Academics


About the Major

A major in communication studies contributes significantly to the personal growth and development of an individual. Cooperation, negotiation, and mutual understanding are the cornerstones of successful interpersonal relationships in work, the family, and the community. The study of public communication also encourages students to participate in civic affairs by equipping them with the critical skills necessary to evaluate social issues, express opinions, and assume positions of responsible leadership in a democratic society.

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.

For a comprehensive listing of courses offered in the department, please visit the communication studies undergraduate catalog.

To view a semester-by-semester, sample curriculum for communication studies majors, click here.

Areas of Emphasis

Through the selection of elective courses, Communication Studies majors may choose to emphasize one of the following areas of study: rhetoric and public discourse, communication and culture, or organizational and interpersonal communication. 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 academic advisor. 

Communication & Culture

In these courses, you will study the diversity of human communication in a wide variety of contexts and forms. You will develop an understanding for navigating communication choices in the larger social world, both within and across cultures. Those who seek to have careers involving human resources or community services may find these courses to be of interest.

Organizational & Interpersonal

With this emphasis, you will focus on knowledge and communication skills vital for understanding how to interact effectively with others in business, within professional organizations or small groups, as well as in interpersonal settings within families, social groups, or among friends. Those with career goals in business or in human services may benefit from this area.

Rhetoric & Public Discourse

Rhetoric is the study of the effective use of discourse. With this emphasis, you will develop skills in critical thinking and argument, analyzing construction and presentation of public messages. You also study the role of rhetoric in initiating or sustaining change –socio-political, cultural, or legal change. Those interested in legal careers or in politics should find this emphasis particularly helpful.


About the Minor

minor in Communication Studies requires 18 hours of coursework in the department, including COM 100 Rhetoric And Society or COM 101 Principles Human Communication and at least six hours of upper-division courses (at the 300- or 400-level). A grade of C- or higher is required in all Communication Studies (COM) courses counted toward the minor.


Certificate in Leadership Communication

Offered by the Department of Communication Studies, the Leadership Communication Program (LCP) is a certificate program designed to give students across disciplines the opportunity to focus on the development of their communication skills in organizations with diverse groups of people, as well as the development of their leadership skills in action, through service learning and supervised study.


University Scholars Program

Communication Studies majors admitted into the Accelerated Master’s Program (AMP) (formerly, University Scholars program) will be able to earn both a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Communication Studies at the University of Alabama in five years. For the highly motivated and high achieving 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

Admission into the program occurs in two phases.  Phase I begins at the beginning of the third year, after the successful completion of 61 semester hours of study with a 3.3 GPA or better.  Phase II begins after the completion of 91 semester hours with a 3.3 GPA or better, when the student applies for admission to the Graduate School. 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 degree in Communication Studies.  USP students in Communication Studies are allowed to count up to 10 hours of coursework dually, toward both the BA and the MA.

If you are interested, please speak to your advisor or see this guide: Accelerated Masters Program 2017.


Advising

All freshman and sophomore students are assigned an academic advisor within Tisch Student Services, and junior and senior students are advised by a faculty member within their academic major. Undergraduate students should utilize your academic advisor at least once a semester for a review of your academic progress, requirements for degree completion, ways to get involved as a student, and even inside information on fun courses to take.


Student Opportunities


Alabama Forensic Council

The award-winning Alabama Forensic Council, the competitive speech and debate program at The University of Alabama, aims to promote intellectual discovery, enable professional development, strengthen and utilize one’s unique voice, construct democratic messages, engage in interpersonal and rhetorical exploration, and foster community. Student members of the council participate in the University’s forensics program and attend both regional and national intercollegiate forensic competition. The AFC consistently places in the top 10 at the nation’s premier National Individual Events Tournament.

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Awards

The Frank M. Thompson Jr. Award for Excellence in Forensics

The Thomas E. Harris Award for Excellence in Organizational Communication

The Marsha Houston Award for Outstanding Student Work in Social Justice and Diversity


Honor Societies

Lambda Pi Eta

This national communication studies honor society established a chapter on The University of Alabama campus on November 15, 1998. Invitations to membership are issued to juniors and seniors in communication studies who have cumulative undergraduate grade point averages of at least 3.0, have completed the equivalent of 12 semester hours in communication courses, and have minimum grade point averages of 3.25 in those courses. The goals of Lambda Pi Eta are to recognize, foster, and reward outstanding scholastic achievement and to stimulate interest in the field of communication.

Delta Sigma Rho-Tau Kappa Alpha

This national honor society is for individuals who have excelled in forensics and who have maintained distinguished academic records.


Internship Opportunities

More than 400 C&IS students participate in internships each year locally, nationally and internationally. Often landing some of the most prestigious and competitive internships, the College has a reputation employers are seeking in interns. Each undergraduate major has an internship coordinator who can refer you to specific resources and advise on when you should look for internships related to your major. Internships are available for all five C&IS majors through the Internship Page.

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The Speaking Studio

Created to assist individuals in clarifying and crafting their message, cultivating a dynamic delivery and calming public speaking anxiety, The Speaking Studio is a community-wide resource and available for use both on campus and off campus. The Speaking Studio is staffed by trained public speaking consultants who facilitate the recording and immediate feedback of individual and group presentations. For more on The Speaking Studio, or to schedule an appointment, visit their website.

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Student Competitions

The Speak-Off Competition is held in the fall and is open to all students enrolled in COM 123 Public Speaking. The winner is awarded the Oscar Newton Public Speaking Prize, and first, second, and third place winners receive cash awards.

Holle Award for Excellence in Public Speaking

The public speaking program, in the Department of Communication Studies, offers a general education humanities course, COM 123, for the entire university population to cultivate basic public communication skills. Only those students who have been enrolled in COM 123, in either Fall 2016 or Spring 2017, and have been selected by their peers and instructors are eligible to compete for the Holle Award.

Those entering the competition will be required to present formal persuasive speeches that demonstrate logical structure and credible research in support of specific actions or concepts and that display exemplary standards of delivery. All contestants compete in a preliminary judging round. Only the six finalists advance to the final round to compete for the grand prize.

 

GUIDELINES AND APPLICATION