BA in Communication Studies

The BA in Communication Studies prepares students for professions in a multitude of fields including work in television, the study of human interaction, persuasion, and more. Our majors graduate with critical thinking and an acute understanding of electronic media and interpersonal interaction.

Professional application of the communication studies major is broad, as communication is vital to our everyday interactions. Communication studies graduates go on to career areas that span media, marketing, public relations, non-profit administration, public advocacy, and beyond. Popular graduate school paths include law programs, counseling, social work, and graduate school for communication studies.

The communication studies major examines human communication using both humanistic and social scientific methods. Fields of study include rhetorical theory and criticism; political communication; ethics; and interpersonal, small group, organizational, intercultural, and electronic media (broadcasting, cable, satellite, internet) forms of communication. There are three specific emphases under the umbrella of communication studies: rhetorical studies, critical media studies, and interpersonal communication. Most students combine courses from each area to best prepare them for their chosen career paths. Course suggestions for popular career paths can be found on the career exploration page.

Students completing their first and/or only major in communication studies are required to complete a capstone project in the major. Learn more about the capstone project.

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Rhetorical Studies

Courses in rhetorical studies approach communication studies as a humane study. Course work includes argumentation and persuasion, ethics, rhetorical theory and criticism, and American public address. Students may also pursue special interests in rhetorical philosophies, movements and campaigns, popular culture, or historical and contemporary political speaking.

Critical Media Studies

Critical media studies examines current patterns of opinion and expression in all facets of the media. Critical media studies approaches mediated communication as a cultural form that is socially influential, economically powerful, and politically significant. Coursework emphasizes qualitative, historical, and critical approaches to the study of media texts, audiences, institutions, policies, and economics. Topics covered in the curriculum include feminist media studies, media, race, and identity; political economy of media, audience reception and effects, popular culture, and media regulation and industries. Coursework outside the department is usually in the fields of American studies, cultural studies, political science, sociology, or women's studies. In the subdivision of media production, courses focus on the creation of television, film, and other electronic mediums.

Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal communication studies how people communicate person-to-person. Coursework in interpersonal communication has a social science (i.e., empirical) orientation, and, most broadly defined, it focuses on the processes underlying interpersonal communication. Students can take courses in persuasion, message processing, small group communication, family communication, intercultural communication, linguistics, or computer mediated communication.