Communication is an ancient field of study, tracing its roots to the Golden Age of Greece when Aristotle studied rhetoric, the art of persuasion. Citizen participation in politics was at the heart of Greek democracy and the power of the spoken word was key to participation.
During the 20th Century, communication inquiry began to broaden beyond its traditional focus to include knowledge gained from psychology, sociology, anthropology, and other contemporary fields of study. Scholars examined the effects of communication on attitude formation, interpersonal relationships, group decision making, and organizational behavior. Meanwhile, the introduction of radio, television, and film further expanded the scope of the discipline.
Today, students and faculty consider issues involving gender and communication, multiculturalism, ethics, health communication, media and public policy, and other current topics. Understanding the process of communication is as important to our democracy as public speaking was for the ancient Greeks.
The bachelor of arts degree in communication provides comprehensive knowledge about the nature of communication, the symbol systems by which it functions, the environments in which it occurs, its media, and its effects. Employing critical and empirical approaches, the program spans the social sciences, humanities, and fine arts.
The bachelor of arts in media studies focuses on understanding, creating, and exploiting various social and participatory media through a program of integrated courses in media writing, criticism, and production. Our goal is to graduate literate, capable, and responsible media professionals.
The Communication and Media Studies Department also offers three minors: the minor in cinema studies, the minor in communication and media studies, and the minor in audio and video production. Coming for the Fall 2016, the Department will offer a minor in public relations.