General Program in Communication Studies (B.A.)

The B.A. in Communication Studies features a strong set of core courses in communication skills and theories, along with three diverse emphasis areas that allow students to focus on their career of choice. Students can further tailor their degree by selecting elective courses and a second major, minor, or cognate in another discipline.

Download worksheets: Professional Communication, Media Studies, Speech Communication, Professional Communication (pre-Fall 2016)Media Studies (pre-Fall 2016), Speech Communication (pre-Fall 2016)

Core Courses

All Communication Studies majors complete the following seven courses (19 credit hours) as the core of their degree:

  • COM 200: Introduction to Human Communication—A survey course that gives you an overview of basic theories and best practices of communication.
  • COM/THE 210: Introduction to Public Speaking—Public speaking is an essential skill for most every career, and this course provides ample opportunity to practice and overcome anxiety.
  • COM 305: Communication Theory—A more advanced approach to COM 200, this course prepares students for more rigorous upper division courses in Communication Studies.
  • COM 306: Communication Writing and Speaking Laboratory—A one credit lab that must be taken in conjunction with COM 305, this course gives students more intensive training in academic writing and group presentations.
  • COM 308: Research Methods in Communication—Decision makers and leaders need the ability to critically analyze research about human communication. This course provides students with an understanding of the research process and the ability to evaluate evidence and empirical claims.
  • COM 398: Internship in Communication Studies—All Communication Studies majors complete a 3 credit internship in their chosen fields. For more information, see our Internship page.
  • COM 426: Senior Seminar in Communication Studies—The capstone course for Communication Studies majors, Senior Seminar allows students to prepare for graduation by reflecting on their previous courses, applying their knowledge through civic engagement, and readying themselves for the job market.

All core courses in Communication Studies are offered every Fall and Winter semester. COM 200, COM 210, and COM 398 are also routinely offered in Spring and Summer semesters.

Communication Studies Electives

In addition to the core courses and one of the emphasis areas, Communication Studies majors take an additional three courses (9 credit hours) in Communication Studies electives. These classes are chosen in consultation with your faculty mentor based on career goals and student interest.

Cognate/Minor/Second Major

Finally, all Communication Studies majors must complete a second major or a minor.  Students may also choose a 12 credit cognate, in consultation with their faculty mentor. It is expected that most Communication Studies majors will pursue at least a full minor to enhance their credentials.


Emphasis Areas

Each student selects one of three emphasis areas in Communication Studies: Professional Communication, Media Studies, or Speech Communication. Each emphasis area is 12 credit hours.

Professional Communication

Whether you’re interested in working for a small, local non-profit or a large, global corporation, the Professional Communication path will provide you with an understanding of the key fields in which communication professionals often establish their careers. Learn more about the history and theory surrounding organizational communication, advertising, and public relations. 

Choose two of the following course groupings, for four total courses. For each grouping, the first course is introductory and a pre-requisite for the second advanced course:

Organizational Communication          
  • COM 261: Foundation of Organizational Communication. Offered every Fall.
  • COM 362: Communication Behavior in Organizations. Offered every Winter.
  • COM 226: Advertising. Offered every Fall.
  • COM 316: Advanced Advertising. Offered every Winter.
Public Relations
  • COM 361: Public Relations. Offered every Fall.
  • COM 371: Advanced Public Relations. Offered every Winter.

Some Professional Communication courses are offered in select Spring and Summer semesters.

Media Studies

The Media Studies emphasis area at UM—Flint gives students a deep appreciation for how the media works and prepares them to critically analyze the messages we receive every day.  Our liberal arts approach to media studies encourages students to be well versed in a broad range of topics within the field.  Our approach looks at media messages, the technologies used to produce those messages, and the impact those messages have on individuals and society.  By imparting both critical and creative thinking skills, we help students become the individuals sought by today’s employers and communities. Within an ever changing media field, students in this concentration must be able to adapt to what is currently trending and, even more importantly, what will be in demand in the future.  Media studies provides that foundation. With their faculty mentor, media students select elective courses and a minor to supplement their technology skills from courses across the University.

Take the following four courses:

  • COM 170: Intro to Digital Culture-How communication technology influences culture, society, and our day-to-day lives. Offered frequently.
  • COM 241: History and Effects of Mass Communication—This course covered the historical development of mass communication and its effects on society. Offered every Fall.
  • COM 331: Media Law—Students learn about major legal and ethical issues in the media industry, including free speech, privacy and libel/slander law. Offered every Winter.
  • COM 332: Theories of Mass Communication—Advanced theories of the cultural and social impact of mass media on society are covered in this course. Offered every Winter.

Media Studies courses are usually not offered in Spring and Summer semesters.

Speech Communication

Students in this emphasis area want a generalist and flexible understanding of the way humans interact with one another. With a focus on relationships, cultural connections and persuasion, Speech Communication is ideally suited for those who want to study how communication can be successful without tying themselves down into a specific career path. 

Take the following four courses:

  • COM 281: Principles of Interpersonal Communication—This course focuses on healthy and fulfilling relationships. Offered every Winter.
  • COM 320: History and Theory of Persuasion—Students think deeply about the role of persuasion in society by examining historical theories of how humans argue and reason with one another. Offered in Winter semesters of odd-numbered years. 
  • COM 321: Speech Criticism—Through a close examination of famous speeches and other persuasive texts, students in this course learn to critically analyze messages they receive and better craft arguments for diverse audiences. Offered in Winter semester of even-numbered years.
  • COM 381: Intercultural Communication—This course focuses on the essential skills of how different cultural groups and nationalities communicate and understand messages. Offered every Fall.

COM 281 and COM 381 are offered every other fall semester. 


Communication Studies Minors

The Department of Communication Studies offers three minors that complement any major. Whether you are looking for a broad understanding of human communication, or contemplating a career in public advocacy (law, politics, social activism) or teaching speech/theater, a Communication Minor will give you the focus on interacting with people that is essential for any job.

Communication Minor (21 credit hours)

The general Communication Minor is designed to accommodate a wide variety of majors by giving students the flexibility to select courses from any of our three emphasis areas in the Communication Major.  Students can choose classes that focus on developing communication skills like public speaking, group communication or business communication.  Students may also focus on learning more about particular contexts of communication, such as across cultures, in relationships, in the mass media, or in professional environments. Students may also choose a Communication internship as one of their elective courses.

All students take three core courses (9 credit hours total):

  • COM 200: Introduction to Human Communication
  • COM/THE 210: Introduction to Public Speaking
  • COM/JRN 301: Ethical Issues in Communication

Students then select an additional four courses in Communication Studies, in consultation with an advisor (12 credit hours total).

For a full list of available COM courses, visit the UM-Flint catalog.

Or schedule an appointment with Kim Laux, COM advisor.

Argumentation and Advocacy Minor (21 Credit Hours)

The Argumentation and Advocacy minor provides focused course work for those interested in persuasion and public argumentation.  Through a combination of classes covering skills in speaking and debating and those covering theories of real world arguments, students become stronger leaders and advocates.  The minor is useful for any engaged citizen, but especially for students interested in law, politics or social change.

All students take five core courses (15 credit hours total):

  • COM/THE 204: Argumentation and Debate
  • COM/THE 210: Introduction to Public Speaking
  • COM 320: History and Theory of Persuasion
  • COM 321: Speech Criticism
  • COM 323: Advanced Theories of Public Argumentation

Select two courses from the following (6 credit hours total):

  • COM 206: Great Speeches
  • COM/JRN 301: Ethical Issues in Communication
  • COM/THE 304: Advanced Public Speaking
  • COM 363: Conflict Management
  • COM 392: Civic Engagement Experience
  • COM 450: Media, Propaganda and Social Change