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Department of

Communication Studies


Informational Handout for Communication Studies Majors (PDF)

The Communication Studies Major


Communication studies is firmly committed to academic excellence through promoting a rigorous and relevant curriculum grounded in the liberal arts tradition. We approach communication as the primary social process: the various modes of human communication forge and maintain individual identity and collective organization. Our curriculum offers an integrated approach to communication, providing depth and breadth of knowledge, and experience for undergraduate students competent in the construction, reception, and analysis of messages, which give shape to our world. Communication studies prepare students to participate in the professional, social, and civic life in an ethical, intellectually curious, and engaged manner.

Students who complete the major will have knowledge of foundational theories of communication; prevailing communication research paradigms; media industry structure and practices; prevailing criticism of media practice and performance; media influence on individuals and groups; the interplay of media systems in a global context; roles and functions of communication in interpersonal, group, organizational, and public contexts; conventions of public address and advocacy; and the impact and ethics of persuasion. Students will also have the ability to think critically; develop and present an argument; conduct and evaluate social scientific, interpretive, and critical research; communicate effectively in interpersonal, group, organizational, and public contexts; and invent, arrange, and deliver effective and ethical messages via oral, print, and electronic modes.

All students in the communication studies major must complete 39 units of coursework in the major, including 15 units of lower division core courses, 6 units of upper division core courses, and an additional 18 units divided into 6 units of Human Communication course, 6 units of Media Studies courses, and 6 elective units from upper division offerings.

Practical experience is a valuable addition to the undergraduate major and the department offers opportunities for students to work in student media production as well as participating in the internship program. The department supports The Vista, USDtv, and USD Radio and offers the opportunity to receive academic credit for practicum experiences, but no more than three units combined of 493 or 498 may be applied toward the major or minor. No more than six units combined of practicum may be applied to the BA degree.

Students are encouraged to participate in study abroad to complement the major with global learning opportunities. No more than six units from a non-USD faculty led study abroad course can be applied to the major or minor.

COMM 101, 130 and 203 satisfy the core curriculum requirement in the social sciences.

Required Lower Division Core (15 units)

COMM 101, 130, 203, 220, 265

Required Upper Division Core (6 units)

COMM 300 and 336

Required Upper Division Human Communication (6 units)

Select from: COMM 325, 326, 350, 353, 370, 403, 422, 445, 455, 460, 475, 488

Required Upper Division Media Studies (6 units)

Select from: COMM 330, 338, 380, 421, 432, 435, 462, 463, 480, 482, 483, 485

Upper Division Electives (6 units)

Select from any upper division communication course including COMM courses not listed above.