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Communication Studies - B.A.

Communication is the backbone of 21st century society and the modern economy — the driving force behind community action, societal change and many business endeavors. Whether you are interested in social media, digital communications/marketing, fundraising, human resources or any other field, with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies, you’ll master the skill employers consistently rank as most important in the workforce: effective communication. This program provides a foundation for success in careers across government, business, nonprofits and beyond.

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Preparation for your future

Businesses, organizations, and nonprofit agencies consistently rank effective communication skills as the most important job-hiring consideration, even more so than technical skills. Pursuing a Communication Studies degree allows you the ability to bring diverse insights to the role of communication in a variety of ways. Managers, communication experts, teachers, sales representatives, political communication consultants, communication strategists and leaders are a few examples of possible careers for degree-seeking students. Communication Studies degrees examine the role of communication in a wide range of settings, focusing on how to adapt messages to diverse situations and circumstances.

The key to the Communication Studies major is flexibility.

Explore Flexible Options

Complete the Degree In-Person, Hybrid or Online

The option to complete the Bachelor's Degree in Communication Studies fully online is perfect for working professionals or others who wish to earn their college degree who are location-bound.

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Bachelor's to Master's Degree

Students may apply early to the Master of Arts degree in Communication Studies and double count 9 credit hours of graduate courses toward both degree programs. 

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Communication Studies-to-Law Pathway Program

Written and oral communication skills are essential to the practice of law. This makes Communication Studies an excellent major for law school-bound students. At Kent State University choosing Communication Studies as your pre-law major will give you both a skillset you need to succeed — and low-cost, fast-track pathways to well-respected law schools in the Northeast Ohio region:

  • Case Western Reserve University School of Law 
  • Cleveland State University College of Law 
  • University of Akron School of Law 

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Program Information

Program Description

Full Description

When employers are asked what they look for in new hires, communication skills top the list every time. The key to the Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies is flexibility. The curriculum allows students to design an individual, communication-based program of coursework that prepares them for the future. The Communication Studies major provides students with the knowledge, skills and abilities to succeed across professional industries — from government and business to nonprofits and education. The program's mission is to teach students to communicate effectively, lead responsibly, understand how communication affects identities, communities and cultures, think analytically and reason critically.

The Communication Studies major comprises the following concentrations (both of which are offered in-person or fully online):

  • The Applied Communication concentration allows students to gain expertise in organizational communication, advanced presentational speaking, professional writing and visual design. Students combine theoretical knowledge and technical skills while mastering professional tasks such as conducting training seminars, creating web content, designing promotional materials, managing communication campaigns and writing press releases.
  • The Communication Studies–General concentration features flexibility and choice. Students create a personalized plan of study tailored to their specific academic interests and career goals in areas such as global and intercultural communication, advocacy, social media, corporate communication and workplace consulting, presentational and motivational speaking, campaign design and more. This concentration is appropriate for those who have diverse academic interests. It permits students to take courses across the schools in the College of Communication and Information and provides space for electives that students could use to pursue a minor in another discipline.

Students may apply early to the following master's degree programs and double count 9 credit hours of graduate courses toward both degree programs. See the Combined Bachelor's/Master's Degree Program Policy in the University Catalog for more information.

There are many study abroad/away opportunities. For more information contact the Office of Global Education or coordinator of the college's International Study Programs.

Admissions

Admission Requirements

The university affirmatively strives to provide educational opportunities and access to students with varied backgrounds, those with special talents and adult students who graduated from high school three or more years ago.

First-Year Students on the Kent Campus: First-year admission policy on the Kent Campus is selective. Admission decisions are based upon cumulative grade point average, strength of high school college preparatory curriculum and grade trends. Students not admissible to the Kent Campus may be administratively referred to one of the seven regional campuses to begin their college coursework. For more information, visit the admissions website for first-year students.

First-Year Students on the Regional Campuses: First-year admission to Kent State’s campuses at Ashtabula, East Liverpool, Geauga, Salem, Stark, Trumbull and Tuscarawas, as well as the Twinsburg Academic Center, is open to anyone with a high school diploma or its equivalent. For more information on admissions, contact the Regional Campuses admissions offices.

International Students: All international students must provide proof of English language proficiency (unless they meet specific exceptions) by earning a minimum 525 TOEFL score (71 on the Internet-based version), minimum 75 MELAB score, minimum 6.0 IELTS score or minimum 48 PTE Academic score, or by completing the ELS level 112 Intensive Program. For more information, visit the admissions website for international students.

Transfer Students: Students who have attended any other educational institution after graduating from high school must apply as undergraduate transfer students. For more information, visit the admissions website for transfer students.

Former Students: Former Kent State students or graduates who have not attended another college or university since Kent State may complete the reenrollment or reinstatement form on the University Registrar’s website.

Admission policies for undergraduate students may be found in the University Catalog's Academic Policies.

Some programs may require that students meet certain requirements before progressing through the program. For programs with progression requirements, the information is shown on the program's Coursework tab.

Learning Outcomes

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  1. Display competence in verbal, nonverbal and written communication.
  2. Advocate courses of action to stimulate improved decision-making.
  3. Influence others through demonstrated presentational speaking skills.
  4. Communicate ethically.
  5. Foster inclusive dialogues and tailor messages that respect diversity, empower others and bring about social change.
  6. Articulate creative, effective and evidenced-based solutions to communication problems.
  7. Coordinate action, solve problems, foster well-being, engage in critical thinking and participate in civic life.
  8. Communicate effectively in a technological, multicultural and global society to bring about meaningful social change.
  9. Apply information and media literacy in an effective and ethical manner.

The program learning outcomes reflect the university's commitment to excellence in teaching, research, creativity and community outreach and engagement.

Coursework

Program Requirements

Major Requirements (courses count in major GPA)
COMM 15000INTRODUCTION TO HUMAN COMMUNICATION (KADL) 3
COMM 26000CRITICISM OF PUBLIC DISCOURSE (DIVD) (KHUM) 3
or COMM 35852 INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION (DIVG)
or COMM 35912 GENDER AND COMMUNICATION (DIVD)
or COMM 46605 COMMUNICATION ACROSS THE LIFESPAN (DIVD)
COMM 34000DIFFICULT DECISIONS IN COMMUNICATION (WIC) 13
or COMM 45902 COMMUNICATION AND INFLUENCE (WIC)
COMM 45092INTERNSHIP IN COMMUNICATION STUDIES (ELR) 23
or COMM 46091 SENIOR SEMINAR (ELR)
EMAT 10310MY STORY ON THE WEB 3
Communication Studies (COMM) Upper-Division Electives (30000 or 40000 level)6
Additional Requirements (courses do not count in major GPA)
UC 10001FLASHES 101 1
College of Communication and Information Core Electives, choose from the following:9
CCI 10095
SPECIAL TOPICS IN COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION
CCI 12001
PHOTOGRAPHY
CCI 40089
BRANDING AND SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIES FOR ITALIAN LIFESTYLE (DIVG) (ELR)
CCI 40095
SPECIAL TOPICS IN COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION
CCI 40189
ITALIAN POP CULTURE (DIVG) (ELR)
CCI 40289
ITALIAN CINEMA (DIVG) (ELR)
CCI 40389
DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING (DIVG) (ELR)
CCI 40489
MULTIMEDIA EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING (DIVG) (ELR)
CCI 45089
INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE IN THE COLLEGE OF COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION (DIVG) (ELR)
CCI 46089
INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE IN THE COLLEGE OF COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION (DIVG) (ELR)
EMAT 25310
CREATIVE CODING
EMAT 33310
HUMAN-COMPUTER INTERACTION
LIS 30010
INFORMATION FLUENCY IN THE WORKPLACE AND BEYOND
MDJ 20001
MEDIA, POWER AND CULTURE (DIVD) (KSS)
MDJ 21008
SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIES
UXD 20001
INTRODUCTION TO USER EXPERIENCE DESIGN
VCD 13000
VISUAL DESIGN THINKING
Kent Core Composition6
Kent Core Mathematics and Critical Reasoning3
Kent Core Humanities and Fine Arts (minimum one course from each) 39
Kent Core Social Sciences (must be from two disciplines) 46
Kent Core Basic Sciences (must include one laboratory)6-7
Kent Core Additional3
General Electives (total credit hours depends on earning 120 credit hours, including 39 upper-division credit hours) 538
Concentrations
Choose from the following:18
Minimum Total Credit Hours:120
1

A minimum C grade is required in COMM 34000 or COMM 45902 to fulfill the writing-intensive requirement 

2

Students may apply a maximum of 6 credit hours of COMM 45092 toward their major requirements.

3

Students who take COMM 26000 will need to fulfill 6 credit hours of Kent Core Humanities and Fine Arts. Students who do not take COMM 26000 will need to fulfill 9 credit hours of Kent Core Humanities and Fine Arts.

4

Students who take MDJ 20001 to fulfill a College of Communication and Information Core Elective will need to fulfill 3 credit hours of Kent Core Social Sciences. Students who do not take MDJ 20001 will need to fulfill 6 credit hours of Kent Core Social Sciences.

5

A maximum of 4 credit hours of Physical Activity, Wellness and Sport (PWS) courses may be applied toward the degree program.

Applied Communication Concentration Requirements

Concentration Requirements (courses count in major GPA)
COMM 35864ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION 3
COMM 45807HIGH IMPACT PROFESSIONAL SPEAKING 3
VCD 37000VISUAL DESIGN FOR MEDIA 3
Communication and Information Interdisciplinary Electives, choose from the following:6
Any Communication and Information (CCI) course
Any Emerging Media and Technology (EMAT) course
Any Library and Information Science (LIS) course
Any Media and Journalism (MDJ) course
Any User Experience Design (UXD) course
Any Visual Communication Design (VCD) course
Additional Concentration Elective, choose from the following:3
Any Communication and Information (CCI) course
Any Communication Studies (COMM) course
Any Emerging Media and Technology (EMAT) course
Any Library and Information Science (LIS) course
Any Media and Journalism (MDJ) course
Any User Experience Design (UXD) course
Any Visual Communication Design (VCD) course
Minimum Total Credit Hours:18

Communication Studies-General Concentration Requirements

Concentration Requirements (courses count in major GPA)
Communication Studies (COMM) Electives6
Communication Studies (COMM) Upper-Division Electives (30000 or 40000 level)12
Minimum Total Credit Hours:18

Graduation Requirements

Minimum Major GPA Minimum Overall GPA
2.000 2.000
Roadmaps
 

Applied Communication Concentration

This roadmap is a recommended semester-by-semester plan of study for this major. However, courses designated as critical (!) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation.

Plan of Study Grid
Semester OneCredits
COMM 15000 INTRODUCTION TO HUMAN COMMUNICATION (KADL) 3
UC 10001 FLASHES 101 1
College of Communication and Information Core Electives 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
 Credit Hours16
Semester Two
COMM 26000
or COMM 35852
or COMM 35912
or COMM 46605
CRITICISM OF PUBLIC DISCOURSE (DIVD) (KHUM)
or INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION (DIVG)
or GENDER AND COMMUNICATION (DIVD)
or COMMUNICATION ACROSS THE LIFESPAN (DIVD)
3
College of Communication and Information Core Electives 3
Communication and Information Interdisciplinary Electives 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
 Credit Hours15
Semester Three
Communication Studies (COMM) Upper-Division Electives (30000 or 40000 level) 3
Communication and Information Interdisciplinary Electives 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
 Credit Hours15
Semester Four
VCD 37000 VISUAL DESIGN FOR MEDIA 3
College of Communication and Information Core Electives 3
Additional Concentration Elective 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
 Credit Hours15
Semester Five
EMAT 10310 MY STORY ON THE WEB 3
Communication Studies (COMM) Upper-Division Electives (30000 or 40000 level) 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
General Electives 6
 Credit Hours15
Semester Six
COMM 34000
or COMM 45902
DIFFICULT DECISIONS IN COMMUNICATION (WIC)
or COMMUNICATION AND INFLUENCE (WIC)
3
General Electives 12
 Credit Hours15
Semester Seven
COMM 35864 ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION 3
COMM 45807 HIGH IMPACT PROFESSIONAL SPEAKING 3
General Electives 9
 Credit Hours15
Semester Eight
COMM 45092
or COMM 46091
INTERNSHIP IN COMMUNICATION STUDIES (ELR)
or SENIOR SEMINAR (ELR)
3
General Electives 11
 Credit Hours14
 Minimum Total Credit Hours:120

Communication Studies-General Concentration

This roadmap is a recommended semester-by-semester plan of study for this major. However, courses designated as critical (!) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation.

Plan of Study Grid
Semester OneCredits
COMM 15000 INTRODUCTION TO HUMAN COMMUNICATION (KADL) 3
UC 10001 FLASHES 101 1
College of Communication and Information Core Elective 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
 Credit Hours16
Semester Two
COMM 26000
or COMM 35852
or COMM 35912
or COMM 46605
CRITICISM OF PUBLIC DISCOURSE (DIVD) (KHUM)
or INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION (DIVG)
or GENDER AND COMMUNICATION (DIVD)
or COMMUNICATION ACROSS THE LIFESPAN (DIVD)
3
Communication Studies (COMM) Elective 3
College of Communication and Information Core Elective 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
 Credit Hours15
Semester Three
Communication Studies (COMM) Elective 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
General Elective 3
 Credit Hours15
Semester Four
Communication Studies (COMM) Upper-Division Elective (30000 or 40000 level) 3
College of Communication and Information Core Elective 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
General Elective 3
 Credit Hours15
Semester Five
EMAT 10310 MY STORY ON THE WEB 3
Communication Studies (COMM) Upper-Division Elective (30000 or 40000 level) 3
Kent Core Requirement 3
General Electives 6
 Credit Hours15
Semester Six
COMM 34000
or COMM 45902
DIFFICULT DECISIONS IN COMMUNICATION (WIC)
or COMMUNICATION AND INFLUENCE (WIC)
3
Communication Studies (COMM) Upper-Division Elective (30000 or 40000 level) 3
General Electives 9
 Credit Hours15
Semester Seven
Communication Studies (COMM) Upper-Division Electives (30000 or 40000 level) 6
General Electives 9
 Credit Hours15
Semester Eight
COMM 45092
or COMM 46091
INTERNSHIP IN COMMUNICATION STUDIES (ELR)
or SENIOR SEMINAR (ELR)
3
Communication Studies (COMM) Upper-Division Elective (30000 or 40000 level) 3
General Electives 8
 Credit Hours14
 Minimum Total Credit Hours:120
Program Delivery
  • Delivery:
    • Fully online
    • In person
  • Location:
    • Full program
      • Kent Campus
      • Stark Campus
    • Applied Communication concentration only
      • Ashtabula Campus
      • East Liverpool Campus
      • Salem Campus
      • Trumbull Campus
      • Tuscarawas Campus

Career Outlook

You'll find our alumni working:

  • In digital communications at non-profits, global organizations and education settings
  • In public affairs in government, Walt Disney World, the U.S. Air Force and beyond
  • In marketing roles at major organizations like Amazon and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
  • As training and development managers in human resources
  • In communication, community engagement and fundraising roles in healthcare settings (Cleveland Clinic, Akron Children’s Hospital and more)
  • In global communications and relations roles, both in the U.S. and abroad

The following growth stats are based on Bureau of Labor Statistics projections through 2031. 

18%
Meeting, Event and Convention Planners
12%
Social and Community Service Managers
8%
Public Relations, Fundraising Managers
10%
Advertising, Marketing Managers

Success Stories

Read about some of our successful alumni who are making an impact in our region and beyond.

Victoria Humphreys, '13 | Public Affairs Specialist, U.S. Department of the Interior

Victoria Humphreys, '13, found her way as a communications professional in Washington, D.C., due to her passion for helping advance Native American communities, including her own. After attending a guest lecture from Associate Professor Stephanie Danes Smith (COMM and MDJ) about her experience working with the federal government, Humphreys began studying Federal Indian Policy and the complexities of the nation-to-nation relationship between Tribes and the federal government.

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JaRel Clay, '11 | Associate Senior Director, Digital and Production, Hip Hop Caucus

Since graduating from Kent State less than 10 years ago, JaRel Clay has traveled the United States while working for Edelman, one of the country’s largest public relations firms; created a digital media platform for a national security think tank; and managed coalitions for a progressive nonprofit focused on making the world a better place. And in almost every scenario, he’s been able to resolve challenges — involving mediation, problem-solving and collaboration — using skills that he can trace back to his time as a Communication Studies major at Kent State.

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Megan Carrasco, '16 | Judicial Law Clerk, Arizona Supreme Court

Megan Carrasco's journey to law school, and now as a Judicial Law Clerk for the Arizona Supreme Court, began at Kent State University with her major in Communication Studies.  “Law is very much communication based; you never have to do just one thing in law,” Carrasco said. After graduating in 2016, Carrasco, an Honors student, who minored in Public Relations and Spanish, spent time working and thinking about what she truly wanted to do before going back to graduate school. She ultimately decided the law school process and courses fascinated her, so she began law school at Arizona State University in 2018 and graduated with her Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree in 2021.  

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Adam Schroeder, '20 | Digital Communications Specialist, American Civil Liberties Union Indiana

A career in advocacy had always been a dream of Kent State Alumnus Adam Schroeder, from a young age. Now, Adam is living that dream as a Digital Communications Associate at the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana. Growing up, Adam had always been interested in current events and passionate about civic engagement. He kept up with the news and would watch his parents vote on different issues. As he aged and developed his own worldview and political ideology, he knew that he had to pursue a career in advocacy.

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