Major in Communication Studies

Students may seek either an academic major or minor in communication studies.

The major in communication studies provides students with an appropriate balance of theoretical knowledge and sophisticated, practical communication skills. Students learn how people create and use messages to generate meaning within and across various contexts, cultures, channels, and media. The multidisciplinary curriculum covers speech communication, mass communication and new media, journalism, public relations, business writing, and technical writing. It encourages students to develop written, oral, and visual communication skills; to apply communication theories to both personal and professional situations; and to increase their understanding of human interaction. Students with a major in communication studies are prepared for a wide variety of careers in areas such as journalism, public relations, marketing, communication, and professional writing.

Intended Program Outcomes

The student who graduates with a major in communication studies should be able to

  • Apply analytical skills in interpreting, using, and delivering information, particularly through mass media.
  • Create professional written, oral, and visual communication for specific purposes and diverse audiences, applying structural and stylistic conventions.
  • Design, create, and/or select multimedia components and integrate them into print, broadcast, and online media-rich resources.
  • Manage successful communication activities within the ethical, legal, and financial parameters of the project and of the profession.
  • Work with individuals and groups in ways that reflect an understanding of both communication theory and professional expectations.
  • Use an understanding of diverse and intercultural perspectives as they affect communication practices.
  • Design and/or employ specific research methodologies and tools to gather information for specific purposes.

Degree Requirements

A degree with a major in communication studies requires the successful completion of 120 credits of coursework, including 33 credits for the major; 41 credits in general education requirements; and 46 credits in the minor, electives, and other degree requirements. At least 17 credits in the major must be earned in upper-level courses (numbered 300 or above).

Requirements for the Communication Studies Major

Coursework for a major in communication studies includes the following:

  • Required foundation courses (6 credits): COMM 300 and 302
  • Speech communication course (3 credits): Any SPCH course
  • Mass communication/media studies course (3 credits): Chosen from COMM 400, 410, and 493 and any JOUR courses
  • Diversity communication courses (6 credits): Chosen from COMM 380 and SPCH 324, 472, and 482
  • Specialization courses chosen from a single area (9 credits):
  • Required research methods course (3 credits): COMM 480
  • Capstone course (3 credits): COMM 495

Recommended Sequence

The following course sequence will fulfill all the requirements for the BA in communication studies. Coursework for the major is indicated by Coursework for the major. Since some recommended courses fulfill more than one requirement, substituting courses for those listed may make it necessary to take additional courses to meet degree requirements. Students should consult an advisor whenever taking advantage of other options.

Communication Studies Degree Courses

First Courses (to be taken within the first 18 credits)

Note: Placement tests are required for math and writing courses.

  • EDCP 100 Principles and Strategies of Successful Learning (3)
    (strongly recommended as first course)
  • LIBS 150 Introduction to Research (1)
  • WRTG 101 Introduction to Writing (3)
    or WRTG 101S Introduction to Writing (3)
  • MATH 106 Finite Mathematics (3)
    or a higher-level math course

Introductory Courses (to be taken within the first 30 credits)

  • Coursework for the major SPCH 100 Foundations of Oral Communication (3)
    or any speech course for the major
  • HIST 125 Technological Transformations (3)
    or other arts and humanities/historical perspective course
  • BIOL 103 Introduction to Biology (4)
    or other biological and physical sciences lecture and laboratory course(s)
  • WRTG 293 Introduction to Professional Writing (3)
    or other communications/writing course
  • BEHS 103 Technology in Contemporary Society (3)
    or other behavioral and social sciences course
  • IFSM 201 Concepts and Applications of Information Technology (3)
    or CMST 301 Digital Media and Society (3)

Foundation Courses (to be taken within the first 60 credits)

  • Coursework for the major COMM 300 Communication Theory (3)
  • Coursework for the major COMM 302 Mass Communication and Media Studies (3)
  • ECON 103 Economics in the Information Age (3)
    or other behavioral and social sciences course (discipline must differ from first)
  • NSCI 100 Introduction to Physical Science (3)
    or other biological and physical sciences lecture course
  • HUMN 100 Introduction to Humanities (3)
    or other arts and humanities course (discipline must differ from other humanities course)
  • COMM 202 Media and Society (3)
    or other communication, writing, or speech course
  • CMIS 111 Social Networking and Cybersecurity Best Practices
    or
    other computing course

Additional Required Courses (to be taken after introductory and foundation courses)

  • WRTG 393 Advanced Technical Writing (3)
    or WRTG 394 Advanced Business Writing or other upper-level advanced writing course
  • Coursework for the major COMM 400 Mass Media Law (3)
    or other mass communication course for the major
  • Coursework for the major COMM 380 Language in Social Contexts (3)
    or other diversity communication course for the major
  • Coursework for the major SPCH 482 Intercultural Communication (3)
    or other diversity communication course for the major
  • Coursework for the major SPCH 324 Communication and Gender (3)
    or other specialization course for the major
  • Coursework for the major SPCH 426 Conflict Management (3)
    or other specialization course for the major
  • Coursework for the major SPCH 470 Effective Listening (3)
    or other specialization course for the major
  • Coursework for the major COMM 480 Research Methods in Communication Studies (3)

Capstone Course for Major (to be taken in the last 15 credits)

  • Coursework for the major COMM 495 Senior Seminar in Communication Studies (3)

Minor and/or Elective Courses (43)
(to be taken in the last 60 credits along with required major courses)

 

Total credits for BA in communication studies: 120

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