Courses of Study 2021-2022 
    Dec 02, 2022  
Courses of Study 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


In the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences .

Course Offerings  

The Department of Communication begins from the premise that, to understand communication in its many forms and contexts, it should be understood as a fundamentally social phenomenon. Communication is a process engaged in by people, between people, and with the aim of influencing people. It happens inside of real social contexts, whether that be communities, organizations, teams, or cultures. It happens with the aid of technologies that are themselves a product of the social world. For us, this means the study of communication draws its theoretical strength and methodological rigor from the social sciences. We are therefore committed to engaging in grounded, empirical research, drawn from an array of social science traditions and a variety of research methodologies, and both developing and applying novel theoretical perspectives to the most pressing social and policy issues of the day. This includes a focus on the social dynamics and effects of media, the psychological workings and sociological implications of information technologies, the workings of persuasion and social influence, and the particular communication challenges around science, environment, and health. We are also convinced that students should have a fluency in statistics, have a chance to engage in research if they choose, and develop the professional acuity, particularly around writing and presentation, they will need to tackle the conceptual questions they encounter here to the particular professions they will pursue.

Communication majors learn how

  • Develop familiarity with ideas fundamental to scholarship in the social sciences, with mastery of principles of key communication theories.
  • Demonstrate understanding of how processes of social influence operate in communication contexts including science, media and technology.
  • Apply systematic analytic skills to pressing social and policy issues.
  • Develop communication knowledge and skills to enter into and succeed in complex social organizations.
  • Recognize the foundations, assumptions, and methods of communication research, and be able to apply a wide range of empirical research methods to diverse intellectual questions.
  • Write and speak lucidly, logically, and intelligently.

The communication major is a program with a strong emphasis on contemporary communication knowledge, theory, and practice.


L. M. Humphreys, chair; D. Bailey, N. N. Bazarova, C. P. Byrne, S. E. Byrne, E. L. Chambliss, J. Cohen, B. E. Duffy, S. R. Fussell, B. V. Lewenstein, N. Lewis, Jr., D. Margolin, J. N. Matias, K. A. McComas, P. L. McLeod, J. D. Niederdeppe, D. E. Schrader, J. P. Schuldt, K. Sender, M. A. Shapiro, A. S. Won, Y. C. Yuan


In addition to the major requirements outlined below, all students must meet the college graduation requirements .

The Communication major consists of a minimum of 41 credits taken within the Communication Department, plus 3 credits of a First-Year Writing Seminar (or equivalent) and 3 credits of statistics, both taken outside of the Department of Communication, for a total of 47 credit hours.

  1. Core Courses (13 Credits)
  2. Concentration Introductory Courses (6 Credits)
  3. Data Literacy (7 Credits)
  4. Concentration Upper Level Courses (6 Credits)
  5. Upper-Level Electives (9 Credits)
  6. Communication Practica (3 Credits)

Required courses:

Communication core courses (should be completed by the end of 2nd year):

Research and data literacy required courses:


(students must take at least two concentration introductory courses to choose between to declare a concentration, and then two upper-level Communication courses in their chosen concentration area):

Additional Requirements:

After completing the courses in the core curriculum, two introductory concentration courses, and the data literacy classes, all majors take an additional 15 credits of upper level Communication courses distributed among advanced electives and concentration requirements. Students are also required to take 3 credits of communication practica to strengthen their writing and presentation skills. Students must also complete 3 credits of college-level writing (first-year writing workshop or equivalent) and 3 credits of college-level statistics. In consultation with their advisers, students declare one of four defined concentrations within Communication appropriate to specific educational and career goals.

1. Communication media studies (CMS):

Students focusing in CMS will investigate the forces that shape media in contemporary society, investigating how what we see and hear comes to be. They will also analyze and understand the psychological, social, and cultural processes that are, in turn, affected by media - from politics to entertainment to news to the very question of what we understand as real about ourselves and true about the world around us. Students may pursue careers in the media industries, in designing the laws and policies regarding media, in business, legal or other graduate study, or in the service of making media better; most of all, they will be more informed and astute citizens in a highly mediated world.

2. Communication and technology (CAT):

Students focusing in CAT will explore how people communicate and connect using communication technologies. They will investigate the social, and psychological and cultural dimensions of the design, use, and evaluation of communication and information technologies. Students will learn the dynamics between design, use, and effects of technologies such as social media, mobile apps, virtual reality, collaborative work platforms, online discussion forums, videogames, among others. Possible career paths include social media managers, information systems designer, research analyst, user interface designers, software designers, usability specialist, technology writer, and business, legal and other graduate study.

3. Communication and social influence (CSI):

CSI focuses on understanding the complex relationship between individuals, groups, organizations, communities, and cultures that affect thoughts, feelings, and behavior. CSI emphasizes positive, ethical, and effective communication in various contexts. Students learn to use evidence-based communication principles, theories, and methods to analyze, design, and evaluate communication processes and outcomes. Possible career paths include public policy, public relations, social marketing, polling, human resources, governance, business, and law.

4. Communication, environment, science, and health (CESH):

Students focusing in CESH will investigate how communication shapes public understanding of science, health, environmental, and risk-related issues – and science itself. While exploring conceptual and theoretical issues, students will learn specific skills for communicating science, health, environmental, and risk information with a variety of audiences. Possible career paths include public information officer, science writer, environmental educator/outreach specialist, museum educator, environmental or health-risk communicator, and business, legal and other graduate study.

Additional Information:

Detailed information on the distribution of courses is available from the department.

In designing the communication major, the faculty of the department has considered students’ need to understand contemporary research-based knowledge about communication as well as their need to be competent communicators in the workplace and in society at large.

Through the Department of Communication, CALS students may complete a minor program of study in communication or a minor program of study in information science or both.


The minor in communication consists of 22 credits. Students must complete COMM 1101  and one of the following concentration introduction courses: COMM 2200 , COMM 2450 , COMM 2760 , or COMM 2850 . Students must also choose two courses from the following list, only one of which can be a writing course: COMM 1300 , COMM 2010 , COMM 2310 , COMM 2820 , COMM 3010 COMM 3020 , COMM 3030 COMM 3040 COMM 3060 , COMM 3070 , COMM 3080  + COMM 3081 , or COMM 3090 . Students also complete three upper level elective courses, which must be at the 3100–4000 level*, totaling 9 credit hours, excluding COMM 4960  and COMM 4980 . Three credits from an additional concentration introduction course (COMM 2200 , COMM 2450 , COMM 2760 , or COMM 2850 ), COMM 4970  and/or COMM 4990  can be used as an upper level course.

Students should contact the Department of Communication to enroll in the Communication minor.

*Some upper level courses may be cross listed with other departments and therefore may have lower numbers than 3100-4000. Please check with the Communication Department and consult their website for an updated list of courses that will fulfill the upper level elective requirement.