Courses in this discipline offer the knowledge and skills that are essential to becoming a leader in a complex world. Students learn to analyze, evaluate and critique human communication practices in a variety of contexts. They also develop the intellectual resources needed to articulate their own ideas and to share them with others. The department also supports a diversified program of competitive activities in individual speaking events and debate. Members of the Alabama Forensic Council participate in regional and national intercollegiate competitions in individual events and debate. Students in public speaking may compete for the Oscar Newton Outstanding Speaker Prize. Majors who meet the requirements for membership in Lambda Pi Eta are invited to join the honorary and to participate in its service activities.

Accelerated Masters Program (AMP) in Communication Studies

Communication Studies majors admitted into this program will be able to earn both the BA and MA in Communication Studies at The University of Alabama in five years. For the highly motivated and academically gifted student, this program offers several distinct advantages:

  • Faster, more economical plan of study than earning the two degrees separately
  • Richer undergraduate degree experience, fewer unrelated core courses and more courses in the major
  • Stronger mentoring relationship with the faculty
  • Greater opportunity to develop understanding of the field in preparation for doctoral work

Students may be admitted into this program after completing 91 semester hours with a 3.3 GPA or better, by applying for admission to the Graduate School. Admission to the Graduate School will be granted if the student has (a) met all the admission criteria for the graduate program, (b) completed three-fourths of the hours required for the major and the minor (90 hours) and (c) been recommended by the department. Upon admission to the Graduate School, the student will be allowed to take graduate-level courses and begin a program of study leading to the Master of Arts in Communication Studies.  Once enrolled in AMP, Communication Studies students may count dually (toward both degrees) up to 10 hours of credit.

Core Curriculum and General Education Requirements

A total of 120 hours is required for graduation, 33 hours of which must be in upper-division courses (at the 300- or 400-level). The College requires that 12 of these upper-division hours be outside of the major (COM). This College requirement may be met with upper-division courses in the minor.

Hours
Freshman Composition (FC)
EN 101English Composition (or by exam or equivalent)3
EN 102English Composition (or by exam or equivalent)3
Humanities (HU) and Fine Arts (FA)
Fine Arts (FA)3
Literature (L)3
Humanities (HU)6
May include the following:
Rhetoric And Society 1
Crit Decisn Makng Honors 1
Critical Decision Making 1
Public Speaking 1
Oral Interpretn Literatr 1
Credit Hours Subtotal: 18
Natural Science (N) and Mathematics (MA)
Natural Science (N)8
Mathematics (MA)3
Credit Hours Subtotal: 11
History (HI) and Social/Behavioral Sciences (SB)
History Sequence (HI)6
Social/Behavioral Sciences (SB)6
May include the following:
Principles Human Communication 1
Interpersonal Communication 1
Credit Hours Subtotal: 12
Pre-major Requirements
COM 100 or Rhetoric And Society3
COM 101 Principles Human Communication
Foreign Language (FL) or Computer Science (CS)6-8
Credit Hours Subtotal: 9-11
W-designated Courses in the Major
Select a minimum of six hours of the following: 26
Human Communication Research
Rhetorical Criticism
Rhetoric & Amer Politics
Rhetoric Social Protest
Communication & Diversity
African American Rhetoric
Adv Organization Communication
Relational Communication
Intercultural Communication
Credit Hours Subtotal: 6
Total Hours56-58
1

These courses are cross-listed as meeting core requirements as well as the major.

2

Select a minimum of six hours of Writing courses (W), at least three hours of which must be in the major (COM) as COM 300 Human Communication Research or COM 310 Rhetorical Criticism.

Communication Studies Major

Overall, a total of 33 hours are required in upper-division courses (at the 300-400 level), including a minimum of 21 hours in the major (COM) and of 12 hours outside the major, which may be fulfilled by courses in the minor.  No more than 45 hours in Communication Studies (COM) may be counted toward the total number of hours required for graduation (120).

To major in Communication Studies, a minimum of 36 hours of courses in Communication Studies is required. The program of instruction should be planned in consultation with a faculty advisor and includes one or two courses from each of the required areas specified below, along with COM 499 Capstone Seminar, for a total of 21 hours in requirements and a minimum of 15 hours in elective COM courses:

More InformationHours
Theoretical Foundations (3 hours)3
Select at least one of the following: 1
Rhetoric And Society
Principles Human Communication
Credit Hours Subtotal: 3
Oral Performance Skills (6 hours)6
Select at least one of the following Oral Performance courses:
Forensics (this course may be repeated for up to 6 hours credit)
Crit Decisn Makng Honors
Critical Decision Making
Public Speaking
May also select an Advanced Oral Performance course from the following:
Oral Interpretn Literatr
Advanced Public Speaking
Argumentation
Credit Hours Subtotal: 6
Methods and Analysis W Course (3 hours)3
Select at least one of the following W courses, after completion of designated prerequisite:
Human Communication Research
Rhetorical Criticism
Writing Skills in Communication Studies3
Select an additional W-designated COM course to complete Gen Ed requirement:
Rhetoric & Amer Politics
Rhetoric Social Protest
Communication & Diversity
African American Rhetoric
Adv Organization Communication
Relational Communication
Intercultural Communication
Credit Hours Subtotal: 6
Capstone Experience (3 hours)
COM 499Capstone Seminar 2,33
Credit Hours Subtotal: 3
Total Hours18
1

NOTE: Although not required, the department strongly recommends that Communication Studies majors take both COM 100 Rhetoric And Society and COM 101 Principles Human Communication.

2

Intended to be taken in the final semester of coursework

3

May not be taken prior to the completion of a theory foundation/method and analysis course combination, either COM 100/COM 310 or COM 101/COM 300

COM Elective Courses

Through the selection of elective courses, Communication Studies majors may choose to emphasize one of the following areas of study: rhetoric and public discourse, organizational and interpersonal communication or communication and culture. Communication Studies majors do not have to select an area of emphasis for their elective coursework; however, they are encouraged to plan their individual programs of study with the guidance of their departmental faculty adviser. The courses listed below for each of these areas are recommendations, not requirements.

Rhetoric and Public Discourse

This emphasis area focuses on argumentation, the effective construction and critical analysis of persuasive public messages, and the role of rhetoric in constructing, sustaining, or changing the political, social, or cultural order. This area also focuses on communication theories and practices evident in public (political, social, cultural) discourse, artifacts, and campaigns. Attention is given to such areas of analysis and practice as public speaking, argumentation and debate, and the role of media in various public contexts. The area is an ideal pre-professional emphasis for students interested in careers in the legal profession; this emphasis area is one means of helping pre-law students prepare broadly for that career. Recommended minors for students who choose this emphasis area include American Studies, Gender and Race Studies, Criminal Justice, English, History, Philosophy, Political Science, or Journalism and Creative Media.

Hours
COM 225Small Group Communicatn3
COM 301Intro Rhetorical Theory3
COM 341Rhetoric & Amer Politics3
COM 342Rhetoric Social Protest3
COM 348Argumentation3
COM 413Communication & Diversity3
COM 415African American Rhetoric3
COM 425Gender & Political Communctn3
COM 460Group Leadership3
COM 467Seminar Public Address3
COM 469Communication & Gender3

Communication and Culture

This emphasis area explores public communication in a wide variety of contexts and settings. The focus is on the influence of rhetoric and visual communication on individuals, communities, and the larger social world. Students interested in careers involving community or social change or human services (e.g., the ministry), or in postgraduate study in communication studies or media studies should consider this emphasis. Recommended minors for students who choose this emphasis area include Anthropology, Advertising and Public Relations, American Studies, Gender and Race Studies, Apparel and Textiles, Art History, English/Creative Writing, International Studies, Journalism and Creative Media, Modern Languages, Religious Studies, or Theatre.

Hours
COM 270Discourse of Sport: Theory and Practice3
COM 340Rhetoric & Popular Culture3
COM 342Rhetoric Social Protest3
COM 366Visual Culture & Communication3
COM 413Communication & Diversity3
COM 415African American Rhetoric3
COM 425Gender & Political Communctn3
COM 463Relational Communication3
COM 465Intercultural Communication3
COM 467Seminar Public Address3
COM 469Communication & Gender3

Organizational and Interpersonal Communication

The focus of this area is on knowledge and skills vital to successful communication in organizational, group, family and other interpersonal settings. Emphases include cultural, social and cognitive influences on personal and professional interaction and such skills as conflict resolution, small group problem solving, interviewing and intercultural communication. It is appropriate for students interested in professional and administrative careers in business, educational or human services or media organizations. Recommended minors for students who choose this emphasis area include advertising and public relations, general business, consumer sciences, economics, human development and family studies, international studies, journalism and creative media, management, psychology, real estate, sociology, social welfare or world business.

Hours
COM 220Interpersonal Communication3
COM 250Nonverbal Communication3
COM 320Truth, Ethics, and Deception3
COM 350Organizatnl Communicatn3
COM 352Business Prof Communication3
COM 413Communication & Diversity3
COM 450Adv Organization Communication3
COM 460Group Leadership3
COM 463Relational Communication3
COM 465Intercultural Communication3
COM 469Communication & Gender3

Majoring in communication studies prepares students for a variety of professions that value communication knowledge and skills. Because communication studies graduates possess the theoretical and practical knowledge of human communication, they can enter a new career confident in their ability to communicate ideas with clarity and effectiveness, a skill that opens doors in any professional field.

Types of Jobs Accepted

Career opportunities most frequently sought by communication studies majors are in law, education, politics, public relations, management, ministry, sales, training and development.

Learn more about opportunities in this field at the Career Center

Sample Curriculum for the Communication Studies Major

Freshman
FallHoursSpringHours
COM 100
& HU designated course (or elective)
3COM 101
& SB designated course (or elective)
3
EN 1013EN 1023
Fine Arts (FA)3Mathematics (MA)3
Social/Behavioral Science (SB)3Social/Behavioral Science (SB)3
Natural Science (N)4Natural Science (N)4
 16 16
Sophomore
FallHoursSpringHours
COM 122
& HU designated courses
3COM 210, 323, 348, 122, 123, or 1043
Literature Course (L)3COM 200 level elective3
Foreign Language or Computer Science (FL or C)4-3Foreign Language or Computer Science (FL or C)4-3
History sequence I (HI)3History sequence II (HI)3
Social/Behavioral Sciences (SB)3Minor elective3
 16-15 16-15
Junior
FallHoursSpringHours
COM 300 or 3103COM (W) elective3
COM 300–495 electives6COM 300–495 electives6
Minor, 300-4993Minor, 300-4993
Minor elective3Minor elective3
 15 15
Senior
FallHoursSpringHours
COM 300–495 electives6COM 4993
Minor, 300–499 level3Minor, 300–499 level3
Minor or general electives3-4COM or general electives9
 12-13 15
Total Hours: 121-120