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.

Why Iowa?

Communication Studies is one of the most popular majors at Iowa. Students develop the knowledge and skills to meet today's increasingly complex communication challenges.

Iowa’s program will help you understand how face-to-face and media-based communications influence and shape our everyday lives, including social interaction, work, public opinion, economic activities, and politics. You’ll learn how to analyze and evaluate communication practices critically and how to use practical oral, written, and visual communication. You’ll also prepare to move into any number of professions in which you’ll use effective communication skills to engage with other people.

Admission Requirements

Students interested in this major need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


Communication Studies
Communication Studies
  Honors Courses
  Four-Year Graduation Plan
Admission Process

Careers and Outcomes

Iowa graduates have a 95 percent job/grad school placement rate within six months of graduation. Our  Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs. 

As a Communication Studies graduate, you’ll have numerous career options. The major provides solid preparation for employment in almost any job that requires effective critical thinking and communication skills. Graduates find work in fields such as the arts, entertainment, and media industries; consulting; sales and marketing; human resources; and public advocacy.

Student Opportunities

In addition to having nearly 500 Student Organizations, Iowa students choose from more than 100 Study Abroad programs and multiple Undergraduate Research Opportunities.

Lambda Pi Eta, the honors society in Communication Studies, invites outstanding students to become members.

Study Abroad

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 advisors in the Study Abroad Program and talk with the department’s educational advisor 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.

Communication Studies at Iowa

Communication Studies is one of the largest majors in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa. As an undergraduate major, you will learn about communication practices and processes, contexts in which communication occurs, and the theories and research that faculty and others use to understand communication in all its varieties.

Our students share what it's like to major in Communication Studies at the University of Iowa.


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 coursework 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.

View Communication Studies in the UI General Catalog to learn more about the major or minor and graduating with honors.