USM Online

Online B.A. in Communication

Department of Communication and Media StudiesDave Pierson


General Overview:

Take a broad view of communication including the examination of both face-to-face interactions and those that happen through media. You will explore communication theories and their practices including intrapersonal, interpersonal, group, organizational, intercultural, gender and family, and mass media. Your degree in Communication will prepare you with skills and insight for the workplace and for your life.

USM's 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. 

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Career Options: 

We understand that it is important for you to know what possible career opportunities and acquired skills are attained as a result of completing a degree in a particular program. The Major2Career worksheet for Communication provides information to consider as you choose the degree path that makes the most sense for you, your career, and your educational goals.

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Admission & Transfer Information:

A transfer student is an applicant who has attempted twelve semester hours of credit or more since graduating from high school or earning a GED. Students should have a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 unless otherwise indicated by the desired program. For more information about how your courses might transfer to USM, contact Enrollment Advisor Joe Pagano for an unofficial transfer credit evaluation. 

Ready to apply? Review the Transfer Student Checklist and submit your online application today!

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Degree Requirements:

Students must receive a grade of C or higher in all required Communication courses in order to graduate. The Department of Communication and Media Studies is pleased to accept transfer credit from other accredited institutions of higher learning. Students wishing to receive credit for courses taken outside of USM will need to meet with the chair of the Department in order to discuss specific courses. Students may transfer a maximum of 12 credits in the major. The transfer of credits is at the discretion of the Department.

Students must have a minimum of 120 credits to earn a bachelor’s degree.

USM Core Curriculum Requirements

  • Entry Year Experience (waived for students who transfer in 24 or more credits)
  • College Writing
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Creative Expression
  • Socio-Cultural Analysis
  • Science Exploration - with Lab
  • Cultural Interpretation
  • Ethical Inquiry, Social Responsibility, and Citizenship
  • Diversity
  • International
  • Cluster course 1 (See Note)
  • Cluster course 2 (See Note)
  • Cluster course 3 (See Note)
  • Capstone (taken as part of the major – CMS 495)

USM students must complete either a Thematic Cluster OR a minor OR a double major. Students may overlap one cluster course with their major.

Communication Major Requirements(36 credit hours)
A grade of "C" or higher is required in all courses for the major. 

I. Common Core (9 credit hours)

  • CMS 102 Introduction to Communication
  • CMS 103 Introduction to Media Studies
  • CMS 200 Research Methods in Communication

II. Communication Theory (9 credit hours - select three)

  • CMS 255 Business and Professional Communication
  • CMS 265 Intrapersonal Communication
  • CMS 272 Persuasion
  • CMS 275 Theories of Language
  • CMS 298 Topics in Communication I
  • CMS 330 Theories of Interpersonal Communication
  • CMS 332 Communication in the Family
  • CMS 345 Small Group Communication
  • CMS 375 Meaning and Communication
  • CMS 385 Intergenerational Communication and the Internet
  • CMS 390 Theories of Organizational Communication
  • CMS 398 Topics in Communication II

III. Media Theory (6 credit hours – select two)

  • CMS 210 Topics in Media Criticism I
  • CMS 284 Film Appreciation
  • CMS 286 History of International Cinema to 1945
  • CMS 288 History of International Cinema since 1945
  • CMS 294 Visual Communication
  • CMS 303 Media Effects
  • CMS 310 Topics in Media Criticism II
  • CMS 323 Understanding Technology
  • CMS 350 The Internet in Society
  • CMS 355 Consumer Culture
  • CMS 370 Media and Social Change
  • CMS 374 Media Criticism and Aesthetics
  • CMS 380 Film Genres
  • CMS 384 Film and Cultural Studies
  • CMS 394 Theories of Film

IV. Senior Experience (6 credit hours)

Senior Seminar
(3 credit hours – select one)

  • CMS 420 Communication and Cognition
  • CMS 423 Freedom of Expression in the United State
  • CMS 432 Topics in Interpersonal Communication
  • CMS 455 Computer-Mediated Communication
  • CMS 475 Discursive Practices
  • CMS 484 Topics in Film
  • CMS 485 Sex-Related Differences in Communication
  • CMS 486 Women in Film
  • CMS 490 Theories of Mass Communication
  • CMS 498 Topics in Communication III

    Capstone (3 credit hours)
  • CMS 495 Theories of Communication

V. Electives (6 credit hours)

  • Communication majors may select any two courses offered by the Department as electives as long as they have met the prerequisites. The exceptions are internships and independent studies. These count toward the total number of credits needed for a bachelor of arts degree, but not as electives in the major.

To learn more about degree requirements for this program, please view the official 2014-2015 catalog. You can also use this degree check sheet to track your progress.

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Scheduled Courses:

For course descriptions and up-to date details, please visit the USM MaineStreet Class Search.

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Student Experience

Sarah Mears, a Communication major at the University of Southern Maine (USM), shares her experience with USM's course flexibility for busy, working adults. 

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