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The Study of Communications

Mission Statement. The Department of Communications seeks to lead students to an understanding of the theory, practice and ethical implications of their chosen fields in keeping with the university's liberal arts mission to educate undergraduate students for productive, creative, and reflective lives of achievement, leadership and service in a diverse and interconnected world.

Encompassing Theme. The field of communications focuses on how people use messages to generate meaning within and across various contexts, cultures, channels, performances and media. The fields promote effective and ethical practice.

Teacher Certification. The department offers a program leading to teacher certification in communications. Majors choosing this program also complete additional requirements specified by the Department of Education. Please see the Department of Education section for further information.

Internships. The department strongly encourages students to participate in internships. In today's job market graduates face the old paradox of not being able to get the experience necessary to get the jobs that require experience. Internships provide a strong solution to that situation across many fields.

Recent communications internships have included positions with a major advertising agency, a producer's office in New York for a major television talk show, a technology manufacturing corporation, and a television station, as well as an editorial assistant for a publishing firm, and as a public relations assistant for a major symphony orchestra. Other communications interns have worked with a national sports club as a marketing assistant, with several radio stations and newspapers, and at hospitals, a banking institution, and with dozens of other employers.

Honors. The departmental honors program encourages and recognizes outstanding performance in communications. To graduate with department honors, candidates:

  • complete major requirements under guidance of a faculty advisor,
  • petition the department head in writing no later than the end of the junior year,
  • maintain a 3.4 cumulative GPA in department courses,
  • produce an acceptable written or production thesis based on one year of senior research/production work (COMM:503 Honors Study) beyond the required 48 semester hours,
  • submit the thesis at least two weeks prior to graduation, and
  • successfully complete an oral defense of the honor thesis.

Honors work not meeting the required standards will be applied as a university elective course. Departmental honors may be taken separately from or in conjunction with the university Honors program.

Honor Societies. Lambda Pi Eta (communication) and The Society for Collegiate Journalists (journalism). Students who meet the requisite national and local standards are eligible to join these national honorary societies.

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