Major Description

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.


Communication offers six concentrations. Alternatively, students can choose a more general course of study in consultation with their academic advisor.


Examines human interaction as always grounded in cultural contexts. Cultural dimensions of communication can be approached by the in-depth study of particular contexts, by comparison of different contexts, or by examination of what happens when participants from different backgrounds interact.

Pertains to the multifaceted association between communication and health, including (but not limited to) campaigns to improve health behaviors, individuals and families coping with health issues, communication within and about health organizations and institutions.

Examines the varied communication processes that underlie organizing. Organizing occurs in many forms (e.g., coordination of paid and volunteer work, ad hoc organizing among first responders in an emergency, the formation of professional standards).

Examines the processes of human interaction. Interpersonal communication occurs in many contexts (e.g., among coworkers, between friends, within families). It can happen in face-to-face interactions or interactions mediated through communication technologies.

Concerns how people send and receive messages across time and space. Research in this area examines message flows to large and small audiences, with an emphasis on how technologies of communication influence the formation, transmission, and reception of messages. It also examines the social, political, and organizational forces that act on the creation and use of communication technologies.

Explores the ways in which people create public communities. It occurs in a variety of social settings and concerns itself with the creation of social truths, the kinds of values and beliefs that are developed by public advocates and used to guide social and political decisions.

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.

  • 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

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

      Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree.

      Enhancing Your Academic Experience:
      Further Information:

      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  National Communication Association and The Illinois Communication and Theatre Association