Communication Studies Major | Kent State University

Communication Studies Major

Students can complete the Communication Studies major in its entirety at Kent State Stark.

Program Introduction

The Communication Studies undergraduate program offers some of the most adaptable, flexible and relevant degrees at Kent State University. And because a bachelor’s degree in communication is of great value to students, we are committed to being the top program in Ohio.

Businesses, organizations, healthcare industries 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.

As a Communication Studies student you can enhance your educational experiences by participating in several events that take learning beyond the typical classroom through internships, study abroad opportunities, honor society membership and peer mentoring/training programs for COMM 15000, Introduction to Human Communication.

Major Requirements

Concentrations
All students in the Communication Studies major select at least one concentration from the six offered. Concentrations marked with an ** can be completed at Kent State Stark.

** Applied Communication 
Applied Communication is a unique strategic communication concentration in which students take courses not only in Communication Studies but in Journalism and Mass Communication and in Visual Communication Design. Students in this concentration gain expertise in organizational communication, advanced public speaking, professional writing, and visual design. Courses in the concentration teach students not only how to do the work of a professional communication specialist but also the theories that explain why certain messages are most effective for different types of audiences. Students also have the opportunity to learn how newer communication media such as the Internet, social networking sites and text messaging are changing the workplace. Applied Communication graduates leave Kent State University prepared for professional communication careers in non-profit organizations, health care organizations, small businesses and governmental agencies.

Global Communication 
Global Communication has changed life on social, cultural and political levels. Communication technologies are changing how people learn, create and process information; how people interact and relate; how people work; how organizations are run; and how people view themselves and others in the world. Meanwhile, distance, time and language barriers, while reduced by new forms of global communication, must still be dealt with effectively. Now that a majority of industries operate globally, there is a demand for communication professionals with a global perspective who have the theoretical, analytical, and practical skills to understand communication across cultures and in culturally diverse environments around the globe, and who can play a powerful role in redefining the way the world communicates. Students take courses in all four schools in the College of Communication and Information to prepare for careers in public information, community relations, communication management, government, non-governmental organizations, public institutions, nonprofit agencies and businesses operating with a global perspective. Students also take courses with an international focus from outside the College of Communication and Information to help them develop a more global perspective and a better understanding of cultures different from their own.

Health Communication 
Health Communication plays critical roles in health and risk behavior, health care, health promotion and actual health outcomes. In the past decade, the importance of health communication has been recognized by the U.S. Surgeon General and the Department of Health and Human Services as critical to the nation's health promotion and disease prevention agenda. Health communication addresses areas such as: how health care providers communicate with their patients and how patients can be empowered in these interactions; the power of media messages to affect understandings of risk, health, illness and disease, and health care professionals; the influence of everyday conversations in health and risk behavior; the impact of traditional and new media in health; and designing effective messages to reduce risk, prevent disease and promote health. Students in the health communication concentration take courses such as Health Communication; Communication in Health Care; Everyday Interpersonal Communication; Health, Communication, Aging and Culture; and Health Communication and Media. Education and training in health communication enhances marketability for jobs as communication specialists in health, health care, and health promotion, including positions in pharmaceutical sales, patient advocacy, non-profit health-related organizations, health agencies, patient support teams, health promotion and patient relations.

** Interpersonal Communication
What are the most effective strategies for face-to-face and small-group communication? How do you interpret the nonverbal behaviors you see and hear during the act of communication? Whether you are concerned about personal communication with friends and loved ones or interpersonal communication in a business setting, interpersonal communication is an excellent concentration for students interested in understanding and improving their interpersonal communication skills and knowledge. Not all interpersonal communication is done in a traditional face-to-face setting. Students have the opportunity in this concentration to learn about the role of the Internet, social networking sites, text messaging and other new media forms in the interpersonal communication process. Students also have the opportunity to study communication in families, in personal relationships and across the lifespan. This is an excellent concentration for students interested in sales, human resources, counseling, or teaching.

** Organizational Communication
Almost every college graduate will eventually go to work for an organization. The organizational communication concentration gives students the opportunity to study organizational culture and the ways in which communication occurs in organizations. Students in this concentration also take course work in business and professional communication, communication in teams, and organizational training and development. The concentration teaches students how to function effectively in an organizational setting – how to work with others and make sure they are communicating their own messages clearly and receiving clear information from others.  Many students in this concentration go on to careers in training and development, human resources, or sales.  This concentration also explores the latest technological developments in organizational communication, including teleconferencing, telecommuting, and social networking.

Public Communication
We all watch television, go to movies, use a wide variety of Internet sites, send text messages and tweets, listen to the radio, read magazines and newspapers. We’re bombarded daily by advertising messages. Why do we choose to use certain types of media and not others, or pay more attention to some media messages than others? Public Communication is a great concentration for students interested in these kinds of questions. Students in Public Communication study media uses and effects, freedom of speech, persuasion and social influence, and the role of media in our personal, political, and professional lives. This is an excellent concentration for anyone interested in working on political, health, or other media campaigns, attending law school or working as a lobbyist.

Communication Studies graduates will

  • Understand the uses, functions, and effects of communication in interpersonal, global, health, organizational and public settings.