Elon Students 1,290 1,161 (90%) 1,109 (86%) 1,071 (83%)

Source: Elon’s Office of Institutional Research

University retention rates reflect full-time, first-year students in all majors who remain at Elon at the time of fall enrollment each year. Because students may change majors at any time, retention data for Communications majors are based on their declared major at the time of fall enrollment each year.


A four-year graduation is the norm for Communications students at Elon.

In the graduating Class of 2015, 221 students graduated as Communications majors in four years. This is 86% of all Elon students whose last declared major was Communications.

Each year, a few more students in the cohort graduate in five years.

GRADUATING CLASS OF 2015Cohort4-Year Graduation5-Year Graduation
Communications Majors 258 221 (86%) +4 = 225 (87%)
All Elon Students 1,417 1,107 (78%) +69 = 1,176 (83%)
GRADUATING CLASS OF 2014Cohort4-Year Graduation5-Year Graduation
Communications Majors 262 223 (85%) +2 = 225 (86%)
All Elon Students 1,361 1,043 (77%) +58 = 1,101 (81%)
Communications Majors 258 233 (90%) +4 = 237 (92%)
All Elon Students 1,290 1,032 (80%) +34 = 1,066 (83%)


Each year the university conducts a survey of the most recent graduating class, nine months following graduation, to ascertain employment or graduate school status, type of employer, and salary. The report on the Class of 2015 was released by the Student Professional Development Center in spring 2016.

Employment and Graduate School Status, Nine Months After Graduation

Communications Graduates Employed 82% 89% 83%
Entering Graduate School 11% 8% 9%

A few graduates each year indicate they fit in both categories.

Employment by Organization Type

Communications graduates who are employed are asked each year to indicate the type of organization where they work.

Corporate For Profit 82% 82% 80%
Not For Profit 7% 6% 4%
Educational 4% 6% 8%
Government 1% 3% 2%
Entrepreneurial/Self-employed 6% 3% 6%

2015 percentages were based on 178 employed graduates who reported their organization type; 2014 percentages were based on 128 responses; 2013 percentages were based on 149 responses.

Employment Related to Career Goals

In 2015, 93% of the employed Communications graduates who responded to this survey said their work was related to their career goals.

Average Salaries

2015 Communications graduates reported an average starting salary of $35,700. Salaries were reported by 58 employed Communications graduates who responded to this survey question.

— Last updated Nov. 21, 2016