Communication Studies

Communication Studies is a concentration
in the Organizational Communication major

Communication Studies offers flexibility in career choices as well as the opportunity for personal development.  Courses stress developing strong interpersonal skills, knowledge of diverse cultures, improved problem-solving abilities, and the ability to work well in a group as both member and leader.  Exciting opportunities in the program include the Experiential Learning Scholars Program (EXL), the internship program, and debate, which is open to all students.

The program in Communication Studies is designed to prepare students with practical, broadly applicable life skills and knowledge.  Students are taught how to interact and react in many situations, and these skills are required in everyday life and in every type of job.  Students learn:

    • Effective communication, including speaking, listening, and nonverbal communication 
    • Interpersonal communication
    • Romantic relationship and sexual communication 
    • About diverse cultures and people
    • How people behave in small groups  
    • Relationship research skills
    • Advocating and debating on questions of fact, value, and policy
    • How to recognize and deal with persuasive messages

The Communication Studies program is designed to provide the knowledge and skills you need to succeed in a global economy that is experiencing tremendous change.  For example, Nashville has been designated as a Gateway City for immigrants and refugees.  This designation is contributing to the increase of cultural groups within the state of Tennessee from such diverse areas of the world as Bhutan, Iraq, Mexico, and Somalia.  In recognition of the growing diversity within the U.S., this program stresses the importance of becoming culturally competent when you interact with others.

The foundation of cultural competence plus an understanding of how to deal effectively with people, make decisions in small groups, and understand the dynamics of persuasion combine to form a program that helps you to develop the skills you need for a variety of careers.

Communication Studies students will find employment in many industries such as government, business, not-for-profit organizations, education, manufacturing, and politics.  Our alumni are employed in management, sales, media, social services, health care, public relations/customer service, and finance. With further academic study, students also often have careers in law, higher education, counseling, and the ministry.

The concentration in Communication Studies requires 39 hours of coursework, and students may choose to earn a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree.

Bachelor of Arts:  This degree requires a foreign language proficiency equivalent to two years (12 hours) of college-level coursework, and this must be in one language.  MTSU offers foreign language courses in Japanese, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Arabic, and Chinese.  To meet B.A. requirements, students must select a foreign language, and take 2010 and 2020 or any course above the 2000 level.  Students who are beginning a foreign language may select either 1010/1020 or 1040 in that language, but these courses do not count as part of the language requirement for the B.A.  They will be electives.

To earn the B.A. degree, Communication Studies students must also choose a minor from Interdisciplinary Minors
or from a list in the online catalog

Bachelor of Science:  This degree does not have a foreign language requirement, and students may choose any minor which requires 15 hours or more.
Debate Team
Participation in campus activities like the Debate Team is encouraged.  By joining the Debate Team, students learn to apply analytical skills with research and experience in public speaking.  No experience is needed to be on the Debate Team, and it is open to all majors.  For more information, contact the Debate Coach, Dr. Patrick Richey, KUC 312, .

An internship is highly recommend.  Internships allow students to apply information from the classroom to real work situations.  Internships help prepare students for job interviews as well as give insights into what is expected in a work setting.  For information about internships, contact Dr. Kaylene Gebert by email at, phone: 615-898-5263, or by going to her office in the Honor's building, room 202.

Communication Studies is defined by the U. S. Department of Education as:
A program that focuses on the scientific, humanistic, and critical study of human communication in a variety of formats, media, and contexts. Includes instruction in the theory and practice of interpersonal, group, organizational, professional, and intercultural communication; speaking and listening; verbal and nonverbal interaction; rhetorical theory and criticism; performance studies; argumentation and persuasion; technologically mediated communication; popular culture; and various contextual applications.

At MTSU, Communication Studies is a broad program that focuses on interpersonal communication, listening and nonverbal communication, sexual communication, romantic relationship communication, gender communication, small group communication, intercultural and diversity communication, rhetorical theory and criticism, argumentation, and persuasion.