Undergraduate Major in Communication Studies

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 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. Students with a bachelor’s degree in communication are prepared to become responsible leaders, engaged citizens and pioneering problem-solvers in their communities and chosen fields of work.



About Communication Studies

Communication Studies Major Goals & Curriculum

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


Students are required to complete 42 units, leading to the bachelor of philosophy in communication (BPhilCom) degree. The degree includes distribution, writing, and elective courses, and the major requirements.

Communication Studies major requirements:
4 Core Courses
  • COMM ST 102 Public Speaking
  • COMM ST 205 Theories of Persuasion
  • Choice of one: COMM ST 215 Principles of Rhetorical Criticism, COMM ST 225 Communication and Culture, or COMM ST 275 Persuasive Images
  • Choice of one: COMM ST 227 Communication and Technology, COMM ST 246 Health Communication, or COMM ST 270 Theories of Mediated Communication
2 Seminars
  • COMM ST 294 First-year Seminar
  • COMM ST 394 Undergraduate Research Seminar
6 Communication Studies courses
  • 1 200 or 300-level COMM ST courses
  • 5 300-level COMM ST courses

Undergraduate Communication Studies Courses

Explore Undergraduate Communication Studies Courses for descriptions, locations, and schedules. Classes are held on Northwestern's Evanston or downtown Chicago campuses, and meet once weekly in the evening or on Saturdays.

Major in Communication Studies Admission & Transfer Policy

Application to Northwestern University School of Professional Studies bachelor's degree programs is completed online. Once admitted, many students create a shorter path to degree completion by applying transfer credit. View detailed application instructions and transfer credit policies on the Admission & Transfer Policy page.

Communication Studies Tuition & Financial Aid

The School of Professional Studies offers competitive tuition rates for undergraduate courses. The Tuition & Financial Aid page lists current per-course tuition rates in addition to financial aid and scholarship opportunities.

Registration for Communication Studies Majors

Registration for courses opens 8 to 10 weeks before each quarter and is accessed CAESAR,  Northwestern's online student records system. View course registration timelines and instructions on the Registration Information page.

Career Options for Communication Studies Majors

Communication Studies Career Options are wide-ranging. Majors are prepared future work and study in a variety of fields.

Find out more about the Major in Communication Studies

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