• Honors graduate Katt Cook wants to be an event planner
  • Organizational Communication can be tailored to match career interests
  • Service learning is a key component of Organizational Communication
  • At MTSU, faculty members stay on top of the latest technology

Organizational Communication

Organizational Communication (ORCO) prepares students for the future, focusing on dynamics within organizations and communication processes. MTSU students can tailor this interdisciplinary major to match their career interests. The student-focused program helps develop skills in verbal, written, and relational communication; critical and creative thinking; and problem-solving. ORCO majors train for careers in employee communication, special events and fundraising, nonprofit organizations, university student services and alumni relations, training and orientation.

Hands-on learning leads to EXL Scholars

Most courses in the Organizational Communication major are experiential learning courses (EXL). These include hands-on learning projects and count toward  requirements of the EXL Scholars Program that began in 2006. Research shows that students are more engaged in the task when they can learn “by doing.”

ORCO class puts on health campaigns

A new course taught in spring 2013 explores the role of communication campaigns to encourage good health and reduce health risks. Students work on a real health campaign with MTSU's Relay for Life, plus develop their own campaign surrounding a health issue. They also put on an actual health fair for MTSU students.

Students can prepare for careers in employee communication, special events and fundraising, and in corporate and nonprofit organizations. Jobs can be found in organizations and corporations dealing with government, education, health and medical care, charities and public service, museums and the arts, tourism and hospitality, sports communication, and religious organizations.

Employers of MTSU alumni include

  • ALSAC St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
  • Both Hands Foundation
  • Children First, Inc.
  • City of Mt. Juliet
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Emory University
  • Gaylord Entertainment
  • Ingram Content Group
  • Loews Hotels
  • Nashville Zoo
  • Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
  • Tennessee Performing Arts Center
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • Youth Life Foundation of Tennessee

Match this major to your interests

You can tailor the interdisciplinary Organizational Communication major to match your own interests, such as

  • Alumni relations director
  • Assistant executive director of a nonprofit organization
  • Community involvement director
  • Community partnership specialist
  • Corporate philanthropy or foundation grants director
  • Crisis manager
  • Customer relations manager
  • Fund raising director or development manager
  • Grant writing assistant
  • Human rights officer or ethics officer
  • International missions service project coordinator
  • Meeting and conference planner
  • Member services coordinator or director of membership services
  • National seminar planner
  • Ombudsman or corporate mediator
  • Orientation coordinator
  • Patient advocate
  • Recruiter
  • Retention or relocation specialist
  • Special events director
  • Student affairs coordinator
  • Training director
  • Volunteer program director
  • Workplace diversity specialist
  • Youth director

Student Affairs and Student Life for students who want to work for colleges and universities in various aspects of student affairs and student life, including student involvement and leadership, judicial affairs and mediation, student organizations, and student unions and programming. The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics gives information about salaries.

Nonprofit Organizations for students who want to direct non-profit organizations by managing personnel, marketing, fund-raising, event planning, budgeting, strategic planning, coordinating volunteers, and working with boards of directors. The Occupational Outlook Handbook (U. S. Department of Labor) gives information about managers of nonprofit organizations. Be sure to check out the web site of the Center for Nonprofit Management in Nashville.  This web site has job postings for fundraisers, event planners, and other staff for nonprofit organizations in Tennessee. A minor in Management or in Marketing would be beneficial.

Event Planning for students who want to plan events such as ceremonies, celebrations, commemorative events, open houses, reunions, receptions and tastings, weddings, balls, galas, informative events, meetings, retreats, and conferences for nonprofit organizations, corporations, hotels, resorts, and event management firms. A minor in Entrepreneurship is highly recommended if you want to own an event-planning business. The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics gives salary and other information about meeting, convention, and event planners at http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes131121.htm and at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/meeting-convention-and-event-planners.htm.

Fundraising for students who want to coordinate philanthropy activities for corporations, and who want to coordinate fundraising for nonprofit organizations, political interest groups, and political candidates. Students might coordinate such fundraising events and activities as fundraising dinners, silent auctions and sales, marathons, galas and balls, annual fundraising campaigns, membership drives, gift clubs, capital campaigns, and phonathons. The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics gives information about fundraising managers.

Employee Communication for students who want to oversee communication programs for employees, orientation and training, benefits and health fairs, employee recruiting and relocating, conflict management and resolution processes, and special events in corporations, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies.  The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics gives information on training and development managers.

Intercultural and International Organizations for students who want to work in corporations and nonprofit organizations that have an intercultural or international focus. A minor in Global Studies or a foreign language is highly recommended.

Health Care Organizations for students who want to coordinate training sessions for employees, oversee health fairs and health education efforts, coordinate volunteer and fundraising activities, and plan special events for medical centers, nursing homes, other health care facilities and offices. A minor in Health Care Services may be beneficial.

Arts Organizations for students wanting to work in nonprofit museums, house museums, art galleries, and for symphonies and theatres. A minor in an arts discipline and two internships with arts organizations are strongly recommended. One internship should focus on technical, stage management, or performance areas, and the second internship should focus on management within an arts organization. You must learn about the art form and how to talk to artists, as well as learn how the arts organization operates.

The Department of Communication Studies offers a major in Organizational Communication.  Additionally, the department offers a program in CommunicationBoth programs lead to a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree.

For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS tab above.

Definition of Organizational Communication.
Although many students say their major is "ORCO," the actual title of the major is Organizational Communication. Every student in the Organizational Communication major should be able to describe their major in about 20 seconds. Here is the description from the U. S. Department of Education:

A program that focuses on general communication processes and dynamics within organizations. Includes instruction in the development and maintenance of interpersonal group relations within organizations; decision-making and conflict management; the use of symbols to create and maintain organizational images, missions, and values; power and politics within organizations; human interaction with computer technology; and how communication socializes and supports employees and team members.

The interdisciplinary major in Organizational Communication requires 33 hours  (11 courses) and an 18-hour cognate. A minor is not required, but many students choose to earn one. Students may tailor the major to their own interests, choosing courses in business, entrepreneurship, sociology, psychology, media and entertainment, and other areas. Students may take some or all courses online.

Undergraduate minors in Communication Studies are available.

Organizational Communication

ORCO 4220 - Internship in Organizational Communication
1 to 3 credit hours

Prerequisite: Permission of department.  Practical experience in applying coursework to actual situations and projects in organizations, both on and off campus, in a supervised internship program. May be repeated for a maximum of six credits.

Student Resources

Contact and Student Information

Dr. Heather Hundley, Chair

Phone | 615-898-2412

Sonja R. Burk (A-M)
615-898-5089 | JH 114

Erin Coker (N-Z)
615-904-8180 | JH 153

Department of Communication Studies
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 200 
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

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