Communication Studies Advising Guide

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What is Communication Studies?

The Communication Studies track is a broad social science track covering all aspects of human communication. Students learn interpersonal, group, organizational, and public communication theories and skills, which are applicable to a wide variety of contexts. Activities that fall under the heading of Communication Studies include persuading a customer to buy a product, hiring and managing employees, mediating a conflict in an organization, helping a couple strengthen their relationship, writing a speech or sermon, arguing for or against a political position, managing a team of employees or volunteers, delivering a public speech, and many others.

 

Career Opportunities in Communication Studies

Graduates from the Communication Studies track can pursue careers in many different aspects of communication, including:

Organizations

- Human Resources Manager

- Communication Skills Trainer

- Recruiter

Interpersonal Relationships

- Sales Director

- Marriage Counselor

- Health Care Counselor

Public Service

- Elected Official

- Speechwriter

- Minister

- Non-Profit Director

Additionally, Communication Studies graduates can go on to earn graduate degrees in Communication, Public Administration, Law, and/or other fields.

 

Salary Trends in Communication Studies

Graduates from the Communication Studies track can expect starting salaries of about $35,000 to $40,000, but after experience, salaries can increase dramatically.  Some fields, such as speechwriters, can make up to $185,000 a year, and a non-profit director can make $50,000 to more than $100,000 depending on the size of the organization.

Unlike more vocationally-oriented majors, such as majors in business, engineering, or the health professions, A&S majors tend to study a greater range of topics outside of their immediate major area. This greater breadth provides an interdisciplinary perspective that complements the more linear education in the student’s major area. 

As a result, A&S majors are compatible with a wide-range of career options. A large 2012 survey of employers found that 81% of employers will consider any degree, so most employers do not require a specific degree. So A&S majors typically find post-graduate employment at rates comparable to more vocationally-specific degrees, Furthermore, longitudinal studies which have followed college graduates over time have shown that Arts and Sciences graduates' rates of salary growth often exceed those of more vocationally-specific majors. For example, a 2010 longitudinal survey of college majors after graduation found that:

“Occupationally specific degrees are beneficial at the point of entry into the labor market but have the lowest growth in occupational status over time. Students earning credentials focusing on general skills, in contrast, begin in jobs with low occupational status but subsequently report the greatest growth.

Another longitudinal study concluded that:

"Employment across educational fields is almost identical for individuals aged 35-44, and beyond age 45, humanities graduates actually have higher rates of employment than those in other fields. After age 45, humanities and social science majors’ salaries overtake those of counterparts in other fields."

Finally, A&S majors have on average the highest rates of increase from starting to mid-career salary.

 

High School Preparation

Excel in English and communication courses, particularly courses that teach public speaking. Look for opportunities to volunteer at non-profit organizations or health-care facilities.

 

How to Major in Communication Studies

The Communication Studies concentration allows students to analyze, evaluate, and critique human communication practices in a variety of contexts such as workplace, the family, and the community. Students will develop skills that can be used in many fields or careers. 

Core Requirements: CA 100, CA 210, CA 260, CA 300, CA 445

Required: CA 200, CA 222, CA 310

 

Choose either Group A or Group B

Group A -Human and Organizational Communication Required: CA 211, CA 230, CA 275

Choose Four: CA 315, CA 300-W, CA 410, CA 411, CA 430, CA 453, CA 475, CA 496

 

Group B - Rhetoric and Culture Required: CA 422, CA 424-W

Choose Four: CA 315, CA 330-W, CA 343, CA 352, CA 410, CA 425, CA 453, CA 496

 

Communication Studies Highlights

Students have opportunities to hone their communication skills and learn the theories behind communication success.  Learning how to communicate well in various situations can be fascinating.

 

Study Abroad Opportunities

Students can take international studies courses in London or other foreign cities that will count toward their degree in Communication Studies.

Studying abroad is an exciting and meaningful experience that will contribute to your academic and personal development.  Participating on a study abroad program can be one of the most profound decisions of your college life, and can lead to many new and interesting opportunities.  It can help develop your critical thinking skills, sense of independence, and confidence.  When you depart on your study abroad program, you will go with excitement, trepidation, and uncertainty about the world and your place in it.  When you return home, your deep connection and affection for your host culture will be overwhelming, and will only be matched by a newfound respect and appreciation for your home.

Study abroad is the opportunity for USA students to spend time in a different country while earning credit towards your degree through taking classes, interning, volunteering, and more.  There are many different types of study abroad available to you at USA. They include faculty-led programs, international exchange programs, and direct-enroll and affiliate programs. 

Students on faculty-led programs will travel as a group led by USA professors and take classes in various locations. All courses taken on these programs are USA courses and offer USA credits that will apply to your degree. International Exchange programs are partnerships with specific universities around the world with which USA has a special, reciprocal relationship. Students enroll directly at the host university, and students from the host university attend USA. USA affiliate programs allow students to enroll at a partner university or program through a third-party provider. GPA requirements vary by program.

You should think of the Study Abroad Office as a one-stop shop for information related to your study abroad experience. The Study Abroad (http://www.southalabama.edu/studyabroad/) team is excited to assist you as you navigate through the process of choosing a program, and will help you from the advising stage until you return from your program.  You can get started by coming to meet with an advisor during Walk-In Advising hours. During an advising session, you can gain general information about the many programs available, how the application process works at USA and general guidance on where to begin.

Be sure to visit the OIE Study Abroad website at http://www.southalabama.edu/studyabroad/ to begin your research.  The website contains information on how to get started, financing your program, and a comprehensive list of pre-approved study abroad programs and partners. While researching a passport or visa programs, consider the following: eligibility requirements, location, course offerings, and costs.  You should also meet with your faculty advisor for assistance in selecting a program based on courses related to your degree.

Studying abroad can be one of the highlights of your university career, giving you wonderful and challenging experiences that will allow you to grow both academically and professionally. Where will you study abroad?

 

Academic Plan

Academic plans are in place to help you stay on track to graduate in four years.

To see our academic plans for Communication Studies, please below. Degree plans provide only a suggested schedule; make sure to meet with your academic advisor to find the actual schedule that is right for you.

Human & Organization Communication

Communication Rhetoric & Culture

For additional degree information, visit the undergraduate bulletin.

 

For More Information

Please contact Dr. Jessica Sheffield at jsheffield@southalabama.edu with questions about our communication program.

You can find us on campus at:

Communication Building Rm. 108
6021 USA Drive South
Mobile, AL 36688
(251) 380-2800

Website: www.southalabama.edu/colleges/artsandsci/communication

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/USACommDept?ref=bookmarks