Career Opportunities

A major in communication studies is helpful for careers in business and industry, education, foreign service, health care, human resources, law, politics and government, public relations, religion, sales and marketing, social service agencies, and technology. All occupations and human concerns involve communication in some form.

Students should meet with departmental academic advisor or faculty member to declare a Communication Studies major.

Requirements for the B.A. or B.G.S. Major

Prerequisite Knowledge (3)
Majors must complete a public speaking requirement as specified below. Note: COMS 130 and COMS 131 do not contribute to the minimum number of hours required for the major.
Speaker-Audience Communication. Satisfied by one of the following:3
Speaker-Audience Communication
Speaker-Audience Communication, Honors
Exemption
Communication Studies Core Knowledge and Skills (0)
Majors select two concentrations of courses, one designated as primary and one as secondary. To complete the major, students must complete 33 credit hours, distributed as:
Breadth of discipline (6 hours). All students choose two introductory classes from the following list, one for their primary concentration and one for their secondary concentration: (Note: the secondary concentration courses must be chosen from the same concentration area for both the breadth and depth of discipline requirements) (6)6
Communication in Organizational and Professional Contexts
The Rhetorical Tradition
Cases in Persuasion ((for the Political Communication/Social Influence concentration))
Introduction to Interpersonal Communication Theory ((for the Interpersonal/Intercultural concentration))
Introduction to Intercultural Communication
Skills classes (6 hours). Students choose two skills courses from their primary concentration. (6)6
Students pursuing the Rhetoric Concentration take the following two courses:
Fundamentals of Debate
Persuasive Speaking
Students pursuing the Interpersonal/Intercultural concentration choose two courses from:
Introduction to Intercultural Communication
Effective Business Communication
Problem-Solving in Teams and Groups
Students pursuing the Political Communication/Social Influence concentration choose two courses from:
Introduction to Political Communication
Effective Business Communication
Persuasive Speaking
Students pursuing the Organizational Communication concentration choose two courses from:
Effective Business Communication
Persuasive Speaking
Problem-Solving in Teams and Groups
Methods classes (6)6
All students in all concentrations take the two methods courses:
Introduction to Rhetoric and Social Influence
Introduction to Behavioral Research Methods in Communication
Depth of discipline (12 hours). Coursework in upper-level electives emphasizes students’ primary concentration. Students may take as many as three courses (9 hours) of upper-level electives in their primary concentration. The fourth course should be taken in their secondary concentration. Note: the secondary concentration courses must be chosen from the same concentration area for both the breadth and depth of discipline requirements. (12)12
Capstone experience (3)3
Students take a capstone course in their primary or secondary concentration or meet this requirement with other approved elements.
Capstone in: _____

Upper-level elective options
Rhetoric Concentration: Understanding Messages
COMS 335 Rhetoric, Politics & Mass Media
COMS 435 Forms and Styles of American Public Discourse
COMS 551 The Rhetoric of Black Americans
COMS 552 The Rhetoric of Women’s Rights
COMS 535 American Public Address I
COMS 536 American Public Address II
COMS 539 Argumentation
COMS 554 The Rhetoric of Popular Culture
COMS 560 Rhetoric of War
COMS 603 Topics in Presidential Rhetoric
COMS 605 Speech Writing
Interpersonal/Intercultural Concentration: Relating to Others
COMS 440 Communication and Gender
COMS 447 African-American Communication
COMS 544 Advanced Interpersonal Communication
COMS 546 Communication Across the Lifespan
COMS 547 Communication and Culture
COMS 555 Family Communication
COMS 557 East-Asian Communication
COMS 590 Nonverbal Communication
COMS 654 Social Science Approaches to the Media
Political Communication/Social Influence Concentration: Influencing Others
COMS 310 Introduction to Organizational Communication
COMS 335 Rhetoric, Politics & Mass Media
COMS 425 Communication and the American Presidency
COMS 450 Ethics and Political Communication
COMS 453 Political Campaigns
COMS 437 Ethics and Political Communication
COMS 537 Communication in Conflict Resolution
COMS 538 Persuasion Theory and Research
COMS 539 Argumentation
COMS 607 Political Communication
COMS 639 Legal Communication
COMS 654 Social Science Approaches to Media
COMS 560 Communication, Media and Terrorism
Organizational Communication Concentration: Communicating Professionally
COMS 310 Introduction to Organizational Communication
COMS 410 Micro-Level Organizational Communication
COMS 411 Macro-Level Organizational Communication
COMS 412 Communication in Distributed Organizations
COMS 440 Communication and Gender
COMS 485 Communication and Organizational Change
COMS 537 Communication in Conflict Resolution
COMS 538 Persuasion Theory and Research
COMS 590 Nonverbal Communication

Major Hours & Major GPA

While completing all required courses, majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade point average minimum standards:

Major Hours
Satisfied by 33 hours of major courses.

Major Hours in Residence
Satisfied by a minimum of 15 hours of KU resident credit in the major.

Major Junior/Senior Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 18 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.

Major Junior/Senior Graduation GPA
Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

Sample 4-year plans for the BA degree in Communication Studies with the following concentrations, can be found here: Rhetoric, Interpersonal/Intercultural Communication, Political Communication/Social Influence, and Organizational Communication, or by using the left-side navigation.

Sample 4-year plans for the BGS degree in Communication Studies can be found by using the left-side navigation.

Departmental Honors

Outstanding undergraduates may earn departmental honors if they meet the following criteria:

  1. A grade-point average at the time of graduation of at least 3.25 overall and 3.5 in Communication Studies courses.
  2. Completion of an honors thesis involving independent research — either a single comprehensive project or an integration of several related projects. Completion requires satisfactory defense of the thesis in an oral examination and submission of a satisfactory thesis manuscript to the department office by one month before graduation. Independent research for the thesis must be conducted under the direction of a faculty member. The student must be enrolled with that instructor in 2 to 6 hours of COMS 498, usually over two semesters.