Earn a bachelor's degree in communication studies—one of the degrees most sought after by employers—and prepare for a career in the ever-growing media landscape.

Whether you're interested in journalism, public relations, photography, business, or online communication, you can build a firm base of knowledge while you earn a Bachelor of Arts in communication studies at University of Maryland University College.

You'll learn to apply communication theories to both personal and professional situations, developing the "soft skills" and communication techniques that workplaces demand. In addition, you'll learn to work with individuals and groups professionally and manage communications within ethical, legal, and financial parameters.

These program requirements are for students who enroll in the 2017–2018 academic year. For prior year academic requirements, visit the catalog archive in the Current Students section.

This program is also available as a minor.

About the Communication Studies Bachelor's Degree

Developed in conjunction with employers, our online bachelor's degree in communication studies offers a balance of theoretical knowledge and sophisticated communication skills. You'll have the opportunity to learn how people create and use messages to generate meaning within and across various contexts, cultures, channels, and media. Our multidisciplinary curriculum covers speech communication, mass communication and new media, journalism, public relations, business writing, and technical writing.

What You'll Learn

Through your coursework, you will learn how to

  • Apply analytical skills in interpreting, using, and delivering information, particularly through mass media
  • Create professional and appropriate written, oral, and visual communications for specific purposes and diverse audiences
  • Design, create, and select multimedia components and integrate them into print, broadcast, and online formats
  • Work with individuals and groups in ways that reflect an understanding of both communication theory and professional expectations
  • Understand diverse and intercultural perspectives as they affect communication
  • Design and employ specific research methods and tools to gather information

Coursework Examples

In past projects, students have had the opportunity to

  • Write a speech for a hypothetical executive and organization
  • Write news articles in various journalistic styles
  • Write a comprehensive public relations plan and create messages targeting specific audiences
  • Develop a portfolio of photo essays

Communication Studies Bachelor's Degree Requirements

Our curriculum is designed with input from employers, industry experts, and scholars. You'll learn theories combined with real-world applications and practical skills you can apply on the job right away.

Courses in the Major

  • SPCH 100 or any SPCH course
  • COMM 207 or any COMM course
  • JOUR 201
  • COMM 300
  • COMM 302
  • SPCH 324
  • JOUR 330 or any upper-level JOUR course
  • COMM 400 or any upper-level COMM course
  • SPCH 470 or any upper-level SPCH course
  • COMM 390 or any upper-level COMM course
  • COMM 495

Electives

The bachelor's degree in communication studies requires 46 credits of minor and/or elective coursework.

General Education Requirements

Research Course

  • LIBS 150
    (to be taken in first 6 credits)

Writing and Communication Courses

  • WRTG 101
  • WRTG 293 or other writing course
  • COMM 202 or other communication, writing, or speech course
  • WRTG 394 or WRTG 393

Arts and Humanities Courses

  • HIST 125 or other arts and humanities course
  • HUMN 100 or other arts and humanities course

Behavioral and Social Sciences Courses

  • ECON 103 or other behavioral and social sciences course
  • BEHS 103 or other behavioral and social sciences course

Biological and Physical Sciences Courses

  • BIOL 103 or other science lecture and laboratory course(s)
  • NSCI 100 or other science lecture course

Math Course

  • MATH 106 or other 3-credit approved math or statistics course

Computing Courses

  • IFSM 201 or CMST 301
  • CMIS 111 or another computing course appropriate to the academic major

Since some recommended courses fulfill more than one requirement, substituting courses for those listed may require you to take additional courses to meet degree requirements. Consult an advisor whenever taking advantage of other options. Please also see more information on alternate courses (where allowable) to fulfill general education requirements.

Overall Bachelor's Degree Requirements

In addition to the general education requirements and the major, minor, and elective requirements, the overall requirements listed below apply to all bachelor's degrees.

  • You must complete a minimum of 120 credits
  • You must maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.0 overall and a minimum grade of C for any class applied to the academic major or minor
  • Within the 120 credits required, the following coursework must be taken through UMUC:
    • 30 credits (normally the final 30)
    • Half of the required number of credits within both the major and the minor
    • 15 credits at the upper level (earned in classes numbered 300 to 499), preferably within the major or minor
  • At least 45 credits must be upper level and include
    • At least half of the credits required for the major
    • 3 credits in advanced writing
  • The remaining upper-level credits can be earned in any part of the curriculum
  • At least half the required number of credits for any academic major or minor must be earned through graded coursework. Credit earned by examination, portfolio assessment, or noncollegiate training does not count as graded coursework

Double majors: You can earn a dual major upon completion of all requirements for both majors, including the required minimum number of credits for each major and all related requirements for both majors. The same class cannot be used to fulfill requirements for more than one major. Certain restrictions (including use of credit and acceptable combinations of majors) apply for double majors. You cannot major in two programs with excessive overlap of required coursework. Contact an admissions counselor before selecting a double major.

Second bachelor's degree: To earn a second bachelor's degree, you must complete at least 30 credits through UMUC after completing the first degree. The combined credit in both degrees must add up to at least 150 credits. You must complete all requirements for the major. All prerequisites apply. If any of these requirements were satisfied in the previous degree, the remainder necessary to complete the minimum 30 credits of new classes should be satisfied with classes related to your major. You may not earn a second bachelor's degree in general studies and may not obtain a second associate's degree within the second bachelor's degree. Contact an admissions counselor before pursuing a second bachelor's degree.

Electives: Electives can be taken in any academic discipline. No more than 21 credits can consist of vocational or technical credit. Pass/fail credit, up to a maximum of 18 credits, can be applied toward electives only.

Career Preparation

This program is designed to help prepare you for a career in mass media, new media, journalism, public relations, photography, business, or online communication.

Student Clubs and Organizations

Communication Studies Club

Type: Academic club
Available To: Undergraduate and Graduate

This club includes discussions about current events relating to communication studies, journalism, technical/business writing, speech, and public relations. It also hosts professionals in the field as guest speakers who bring insight to the variety of jobs within the field and discuss their paths to success. Students also get opportunities to share their UMUC and career experiences with classmates.

Humanities and English Club

Type: Academic club
Available To: Undergraduate and Graduate

The Humanities and English Club provides students with the opportunity to speak to faculty members about classes, graduate schools, and professional opportunities. The club regularly hosts symposiums and guest speakers for English majors and offers discussions in which students can discuss their favorite authors. A staple of this student organization is a writing workshop in which students critique one another's creative writing.

Lambda Pi Eta, Tau Chapter

Type: Honor society
Available To: Undergraduate and Graduate

Lambda Pi Eta is the honor society of the National Communication Association. The goals of the honor society are to recognize, foster, and reward outstanding scholastic achievement in communication studies, stimulate interest in the field of communication, promote and encourage professional development among communication students, and provide an opportunity to discuss and exchange ideas in the field of communication among students, faculty, and professionals.