• Students Listening

    Major in Communication Studies

    The communication studies major involves students in critical inquiry and informed practice. Because communication pervades all human enterprise, communication professionals have a special responsibility to create and analyze messages with critical attention to the processes that shape them, the information that supports them, the arguments that are made, and the effects messages produce. Communication is central to our personal and social lives, enables us to participate meaningfully in civic life, and good communication skills are valued highly by employers. Whether the messages are verbal or nonverbal, face-to-face or mediated, private or public, as a communication studies student you will be challenged to create, describe, analyze, explain, and evaluate them as a knowledgeable communicator. Communication studies will help you develop your ability to:

    • Analyze communication interaction processes,
    • Analyze the interaction between diversity and communication,
    • Evaluate the effects of communication in various contexts,
    • Critique rhetorical acts,
    • Formulate questions related to communication problems and devise ways to answer those questions, and
    • Develop your own communicative competence.


    The communication studies major is composed of several required core courses and additional courses chosen in conjunction with the program advisor. Students choose additional courses depending upon their individual interests and the direction they wish to pursue in the field. Communication studies faculty work closely with students to direct them to coursework that will be most beneficial to them given their academic and career interests.

    Communication studies majors are encouraged to participate in the collaborative research program as a way to pursue advanced level study with a faculty member. Majors are also encouraged to do an internship, which can be done for major credit if supervised by a communication studies faculty member (see the Bulletin description of internships). Communication studies majors have been interns in areas such as social services, human resources, print media, broadcast media, public relations and advertising, event planning, education, law, and others. International internships are available, and are required of students who pursue the certificate in international journalism (see Hamline’s Certificate in International Journalism in this Bulletin).

    The Theatre Arts and Communication Studies Department operates a TV studio that supports original student video productions. A video production course is offered regularly through the theatre arts side of the department.

    The communication studies major is appropriate for students pursuing a general liberal arts degree who desire flexible preparation applicable to many contexts. It is a strong major for those who intend to go to law school, who want to go into teaching, and who are interested in sales, management training, social work, community organizing, mediation and conflict resolution, broadcasting, journalism, public relations, advertising, media analysis, graduate school in communication studies and related areas, and other careers.

    The communication studies major also prepares students for careers and/or graduate study in several different specializations. Communication studies faculty are prepared to support students who wish to specialize in areas such as communication in relational contexts (for example, interpersonal, group, and organizational communication), strategic communication processes (such as argumentation, political and campaign communication, public relations, and advertising), and media studies (including journalism, global media studies, and media production). Some students may also be interested in pursuing the certificate in international journalism in addition to the communication studies major. (See Hamline’s Certificate in International Journalism in this Bulletin.) Faculty members regularly advise students in designing a course plan to achieve the desired specialization. Students majoring in communication studies have also participated in the 3-3 Law School Early Admission Program. See that website for more information: http://www.hamline.edu/cla/3-3/

    Communication Studies Major Requirements

    The communication studies major consists of at least 11 courses chosen in consultation with your communication studies major advisor.

    Required core courses:

    One course chosen from:

    At least one course in culture and communication:

    At least three upper level courses in communication processes:

    One additional elective:

    In addition to the upper level courses listed above, the following courses may be applied to the major as electives:

    • COMM 1980/3980/5980 - Special Topics in Communication Studies
    • COMM 3970/5970 - Independent Study in Communication Studies
    • COMM 3990/5990 - Internship in Communication Studies
    • ACTC communication studies courses selected in consultation with your communication studies major advisor
    • THTR 3980 - Special Topics: Video Production
    • COMM 1110 - Public Speaking
    • COMM 1320 - Introduction to Critical Media Studies
    • COMM 3180 - Film Studies (crosslisted as THTR 3180)
    • COMM 5400 - Managing the Performing Arts (cross-listed as THTR 5400)
    • ENG 3320 - Fundamentals of Journalism

    Other Hamline courses recommended (choose one):