Skip to Catalog 2023-2024 site navigationSkip to main content

Communication Arts (B.A.)

Website: School of Contemporary Arts

Concentrations: Digital Filmmaking, Digital Journalism and Writing, Global Communication & Media, and Visual Communication Design

About the Major

The Communication Arts Major is an interdisciplinary program rooted in the four pillars of Ramapo College’s mission. The major prepares students to perform in the innovative and rapidly evolving field that exists at the intersection of media and culture. Our mission is to prepare our students to produce outstanding creative and analytical work in an increasingly diverse society. Our curriculum is both grounded in the liberal arts and committed to teaching the principles, aesthetics, and tools of the discipline through pedagogies based on intellectual engagement, social inclusiveness and digital technologies.

Students completing this program will receive a B.A. in Communication Arts. Minors in Digital Filmmaking and Visual Communication Design are also available.


The Communication Arts faculty includes nationally and internationally recognized scholars, authors, journalists, professional designers  filmmakers and writers whose work has been featured in publications, festivals and exhibitions, as well as in books and academic journals.


Students in the Communication Arts major begin their study with foundational knowledge in new technologies and practices in the communication disciplines.

The curriculum culminates in a senior portfolio Capstone project that demonstrates each student’s ability to conceptualize and execute meaningful work using the relevant technologies of his or her concentration.

The program currently offers a Communication Arts major with four concentrations.

Digital Filmmaking

Global Communication and Media 

Digital Journalism and Writing

Visual Communication Design

Overview of the Concentrations

The DIGITAL FILMMAKING (DFL) CONCENTRATION provides students with hands-on, comprehensive studies in all aspects of creating film, TV, internet, and emerging media content using state-of-the-art digital technology. It is based in a strong liberal arts tradition and encourages and equips students to pursue their artistic filmmaking visions and develop the necessary skills for a career in film and media. The program is immersive and interdisciplinary, where students learn by doing, by making short fiction and documentary films, producing audio projects, writing screenplays, and editing and directing original content. From their first semester, students learn the foundations of filmmaking and develop their unique, creative voices while also developing critical thinking skills, cultivating a sound understanding of film history and theory, and the ethical and cultural concerns of media production and consumption. The concentration is designed with the core principle that storytelling deepens our understanding of the world. Emphasis is placed on students creating distinctive bodies of work that will launch them into their professional careers. Coursework prepares our graduates for careers as producers, camera operators and cinematographers, editors, writers, and directors as well as hybrid filmmakers and media producers who often combine a number of these skills. It will also prepare and make them competitive to pursue a graduate degree in filmmaking or media arts.

The GLOBAL COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA (GCM) CONCENTRATION offers a combination of courses in critical media studies along with research and analysis skills for communication careers in the global workplace. Graduates leave with proficiency in critical and strategic thinking, research, writing, oral communication, and visual as well as rhetorical analysis that prepare them for graduate study or professional careers in the media industry, publishing industry, development and non-profit sectors. Students also regularly choose to pursue graduate study in related fields including strategic communication and media studies. Alumni work in all levels of communication professions in television and film programming and development, strategic campaign management, traditional and digital marketing, publishing, public relations, among other careers.

The DIGITAL JOURNALISM AND WRITING (DJW) CONCENTRATION prepares students to be effective multimedia storytellers who are grounded in accurate information gathering, sound writing practices and ethical decision-making, using the latest emerging technology. Students will have opportunities to practice journalism in local communities, and apply a variety of writing styles for websites, blogs, digital news sites, magazines and other media outlets. They can pursue journalistic stories or develop long-form narrative writing projects. As they progress, students will learn multimedia techniques, including broadcast (audio/video) and immersive storytelling as well as digital production across multiple media platforms.

The VISUAL COMMUNICATION DESIGN CONCENTRATION prepares students for professional careers and post-graduate studies in design-related areas. These areas include print design, advertising design, information design, motion design, interaction design, animation, game design, user experience/user interface (UX/UI) design, information architecture, and front-end coding.  Alumni forge successful careers in a broad range of industries that include publishing, advertising, technology, healthcare, media, non-profit, corporate, and government.

Co-Op / Internship

Communication Arts majors are required to take at least one internship/co-op course. The internship experience is designed to provide students with experience related to their degree and career interests; requirements and evaluations are defined by supervising faculty members, and students work closely with faculty members throughout the  internship experience to ensure they are meeting the requirements. The program allows the flexibility for students to take either 2 credits over two semesters or 4 credits in one semester to fulfill this criterion.

The Cahill Career Center assists faculty in overseeing these experiences and helps students with the process of preparing a resume, cover letter, and the search for an internship from their database of employers and available internships. Additionally, internship opportunities are often generated by established relationships between the employer organization and the Communication Arts program, as well as relationships with our faculty. Some students locate their internships independently. Internships opportunities are researched, evaluated, and approved on the basis of the employer organization, opportunities for relevant and meaningful experiential learning experiences and skill set development, professional contacts, and the working environment.  

Clubs, Events and Exhibitions

Ramapo News

The Ramapo News is the student-run newspaper, presenting news, features, and items of interest to the community. Students involved in the club gain experience and insight into all phases of print journalism: reporting, editing, photography, editorial writing, management, marketing and graphic design. 

WRPR-FM radio

WRPR is a student organized and operated, free-format radio station broadcasting from Ramapo College. The station was established in the mid-1970’s and received its call letters on October 9, 1979. WRPR currently has more than 100 students participating as DJs, Committee Members and Executive Board Members. WRPR can be heard on 90.3 FM in the Mahwah, New Jersey, area. 


RCTV is a student-run TV club that provides members with hands-on experience in learning about the field of broadcasting. Students create both live and pre-recorded programming for the campus’s television station, and compete in bi-annual film festival competitions. RCTV also hosts and sponsors events on campus such as a weekly improv show in the spring and a yearly Karaoke bash. Anyone interested in any element of film production – acting, directing, producing, editing – is welcomed and encouraged to join. 

Creative Media Club

The Creative Media club is a visual communication design and media club. It engages in many activities including design competitions, field trips, community service, conferences, and many social events. They also exhibit and screen their work throughout the year in one of the many exhibition spaces and theaters in the School of Contemporary Arts. Twice in the last few years, a team of Creative Media Club students has won the prestigious Design Derby, a design competition among student teams from colleges across the state. 

Schomburg Program Speakers. 

Professor in Communication Arts bring scholars, authors, journalists, filmmakers, designers almost yearly to give lectures and workshops to students in the major and to the college at large. 

In 2017/2018 Prof. Sen brought social activist Dr. Saumya Pant. In 2016 Prof. Pat Keeton brought Pakistani professor Shafiuddin Khan, who trained with the United Nation High Commission for Refugees.  Prof. Scott and Prof. Bautis brough Argentinian tango pianist Octavio Brunetti and Prof. Negron brought Dr. Theresa Williamson, founder of the non-profit organization Catalytic Communities based in Brazil. 

Communication Honor Society.

The Communication Arts Honor Society is the Rho Phi chapter of Lambda Pi Eta, the official honor society of the National Communication Association. In order to be considered for membership, a student must maintain a 3.5 or higher average in his or her overall GPA.

RCNJ High School Film festival 

This festival for New Jersey high school students runs annually and is coordinated by Communication Arts faculty, students and staff. It attracts 150 high school students, teachers, family and friends to the college each December, which has been an effective recruitment and promotion tool. 

           HS Dual enrollment agreements

           Communication Arts has developed a dual enrollment agreement with  Communications High School in Wall, NJ, and is in the process of developing this type of agreement with high schools in Midland Park and High Point. 


The Communication Arts Major maintains a wide range of facilities. Mac and PC computer labs are configured for use in the areas of print and web design, interactive multimedia production, animation, film and audio post-production, new media journalism and global communication and media research.

The filmmaking facility enables students to produce high quality cinematography, sound recording, and editing work. The Film Studio is equipped with professional quality 4K digital film cameras, prime lens kits, dolly and rigging systems, and accessories. The Editing Lab provides students with industry-standard, professional-grade film editing stations and software and the Les Paul Recording and Sound Studio, which is shared with the music production program, provides state-of-the-art professional sound recording, editing, and mixing facilities for film. 

Outcomes for the Major

Goal: Demonstrate knowledge and critical thinking relative  to the ways that  media and communication impact society.

Outcome 1:  Demonstrate understanding of media as an economic, cultural, political and ideological force in society.

Outcome 2:  Demonstrate understanding of the ways in which the formal elements of media language (image, text, sound) create meaning.

Goal:  Communicate oral, visual and written ideas effectively.

Outcome 3:  Be able to write appropriately to their discipline using proper documentation.

Outcome 4:  Demonstrate effective oral communication.

Goal: Produce innovative content and creative work across media to prepare students for postgraduate studies and professions in media and communication industries.

Outcome 5:  Apply original thinking in the work they produce.

Outcome 6:   Produce advanced work making appropriate choices about tools and techniques.

Requirements of the Major and Concentrations
  1. Transfer students who have 48 or more credits accepted at the time of transfer are waived from the courses marked with a (W) below.  Waivers do not apply to Major Requirements.
  2. Double counting between General Education, School Core, and Major may be possible.  Check with your advisor to see if any apply.
  3. Writing Intensive Requirement (five):  two writing intensive courses in the general education curriculum are required: Critical Reading and Writing II and also Humanities; the other three courses are taken in the major.
  4. Not all courses are offered each semester.  Please check the current Schedule of Classes for semester course offerings.
  5. The Career Pathways Program requirements must be completed prior to graduation. Visit the Cahill Career Center.

Note: A 2.0 GPA in the major is required for graduation.

Requirements of the Digital Filmmaking Minor
  • Courses fulfilling the requirements for the primary or second major may count towards the requirements of the minor, but may not exceed one-half of the credits required in the minor. A School core does not need to be completed for a minor.  Minors are open to students regardless of school affiliation.
  • Students pursuing majors not offered by the School of Contemporary Arts will need to take 5 classes.
  • Contemporary Arts school majors and Communication Arts students from different concentrations seeking the Digital Filmmaking minor should be aware that some of the courses take 3 to 4  courses in the minor depending on their concentration or major.
Requirements of the Graphic Communication Minor
  • At least half of the courses fulfilling a minor must be distinct from the student’s major. That is, three of the five courses required for a minor cannot be used towards fulfillment of major requirements. A School Core does not need to be completed for a minor. Minors are open to students regardless of school affiliation.
  • Students pursuing majors not offered by the School of Contemporary Arts will need to take 5 classes.
  • Contemporary Arts school majors and Communication Arts students from different concentrations seeking the Graphic Communication minor. Should be aware that some of the courses offered in the minor can count in their majors so they will need to take 3 to 4 courses in the minor depending on their concentration or major.