Areas of Study

Courses & Requirements

Summary of Requirements

Much like in personal relationships, communication is the key to success in business and your career. Communication Studies majors learn the skills most desired by employers:

  • The ability to work in teams
  • The skill to communicate with diverse audiences in a variety of settings
  • The capability to create and edit information
  • The capacity to make compelling presentations in front of small and large

The Communication Studies program teaches students about intrapersonal, interpersonal, public, intercultural, and corporate communication. This provides the firm foundation necessary for creating a successful career in fields such as media, health communication, human resources, and public relations. You’ll come out of the communication program with the ability to think critically, express ideas impactfully, and understand the diverse forms of communication that draw people in.

Students will have the ability to put their knowledge and experience into practice as they take up positions of influence in their communities or continue postgraduate studies.


Core Curriculum 43
Pre-Major Courses 9
Major and Related Courses 45-47
Free Elective Courses 21-23

Admission to Communication Studies requires:

  1. A cumulative GPA of 2.75 or better.
  2. Successful completion of COM 150, ENG 250, and PSY 101 or SOC 101 with a grade of C or better.
  3. An unofficial transcript in PDF format.

Please contact Marina Dzougoutov for admission to the major.

Requirements to maintain good standing and graduation for Communication Studies majors:

  1. Maintenance of a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or better. Students whose GPA falls below a cumulative 2.75 will be placed on probation and given one semester to improve their cumulative GPA to 2.75. Failure to do so will result in dismissal from the major.
  2. A student majoring in Communication Studies can have no more than one “D” or “D+” in major courses.
  3. A Communication Studies major must complete one internship in the field prior to graduation. Internships range from one to three credits and must occur at least for 10 consecutive weeks in a semester. A one-credit internship requires 100 hours on internship site. A two-credit internship requires 200 hours on internship site. A three-credit internship requires 300 hours on internship site. The program’s Internship Coordinator will approve and oversee the academic requirements of all internships.  Internships cannot be completed with a student’s family business or a company that contracts with the family member’s business.

Required pre-major courses 9 hours

Introductory survey of the field of communication that includes discussion of the importance of communication in our lives, examination of communication as a uniquely human process of interaction, an overview of the varied contexts in which communication occurs, and investigation of communication as an academic discipline, field of research, and possible career track. This course also provides an introduction to the Communication Studies Department.

Surveys genres and modalities of professional writing, including social media and writing for the web. Provides an overview of areas such as digital publishing, new media journalism, business and technical writing, and editing. Develops a rhetorical understanding of professional writing as the ability to write in response to elements including audience, purpose, medium, and design.

An introduction to the scientific study of human behavior, providing an overview of the major issues, methods, and contributions of psychology. Content areas include development, language, learning, cognition, physiological psychology intelligence, and abnormal and social psychology.

Sociology attempts to understand how societies function. The course explores how social forces influence our lives and our chances for success. It also examines social groups, the relationships among social groups, and the ways groups get and maintain power.

Required courses 27-29 hours

This course will focus on the process of thinking and problem solving in committees and small groups; methods of leading and participating in discussions and conferences.

The course emphasizes the principles involved in the selection and organization of ideas and their effective presentation to a group.

The Internship Seminar is required of all Communication Studies majors who anticipate that they will start an internship within the subsequent three academic terms. Typically offered during the spring semester of each year, this course is for students who anticipate that they will begin an internship int he coming summer, or the fall, or during the following spring semester. The primary goal of the course is to help prepare students for the internship and to provide them with the knowledge and insights to make the most of this learning experience.

Students who major in Communication Studies are required to complete an internship for career exploration, job experience, and the opportunity to apply knowledge and skills gained in the major. Students can earn up to three credits toward the major requirements through an internship.

This course will provide for the experiential learning of the elements of effective interpersonal communication. Students will observe, record, and analyze interpersonal transactions; opportunities for improving interpersonal skills will be provided.

This course prepares students to be effective communicators in the workplace and includes interviewing, professional presentations at staff meetings, business writing, and interaction with a variety of professionals.

This course involves a critical study of the development, scope, influence, and theories of mass communication in America.

This is a survey course that covers conceptual approaches to the study of human communication. There will be a emphasis on theories that focus on speaker and message aspects, and the use of communication strategies in the forming, building, and dissolution of relationships through interdisciplinary perspectives.

An examination of the role played by communication in the bridging and separating of cultures. How norms, values, and expectations concerning the communication act itself differ from culture to culture, and how these differences affect intercultural encounters.

Reviews a broad range of critical and theoretical approaches in contemporary visual practices. Students will learn how to find meaning and value in the images and texts that hold power in their world. Employs lectures, field trips and other experiential modes of learning.

This required course is designed for Communication Studies majors. The course assignments and discussions will focus on communication ethics in interpersonal, group, family, public and professional settings. One of the important functions of this course is to provide a structured environment for completion of the COM senior assessment project.

Required elective courses 15 hours

Choose 15 hours:

This course will focus on the process of inquiry within human communication. Students are introduced to concepts of framing research questions, conducting literature reviews, developing a research design, using qualitative and quantitative research tools, and interpreting results of research in communication.

This course is designed to provide an environment that is supportive of self-exploration and understanding through attendance and participation in intergroup dialogue. The goal of intergroup dialogue is to develop comfort with, and skill for, discussion of difficult topics and fostering positive, meaningful, and sustained cross-group relationships. This course engages students in facilitated dialogue about the similarities and differences of experiences that exist within a group and/or between and across groups. In debate, the goal is to listen to gain advantage; in intergroup dialogue, the main goal is to listen to gain understanding. As a result, students develop increased multicultural interaction, increased intergroup awareness and sensitivity, and greater commitment to civic engagement. Each semester there will be a variety of topics addressed by the dialogue sections. The topics and number of sections of the dialogues are flexible and will change from semester to semester. The original set of dialogues includes race, language, LGBT, US/Foreign Born, and Interfaith/secular. Through the intergroup dialogue process, it is our hope that we will better understand our own biases and positioning on the topics, deepen our learning to build bridges and create kinship within the group, and develop skills for discussing difficult topics with people who hold a variety of perspectives.

In everyday life, we are interdependent with others and face many challenges in interpersonal and group situations. The difference or disagreements in perceptions, goals, needs, or interests can lead to conflicts. These conflicts can develop into positive situations that encourage creativity and new dimensions or they can devolve into negative situations that develop destructive and hurtful behaviors. Because such conflicts occur in daily life, it is important to understand the dynamics of conflict, use effective management techniques, and establish and maintain collaborative relationships. In this course we will use theoretical perspectives, case studies, personal experiences, journals, and class activities to examine the roots and nature of conflict, the styles and tactics used to deal with conflict, and the personal and group stakes in conflict. In addition, we will explore methods for analyzing and handling conflict, techniques for creating constructive conflict, uses of third-party interventions, and possibilities for forgiveness, reconciliation, and thinking of ''conflict as magic''.

For many years, programs in mediation, dialogue, and deliberation have been invaluable in helping people change their communicative patterns in order to improve their situations at home, work, and in the community. In this course we will examine these three well-established types of programs, learn how and why they work, and experience using and participating in these methods through role plays, simulations, and actual events. We will use a communication perspective within a systemic approach to examine the complex factors involved in conflict and to learn how a change in communication can shift interaction dynamics.

This course provides a broad overview of components of public relations in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Students will examine the concept of public relations as an ongoing process. Students will be exposed to the basic knowledge, skills, strategies, and tools used by practitioners.

This course is cross-listed and is otherwise known as ITS 372. The ability to have access to communications is an important foundation for empowerment of people who are deaf and hard of hearing. This course explores how communication accessibility is achieved through study of current and emerging technology, trends in industry, public policies, and the government agencies that enforce these policies. Access to telecommunications (including Internet and wireless communications, relay services, etc.), information, video media, emergency services, public accommodations, employment, education, and other contexts are included.

Students will study the ways in which beliefs, attitudes, and behavior are affected by communication in this course. The findings of behavioral research and contemporary theories will be employed to demonstrate the workings of persuasion in political campaigns, advertising, and everyday life.

Students in this course will approach public speeches and speech-making based on theory, performance and criticism. Students will both write and deliver their own addresses and learn principles for rhetorical criticism of others' speeches.

A study of the theories and research on the influence of artifacts, appearance, facial expression, gestures, paralanguage, posture, movement, space, time, and touch on human interaction. Opportunities for analysis and application of learned principles through in-class exercises, simulations, videotaped sessions, and original field research.

This course is an examination of communication and gender, including sex role stereotypes. The course provides a survey of how communication of and about gender interacts with various contexts, including biology, culture, family, mass media, education, religion, and the workplace.

An examination of the persuasive strategies used by mainstream politicians, social activists, and propagandists. Special emphasis is on the rituals and implicit rules of conducting public information campaigns and electoral campaigns, and the relationship among politicians, the voting public, and the mass media that link them.

The role of communication in complex organizations. Emphasis upon the role of communication styles of managers and employees in the creation of corporate culture. Dissemination of messages within and among divisions of organizations. Use of such diagnostic tools as the ICA Communication Audit to identify dysfunctional communication patterns.

Examination of the communication concepts that are fundamental to understanding interaction in the family. Exploration of how communication affects the development, maintenance, and enhancement of family relations.

Students will study the process of arriving at reasons and conclusions; practice in debate; projects in analysis, research, ordering of arguments, and refutation.

Special topics in the discipline, designed primarily for seniors who are majors or minors. Students may enroll in 495 Special Topics multiple times, as long as the topics differ.

Reading, research, discussion, or laboratory work, according to the interests of the student. Title indicating the content must be available at registration.

Required related courses 3 hours

Take any one of the following English courses:

Introduction to composition of texts using desktop publishing software and computer technology. Focuses on the writing conventions and standards of professional communication, as well as editing techniques and competencies. Also covers design principles, typography, layout and production techniques. When offered for 4 credits, this course will be cross-listed with GSR 210, 220, or 240 and will address the Student Learning Outcomes of these courses.

Study and intensive practice of writing in digital environments, with a focus on journalistic contexts. Examines technical and rhetorical features of online environments, including interactivity, hyperlinking, spatial orientation, and non-linear storytelling. Focuses on the writing conventions and standards of digital media, as well as editing techniques and competencies.

Study and intensive practice of composition in social media genres. Examines rhetorical conventions for digital communication and the dissemination of information through social media for professional purposes, including developing a social media content strategy and analytics. Integrates editing techniques and competencies. May also cover theoretical issues such as copyright and authorship, visual literacy, and moderation of collaborative online environments.

Study and intensive practices of inventing, shaping, producing, and delivering text, audio, video, and images aesthetically and purposefully. Examines various genres of and technical platforms for multimedia composition. Integrates editing techniques and competencies. May also cover theoretical issues relevant to digital media such as universal access and participatory culture.

Study of media literacy, including techniques and strategies used to analyze the use of diverse media to inform, entertain, and sell. Examines diverse media messages in advertisements, television, film, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet.

Study and intensive practice of professional writing skills and genres, such as resumes, letters of application, emails, memos, short proposals and reports.

This course will deal with these features: news, feature, and editorial writing; copy editing and fact checking; headline writing; and page layout, both in print and online. This course touches on the growing possibilities and ethical considerations for journalism in the digital age.

Program Outcomes

SLO #2


Create and Deliver Messages – Students create and deliver messages in American Sign Language (ASL) and written English appropriate for diverse audiences, purposes, and contexts


SLO #2


Critically analyze messages –Apply  fundamental communication concepts, and theories to critically analyze, evaluate and respond to a variety of messages


SLO #3


Create effective communication that embraces differences –Students recognize and apply complex social identities and design communication for diverse cultural contexts


SLO #4


Identify and solve impediments to successful communication –Students apply knowledge from a variety of disciplines to identify and analyze barriers in communication


SLO #5


Apply ethical communication perspectives and practices –Students identify ethical perspectives and apply them in different communication situation


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B.A. in Communication Studies

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