Program Details

The communication major provides students with a better understanding of human communication processes, including how communication has been conceptualized, investigated and how members of the communication discipline have used their knowledge and scholarship to effect change in their personal and professional lives. Students are given opportunities to study how effective communication enhances well-being and relationships, promotes civic engagement and allows for effective participation in a global community.

Courses focus on understanding and identifying organizing principles and patterns of social life through the observation and analysis of human communication behavior. This major is firmly grounded in the liberal arts and sciences and is intended to prepare students to be effective members of society, as well as valued employees in whatever careers they may choose to pursue. Graduates have often found positions in occupations such as sales, human resources, training, education and consulting, or have pursued advanced academic or professional degrees in fields such as law, management and marketing.

Communication majors will complete 42 semester hours (sh) in communication coursework. In addition to completing required core courses, students will choose to focus on one of three options: communication studies, interpersonal communication and processes, or social influence. Communication majors are able to select minors that complement their major areas of study and their career goals. Communication majors earn a Bachelor of Arts in Communication upon successful completion of the program.

Integrated Baccalaureate and Master’s Degree Program

An integrated baccalaureate and master’s degree program is available for the Bachelor of Arts in Communication: Master of Arts in Communication. An integrated degree program provides the opportunity for outstanding undergraduates to earn both degrees in five years.

View detailed integrated degree requirements for communication.

Special Opportunities in Communication

Lambda Pi Eta – LPE is a national communication honor society. LPE membership is by invitation only to students who meet honors requirements. LPE recognizes and rewards outstanding scholastic achievement in communication studies, as well as promotes and encourages interest in the field of communication. LPE further encourages professional development among communication majors.

Communication Student Society – CSS is open to all communication majors and minors. CSS gives students the opportunity to make connections with faculty and fellow students outside the classroom. It also sponsors social events, job and career preparation programs, and other events throughout the year.

Department Minors

  • Communication
  • Computer-Mediated Communication

Additional Resources

public relations

Potential Communication degree career path: public relations

Internship Opportunities in Communication

As a communication major, students can participate in an internship for up to 12 sh of credit. Internships may be arranged with cooperating public or private organizations and can provide you with valuable job experience. Eligible students must have a 2.25 overall GPA, a 2.5 GPA in the communication major and obtain approval from the department’s internship coordinator. Communication students have completed internships at Walt Disney World, Caterpillar, Six Flags, Enterprise Car Rental, Target, Inc. and more.

Possible Communication Career Paths

The communication major provides excellent preparation for such diverse careers as sales, advertising, management, public relations, personnel, human services, education, training and a host of other careers that require effective communication skills and/or a working knowledge of communication processes.

Students are encouraged to contact Western’s Career Development Center for assistance with résumé preparation, interviewing and job search techniques. Seniors are advised to register and establish their credential file with the office in order to take advantage of job referral and on-campus interviewing opportunities.

Communication (COMM) Courses

Please refer to the undergraduate catalog for detailed program information and course requirements.

130 Introduction to Human Communication. (3) (General Education/Humanities) Introduction to the various approaches and sub-fields which comprise speech communication, with focus on theoretical foundations of contemporary human communication theory.

235 Communicating in Small Groups. (3) (General Education/Social Sciences) Broad examination of the functioning of communication in small groups, including practical advice for becoming a more effective group member.

241 Introduction to Public Speaking. (3) (General Education/Communication Skills) Preparation and delivery of informative and persuasive speeches. Students apply concepts of critical listening, audience adaptation, organization/support of ideas, appropriate style, and effective delivery. Not open to students with credit for COMM 242. Accelerated section available. IAI: C2 900

242 Fundamentals of Public Speaking. (3) (General Education/Communication Skills) Preparation and delivery of informative and persuasive speeches. Students apply concepts of critical listening, audience adaptation, organization/support of ideas, appropriate style, and effective delivery completed in an online format. Not open to students with credit for COMM 241.

247 Argumentation. (3) A theoretical and practical course investigating source, structure, and nature of argument, reasoning, critical thinking, and validation of evidence. Writing Instruction in the Discipline WID course. Prerequisite: COMM 241 or consent of instructor.

254 Great Speeches. (3) (General Education/ Humanities) An analysis of representative speeches that have significantly influenced the course of human events.

305 Interviewing. (3) Theory of interviewing and its purposes in various communication settings. Practical applications of the principles of interviewing.

309 Communication Theory. (3) A survey of communication theories. This course will also address the process of theory building and the role of communication theory across major paradigms guiding communication research. Prerequisite: COMM 130 with a grade of C or higher.

310 Qualitative Research Methods in Communication. (3) A survey of the qualitative research methods used in communication studies. Qualitative research design, data collection, analysis, and interpretation are addressed. Prerequisites: COMM 130 with a grade of C or higher; ENG 180 and 280.

311 Quantitative Research Methods in Communication. (3) An introduction to designing and evaluating communication research. Prerequisites: COMM 130 with a grade of C or higher; ENG 180 and 280.

312 Rhetorical Criticism. (3) This course introduces students to theories and methods of rhetorical criticism that enable them to function as effective consumers of public discourse. Case studies of significant rhetorical acts from political speeches, movies, advertisements, visuals, and music are used to introduce important concepts. Students will develop an understanding of how rhetoric functions to influence attitudes, values, and behaviors in our public culture. Prerequisite: COMM 130.

314 (Formerly COMM 414) Professional Presentations. (3) Preparation and delivery of speeches and presentations in professional settings utilizing advanced rhetorical principles and advanced communication technologies. Prerequisites: ENG 180 and 280; COMM 241.

315 (Cross-listed with WS 316) Gender and Communication. (3) This course examines gender and gender-role differences and similarities in verbal and nonverbal communication and surveys several contexts in which sex differences in human communication occur. Not open to students with credit in WS 316. Prerequisite: COMM 130.

330 Language and Communication. (3) This survey course explores the historical and contemporary functions of language in communication. The course will examine theories of language, meaning, and communication, with emphasis on contemporary language research and controversies surrounding language and meaning in society. Prerequisite: COMM 130.

341 Small Group Communication. (3) Examination of significant factors which affect the behavior and effectiveness of social and task groups. Study of group behavior research.

343 Organizational Communication. (3) Survey of the major communication functions in organizations and their relationship to personnel, administrative, technological, and social factors. Prerequisites: COMM 130; ENG 180 and 280.

344 Interpersonal Communication. (3) Theory and concepts relevant to face-to-face interaction. Focus on the content of communication in relationships and the role of communication in creating and defining relationships. Prerequisites: COMM 130; ENG 180 and 280.

345 Computer-Mediated Communication. (3) Exploration of communication technology. Focus on and examination of competent communication technology use in a variety of contexts. Analysis of problematic issues of CMC including accuracy, trust, privacy, and identity. Prerequisite: COMM 130.

356 Persuasion. (3) Examination of the elements affecting people’s opinions and decisions. Focuses on three general categories of variables: source, message, and audience characteristics. Prerequisite: COMM 130.

377 Nonverbal Communication. (3) Introduces basic codes, properties, and principles of nonverbal communication. Multidisciplinary content approached from scientific perspective rather than intuitive and experiential judgments. Designed to improve the communication effectiveness and understanding of the communication process. Prerequisite: COMM 130.

381 Intercultural Communication. (3) (Global Issues) An introduction to the study of intercultural communication, with an emphasis on the application of communication approaches that increase intercultural understanding. Topics include interpersonal/ intercultural theory and applications, globalization, cultural differences, and contemporary issues in language across cultures. Prerequisite: COMM 130.

400 Senior Honors Thesis Research. (3) Bibliographic and other preliminary work in preparation for a senior honors thesis (see COMM 401). Students will produce a final, graded project for this course. This course may not be taken concurrently with COMM 401. Prerequisites: ENG 180 and 280; COMM 310 or 311; students must be in good standing in the Centennial Honors College and must be juniors or first-semester seniors majoring in Communication.

401 Honors Thesis. (3) Students will write a senior honors thesis. This course may not be taken concurrently with COMM 400. Prerequisites: COMM 400; ENG 180 and 280; students must be in good standing in the Centennial Honors College and must be seniors majoring in Communication.

409 Communication and Conflict Management. (3) Study of the role of communication in conflict. Consideration of major theories of conflict management. Prerequisites: COMM 130; ENG 180 and 280.

410 Advanced Interpersonal Communication. (3) Study of theory, concepts, and methodology relevant to communication in close relationships. Examination of the dynamics and management of interaction within these contexts. Writing Instruction in the Discipline WID course. Prerequisites: COMM 130 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 311 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 344; ENG 180 and 280.

413 Advanced Organizational Communication. (3) Study of communication in small groups and organizational settings. Examination of field, survey, and experimental studies contributing to the understanding and improvement of group and organization communication. Writing Instruction in the Discipline WID course. Prerequisites: COMM 130 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 311 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 343; ENG 180 and 280.

418 Independent Research in Communication. (1–6, repeatable to 6) Individual reading or research under supervision of the faculty. Open to juniors and seniors who have demonstrated competence in broadcasting, communication, rhetoric, public address, or the speech-language-hearing sciences. Prerequisites: ENG 180 and 280; consent of instructor and department chairperson.

425 Health Communication. (3) This course will survey a number of topics relevant to both the institutional settings of medicine (e.g., doctorpatient interaction, media campaigns) as well as the interpersonal ramifications of illness (e.g., social support). Prerequisite: COMM 130 or permission of instructor.

428 Family Communication. (3) This course will investigate communication processes in the context of the family environment. Specifically, it will examine communication’s role in and its influence on family relational processes. Prerequisite: COMM 130 or permission of instructor.

430 Communication Training and Development. (3) This course explores the knowledge and skills necessary to engage in effective communication training and development in organizations and/or consulting in the field of communication. Prerequisite: COMM 311.

441 Rhetoric and Public Culture. (3) The study of rhetoric’s power to shape and sustain public culture. Students learn how rhetoric influences civic and cultural life and execute an independent project examining the rhetorical strategies, argumentative approaches, and cultural significance of an influential rhetorical text. Writing Instruction in the Discipline WID course. Prerequisites: COMM 312; ENG 180 and 280.

445 Advanced Computer-Mediated Communication. (3) Study of message and relational processes in computer-mediated communication. Examination of theory and research exploring how individuals share, send, and receive messages via communication technologies. Prerequisite: COMM 345.

456 Persuasive Campaigns. (3) Study of the design and execution of persuasive campaigns. Writing Instruction in the Discipline WID course. Prerequisites: COMM 130 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 311 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 356; ENG 180 and 280.

457 Social Influence. (3) Study of theories, methodology, and concepts of compliance gaining, message design, persuasion, and resistance to persuasion. Prerequisites: COMM 130 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 311 with a grade of C or higher; COMM 356; ENG 180 and 280.

480 Special Topics in Communication. (1–3, repeatable to 6, for different topics, with permission of department chair) This course deals with selected topics of interest in communication such as nonverbal communication, intercultural communication, and family communication. Prerequisites: ENG 180 and 280; completion of at least 12 s.h. in Communication.

496 Communication Internship. (1–12, repeatable to 12) Directed work assignments in private or public sectors in communication areas. Students may count up to 3 s.h. of COMM 496 toward the Communication major. Prerequisites: Junior standing; 12 s.h. of Communication courses completed; ENG 180 and 280; permission of internship coordinator and department chairperson; a GPA of 2.50 in major courses taken as well as an overall GPA of 2.25. Graded S/U only.

Contact Information

Department of Comunication

Dr. Peter Jorgensen, Chairperson
Location: Memorial Hall 302
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455-1390
Phone: (309) 298-1507

Communication Website

Communication Directory

College of Fine Arts & Communication (COFAC)

Mr. William Clow, Dean
COFAC Email:
Location: Browne Hall 115
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455-1390
Phone: (309) 298-1618

COFAC Website

Communication Advising

Jennifer Grimm
Macomb campus
Memorial Hall 335
Phone: (309) 298-1938

Kim Moreno
Quad Cities campus
Quad Cities Complex 1416H
Phone: (309) 762-3999 x62325

Memorial Hall