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Bachelor's Degree Programs
Communication Studies

Major in Communication Studies

Communication Studies course work assists students in enhancing such competencies as critical inquiry, problem solving, media and message design, oral performance, relational interaction, and cultural communication. The Communication Studies curriculum provides a foundation for students interested in pursuing careers that apply communication principles, such as public relations, sales, marketing, video or film production, corporate media production, training and development, human resources, public affairs, consulting, and special events planning. In addition, it prepares students for graduate work in various areas, including communication, informatics, humanities, or social sciences, or in professional programs such as law, business, health, and social work.

Students graduating with a BA in Communication Studies from our Department should have at least moderate competencies in all of learning outcomes in communication (LOCs) identified by NCA. They should be able to:
1. Describe the Communication discipline and its central questions
2. Employ communication theories, perspectives, principles and concepts
3. Engage in communication inquiry
4. Create messages appropriate to the audience, purpose and context
5. Critically analyze messages
6. Demonstrate the ability to accomplish communicative goals (self-efficacy)
7. Apply ethical communication principles and practices
8. Utilize communication to embrace difference
9. Influence public discourse
10. Apply skills and knowledge needed to collaborate with others (not included in NCA’s LOCs; added by Department)
In addition, students graduating from our Department should have a high level of competency related to
four of these LOCs–the ability to:
  • Employ communication theories, perspectives, principles and concepts
  • Create messages appropriate to audience, purpose and context
  • Influence public discourse
  • Utilize communication to embrace difference
These four LOCs align most closely with the strengths and priorities of our Department as well as with University priorities. Because of the design of our curriculum, the four core classes and R110 play a particularly important role in ensuring that students are provided with the learning opportunities needed to attain these competencies. Elective courses can and will help students attain higher and deeper levels of competency related to specific LOCs, but if we want to ensure that a student cannot graduate without meeting a particular learning outcome, we need to embed that learning outcome in the core. The following table provides an overview of the learning outcomes associated with each of the required classes. The assumption is that any faculty member teaching these classes will provide instructional materials, activities and assignments that provide students the opportunity to achieve each of the competencies associated with the class.


The Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Communication Studies (COMM) requires satisfactory completion of the following:

  • A minimum of 120 credit hours is required for a B.A. degree from the IU School of Liberal Arts.
  • A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 (C) is required for graduation.
  • A minimum of 26 credit hours must be completed after formal admission to IUPUI.
  • A minimum of 21 credit hours of major coursework must be completed in residence in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. Course work completed on an IU-administered or IU co-sponsored Overseas Study program counts as residential credit.
  • A minimum grade of C (2.0) is required in each major course.
  • Once a course has been applied toward one requirement, it cannot be used to satisfy a second requirement, except where explicitly stated otherwise. In addition, except in cases of variable title courses, internships, and other special courses, no course will be counted more than once toward graduation.
  • at least 3 credit hours each in three of the four areas which are designated by the prefixes C, M, R, & T.
  • COMM-R 110 may not count toward the major.
  • no more than 12 credits may transfer.
  • at least 21 credits of the major coursework must be in courses offered solely or cooperatively by the Communication Studies Department.
  • a total of 9 credits of G 300: Independent Study and G 491: Internship may count toward the major.

IUPUI General Education Core

A list of accepted courses in the IUPUI General Education Core can be found at http://go.iupui.edu/gened.

Core Communication (6 credits)

  • ENG-W 131: Reading, Writing, and Inquiry I (3 credits) or ENG-W 140: Reading, Writing, and Inquiry: Honors (3 credits) completed with a grade of C (2.0) or higher

English for Academic Purposes (EAP) sections of ENG-G 131 have been designated for students whose first language is not English.

  • COMM-R 110: Fundamentals of Speech Communication (3 credits)

Analytical Reasoning (6 credits)

  • College math from List A (3 credits)
  • List A or List B (3 credits)

Cultural Understanding (3 credits)

  • A world language course is recommended

Life and Physical Sciences (6 credits)

  • A laboratory science component is required

Arts/Humanities and Social Sciences (9 credits)

  • Arts & Humanities (3 credits)
  • Social Science (3 credits)
  • Additional Arts & Humanities or Social Science (3 credits)

Transfer students entering IUPUI from another public university in Indiana who have completed the transferable general education core at their home campus will not need to complete the IUPUI General Education Core.

Liberal Arts Baccalaureate Competencies

First-Year Experience (1-3 credits)

  • SLA-S 100: First Year Success Seminar
  • Other: First Year Seminar from another school at IUPUI

Transfer students with 18 or more credit hours are not required to take this course.

Writing Proficiency (3 credits), completed with a grade of C (2.0) or higher, chosen from the following:

  • ENG-W 230: Writing in the Sciences
  • ENG-W 231: Professional Writing Skills
  • ENG-W 270: Argumentative Writing

Transfer students may satisfy the writing proficiency by completing course work equivalent to ENG-W 231, ENG-W 230, ENG-W 270, or GEWR-UN 200 with a grade of C (2.0) or higher at another campus or institution.

Transfer students with 80 or more transfer credits may petition for exemption from the Writing Proficiency requirement.  Petition available in the Miriam Z. Langsam Office of Student Affairs, Cavanaugh Hall room 401.

Analytical Proficiency (3 credits), chosen from the following: 

  • ECON-E 270: Introduction to Statistical Theory in Economics and Business
  • PHIL-P 208: Causality and Evidence
  • PHIL-P 265: Introduction to Symbolic Logic
  • PHIL-P 365: Intermediate Symbolic Logic
  • POLS-Y 205: Analyzing Politics  
  • SOC-R 359: Introduction to Sociological Stats

Analytical Proficiency is in addition to the Analytical Reasoning area in the IUPUI General Education Core. Analytical Proficiency courses may be shared with major requirements if applicable.

Life and Physical Sciences Laboratory

One laboratory science course is required, but may be part of the coursework taken in the IUPUI General Education Core.

Arts and Humanities (3 credits) - Courses in one’s first major field of study cannot be used to fulfill this requirement

100 or 200 level course chosen from the following disciplines

  • Africana Studies (AFRO)
  • American Studies (AMST)
  • American Sign Language (ASL) excluding World Languages courses
  • Classics (CLAS) excluding World Languages courses
  • East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC) excluding World Language courses
  • English-Creative Writing or Writing and Literacy (ENG-W), excluding courses in the Writing Proficiency area.
  • English Literature (ENG-L)
  • Film Studies (FILM)
  • Folklore (FOLK) excluding FOLK-F 101
  • German (GER) excluding World Language courses
  • History (HIST) excluding HIST-H 105, HIST-H 106, HIST-H 108, HIST-H 109, HIST-H 113, HIST-H 114
  • Latino Studies (LATS)
  • Medical Humanities and Health Studies (MHHS)
  • Museum Studies (MSTD)
  • Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS)
  • Philosophy (PHIL)
  • Religious Studies (REL)
  • Spanish (SPAN) excluding World Language courses
  • Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WOST), excluding WOST-W 105
  • World Languages and Cultures (WLAC)

Social Sciences (3 credits) - Courses in one’s first major field of study cannot be used to fulfill this requirement

100 or 200 level course chosen from the following disciplines

  • Africana Studies (AFRO)
  • Anthropology (ANTH)
  • Economics (ECON)
  • English-Linguistics (ENG-Z)
  • Folklore (FOLK)
  • Geography (GEOG)
  • Global and International Studies (INTL)
  • History (HIST) only HIST-H 105, HIST-H 106, HIST-H 108, HIST-H 109, HIST-H 113, HIST-H 114
  • Journalism and Public Relations (JOUR)
  • Latino Studies (LATS)
  • Medical Humanities and Health Studies (MHHS) excluding MHHS-M 201
  • Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS)
  • Political Science (POLS)
  • Psychology (PSY)
  • Sociology (SOC)
  • Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WOST)

World Language and Perspectives (0-14 credits) This requirement may be satisfied in one of the following ways:

  1. Completion of second-year proficiency in a single world language.
    1. Languages include:
      1. American Sign Language (ASL)
      2. Arabic (NELC-A)
      3. Chinese (EALC-C)
      4. French (FREN)
      5. German (GER)
      6. Japanese (EALC-J)
      7. Spanish (SPAN)Languages include:
    2. Second-year proficiency is demonstrated by:
      1. passing the full second-year sequence of courses in a single language or
      2. completing a third or fourth-year course1
  2. Completion of third-semester proficiency in a single world language and one course in History selected from HIST-H 108, HIST-H 109, HIST-H 113, or HIST-H 114.
  3. Completion of first-year proficiency in a single world language; one history course selected from HIST-H 108, HIST-H 109, HIST-H 113, or HIST-H 114; and one course selected from the Global History and Perspectives list:
    1. ANTH-A 104: Intro to Cultural Anthropology
    2. CLAS-C 213: Sport and Competition in the Ancient World
    3. EALC-E 232: China Past and Present: Culture in Continuing Evolution
    4. ENG-L 245: (The Empire Writes Back) Intro to Caribbean Literature
    5. GEOG-G 130: World Geography
    6. HIST-H 108: Perspectives on the World to 1800
    7. HIST-H 109: Perspectives on the World since 1800
    8. HIST-H 113: History of Western Civilization I 
    9. HIST-H 114: History of Western Civilization II
    10. INTL-I 100: Intro to International Studies
    11. LATS-L 228: An Interdisciplinary Look at U.S. Latino/a Identities
    12. POLS-Y 217: Introduction to Comparative Politics 
    13. POLS-Y 219: Introduction to International Relations
    14. REL-R 212: Comparative Religions
  4. Non-English native speaker with approved waiver.

Courses in World Language and Perspectives may also satisfy General Education Core Cultural Understanding. 

       1 Students interested in receiving credit for lower-division language courses, see the section ‘‘Special Credit for Foreign Language Study.’’

Advanced Courses

Students are required to have 42 credit hours in 300-400 level coursework including courses in their major. Of the 42 advanced credits, 9 credit hours must be 300-400 level coursework outside the first Liberal Arts major field of study and from the School of Liberal Arts. Students seeking dual degrees are exempt from completing 9 credits hours in 300-400 level coursework outside their major and from the School of Liberal Arts.

Major Requirements(33 credits) 

Core Courses (9 credits)       

  • COMM-G 100: Introduction to Communication Studies 3credits
  • COMM-G 201: Introduction to Communication Theory 3 credits
  • COMM-G 310: Introduction to Communication Research 3 credits

Capstone Experience (3 credits)

  • COMM-G 480: Senior Capstone in Communication Studies 3 credits

Major Elective courses (21 credits)

The remaining 21 credits may be selected from any of the courses offered in Communication Studies, as long as departmental degree requirements are met. Students are strongly encouraged to develop their plan of study in consultation with their academic advisor and department mentor early to ensure a coherent program which meets their goals.

Communications Studies BA/MA

The Department of Communication Studies is proposing to offer a five-year Dual BA/MA in Applied Communication, similar to programs currently offered within the School of Liberal Arts (i.e., Economics, Philosophy, Political Science) as well as other schools at IUPUI (i.e., Electrical and Computer Engineering). These programs help in recruiting well-qualified undergraduates at IUPUI by giving them an opportunity to obtain an advanced degree with only one additional year of study. In addition to potentially increasing enrollments in our Masters program, it gives our best undergraduate students the opportunity and incentive to take more challenging courses in their senior year.

The Dual BA/MA in Applied Communication, which will be available to Communication Studies majors only, allows students to complete a BA and an MA in five years instead of six. The program will consist of three years of undergraduate coursework, a fourth year of combined undergraduate and graduate coursework, and a fifth year of exclusively graduate coursework.

This accelerated track offers students a way to complete an MA degree with less time and less cost,  creating greater appeal for students and helping make IUPUI competitive with other MA programs in the state that offer funding to MA students. The opportunity to earn an MA in Applied Communication in just one extra year also poises students to be more competitive in an increasingly competitive job market. In addition, the accelerated program has the potential to reduce costs for the Department and the School because it reduces the amount of graduate funding required to support MA students.

To summarize, the dual BA/MA program offers the following advantages:
• It can be implemented using existing faculty resources and currently-offered courses.
• It offers the potential to grow both undergraduate and graduate programs.
• It provides enhanced incentive for students to maintain high academic performance.
• It leads to a graduate degree in only one extra year.
• It reduces the costs of graduate education to the Department, students, and the School.


• Qualified students may apply for the program in the second semester of their junior year. To be eligible to apply, students should have completed at least 60 credit hours overall and 12 hours in the major, including the 9-hour core (G100, G201, and G310). They should have a minimum GPA of 3.3 overall and a 3.5 in their major coursework.
• As part of the application process, students are required to submit 2 faculty letters of recommendation (at least 1 from a member of the IUPUI Department of Communication Studies faculty) and a single-authored writing sample.
• If students maintain at least a B average in all of the grad courses taken during their senior year, they will automatically be allowed to continue in the MA program, and the graduate courses completed during their senior year would double count towards completion of the MA requirements.

Program Structure

• Students accepted into the program will be able to take up to 15 hours of graduate courses in COMM during their senior year. During the senior year, students will be required to take COMM-C500 (Advanced Communication Theory) and COMM-C501 (Quantitative Research Methods). In addition, students may enroll in up to 9 additional hours of 500-level COMM classes. These courses will count  towards the student’s BA. (NOTE: All courses counting to the BA major must be completed with a grade of C or higher).
• In Year 5, after earning their BA, students would complete the remaining hours of course work required for the MA in Applied Communication as well as their ALP (Applied Learning Project) or Thesis.  Students may elect to take classes during the summer between the 4th and 5th year or to write the ALP/Thesis in the summer after the 5th year.

Sample Curriculum

This sample curriculum provides an example of the Communication Studies courses a student could take to complete the major requirements for their BA and their MA in 5 years, based on the current curriculum map for the BA in Communication Studies.

Sophomore Year-Fall:

• G100: Introduction to Communication Studies Spring:
• G201: Introduction to Communication Theory

Junior Year:
• G310: Introduction to Communication Research
• Communication Studies Elective (i.e., M150: Media in Contemporary Society)
• Communication Studies Elective (i.e., R321: Persuasion)
• Communication Studies Elective (i.e., R310: Rhetoric, Society & Culture)
NOTE: During this semester, qualified students should apply for the Dual BA/MA program

Senior Year:Fall-

• C500: Advanced Communication Theory
• Graduate Communication Studies Elective (i.e., C580: Advanced Organizational Communication)
• C501: Applied Quantitative Research
• Communication Studies Electives (i.e., C528: Group Communication and Organizations)
• Communication Studies Electives (i.e., C544: Advanced Relational Communication)

NOTE: At the end of this semester, the student must have completed all of the requirements for a BA with a major in Communication Studies. One of the graduate-level courses will substitute for the BA Capstone requirement.

Fifth Year:
• Second Core Methods class (i.e., C531: Media Theory and Criticism)
• Communication Studies Electives (i.e.,; C594: Comm. & Conflict Management in Org.)
• Communication Studies Electives (i.e., C582: Intercultural Communication)
• Communication Studies Elective (i.e,, C520—Advanced Public Communication)
• ALP (Applied Learning Project) or Thesis (3 credit hours)

Communication Studies Undergraduate Honors Degree Requirements

A list of Communication Studies courses approved for H-Options is available in the Honors Program office or in the main department office. Other courses may be arranged by departmental approval. Students graduating with departmental honors will receive a certificate and a letter of acknowledgment.

Communication Studies Courses

Open electives
Candidates for a degree in the IU School of Liberal Arts must complete the IUPUI General Education Core requirements, the baccalaureate competencies, and the requirements of their major department. Usually, students will still need to complete additional hours in order to reach the graduation requirement of 120 credit hours. These remaining credit hours are known as open electives.

Accelerated Second Degree: The Liberal Arts baccalaureate competencies are waived for undergraduate students whose first major is outside the School of Liberal Arts and whose second major is a Bachelor of Arts degree from the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. Students are only required to complete the courses in their major of choice in Liberal Arts. The IUPUI General Education Core or the Indiana transferable general education core must be successfully completed. Students must complete the degree outside Liberal Arts in order to have the Liberal Arts baccalaureate competencies waived for degree completion. The Liberal Arts baccalaureate competencies are only waived for students who actively pursue and complete another degree program outside of Liberal Arts.