Communication Major

The study of Communication at Fairfield University focuses on the description and analysis of how humans acquire, process, and use information in a variety of contexts. As one aspect of a liberal education, undergraduate work in communication helps students:

  • Become more aware of factors that influence and are influenced by human communication behavior and media practices.
  • Develop intellectually by providing a basis from which to analyze, synthesize, and critically evaluate messages from varied sources, including the media.
  • Learn techniques and strategies to propose policies, advocate positions, and persuasively express themselves in various contexts in the pursuit of a more just society.

Communication courses engage students actively in understanding interaction in interpersonal, organizational, public, mediated, and cultural contexts. Students who successfully complete the Communication major will be able to:

  1. Recognize the centrality of communication in constructing, sustaining and transforming meaning, identities, relationships, communities and cultures.
  2. Apply communication theories and concepts to everyday face-to-face and computer-mediated interactions.
  3. Demonstrate critical thinking in argumentation, research, and message creation.
  4. Demonstrate oral and written competencies in building and evaluating arguments, and designing, conducting, and reporting original communication content and research.

To earn a 30-credit major in Communication, students follow a program of study designed to develop breadth and depth of knowledge about communication processes in a variety of contexts. The Communication major consists of ten three-credit courses. All Communication majors complete a set of five required courses known as Communication Foundations. With the aid of the Communication faculty, students have the ability to focus their studies in several areas of interest and to develop a personalized trajectory that best suits their theoretical and applied interests. Communication majors are strongly encouraged to complete minors related to their areas of interest, to continue their foreign language beyond the intermediate level, to study abroad, and to pursue internships that allow for applied learning of theoretical material.

Students are encouraged to meet with faculty advisors to design a comprehensive academic plan that takes advantage of the varied offerings in the Communication Department as well as from complementary majors, minors and programs across the University.

Possible interest areas that can be pursued through a major in communication include media studies, organizational communication, communication and the human condition, intercultural communication, critical and cultural studies, interpersonal communication and other interest areas determined in consultation with a faculty advisor. Students should note that course offerings vary from semester to semester. Additionally special topics courses as well as new course offerings may be developed from semester to semester that would complement particular areas of interest. The Communication Department Handbook for Majors, available on the University website, provides more specific suggestions regarding courses relevant to specific areas of interest.

The requirements of the communication foundations and the areas of interest are detailed as follows:

Communication Foundations
CO 0100Human Communication Theories 13
CO 0101Argument and Advocacy 13
CO 0130Mass Media and Society 23
CO 0200Interpersonal Communication Theories 23
CO 0309Research Projects in Communication: Capstone 33
Communication Interests
All majors must select five additional Communication courses, at least one of which must be a 300-level course (that does not include internships, independent studies or capstone experiences).15
Total Credits30


  • With the approval from the Department Chair, double majors may "double count" up to two courses from their second major as communication electives. Some second major and minor programs may also choose to "double count" communication courses to satisfy the second major or minor requirements. Students should check with those second major or minor chairs for approval.
  • CO 0399 Internship may be counted toward the major one time only. Although two internships can be completed for academic credit (up to six credits), only three credits will count toward the communication major.
  • Independent studies do not count toward the communication major.
  • Special topics courses (CO 0329, CO 0339, and CO 0349) can each be taken twice for credit if the titles of the courses are different.