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Communication Studies Major Guide for 2009-2010

What is Communication Studies

Communication Studies involves the study of messages.  We are concerned with how people interact in interpersonal, group, organizational, and public speaking contexts.  In addition, we study how people interact in specialized contexts such as the family or health care settings. 

Communication Studies course work includes public speaking, persuasion, communication theory, and research methods.  Elective courses in communication studies include organizational communication, interpersonal communication, group communication, communication and conflict, health communication, political persuasion, and family communication.

Career Opportunities in Communication Studies

The School of Communication Studies prepares students for careers in a wide variety of fields such as law, health, management, sales, politics, consulting, mediation, education, and event planning.  Graduates of the program have been accepted into a variety of professional and graduate programs including schools of law, master’s of business administration programs, health sciences programs, education programs, and college student personnel programs.  Graduates of the program have secured jobs in management, sales, marketing, government, public relations, law enforcement, health care, education and politics.

Salary Trends in Communication Studies

Communication Studies majors pursue a variety of career opportunities.  Since Communication Studies majors work in a variety of fields, it is difficult to generalize about salaries.  However, the average entry-level salary for communication studies graduates is $38,000.

High School Preparation

High school preparation for the Communication Studies major may include:

  • Participation in high school debate and forensics
  • Course work that involves oral communication, critical thinking, and research skills
  • Course work that involves the role of free speech in western civilization
  • Course work that involves computer-mediated presentations and Web page design
  • Course work that involves how people interact at work and in relationships

How to Major in Communication Studies

Entering freshmen and transfer students are associated with the department as pre-majors.  You may progress toward a major in Communication Studies after you have completed 30 hours of prescribed course work, including the College’s gateway course Communication and Information 150, with a 2.5 cumulative GPA. 

Application materials to the School of Communication Studies may be obtained in the College of Communication and Information Center for Undergraduate Studies and Advising or in the School of Communication Studies office.

Requirements for Communication Studies

Requirements for the major fall into several broad categories that include basic skills, general education requirements, and major requirements. 

In the basic skills category, students follow a prescribed list of courses that involve writing, foreign language, and math.  In the general education category, students select from a list of courses in areas such as the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, and western or world civilization that provide the breadth of knowledge required of the communication professional.  In the major category, students begin with a prescribed set of courses that involve speaking and research skills.  Following completion of the skills courses, students enroll in course work designed to advance their knowledge of communication theory, human interaction in various contexts, and issues surrounding freedom of speech.  In addition, students may select from a number of elective communication studies courses to develop expertise in organizational communication, interpersonal communication, health communication, and family communication.

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

The School of Communication Studies has one of the most active internship programs at the University of Tennessee.  Our students obtain internships in organizations such as Disney, CNN, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal government, NBC, and the American Cancer Society. 

Students have the opportunity to participate in a number of extracurricular activities such as the debate and forensics program.  The school sponsors a chapter of Lambda Pi Eta, the national honor society for students in communication studies.  The School of Communication Studies offers a supervised study abroad program each summer.  Based in Paris, the program offers students the opportunity to learn about and experience intercultural communication in European business settings.  In addition, the School of Communication Studies is a member of the Consortium of Universities for International Studies that offers both graduate and undergraduate study abroad opportunities in Italy.

Highlights of Communication Studies

As noted in a recent program review, “The Communication Studies program offers a very effective program of study that provides a balance between theory and application.  Because of this balance, students are confident of their ability to apply their knowledge and skills to virtually any professional and personal setting.  In addition to practical professional applications, the curriculum is set to prepare students to enter virtually any graduate communication program in the country.”

Ready for the World logoReady for the World

Opportunities for International Study
Students in the College of Communication and Information are encouraged to participate in a study abroad program as part of the University of Tennessee's commitment to make our graduates "Ready for the World.”  Studying abroad opens up many opportunities for students to learn about communication and information in an international setting, develop cross-cultural communication skills, and enhance their marketability and career options.  Students often say that their study abroad experience was the highlight of their college years.  Communication and information students may study Journalism in Denmark or the Netherlands, International Communication in Paris and Brussels, foreign language in any number of countries, or participate in the study abroad program of their choice.  Most students participate in study abroad during their second or third year at UT.

Learn more about UT's Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today's world.

Sample Curriculum

Freshman Year Credit Hours
Communication and Information 150 3
Communication Studies 201 3
English 101, 102 6
Quantitative Reasoning Elective 3
Psychology 110 3
Natural Science Electives 8
Arts and Humanities Elective 3
General Elective 1
TOTAL 30
Sophomore Year Credit Hours
Communication Studies 210 or 240 3
Communication Studies 250 or 270 3
Social Sciences Elective 3
History 241, 242 or 261, 262 6
Mathematics 115 or Statistics 201 3
Arts and Humanities Elective 3
Intermediate Foreign Language 6
Advanced Composition Elective 3
TOTAL 30
Junior Year Credit Hours
Communication Studies 300, 310, 320 or 330 3
Communication Studies 340 3
Communication Studies 350 3
Communication Studies Electives 6
College Elective 3
Arts and Sciences Electives 6
General Electives 6
TOTAL 30
Senior Year Credit Hours
Communication Studies 499 3
Communication Studies Elective 3
Arts and Sciences Electives 6
College Electives 6
General Electives 12
TOTAL 30
GRAND TOTAL 120

For More Information

Dr. John Haas
School of Communication Studies
The University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996-0324
(865) 974-0696
jhaas1@utk.edu

 

Note

The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.