Communication studies is a flexible major that gives you the knowledge and skills needed for a strong foundation in a media or communication career.

Programs of Study

Major or Minor in Communication Studies
or Communication Studies and Theatre Art

All students majoring in communication studies are strongly encouraged to select one or more emphasis areas to focus their studies. Students are encouraged to discuss their unique interests with their advisors to plan a course of study. The following options are some of the most common areas that students choose.

Communication Studies Emphases

Applied Media Emphasis

This emphasis is for students who want a hands-on approach to contemporary media production skills and techniques. It is appropriate for those pursuing a variety of career paths, including information technology, advertising, integrated marketing, and online news production. Students interested in careers in journalism are encouraged to secure a complementary major or minor in English or multimedia journalism.

Cultural Communication Emphasis

An emphasis in cultural communication is a good choice for students interested in the theories and practice of interaction between and among people of different cultures. Potential careers in this emphasis would include international organizations, diplomacy, international business, government, and foreign language based employment.

Communication Methods Emphasis

Focus in this emphasis is placed on the use of research methods and techniques to provide answers for communication-related questions. This emphasis provides strong preparation for those planning to do graduate study whether as preparation for an academic career or for work in research-related areas such as marketing or training.

Film Emphasis

The department offers a number of courses related to analysis, criticism and some production. A film studies minor is also available.

Gender Communication Emphasis

Students who want to explore how gender is communicated, performed and functions in both personal and public settings may find this emphasis an interesting choice. Those interested in social justice and advocacy issues, or who simply want to better understand how gender impacts everyday life, should consider adding this emphasis.

Multimedia Journalism Emphasis

For students who have interests in journalism in a variety of print, broadcast and other electronic venues, the department has coursework geared toward journalistic careers and would encourage students also to pursue courses in the English department. An interdisciplinary multimedia journalism major is also available.

Organizational Communication Emphasis

Choose this emphasis if you are interested in communication in contemporary organizations. This emphasis is appropriate for those who see themselves moving into supervisory or management positions in a wide array of organizations. Careers options include supervisor with a not-for-profit organization, pastor or youth director, human resources professional, communication consultant, training and development specialist and, of course, business management.

Public Relations Emphasis

Students choosing this emphasis will focus on the theories and practice of public relations, including PR writing, campaigns, crisis communication, and persuasive strategies. Students interested in careers in PR, event planning, strategic communication, social media management, promotions, and marketing communication would benefit from choosing this emphasis.

Relational Communication Emphasis

This emphasis is for those who want to understand relational dynamics in personal and professional settings. Students interested in developing interaction competencies in friendships, families and work relationships, or aspire to positions in leadership, management, teaching, or human resources may find this emphasis a valuable addition to their major.

Rhetorical Studies Emphasis

Students choosing this emphasis will focus on coursework in the art of rhetorical analysis, including theory and application to traditional and non-traditional artifacts and objects of study, to include film and other avenues of popular culture. Students in the emphasis may likely pursue graduate school, teaching, law school, political consulting and speechwriting, and other related fields.

Social Media Emphasis

This emphasis area will help students understand the ways in which social media affects human communication, as well as the theory and practice of social media use. Students interested in careers in social media management, as well as all students who are curious about the changing place of social media in the modern world, should consider choosing this emphasis area.

Major in Communication Studies with Communication Arts/Literature Education 

This major prepares students to be recommended by the education department for Minnesota licensure to teach communication studies with communication arts/literature in grades 5-12. Must be admitted to the teacher education program.

Undergraduate Academic Certificate in Business and Professional Communication

Students in this certificate program will focus on skills specially aligned with communication in business and professional settings, including interviewing and public speaking.

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