The need for communication skills has never been more critical. Employers consistently cite communication skills as a major requirement for success in professional careers. A major in communication studies can help you acquire and learn to use those skills effectively.
Students of communication studies learn to analyze written, oral, visual, and electronic messages from historical, critical, and social science perspectives. They also learn to produce such messages as a means of artistic and functional expression.
Students interested in this major need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
The A. Craig Baird Debate Forum gives students the opportunity to conduct on-campus debates, to promote speech and debate activities in the state through developmental programs, and to participate in competitive intercollegiate debate and individual events.
Lambda Pi Eta, the honors society in communication studies, invites outstanding students to become members.
Several study abroad programs offer credit that counts toward the communication studies major, including the CIMBA program in Paderno del Grappa, Italy. CIMBA offers semester-long programs and a four-week summer program.
Visit with advisers in the Study Abroad program and talk with the department’s educational adviser about how to earn study abroad credit toward the communication studies major. They also can advise you on coordinating registration and other processes when you study abroad.
Internships provide students with opportunities to supplement their classroom work with professional job experiences in communication-related environments. Internships are not required, but you may be able to earn 1-3 semester hours of academic credit for an internship experience.
The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college.
The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships. There also are major-specific scholarships for students who have earned a number of credits in the major. Additional information is available on the Communication Studies website.
The Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in communication studies is designed to help you develop a basic understanding of communication as a symbolic action and then move on to more advanced concepts.
The department’s core courses focus on media and society, interpersonal and relational communication, and rhetorical and discourse studies. They cover study areas including interpersonal, group, organizational, professional, and intercultural communication; integration of speaking and listening skills; verbal and nonverbal interaction; argumentation and persuasion; and media technologies.
You'll study the foundations of communication and then progress to advanced courses that emphasize four approaches to communication:
- The practice of communication
- The context of communication
- Communication research and criticism
- Communication theory
Students in the major are not required to select an emphasis area but instead are encouraged to build creative combinations of course work that suit personal learning and career goals. The major culminates with a capstone course experience in which students will participate directly with a faculty member in producing knowledge, research, or creative work. Students are encouraged to complete a second major or a minor in another discipline or to earn a certificate.
Students in this major also need to complete the GE CLAS Core requirements.
See Communication Studies in the UI General Catalog to learn more about the major or minor and graduating with honors.