Communication Studies

In studying communication, students learn to express themselves, develop critical-thinking skills, and explore ethical issues. Students become articulate and intentional communicators, respecting the power of the spoken and written word. Communication studies is a strong stand-alone major and is also common as a double-major or minor. The skills learned when studying communication are some of those most sought after by employers. Careers available to a communication studies major include diverse professions such as public relations, event planning, graduate school, teaching, sales, or law.

Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate with a major in communication studies will be able to:

  1. Develop content expertise in relevant theories of communication;
  2. Exercise organizational skills;
  3. Exhibit the ability to support arguments and reason clearly;
  4. Illustrate the ability to cite sources, both in text and in the bibliography;
  5. Execute a research paper appropriately.

Major in Communication Studies

A minimum of 39 semester hours is required, including:
COM 101: Interpersonal Communication
COM 102: Public Speaking
COM 240: Rhetoric of Western Thought
COM 250: Small Group Communication
COM 260: Debating Contemporary Issues
COM 306: Organizational Communication
COM 310: Communication Theory
COM 355: Mass Media
COM 402: Interviewing
COM 490: Seminar in Communication

Choose one rhetoric course at the 300- or 400-level and two of the following four: COM 308, ENG 325, ENG 365, or any three credit COM special topics course at the 300- or 400-level. A maximum of three semester hours of internship may be applied toward the major.

Minor in Communication Studies

A minimum of 24 semester hours is required, including:
COM 101: Interpersonal Communication
COM 102: Public Speaking
COM 250: Small Group Communication
COM 260: Debating Contemporary Issues
COM 306: Organizational Communication
COM 310: Communication Theory
COM 402: Interviewing

Choose one of the following:
COM 308: Intercultural Communication
COM 355: Mass Media
or
Another 300- or 400-level course in communication studies, theatre, or English, chosen in consultation with a faculty member in communication studies. A maximum of three semester hours of internship may be applied toward the minor.

COM 101 - Interpersonal Communication
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 3
This course examines how intimate, personal, and professional relationships are created and maintained. Students develop an increased awareness of and sensitivity to communication that facilitates interpersonal relationships, as well as communication that creates obstacles to building relationships. Topics discussed include perception, self-concept, listening, and conflict.
COM 102 - Public Speaking
Semester: Fall and Spring
Semester hours: 3
This course examines key aspects of writing and delivering public speeches. Focal topics include audience analysis, speech organization, developing supporting materials, argumentation, and delivery. By the end of the course, students will have written and delivered informative, persuasive, and ceremonial speeches.
COM 240 - Rhetoric of Western Thought
Semester: Spring
Semester hours: 3
This course investigates the evolution of rhetorical theories from ancient Greece to contemporary models of communication. It focuses on the application of theories to communication events in order to explicate how communication shapes culture.
Prerequisite: COM 102
COM 247 - Communication Projects
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 1
Students pursue special research in communication studies.
Prerequisite: permission of professor
COM 250 - Small Group Communication
Semester: Spring
Semester hours: 3
This course explores how and why people come together in groups, how groups develop norms for acceptable behavior, and how individuals can help groups work efficiently and effectively. Because employers seek competent communicators, this course is designed to provide students an opportunity to develop communication skills that can be applied in both personal and professional contexts.
COM 257 - Intercollegiate Forensics
Semester: Fall and Spring
Semester hours: 1
This course is designed for students to prepare and engage in intercollegiate debate competition. A focus on British Parliamentary debate provides national and international opportunities for debate competition. Pass/no pass grading.
COM 260 - Debating Contemporary Issues
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 3
This course explores persuasion, reasoning, and argumentation by analyzing current controversies in local, national, and international politics. Students prepare their own arguments and analyze arguments in media. Students develop effective persuasive speaking and refutation skills by debating one another in class.
Prerequisite: COM 102
COM 299 - Independent Study
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 1-3
This course allows a superior student to devise and pursue independent study in an area agreed upon in consultation with, and supervised by, a faculty member. Students should be either a major or minor and have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or greater.
COM 306 - Organizational Communication
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 3
This course examines how communication occurs in large cooperative networks, especially in professional work settings. It focuses on the roles leadership, management, and conflict resolution play in larger organizations. By the end of the course, students will understand how the values and cultures of any organization emerge through communication.
Prerequisite: COM 102 or permission of instructor
COM 308 - Intercultural Communication
Semester: Fall; Alternate years
Semester hours: 3
As global communication and transnational movement facilitate increased cross-cultural contact, there is a need to develop an understanding of intercultural communication. To this end, this course examines the ways in which culture influences communication and communication influences culture. Verbal and nonverbal communication will be analyzed as it conveys messages about identity, beliefs, and values. Conflict is discussed as a product of cultural orientations and interpretations. By the end of this course, students will understand communication as a vital aspect of intercultural contact.
Prerequisite: COM 102 or permission of instructor
COM 310 - Communication Theory
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 3
This course introduces students to the basic theories in all branches of communication studies. It explains how and why people construct meaning, how theories explain fact patterns, and what constitutes an appropriate test of a theory. By the end of the course, students will understand the integrative framework for each theory and a consciousness concerning the ethical implications therein.
Prerequisite: COM 102 or permission of instructor
COM 355 - Mass Media
Semester: Spring
Semester hours: 3
This course explores the social and cultural roles of media – from local newspapers to the global reach of the Internet. By the end of this course, students will be able to understand and articulate the social, cultural, and economic power of media in order to better manage its influence in their lives.
Prerequisite: COM 102 or permission of instructor
COM 402 - Interviewing
Semester: Spring
Semester hours: 3
This course prepares students to be excellent interviewers and interviewees in employment, informational, survey, and performance appraisal interviewing. Students also learn résumé writing and how to write recommendations, as well as how to create and sustain supportive networks in the work-world. By the end of the course, students will be familiar with both the theoretical and practical applications of interviewing.
Prerequisite: COM 102 or permission of instructor
COM 404 - Rhetoric of Protest and Dissent
Semester: Spring; Alternate years
Semester hours: 3
This course examines why and how protest occurs, the challenges protesters face rhetorically, and the available options from which protesters can choose. Students will emerge with an appreciation of how difficult protest is and how important it is for a vital society.
Prerequisite: COM 240; junior or senior standing
COM 447 - Communication Projects
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 1
Students pursue special research in communication studies.
Prerequisite: permission of professor
COM 450 - Internship
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 1-12
This course is a guided work experience in an established institution such as a non-profit or for-profit organization or a governmental institution. The student must arrange the internship in agreement with the instructor and with the Office of Career Services, and the internship must be a learning experience that is connected with the professional communication degree. A contract is required. A maximum of three semester hours can be counted toward the major in communication.
Prerequisite: junior or senior standing
COM 457 - Intercollegiate Forensics
Semester: Fall and Spring
Semester hours: 1
This course is designed for students to prepare and engage in intercollegiate debate competition. A focus on British Parliamentary debate provides national and international opportunities for debate competition. Pass/no pass grading.
COM 490 - Seminar in Communication
Semester: Spring; Alternate years
Semester hours: 3
Through writing and speaking, students in this capstone course explore why and how people create communities and what kind of communities they create. Each seminar will focus upon a special theme, such as the implications of free speech, postmodern organizational ethics, or international political communication.
Prerequisite: senior standing
COM 499 - Independent Study
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 1-3
This course allows a superior student to devise and pursue independent study in an area agreed upon in consultation with, and supervised by, a faculty member. Students should be either a major or minor and have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or greater.
Prerequisite: junior or senior standing
ENG 325 - Professional Writing
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 3
This course teaches concepts, practices, and skills for communicating technical, scientific, or business-related information. Topics include understanding how people read, designing documents, incorporating graphics, writing about statistical results, rewriting, editing, and using the Internet. This course may be especially useful for non-English majors, providing them with the tools and techniques to communicate their messages effectively.
Prerequisite: ENG 119
ENG 365 - Journalism
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 3
Providing an introduction to writing print, broadcast, and multimedia articles and producing a professional publication, this course is strongly recommended for all students participating on the student newspaper.