Major Requirements

The communication studies curriculum creates a flexible framework that gives students a strong foundation in the field of communication while allowing them to choose courses based on their unique interests. 

The requirements for a major in communication studies are 36 credits:

Communication Studies Course
COM 111Introduction to Communication Studies4
Analytical Methods Courses
Select 4 credits in analytical methods from the following:4
Communication Criticism
Fundamentals of Communication Research
Video Production
Advanced Oral Competence Courses
Select 4 credits in advanced oral competence courses from the following:4
Business and Professional Speaking
Communication for Citizenship and Career
Audio Production & Podcasting
Broadcast Performance
Theories in Communication Courses
Select 12 credits in theories of communication from the following:12
Interpersonal Communication
Persuasive Communication
Group Communication and Team Building
Rhetorical Theory and Criticism
Gender and Communication
New Media
Global Cinema
Analyzing Film
Organizational Communication
Health Communication
Computer-Mediated Comm
Integrated Mktg Communication
Department Seminar Courses
Select 4 credits in department seminar courses from the following:4
Intercultural Communication
Strategic Communication and Public Relations
Applied Research Methods in Communication
Documentary - Historical Film
Additional Communication Studies Courses
Select 8 additional credits in communication studies courses from the following: 18
Appreciating Film
Oral Interpretation
Nonverbal Communication
Pre-May Seminar
May Seminar
Digital Photography
Special Topics
Cooperative Education
Mass Communications Law and Ethics
Broadcast Newswriting and Reporting
Electronic News Gathering
Independent Study
Directed Research
Any other COM course, unless the course was taken to fulfill another requirement for the major
Total Hours36

Students may also include course options listed for requirements above if those requirements have already been satisfied.

Communication Studies Emphases

All students majoring in communication are strongly encouraged to select one or more emphases to focus their studies. Many emphases are available and can be tailored to meet the individual needs of each student. Majors are encouraged to discuss their interests with their advisors to plan a course of study. Listed below are some of the most common emphases that students select.

Applied Media Emphasis

This emphasis is for students who want a hands-on approach to contemporary media production skills and techniques. It is appropriate for those pursuing a variety of career paths, including information technology, advertising, integrated marketing, and online news production. Students interested in careers in journalism are encouraged to secure a complementary major or minor in English or multimedia journalism.

Suggested Courses
COM 232Video Production4
COM 333Audio Production & Podcasting2
COM 334Broadcast Performance2

Cultural Communication Emphasis

An emphasis in cultural communication is a good choice for students interested in the theories and practice of interaction between and among people of different cultures. Potential careers in this emphasis would include international organizations, diplomacy, international business, government, and foreign language based employment.

Suggested Courses
COM 316Intercultural Communication4
COM 324Gender and Communication4
COM 414Organizational Communication4

Communication Methods Emphasis

Focus in this emphasis is placed on the use of research methods and techniques to provide answers for communication-related questions. This emphasis provides strong preparation for those planning to do graduate study whether as preparation for an academic career or for work in research-related areas such as marketing or training.

Suggested Courses
COM 315Interviewing4
COM 317Rhetorical Theory and Criticism4
COM 417Applied Research Methods in Communication4

Film Emphasis

The department offers a number of courses related to analysis, criticism and some production. Also see film studies minor.

Suggested Courses
COM 139Appreciating Film4
COM 326Global Cinema4
COM 382Analyzing Film4

Gender Communication Emphasis

Students who want to explore how gender is communicated, performed and functions in both personal and public settings may find this emphasis an interesting choice. Those interested in social justice and advocacy issues, or who simply want to better understand how gender impacts everyday life, should consider adding this emphasis.

Suggested Courses
COM 312Interpersonal Communication4
COM 316Intercultural Communication4
COM 324Gender and Communication4

Multimedia Journalism Emphasis

For students who have interests in journalism in a variety of print, broadcast and other electronic venues, the department has coursework geared toward journalistic careers and would encourage students also to pursue courses in the English department. Also see multimedia journalism major.

Suggested Courses
COM 232Video Production4
COM 325New Media4
COM 431Broadcast Newswriting and Reporting4

Organizational Communication Emphasis

Choose this emphasis if you are interested in communication in contemporary organizations. This emphasis is appropriate for those who see themselves moving into supervisory or management positions in a wide array of organizations. Careers options include supervisor with a not-for-profit organization, pastor or youth director, human resources professional, communication consultant, training and development specialist and, of course, business management.

Suggested Courses
COM 312Interpersonal Communication4
COM 314Group Communication and Team Building4
COM 414Organizational Communication4

Public Relations Emphasis

Students choosing this emphasis will focus on the theories and practice of public relations, including PR writing, campaigns, crisis communication, and persuasive strategies. Students interested in careers in PR, event planning, strategic communication, social media management, promotions, and marketing communication would benefit from choosing this emphasis.

Suggested Courses
COM 313Persuasive Communication4
COM 403Strategic Communication and Public Relations4
COM 494Integrated Mktg Communication4

Relational Communication Emphasis

This emphasis is for those who want to understand relational dynamics in personal and professional settings. Students interested in developing interaction competencies in friendships, families and work relationships, or aspire to positions in leadership, management, teaching, or human resources may find this emphasis a valuable addition to their major.

Suggested Courses
COM 214Nonverbal Communication4
COM 312Interpersonal Communication4
COM 314Group Communication and Team Building4

Rhetorical Studies Emphasis

Students choosing this emphasis will focus on coursework in the art of rhetorical analysis, including theory and application to traditional and non-traditional artifacts and objects of study, to include film and other avenues of popular culture. Students in the emphasis may likely pursue graduate school, teaching, law school, political consulting and speechwriting, and other related fields.

Suggested Courses
COM 202Communication Criticism4
COM 313Persuasive Communication4
COM 317Rhetorical Theory and Criticism4

Social Media Emphasis

This emphasis area will help students understand the ways in which social media affects human communication, as well as the theory and practice of social media use. Students interested in careers in social media management, as well as all students who are curious about the changing place of social media in the modern world, should consider choosing this emphasis area.

Suggested Courses
COM 325New Media4
COM 484Computer-Mediated Comm4
COM 494Integrated Mktg Communication4

Many other options are possible. Other popular emphases include: Health Communication, Communication Performance, and Strategic Communication.

Students are encouraged to work with their communication studies faculty advisors to develop emphasis areas to suit their unique interests in communication studies.

Degree and Graduation Requirements
In addition to the program-specific requirements listed above, all students must complete the graduation requirements specified for their degree.  See the Degree and Graduation Requirements section for more information.