Communication Studies Major

The BA in Communication Studies is a major in the College of Arts and Sciences for students interested in specializing in digital media studies as an area of expertise. The major helps students develop advanced skills in communications with an emphasis on digital media studies, including multimedia writing, video editing and production, web content strategy and design, and writing for social media platforms.

Communication Studies students acquire a solid grounding in the study of digital communications while exploring current ideas and tools that are shaping the knowledge society. A hallmark of the Communication Studies curriculum is the emphasis on both theory and practice. Not only do students study what is happening at the forefront of emerging communication technologies, they also participate. Students have access to cutting-edge resources as they make and reflect upon media and in the process acquire important skills in teamwork, innovation, design, and entrepreneurship. The major prepares students for careers in digital media including web content strategy and design, social media/community management, and multimedia journalism.

The Department of Communication Studies is committed to excellence in teaching and learning. Faculty are dedicated to the art of thinking across media, platforms, and theories in order to create an innovative and socially responsible curriculum that goes beyond the classroom. Communication Studies students gain hands-on experience by working closely with faculty on a variety of activities.

Goal 1: Students will develop a critical awareness of the impact of media on society.

Outcome 1.1: Students will be able to communicate a critical analysis of the impact of media on society.

Goal 2: Students will understand and apply design theories and approaches to communicative situations.

Outcome 2.1: Students will be able to create media stories and/or artifacts using contemporary design approaches.

Outcome 2.2: Students will be able to conceive, plan, and produce a portfolio of media-related projects individually and through collaboration with others.

Goal 3: Students will develop an understanding communication-related social issues, ethics, and inclusivity.

Outcome 3.1: Students will be able to analyze the relation between media and social responsibility within assignments.

Outcome 3.2: Students will be able to apply elements of social responsibility, ethics, and inclusivity in projects.

The traditional undergraduate programs includes a minimum of 120 credits distributed across three components: A General Education component divided into Signature Courses, Variable Courses, and an Integrative Learning requirement; a Major and Divisional component; and Free Electives. In addition to course requirements as specified in each area, students must complete one certified course in each of the following overlay areas1:

  1. Diversity, Globalization or Non-western Area Studies,
  2. Ethics Intensive
  3. Writing Intensive, and
  4. Diversity

Overlay requirements are part of the 120 credit requirements

General Education Signature Courses

See this page about Signature courses

General Education Variable Courses

See this page about Variable courses. Six to Nine courses

General Education Overlays

See this page about Overlays.

General Education Integrative Learning Component

See this page about Integrative Learning Component. Three courses:

Communication majors must also take three courses in the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) as part of the Integrated Learning Component (ILC) of the GEP. These courses must be outside of the major department. To fulfill the ILC requirement, students should choose three (3) courses from the following:9
Art of Africa/African Diaspora
History of Global Architecture
East Asian Art & Architecture
Latin American Art & Architect
Women, Gender, and Art
Modern Art & Architecture
Contemporary Art & Architect
Digital Photography I
Image Manipulation: Photoshop
Photography & Climate Crisis
Photography: Truth & Privilege
Commercial Photography
Adv. Comm. Studio Photography
History of Photography
Economics of Labor
Economic Development
Environmental Economics
Econ of Poverty & Income Dist
News Reporting
Fact-checking and Fake News
The Art of The Interview
Feature Writing
Sports Journalism
Stunt Journalism
Health, Advocacy, Storytelling
Narrative Medicine
Magazine Writing
Food Writing
Travel Writing
Media, Politics & the Election
Communication and the Law
Media/Culture in South Africa
The Art of Editing
Making our Voices Heard
Fundamentals of Graphic Design
Women in America
American Environmental History
Popular Culture in the US
Italian Society and the Media
Language and Communication
Social Media Discourse
History of Television
Black American Cinema
Digital Filmmaking
Short Film Production
Introduction to Film
History of Narrative Film
American Film
European Cinemas
Five Films
Non-Western World Cinemas
Freedom, Citizenship, Culture
Philosophy of Race
Ethics and Criminal Justice
Politics, Ideology, & Film
Public Opinion & Media
Latin American Politics
Ethnic & Minority Relations
Theories of Crime
Juvenile Justice
Sociology of Gender
Media & Popular Culture
Race and Social Justice
Urban Sociology
Classes and Power in US
Race, Crime & CJ
Cur Evnts in the Sp-Lang Media
Intro to Latin Amer Cultures
Latin American Cinema
Culture and Dictatorship
History on the Big Screen
Comics and Graphic Novels
Narrative & Film of Dem Spain
Christianity and Media
Technology Ethics

Major Requirements

All Communication majors will be assigned a departmental advisor with whom they will consult during the course of their studies and who will help them select a series of course appropriate for both their interests and future careers.

All students complete the seven Core courses and select the remaining five courses from the list of Option Courses.

Core Courses
COM 200Communication Theory/Practice3
COM 201Media and Society3
COM 202Visual Design I3
COM 203Audio/Video I3
COM 371Media Advocacy3
COM 372Intro to Web Design3
COM 480Senior Capstone3
Option Courses
Select five of the following:15
Black Popular Culture
Black Adaptation
Global Digital Media
Advanced Web Design
Media and Community Engagement
Non-Profit Communications
Equity by Design
Mindful Communication
Privacy/Surv in the Dig Era
Visual Design II
Music Protest & Social Justice
Black Women Content Creators
Health Communication Advocacy
Bear Witness:Images/Soc Change
Special Topics/ Com&Digi Media 1
Crime, Justice, & Media
Communications Internship 2
Total Hours36

COM 473 may be repeated provided the topics are different.


Com 491 may be taken a second time but credits will count as a general elective.


Students who have completed both 200 and 201 and have at least junior standing are eligible to take the Internship course as one of their option courses. In order to take the Communications Internship students must be a Communications major and have a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

Independent Study

Communication Studies students with junior or senior standing and an overall GPA of 3.0 may apply for credit in an independent study program. These courses usually cover a topic not typically offered as part of the standard selection of courses, but which will enhance the student's educational objectives. At the end of the semester preceding the semester in which an independent study is sought the interested students should submit a written proposal describing, with particulars, the planned study project. The minimum requirement for such a proposal is that it include a substantial critical and/or creative project, and the name of the appropriate faculty member.