Communication

What Is It?:

Communication prepares students to become critical thinkers, avid consumers of information, and effective problem-solvers in the 21st century. Students study the nature of effective communication across domains, develop effective communication skills, and gain knowledge of how to help others improve their skills. They gain theoretical and practical knowledge of public advocacy and debate and the critical capacity to evaluate the face-to-face and mediated political and cultural information upon which we all depend.

Students also should achieve a sophisticated understanding of the political and social import of communication on all aspects of public and private life, from public policy and health care to cultural norms, personal interactions, and notions of racial, class, gender, and sexual identity. Further, many classes are geared toward students with interests in careers in business, communication technologies, media, health, government, and politics, or for students interested in attending law school.

For more information, please visit the Department of Communication.

Concentrations:

  • Communication and Culture
  • Communication and Health
  • Communication and Organizations
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Mediated Communication and Technology
  • Rhetoric and Public Communication

Students may also choose to follow a general, but diverse, course of study.

Courses That Introduce the Major:

  • CMN 101—Public Speaking
  • CMN 102—Introduction to Communication Theory & Research
  • CMN 230—Introduction to Interpersonal Communication

Students should consult with an academic advisor regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period. 

Possible Career Opportunities:

There is a wide range of employment possibilities for graduates trained in the theory of communication in business, sales, public and personnel relations, and advertising. Through internships and curricular concentrations, students can prepare for careers in media news writing and editing, announcing, programming, community relations, directing and technical production. 

Common Career Titles Related to this Major:

(Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree)

Business and Industry

  • Event Planner
  • Communication Consultant
  • Management
  • Public Relations Representative
  • Sales
  • Speech Writer
  • Training and Development Specialist

Government and Education

  • Community Affairs Specialist
  • Media Relations Specialist
  • News Bureau Writer or Editor
  • Public Affairs Specialist
  • Press Secretary
  • Publication Copywriter

Health Care

  • Hospital Management
  • Patient Education
  • Pharmaceutical Sales
  • Public Affairs

Media, Marketing, and Advertising

  • Account Executive
  • Booking Agent
  • Media Buyer
  • Marketing Specialist

Enhancing Your Academic Experience:

  • Participating in undergraduate research
  • Applying for a study abroad experience
  • Utilizing resources of The Career Center
  • Joining a Registered Student Organization (RSOrelated to this major, such as:
    • Communication Leaders: a program for communication majors who act as ambassadors for the Communication department
    • Illinois Congressional Debate Society: an intercollegiate, competitive debate team committed to the acquisition, development, and perfection of communicative skills through participation in student congress tournaments

Related Skills:

  • Effective speaking
  • Evaluate information and sources
  • Identify and manage different needs of individuals, groups, etc
  • Influential/persuasion skills
  • Measure media effects
  • Present specific viewpoints
  • Understand institutional and cultural values
  • Work in teams / small groups

Further Information:

For more information on what you can do with a major in Communication, visit The Career Center’s webpage: What Can I Do With This Major

There are several professional organizations dedicated to Communication.  Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of Communication.  These organizations include American Forensics Assocation and American Communication Association.

For more information on the classes needed for a degree in Communication, visit Undergraduate Programs.