Major

The Communication major consists of four key parts. The College’s official catalogue offers detailed descriptions of all courses. Below are quick “takes” on the courses within each part, emphasizing what they will teach you. 

What Courses Are Offered in the Major?

A friendly communications classroom.Part 1 Communication Skills Core

The first two courses will equip you with basic communication skills:

  • COMM 210 — Principles of Public Communication
    Learn the fundamentals of preparing and delivery a public presentation.
  • COMM 215 — Interpersonal and Small Group Communication
    Learn what research says about one-on-one and group communication; practice effective conversational and group communication skills.

Select a third course from a menu of courses spanning Communication Studies, English, Film Studies, Foreign Literature, and Journalism. The following three Communication Studies courses are included in this menu:

  • COMM 221 — Oral Interpretation of Literature
    Study how to use voice and gesture to offer an effective rendition of a poem, a story, or a dramatic scene.
  • COMM 225 — Media Writing 
    Develop an understanding of how different media work and develop skills writing copy, designing documents, and planning visual components in traditional media and new media.
  • COMM 320 — Argumentation
    Study how to construct effective arguments in a variety of disciplinary contexts; practice offering them orally.

Part 2 Communication Theory and Research Methods Core

The next two courses are required and will provide you with the theoretical and methodological foundations for advanced coursework in the major:

  • COMM 301 — Communication Theory
    Explore the frameworks through which communication studies researchers view interpersonal, group, organizational, public, and mediated communication.
  • COMM 302 — Communication Research Methods
    Master the social science methods used to design, conduct, and analyze gathered data from research studies in communication.

Part 3 Advanced Courses in Rhetoric, Human Communication, and Media Studies

Choose among these elective classes, steering your program in the direction you desire. You may also petition the program director to count other courses as your elective(s).

  • COMM 303 — Communication Law and Ethics Learn how the courts have interpreted the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as media have expanded from public assembly and press to broadcast to cyberspace; discuss the range of ethical questions facing those in a variety of communication situations.
  • COMM 305 — Health Communication Explore the theories and scholarship of health communication.  An examination of the health-care process, regarding physical, mental, and social health issues, will be explored as it relates to several contexts including interpersonal, family, cultural, mass-mediated, public and organizational perspectives.
  • COMM 307 — Political Communication Survey political campaigns since the 1950s; learn about how American presidents, the U.S. Congress and Supreme Court communicate.
  • COMM 308 — American Campaigns and Elections Investigate contemporary political campaigns, especially how they have used media resources and how media have covered them.
  • COMM 309 — American Public Address Explore the texts of the 20th Century’s most important speeches as well as the contexts in which they occurred.
  • COMM 311 — Rhetorical Criticism Learn many approaches to interpreting critically a wide variety of “texts” from public speeches to public places; discover what theoreticians such as Aristotle, Burke, Foucault, and Bakhtin contribute to one’s understanding of public discourse.
  • COMM 312 — Organizational Communication Learn about the role that communication plays in constructing effective organizations and the effects of specific communication choices on people within and across organizations.
  • COMM 313 — The Rhetoric of Public Places Explore how public sites, such as museums, parks, shopping malls, or sports stadia operate to communicate particular messages to their visitors.
  • COMM 320 — Argumentation Study how to construct effective arguments in a variety of disciplinary contexts; practice offering them orally
  • COMM 330 — Relational Communication Explore in much more detail than in COMM 215 the research on interpersonal communication in relationships ranging from the intimate to the academic; learn about the positive and negative dynamics of such relationships.
  • COMM 331 — Conflict and Communication Explore communication theory and scholarship related to conflict, conflict management, and conflict resolution from both a theoretical and skills-based perspective. This course will examine how communication plays a vital role in the development and management of conflict situations in a variety of contexts including interpersonal, intercultural and organizational perspectives.
  • COMM 332 — Intercultural Communication Explore cultures, global cultures and cultures within the United States, by identifying and critically analyzing the influences cultures have on communication especially as encountered in personal relationships, education, organizations, politics, health care, and media consumption.
  • COMM 333 — Family Communication Explore the nature of family communication.  Specifically, an examination of the changing and complex definition of the family; a discussion of the various family forms and family diversity; and an examination of family interaction from different theoretical lenses, addressing the role of family identities, structure, conflict, and stress on family communication.
  • COMM 334 — Leadership Communication Understand different approaches to leadership and learn specific skills towards becoming an effective leader.
  • COMM 361 — Gender Issues in Communication Learn how communication differs with gender; discover how gender is portrayed in the media; explore how communication and gender interact in contexts such as relationships and careers.
  • COMM 362 — Media Diversity Examine how different categories of diversity are represented in the media from the perspectives of both the consumers and the producers.
  • COMM 363 — Public Relations Learn specific skills related to developing public relation strategies and tactics as they relate to nonprofit, government, and corporate entities.
  • COMM 364 — Broadcasting Critically explore the field of broadcasting from theoretical, historical, and practical perspectives.
  • COMM 450— Internship in Communication Studies Work and learn in a variety of job contexts ranging from corporate communications to public relations to broadcasting.

Part 4 Problem-Centered Capstone

Finally, round out the major with a final culminating course!

  • COMM 490 — Capstone Seminar in Communication Studies Join other seniors in investigating a “problem” area such as adolescence or lack of civic engagement or man- or nature-caused disasters from a variety of communication studies perspectives. Conduct and present your research relevant to the chosen “problem” area.