Undergraduate students in the Department of Communication become adept at the top skill mentioned in professional jobs ads: effective communication. They learn how to analyze communication problems, speak and write well, listen ably, and ask good questions. They see how effective communication can improve decisions in the workplace, in public meetings, and in different cultural settings.
Our program shows students how words and gestures may bind people together, enabling them to accomplish valued personal, community and societal goals and, on the flip side, how poorly chosen words and gestures drive people apart, make differences insurmountable, and lead to the escalation of conflict. With a thorough understanding of the concepts of communication and the ability to analyze it, students learn to design communications practices that help people interact better for the benefit of society and their own personal relationships. Our graduates find successful careers in media, government and corporations, or in helping individuals, families and other groups relate to each other better.
MA and PhD students solidify their understanding about communication generally and then focus on one or two communication practices—for example, introducing technological changes in an organization, training parents to communicate well with their children, or helping the public and its leaders engage in civil conversation to make successful policy. Graduate students may also focus on broader topics, such as how race or gender differences play out in institutions, how organizations collaborate, or the role communication plays in public controversies. Graduate students take professional positions in industry or institutions related to their area of focus, or become college professors who teach in one of the many areas of communication.
Department of Communication faculty members are committed to helping students master new and emerging forms of digital and social media so they can become engaged citizens, agents of social change and professional communicators. The department’s membership in CMCI makes students’ educational experience even richer by increasing their access to experts who can help them create media content and distribute it across all of the exciting new platforms available to reach and inform people.