Communication Major

Communication involves the study of verbal and nonverbal messages across a variety of contexts. These contexts include relationships, organizations, healthcare, and the media. Content is driven by research, and students will leave having formed their own evidence-based recommendations for practice. Ideally, coursework in communication will enhance students’ personal, professional, and public lives. 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, health, 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 10 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, enroll in service learning courses, 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, health 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 requirements of the communication foundations and the areas of interest are detailed as follows:

Communication Foundations
COMM 1100Human Communication Theories 13
COMM 1101Argument and Advocacy 13
COMM 1130Mass Media and Society 23
COMM 2200Interpersonal Communication Theories 23
COMM 4999Capstone: Research Projects in Communication 33
Communication Interests
Select five additional communication courses, including at least one 3000- or 4000-level course 415
Total Credits30


  • Under special circumstances, and 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.
  • COMM 4980 Internship may be counted toward the major once only. Although two internships may 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 (COMM 4339 and COMM 4900) may each be taken twice for credit if the titles of the courses are different.

Magis Core Curriculum

Beginning with the Class of 2023, all undergraduate students will be required to complete the Magis Core Curriculum. Please refer to the Curricula section of this undergraduate catalog for a detailed explanation of the Magis Core.