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Majors & Minors

The Department of Communication Studies offers a bachelor of arts in communication studies, a minor in communication studies, and a concentration in communication studies if you are in an individual degree program, such as individually designed interdepartmental major (IDIM), bachelor of individualized studies (BIS), and Inter-College Program (ICP).

Communication studies refers to both a practice and an intellectual inquiry. As a student of communication, you will learn to describe, explain, analyze, interpret, and criticize communication. A degree in communication studies at the University of Minnesota is designed to create communication competence & critical literacy in the communication age:

Communication competence, or "critical literacy," in the digital age requires the ability to formulate ethical and theory-informed messages to inform, persuade, or entertain, the ability to create and perform with appropriate technology, and the critical ability to understand and evaluate messages and performances in a variety of media and multicultural contexts. (2006 Strategic Planning Document)

Communication, both as practice and as inquiry, permeates every element of our lives. It shapes how we see, engage, and describe the world. Communication studies is a window through which we understand ourselves, our interactions with others, and our life experiences. As a mode of intellectual inquiry, students come to know how political, cultural, and social processes work communicatively to create meaning, distribute resources, and organize behavior. This poises students well for personal and professional growth as they move through ever-changing career opportunites, and is evidenced by increasing popularity by both students and employers. 

We see communication competence and critical literacy to be central to the goals of a liberal arts education: the cultivation of critical thinking and speaking/writing skills and an understanding of theory and history to comprehend and adapt to changing communicative contexts. Such knowledge is essential for students to be effective citizens and, as study after study documents, to be successful in whatever career they pursue. Beyond its practical value, the study of communication provides a unique perspective toward understanding the myriad manifestations of social interaction.