College of Communication and Information Sciences

Established in 1973, The University of Alabama's College of Communication and Information Sciences began life as the School of Communication, becoming the College of Communication in 1988. In 1997, when the College merged with the School of Information Sciences (Established 1969), it was renamed the College of Communication and Information Sciences. 

General Degree Requirements

Students should refer to the Admissions section of this catalog for information about advanced placement, CLEP credit, CLEP subject examinations, junior college credit and transfer credit (the College of Communication and Information Sciences has final authority in decisions concerning the possible application of junior college credit and other college credit toward a student’s degree requirements). Information about academic bankruptcy, application for degree, class-hour load restrictions, concurrent enrollment, core curriculum requirements, drop/add, the pass/fail option and second bachelor’s degrees can be found in the Academic Regulations section of this catalog.

In order to earn the bachelor of arts in communication degree, students must satisfy the following requirements:

Hours and Grade Point Average

All students with an undergraduate major in the College of Communication and Information Sciences must complete a minimum of 120 credit hours. Of the total number of hours required for each major, up to 16 may be earned in military science. The total hours for graduation must include the coursework specified in this catalog under the heading for the appropriate major department.

To be eligible for graduation, all students must have an overall and University of Alabama grade point average of 2.0 or higher and a grade point average of 2.0 or higher in the major and in the minor.

Grade Requirements for Courses in the Major

A student must have grades of C- or higher in all required and elective courses counted toward an undergraduate major requirements in the College of Communication and Information Sciences. In addition, grades of C- or higher must be earned in all required ancillary courses, including those established as prerequisites for courses in the major as well as those required directly in the major.

Students majoring in advertising, creative media, news media or public relations must successfully complete at least 72 hours outside the mass communication area.

Students should always check with their major department or Tisch Student Services for specific policies pertaining to a particular department or program.

Residence in the College and in the Major and Minor

While enrolled in the College of Communication and Information Sciences, students must earn a minimum of 30 hours at the University of Alabama. A minimum of 12 hours in each major and six hours in each minor must be earned at the 300 or 400 level in residence.

Independent Study by Correspondence

Credit earned by correspondence courses may not exceed 25 percent of the coursework required by the University for graduation.

Absences

Students are expected to attend all classes. Specific course attendance policies are fully explained by the professors in their course syllabi.

Policy on Prerequisites and Corequisites

College of Communication and Information Sciences students must satisfy all course and grade prerequisites and all course corequisites, including grades of C- or higher in all required and elective courses counted toward the undergraduate major requirements. A student who fails to satisfy prerequisites and corequisites before enrolling in a course may be administratively disenrolled from that course on or before the first day of classes. It is, however, the student’s responsibility to drop a course when the specified prerequisites or corequisites have not been met.

Policy on Auditing Courses

A student who is registered for 12–18 hours may audit one course, but the student may not take tests or a final examination in the audited course. No credit is earned by auditing courses.

Policy on Repeating Courses

Courses that satisfy requirements of any major in the College of Communication and Information Sciences may be taken more than once in order to earn a minimum grade of C-. Each enrollment is included in the cumulative hours attempted and in the computation of the grade point average, but only the final enrollment will be counted toward the degree.

Department and Program Requirements

Hours in the Major

Students majoring in advertising or public relations must complete no fewer than 31 hours in the major. Students majoring in creative media must complete no fewer than 37 hours in the major. Students majoring in news media must complete no fewer than 40 hours in the major. Students majoring in communication studies must complete no fewer than 36 hours in the major. The student must satisfy the major requirements of one of the College's departmental programs (advertising, communication studies, creative media, news media or public relations). The maximum number of hours in the College of Communication and Information Sciences that may be counted toward the degree varies from department to department.

Hours in the Minor

In completing a single minor, the student is required to fulfill the requirements of the department that offers the minor. For a minor in the College of Arts and Sciences, for example, students must complete between 18–22 hours, as required by the A&S department chosen for the minor. Students majoring in advertising, creative media, news media and public relations may choose to minor in communication studies within the College or to select any minor outside of the College. Students majoring in communication studies may choose to minor in advertising, creative media, news media or public relations.

Students in the College of Communication and Information Sciences may pursue two minors, subject to the following restrictions:

  • Communication studies majors may have no more than one minor from another degree program in the College of Communication and Information Sciences.
  • Majors in advertising, creative media, news media and public relations may not minor in any College of Communication and Information Sciences department except communication studies.
  • All students must complete in residence a minimum of six to nine hours of courses numbered 300 or above in their major and minor subjects, depending on department.

Double Majors

Students majoring in one of the four mass communication degree programs in the College of Communication and Information Sciences may pursue an additional major in communication studies or any department outside the college. Students majoring in communication studies may pursue an additional major in any other department in the College or on campus. The student must meet all of the requirements for the second major that are in effect at the time the second major is declared. Students are encouraged to work with their academic adviser to develop a plan for a double major. Students who seek multiple degrees must obtain 150 hours and meet the requirements of each degree. Please see the University policy for further information.

Transfer Students

Transferability refers to the conditions under which The University of Alabama accepts credit from other post-secondary institutions for inclusion in the student’s record. It is essential to have transcripts evaluated prior to enrolling in any courses in the College of Communication and Information Sciences.

A transfer student must have earned a grade point average of 2.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) at the institution(s) previously attended. The student must have earned a grade of C- or higher in all transferred courses that are used to satisfy major requirements in the College of Communication and Information Sciences.

A student may transfer a total of 75 percent of the coursework required from another accredited four-year institution or a total of 60 hours needed for a degree from a two-year or junior college, provided that these maximum numbers do not conflict with accreditation requirements or other divisional requirements. A minimum of 25 percent of the coursework required for the degree must be earned at The University of Alabama.

Courses Outside the Major and Minor

No more than 21 hours in any single subject other than the major or minor may be applied in fulfilling the minimum-hours graduation requirement (see the Hours and Grade Point Average section under General Degree Requirements for minimums).

Specialized Minor in Other Divisions

A student interested in a specialized minor in any other division (for example, the College of Human Environmental Sciences, College of Engineering or College of Arts and Sciences) should contact that division. Students also may develop a student designed minor through New College.

Post Graduate Students

A student holding a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning may earn a second bachelor's degree by fulfilling a specific set of requirements at both the College and University level. Please see the University policy for requirements. In addition, the College has specific requirements found under each major/minor. A minor is not required for students seeking a second bachelor's degree in C&IS.

Students in the College of Communication and Information Sciences should meet the general admission requirements of the University. The College has final authority in decisions concerning the possible application of junior college credit and other college credit toward a student’s major or minor requirements.

Lower Division and Upper Division

The curriculum of the College of Communication and Information Sciences is divided into a lower division and an upper division. The lower division consists of all College courses at the 100 and 200 levels. The upper division consists of all College courses at the 300 level or above. The College of Communication and Information Sciences has established both lower-division and upper-division requirements for students. All University of Alabama students who enroll in upper-division College courses must have met the College’s upper-division requirements. Students who enroll in College courses and do not meet the College’s requirements concerning prerequisite courses and grades will be administratively dis-enrolled on or before the first day of classes. Students who enroll in College courses and fail to attend class meetings will be assigned a grade of F-Never Attended or F-Stopped Attending.

Lower-Division Requirements

A student who has completed the necessary prerequisite courses with the required minimum grade of C- may enroll in lower-division College courses. Prerequisites are included in the course descriptions in this catalog, but they are subject to change.

Upper-Division Requirements

To enroll in upper-division College courses, a student must have completed the necessary prerequisite courses with grades of C- or higher and must have an overall grade point average of 2.0 or higher.

Declaring a Major and Minor

It is the student’s responsibility to declare a major through the myBama system. If a transferring student has more than 45 hours, the student must also have a GPA of 2.0 or higher and have completed an advising appointment with the department in which the student plans to major.

A candidate for a major in the College of Communication and Information Sciences must choose a minor field of study in any department or area for which he or she is eligible. All C&IS students must complete all requirements of their declared minor to graduate from the College.

Honors College

Qualified students in the College of Communication and Information Sciences are encouraged to participate in the Honors College. Complete information is contained in the University Honors College section of this catalog.

Academic Advising

C&IS freshmen and sophomores (60 hours and below) will have an assigned academic adviser in Tisch Student Services. By the time C&IS students reach 61 hours of course credit and have decided on a specific major in the College, they should contact the appropriate departmental office to be assigned an academic adviser who will be able to assist them in planning their course of study in the major. It is the responsibility of each student to consult with their adviser for assistance selecting and registering for the courses necessary to make reasonable progress, within the time period desired, toward meeting all degree requirements. This responsibility extends to seeing that all prerequisites have been fulfilled before registering for courses that have such requirements.

Any student who needs assistance with selecting courses, determining academic progress, or addressing difficulties with coursework may make an appointment with their assigned academic adviser. This assignment is indicated in DegreeWorks.

History and Objectives

The College of Communication & Information Sciences offers undergraduate degrees in advertising, creative media, news media and public relations, master's degrees in advertising & public relations, book arts, communication studies, journalism, library & information studies and telecommunication & film, and an interdisciplinary doctoral degree. The College is the only communication unit in the state offering bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees.

The College originated from the School of Communication, which was created on July 1, 1973, by combining the Department of Journalism (founded in 1926) and the Department of Broadcast & Film Communication (founded in 1940) with The University of Alabama Television Services (now The Center for Public Television) in a single administrative unit. The Department of Broadcast & Film Communication was later renamed to the Department of Telecommunication & Film which merged with the Department of Journalism to become the Department of Journalism & Creative Media in 2016.

During its first year in 1973, the School of Communication created an additional department, the Department of Advertising & Public Relations, from course sequences that had been part of the Department of Journalism. University Radio Services (now Alabama Public Radio) was established in 1980, as was the Communication Research & Service Center (now the Institute for Communication Research). On May 16, 1981, the Department of Speech Communication (founded in 1932, now Communication Studies) moved from the College of Arts & Sciences to the School of Communication. The former School of Communication became the College of Communication on September 9, 1988, by action of the Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama in recognition of the school's expanded role and scope. On July 1, 1997, the College of Communication and the School of Library & Information Studies merged to form the College of Communication & Information Sciences.

The purposes of the College of Communication and Information Sciences are as follows:

  • To offer courses leading to undergraduate and graduate degrees in those specialized areas necessary to prepare students to pursue careers in communication- and information-related areas.
  • To provide students with a broad education that will allow them to become productive and creative citizens in society and leaders in their professions, their communities, and the nation.
  • To encourage students to pursue further formal study and self-education in communication- and information-related areas.
  • To engage actively in research and service.

The College prepares students for careers in the production of public communication, such as in news, media and film, for professional positions in government, business and industry requiring training in media and communication, and for educational positions requiring graduate study in specific areas of communication and information sciences. The College also provides study of the processes of human and mass communication, preparing students to be effective communicators and fostering their abilities to think critically, to express and to advocate their ideas effectively, and to understand and appreciate the diversity of human communication in practice. Supporting the College in these goals are the Digital Media Center, the Alabama Program in Sports Communication, the Betsy Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations, and the Institute for Communication and Information Research. 

Faculty

Dean
  • Mark D. Nelson
Senior Associate Dean, Administration
  • Beth S. Bennett
Associate Dean, Graduate Studies
  • William Evans
Associate Dean, Research
  • Kimberly Bissell
Assistant Dean, Undergraduate Studies & External Relations
  • Sara A. Hartley
Assistant Dean, Assessment
  • George Daniels
Director, Strategic Initiatives
  • Jim Bailey
Director, Digital Media Center
  • Elizabeth Brock
Director, Financial Affairs
  • Melanie Danner
Director, Student Services & Registrar
  • Alyson Jarnagin
Director, Development
  • Neely J. Portera
Director, College Relations
  • Litsa O. Rivers