Drawing on classical tradition as well as on contemporary behavioral sciences, communication studies focuses on how people arrive at shared meanings through messages, or the symbolic processes through which meaning and social reality are created.
The curriculum features courses from three basic tracks. Courses in rhetorical studies examine persuasive strategies, argumentation, verbal style, and forms of rhetorical criticism as they apply to public speaking, political discourse, issue campaigns, public relations, and other public messages. Human dynamics courses stress communication and its role in interpersonal relationships, groups, and organizations. Media studies courses focus on mass communication history, media literacy, the process of creating and distributing mass-mediated messages, and the effects of those messages.
In preparation for Independent Study, all communication studies majors are required to take courses in communication theory and qualitative and/or quantitative research methods. Students must also demonstrate proficiency in public speaking.