Person giving a presentation in front of screen
Degrees Offered: BA MA PhD

The Department of Communication encourages students to be agents of change—in their personal, work and civic lives. The curriculum blends the best of a broad, liberal arts education with training in practical skills that contribute to career and life success. Cutting across the humanities and social sciences, the BA in Communication is a versatile degree that fosters students’ abilities to understand, analyze and effectively engage in a wide range of communication practices.

The program fosters critical thinking about the ways that symbols and interactions contribute to social problems and solutions to them, to work and personal relationships, to identities and differences and to social experience and meaning in a multicultural and globalizing world. At the same time, the major provides instruction and practice in communication skills that employers are looking for—speaking, listening, reading, writing, analyzing audiences, designing messages, utilizing technology and collaboratively solving problems.

Undergraduate Opportunities

The BA in Communication provides analytic work from both humanistic and social-scientific perspectives, and practical work to improve communication performance in various kinds of situations. Among other areas, students can pursue interests in human relations, organizations and professions, public advocacy, race and gender and communication across cultures. Across all of them, the department provides the intellectual and practical skills to take communication as both a way of seeing how the world works and as a set of tools for changing it. 

The program emphasizes knowledge and awareness of the history and development of communication as an object of scholarly study, including both the humanistic and social-
scientific traditions; the basic contexts in which communication is enacted (e.g., interpersonal, group, organizational and public contexts); the various processes of interaction within these contexts; the basic methods of investigating questions about communication; the ethical issues and responsibilities of communication practice; the diversity of communication styles associated with gender and cultural differences; and the uses and implications of communication technology. Graduates of the program also learn to express ideas in an informed, coherent and effective manner, particularly the ability to articulate and develop a sustained argument, both orally and in writing.

Graduate Studies

The Department of Communication at the University of Colorado Boulder is a vibrant community of scholars whose members share a commitment to excellence and innovation in communication research and teaching.

Graduate study focuses on communication­based problems arising from recent social and technological changes, especially problems associated with processes of interaction, collaboration and participation, deliberation and decision­making. The department offers programs leading to master’s and doctoral degrees, with emphases in the three areas of discourse and society, organizational communication and rhetoric. Students may pursue research within one of these areas or craft individualized programs of study that cut across the areas, and combine humanistic and social scientific methods. In addition to these three main areas, two additional themes cut across the department’s graduate courses: communicative dimensions of science, technology, engineering and medicine; and critical/cultural studies of communication.

The Master of Arts Degree in Communication

The master’s program serves individuals for whom this will be a terminal degree, as well as those seeking ultimately to complete the PhD. In consultation with an advisor, MA students may select one of two options for the completion of requirements: thesis or course work with examination. 

The PhD in Communication

The PhD in Communication provides graduate students with a solid core of advanced work in the communication discipline. Graduates earn academic positions at all levels of higher education, including research universities, liberal arts colleges and teaching-centered universities. The degree is also appropriate for certain non­academic careers, such as consulting.