Catalogue 2017 - 2018

Communication Major

General Information

Students in the communication major are exposed to the fundamental tenets of several aspects of the field, including interpersonal communication, oral communication, verbal and nonverbal communication, organizational communication, health communication, intercultural communication, and electronically mediated communication. They also learn about different approaches to research and practice within each field. Students also choose one of five concentrations which will allow them to focus their studies in an area best reflecting their personal interests and professional needs: 1) Media Theory and Production, which emphasizes the production, reception, and interpretation of messages via electronic media as well as the role of media institutions in society; 2) Corporate Communication, which emphasizes the analysis of verbal and nonverbal communication in interpersonal, business, and professional contexts as well as the development of skills to increase efficiency in conveying or interpreting messages in those contexts; 3) Journalism, which emphasizes the creation and interpretation of messages in a variety of news media and the development of journalistic ethics and reporting skills; 4) Public Relations, which emphasizes the construction of messages for public consumption across media and the development of skills to enhance the efficacy of conveying a message clearly and accurately via mass media institutions; or 5) Health Communication, which emphasizes the collection and dissemination of information about health issues on public, institutional, and interpersonal scales.  Students may only major in one concentration; double majoring in two different concentration is prohibited. 

Career Opportunities

The benefits of a communication major are manifold. Some graduates of the communication major continue their education in graduate school or law school. Others work for television or radio broadcast stations, newspapers, public service organizations, hospitals, insurance companies, public relations firms, political campaigns, and other businesses. Our unique partnership with WAMC Northeast Public Radio enables our best students to write, produce, and broadcast news reports at a national level—an excellent springboard for careers in journalism and broadcasting. Students also have an opportunity to produce professional promotional videos for nonprofit organizations through the University’s Institute for Media and Nonprofit Communication. Regardless of the concentration they choose, our graduates tell us that the communication curriculum has helped them not only to develop their writing and speaking skills, but also to handle specialized assignments such as creating questionnaires and conducting interviews that provide useful data for their organizations. In short, they know how to obtain, process, and disseminate information.

Communication Faculty


Program Objectives

Intellectual Range

  1. To enlarge and deepen students’ understanding of human nature as reflected in and affected by various forms of communication.
  2. To enlarge and deepen students’ understanding and appreciation of the role of communication in human society and individual life.
  3. To deepen students’ understanding of the various forms and media of communication.
  4. To enhance students’ understanding of the conditions for both success and failure in communication, as well as abuses of power through communication.
  5. To encourage critical reflection on the information and values conveyed by electronic media, as well as their role in society.
  6. To encourage critical reflection on the ethical issues that arise in the field of communication.

Important Communication Skills

The ability to convey information and to persuade others effectively and efficiently—whether in written, oral, or electronically mediated communication—is of great value in personal, family, professional, and political life. The communication curriculum is designed to achieve the following:

  1. To improve students’ ability to read, comprehend, and analyze written communication.
  2. To improve students’ ability to listen to, comprehend, and analyze oral communication.
  3. To develop students’ ability to design research strategies and to conduct research effectively.
  4. To improve students’ ability to write clear, grammatically correct, and rhetorically powerful prose.
  5. To improve students’ ability to communicate nonverbally and to understand the nonverbal communication of others in a variety of situations.
  6. To enhance students’ abilities to consume, use, and create electronic media technology and products.

Theoretical and Practical Communication Content

  1. To increase students’ knowledge of various theories of communication.
  2. To heighten students’ awareness of the power of communication.
  3. To develop students’ capacities as powerful communicators in global society.
  4. To enable students to be engaged citizens in an increasingly mediated culture.

General University and College Requirements

See General University Requirements and College of Arts and Sciences Requirements

The Communication Major requires 39 credit hours in communication and/or journalism courses.

Degree Requirements

All communication majors are required to take the following courses (24 credit hours), in addition to the courses required by their respective concentrations:

COMM 100Principles of Communication

3 cr.

COMM 102Introduction to Public Speaking

3 cr.

COMM 205Mass Communication

3 cr.

COMM 206Introduction to Communication Research

3 cr.

COMM 300Communication Theory

3 cr.

MATH 120Intro Statistics for the Arts & Sciences

3 cr.

EC/POSC xxxSocial Science Course

3 cr.

And

COMM 348Intercultural Communication

3 cr.

or

COMM 356Global Communication

3 cr.

Total Credit Hours:24

Communication majors concentrating in media theory and production are also required to take the following courses (24 credit hours):

Plus one COMM course at the 3xx/4xx level
COMM 241Video Production I: Introduction to Digital Editing

3 cr.

COMM 250Video Production II

3 cr.

COMM 251Video Communication

3 cr.

COMM 324Media Industries, Government, and Society

3 cr.

COMM 326Race, Gender, and Ethnicity in the Media

3 cr.

COMM 352Multimedia Communication

3 cr.

COMM 490Seminar in Media Theory and Journalism

3 cr.

Total Credit Hours:24

Communication majors concentrating in journalism are also required to take the following courses (24 credit hours):

Plus one COMM or JRNL course at the 3xx/4xx level
JRNL 101Introduction to Journalism

3 cr.

JRNL 205Journalism Ethics

3 cr.

JRNL 250Intermediate Journalism

3 cr.

JRNL 370/COMM 371Advanced Radio Reporting

3 cr.

COMM 241Video Production I: Introduction to Digital Editing

3 cr.

COMM 251Video Communication

3 cr.

COMM 490Seminar in Media Theory and Journalism

3 cr.

Total Credit Hours:24

Communication majors concentrating in corporate communication are also required to take the following courses (24 credit hours):

Plus one COMM course at the 2xx/3xx/4xx level
COMM 280Organizational Communication

3 cr.

COMM 315Language, Power and Communication

3 cr.

COMM 320Small Group Communication

3 cr.

COMM 321Interpersonal Communication

3 cr.

COMM 340Business Communication

3 cr.

COMM 348Intercultural Communication

3 cr.

COMM 491Seminar in Public and Corporate Communication

3 cr.

Total Credit Hours:24

Communication majors concentrating in public relations are also required to take the following courses (24 credit hours):

Plus one COMM course at the 3xx/4xx level
COMM 280Organizational Communication

3 cr.

COMM 285Introduction to Public Relations

3 cr.

COMM 320Small Group Communication

3 cr.

COMM 328Health Communication Campaigns

3 cr.

COMM 340Business Communication

3 cr.

COMM 344Event Planning

3 cr.

COMM 491Seminar in Public and Corporate Communication

3 cr.

Total Credit Hours:24

Communication majors concentrating in health communication are also required to take the following courses (24 credit hours):

Plus one COMM course at the 3xx/4xx level
COMM 283Health Communication

3 cr.

COMM 285Introduction to Public Relations

3 cr.

COMM 320Small Group Communication

3 cr.

COMM 321Interpersonal Communication

3 cr.

COMM 328Health Communication Campaigns

3 cr.

COMM 344Event Planning

3 cr.

Total Credit Hours:24

Total Credit Hours: 120