• Communication Studies Major

    Communication Studies Major Program

    The communication studies program involves students in critical inquiry and informed practice. All human enterprise depends upon communication, therefore 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, in our families, and in our work. Skill in communication is consistently identified as one of the most important abilities employers value and seek when hiring.  Knowing how to effectively communicate also enables us to participate meaningfully in civic life.  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 and evaluate the effects of communication in various contexts including communication in public and personal settings, and when using technology
    • Understand and analyze the interaction of diversity with communication
    • Recognize what is necessary to work as a productive member of a group or team
    • Ask relevant questions about communication and formulate ways to answer those questions
    • Develop your own ability to communicate competently in various contexts including when communicating face-to-face, in small or large groups, in organizations, across diverse cultures, and using technology

    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. 

    The department of theatre arts operates a TV studio that supports original student video productions. A video production course is offered regularly through Theatre Arts, and can be applied to the Communication Studies major. In addition, the Communication Studies Department works closely with the digital media arts program.

    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). Faculty members regularly advise students in designing a course plan to achieve the desired specialization.  Hamline University's 3-3 program, in partnership with Mitchell Hamline School of Law, allows highly talented and motivated students to pursue a variety of paths to law school. Students majoring in communication studies have very successfully participated in this program. See this website for more information: https://www.hamline.edu/cla/legal-studies/3-3-law-school-early-admission/


    Major Requirements: Communication Studies

    The communication studies major consists of at least 11 courses chosen in consultation with your communication studies major advisor. For course descriptions, see communication studies courses.

    Required core courses:

    One course chosen from:

    • COMM 5010 - Departmental Honors Research (application and approval required)

    At least one course in culture and communication:

    • Or appropriate COMM 3980 Special Topics in Communication (can only be used if pre-approved by your communication studies major advisor)

    At least three upper level courses in communication processes:

    • (if not used to fulfill the Culture & Communication requirement above)
    • (if not used to fulfill the Culture & Communication requirement above)
    • COMM 3980 - Special Topics in Communication (can be used only if approved by your communication studies major advisor, and if not used to fulfill the Culture & Community requirement above)

    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

    Other Hamline courses recommended:

    • Or
  • Law School Early Admission (3-3) Option

    Students seeking to enter law school may pursue this major through the Law School Early Admission (3-3) Program. If interested, meet with the Communication Studies Department Chair and a Legal Studies faculty member by the end of your first year at Hamline.

    Visit the Law School Early Admission (3-3) Program for more details.