About the Department

Communication Studies at the University of Salzburg have changed dramatically over their forty years of existence. The initial focus on journalism and media studies developed into a broad socio-scientific spectrum of teaching and research in the field of communication studies.
A scientific-theoretical approach on questions of media and communication development, media policy, media economics, journalism, organizational communication, audience research, intercultural and interpersonal communication builds the foundation for the high standard of education at the department. Beyond that scientific framework the actual working conditions of communication practitioners and the changes of the job market are part of the offered courses. This might explain the large demand for
Communication Studies, which attracts about 1,300 students over many years. With the introduction of the Bachelor and Master program in December 2010, the process of molding research and teaching based on various communication fields was undertaken successfully. The courses offered – next to the core areas (theories, methods, empirical communication research, media systems, communication processes) – can be divided in the following six subjects, each developed by a specific unit highly committed to research and teaching excellence and the preparation of students for the most important professional fields in the media sector:

  • Audio-Visual and Online Communication
  • Journalism
  • Communication Theory and Media Systems
  • Communication Policy and Media Economics
  • Public Relations and Organizational Communication
  • International and Transcultural Communication

In addition to classes that are taught in these six units, various research projects are carried out – often in cooperation with other disciplines and organizations, including from the private economy.
Historical Background
The first series of lectures on communication science at the University of Salzburg was held in 1965 by visiting professors from Munich and Vienna. Beginning with 1967, under the responsibility of the former editor-in-chief of the newspaper Salzburger Nachrichten René Marcic, a first professorship for communication science was established. The department was officially established on January 15, 1969 under the name “Institut für Publizistik und Kommunikationstheorie“ (Institute of Media Studies and Communication Theory). Hence, the institute established itself as the second location for communication studies next to Vienna. The institute’s first full professor was Günter Kieslich, who was followed by Michael Schmolke in 1973. In 1978, the department was renamed ”Institut für Publizistik und Kommunikationswissenschaft” (Institute of Media and Communication Studies) when a faculty of Social Science was established at the University of Salzburg.
Communication studies became popular and the number of enrolled students rose from 100 in 1969 to currently around 1,300.
When the new University Law came into force in January 2004 the institute was renamed and is now called “Fachbereich Kommunikationswissenschaft” (Department of Communication Studies).
The scientific staff of the Department of Communication Studies consists of 11 professors (full, associate and assistant professors) and some 30 additional staff members (PhD students, postdoc researchers, lecturers, administration).
Research activities are undertaken within an extensive network of international academic and policy partners as well as practitioners. The Department of Communication Studies is also closely related to the Center for Advanced Studies and Research in Information and Communication Technologies & Society (ICT&S) which combines expertise from computer sciences and communication research with the mission to examine and analyze the implications of new information and communication technologies for society and democracy.
Those collaborations and the versatile staff are granting a diverse and high quality education. Members of the Department of Communication Studies are presently teaching and looking after 1278 (in 2013) enrolled students. Each year, around 250 of them graduate successfully and are thus granted their Bachelor of Arts or Master of Arts or PhD degrees.