Program Overview:

Undergraduate Communication Studies Major

The study of human communication ranges from interpersonal processes such as persuasion and relationship formation to organizational processes such as group leadership and dispute resolution. It investigates the strategies and styles of public deliberation and debate, as well as political and cultural practice involving mass media and telecommunications systems.

Communication studies is an ideal major for students with multiple interests and diverse talents; the discipline provides theory, tools, and techniques for analyzing, managing and improving communication in every arena of professional and personal interaction. Courses in communication studies challenge the mind, broaden one’s views, and develop in students an increased awareness of and skill in communication practices. Communication studies majors are prepared to become responsible leaders, engaged citizens and pioneering problem-solvers in their communities and chosen fields of work.

Program Goals

Graduates will be prepared to:

  • Apply communication theories and concepts in life situations
  • Construct well-reasoned arguments
  • Design and present effective messages
  • Be knowledgeable in theories of organizational communication and in basic rhetorical and critical perspectives from classical and modern traditions
  • Demonstrate communication skills needed to effectively work with others individually and in group settings
  • Demonstrate understanding of effective leadership skills, group processes, and the function of communication networking in organizations


  • Bachelor of Philosophy in Communication - 45 units

    The bachelor of philosophy in communication (BPhilCom) is conferred by the School of Communication.The BPhilCom is an interdisciplinary professional degree and is awarded to students who major in Communication Studies, Communication Systems, or Radio/Television/Film. To earn the BPhilCom degree, students must complete a total of 45 units, including a writing requirement, distribution requirements, a major and electives. Minors are optional.

Distribution Requirements

  • English - 2 units

    • ENGLISH 111 or ENGLISH 205
    • ENGLISH 113

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  • Humanities – 3 units

    3 courses from the following areas: art history, classics, comparative literary studies, English literature, foreign languages (up to two units), history, music history, philosophy, religion, and some courses in African American studies, foreign languages with literature, gender studies, performance studies, radio/television/film, Slavic languages and literature and theatre.

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  • Social Sciences – 3 units

    3 courses from the following areas: anthropology, economics, history, linguistics, political science, sociology, and some courses in African American studies, gender studies, psychology and statistics.

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  • Science – 3 units

    3 courses from the following areas: astronomy, biological sciences, chemistry, earth and planetary sciences, engineering, geography, information systems, mathematics, physics and some courses in anthropology, psychology, radio/television/film and statistics.

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  • Psychology – 3 units

    3 courses in psychology.

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Communication Studies Major Requirements

  • COMM ST  102  Public Speaking

    A student-centered approach to public speaking with emphasis on improving speaking skills, this course includes role-playing, class discussion, laboratory experiences, and speaking performance. Social-psychological aspects of public speaking are also covered.

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  • COMM ST  205  Theories of Persuasion

    This course will provide a survey of persuasive theories with an emphasis on the civic, interpersonal and commercial dimensions of persuasive efforts. Students will be introduced to the vocabulary and concepts necessary to create and to critique persuasive acts, including media theory and rhetorical theory. The course will rely on contemporary examples of persuasion from a wide variety of sources and students will acquire practical skills relevant to their performances as professionals, citizens and scholars.

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  • COMM ST  220  Theories of Argumentation

    Argumentation is the study of effective reasoning. It considers how people give reasons to justify their acts, beliefs, attitudes, and values and to influence the thought and action of others. This course explores how to analyze and evaluate arguments as well as how to construct and challenge arguments in interpersonal settings, in the public forum, and in the mass media. The course includes both lecture and discussion, and students will be encouraged to contribute contemporary topics of interest through a series of short reports.

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  • COMM ST  250  Leadership and Decision Making

    This course simulates how teams can and should work together and how teams make decisions in "the real world." Ideally, success in this class will help students succeed in other team settings on campus and elsewhere. Theories and research relating to the various processes by which leaders make decisions, affect group behavior, and engage groups in a variety of task- and strategy-related outcomes is covered, and group communication is stressed, with a particular emphasis on change and conflict.

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  • COMM ST  270  Theories of Mediated Communication

    This course's primary topic is mediated communication – the use of mass media to communicate cultural messages to large/diverse audiences – such as books, newspapers, magazines, radio, sound recording, movies, television and the internet (smart media are mentioned). The learning objectives of the course are: exploring/applying theories of mediated communication; understanding the history/development of mass media; using/learning the critical literacy process to help understand mass media; identifying/discussing the changes that the internet has caused in mass media especially with convergence. The student will learn to be a critical thinker about the mass media in their everyday cultural lives. 

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  • 9 courses in communication studies or RTVF   
  •           6 of these must be COMM ST courses, at least 5 at 300 level; no more than 2 units of COMM ST 399