Communication Studies, Bachelor of Science

Communication Studies

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

The Bachelors degree in Communication Studies offers coursework that enables students to construct, convey and interpret communcation in diverse contexts. The major prepares students to: enter professions requiring proficiency in relational, group, and public communication. Courses combine theory and practice to enhance the student's ability to communicate well in both career and personal life. Students develop their capacities in ethical and critical thinking, improving their ability to articulate and defend their opinions as engaged citizens in a diverse world.

Students who complete this degree will be well prepared to enter graduate school, law school or other professional programs and to pursue teaching credentials.

The Organizational Communication Emphasis is only available for students attending Glendale Community College in the 2+2 program.

  • Available Emphasis Areas:
  • Organizational Communication - Emphasis

  • To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University's diversity, liberal studies, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.

    The full policy can be viewed here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • At least 42 units of major requirements
  • At least 18 units of minor, emphasis, or certificate requirements

  • Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements.

  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120
Major GPA C
Highest Mathematics Required MAT 114
Emphasis, Minor, or Certificate Required

An emphasis, minor, or certificate is required for this major.

Fieldwork Experience/Internship Optional
University Honors Program Optional
AZ Transfer Students complete AGEC-A Recommended
Progression Plan Link View Progression Plan

Purpose Statement
Central to the discipline of Communication Studies is the assumption that communication constructs the social world and is relational, collaborative, strategic, symbolic, and adaptive.  In order to understand, explore, and refine this assumption, Communication Studies focuses on the examination and integration of communication theory, research, critical thinking, ethics, and communication skills.  The Communication Studies degree produces reflective citizens who are able to contribute thoughtfully and constructively to the worlds of which they are a part.  Students learn about, examine, and investigate communication in diverse contexts (relational, cultural, professional, and public) using discipline-appropriate quantitative, qualitative, and critical methods.  Students develop and refine skills in effective oral and written communication, and learn to create messages appropriate to their audience, purpose, and communicative context.  As communication generalists, graduates are prepared to enter a variety of professions and/or postgraduate education.  

Student Learning Outcomes

These outcomes align closely with the 2015 National Communication Association’s (NCA) Learning Outcomes in Communication.

1.   Students will be able to describe the Communication discipline and its central questions. Through completion of this degree, students will be able to:

  • Explain the origins of the Communication discipline
  • Summarize the broad nature of the Communication discipline
  • Categorize the various career pathways for students of Communication
  • Articulate the importance of communication expertise in career development and civic engagement
  • Examine contemporary debates within the field 
2.   Students will learn to employ Communication theories, perspectives, principles, and concepts. Through completion of this degree, students will be able to:
  • Explain Communication theories, perspectives, principles, and concepts
  • Synthesize Communication theories, perspectives, principles, and concepts
  • Apply Communication theories, perspectives, principles, and concepts
  • Critique Communication theories, perspectives, principles, and concepts 
3.  Students will engage in Communication inquiry. Through completion of this degree, students will be able to:
  • Interpret communication scholarship
  • Evaluate Communication scholarship
  • Apply Communication scholarship
  • Formulate questions appropriate for Communication scholarship
  • Engage in Communication scholarship using the research traditions of the discipline
  • Differentiate between various approaches to the study of Communication
  • Contribute to scholarly conversations appropriate to the purpose of inquiry 
4.    Students will be able to create messages appropriate to the audience, purpose, and context. Through completion of this degree, students will be able to:
  • Locate and use information relevant to their communicative goals, audiences, purposes, and contexts
  • Select creative and appropriate modalities and technologies to accomplish communicative goals
  • Adapt messages to the diverse needs of individuals, groups, and contexts
  • Present messages in multiple communication modalities and contexts
  • Adjust messages while in the process of communicating
  • Critically reflect on their own messages after the communication event
5.   Students will be able to critically analyze messages. Through completion of this degree, students will be able to:
  • Identify meanings embedded in messages
  • Articulate characteristics of mediated and non-mediated messages
  • Recognize the influence of messages
  • Engage in active listening
  • Enact mindful responding to messages 
6.    Students will be able to demonstrate the ability to accomplish communicative goals (self-efficacy). Through completion of this degree, students will be able to:
  • Identify contexts, situations, and barriers that impeded communication self-efficacy
  • Perform verbal and nonverbal communication behaviors that illustrate self-efficacy
  • Articulate personal beliefs about abilities to accomplish communication goals
  • Evaluate personal communication strengths and weaknesses 
7.   Students will be able to apply ethical Communication principles and practices. Through completion of this degree, students will be able to:
  • Identify ethical perspectives
  • Explain the relevance of various ethical perspectives
  • Articulate the ethical dimensions of a communication situation
  • Choose to communicate with ethical intention
  • Propose solutions for (un)ethical communication
  • Evaluate the ethical elements of a communication situation 
8.   Students will be able to utilize Communication embrace difference. Through completion of this degree, students will be able to:
  • Articulate the connection between communication and culture
  • Recognize individual and cultural similarities and differences
  • Appreciate individual and cultural similarities and differences
  • Respect diverse perspectives and the ways they influence communication
  • Articulate their own cultural standpoint and how it affects communication and worldview
  • Demonstrate the ability to be culturally self-aware
  • Adapt their own communication in diverse cultural contexts 
9.  Students will learn to engage public discourse. Through completion of this degree, students will be able to:
  • Explain the importance of communication in civic life
  • Identify the challenges facing communities and the role of communication in resolving those challenges
  • Frame local, national, and/or global issues from a Communication perspective
  • Evaluate local, national, and/or global issues from a Communication perspective
  • Utilize communication to respond to issues at the local, national, and/or global level
  • Advocate a course of action to address local, national, and/or global issues from a Communication perspective
  • Empower individuals to promote human rights, human dignity, and human freedom

Major Requirements
  • This major requires 57-67 units distributed as follows:

    • Communication Studies Common Courses: 42 units
      • Discuss opportunities for fieldwork with your advisor.  Fieldwork Experience is not required.
    • A Minor, Emphasis, or Certificate:15-25 units
      • Organizational Communication Emphasis: 18 units
      •  Minor: 18-24 units
      • Certificate: 15-25 units (two certificates are higher: 30 units and 37 units)

    Take the following 42 units with a Grade of "C" or better in each course:
    Communication core:

  • Emphasis, Minor, or Certificate (15-25 units)

    • Organizational Communication Emphasis (18 units) Only available for Glendale Community College  2+2 students

      • Complete the following 18-units of organizational communication course work:
        • CST 312, CST 472, CST 477 (9 units)
        • Additional units chosen in consultation with your advisor (9 units)

      Minor (18-24 units)
      A minor must be at least 18 units from those described in this catalog. In consultation with your advisor, you should select a minor that's appropriate for your career aspirations and educational needs. Your minor advisor will advise you about this part of your academic plan.

       You may not pursue the Communication Studies Minor in conjunction with this degree.

      Certificate (15 to 25 units--two certificates are higher: 30 units and 37 units)

      • By major advisor approval only: a 15-unit certificate program plus 3 additional units of coursework

  • Students are expected to work closely with a Communication Studies faculty advisor to design a plan of study and to receive professional and career advice.

    All majors must earn the grade of "C" or better in COM 101 and COM 200, as well as in the NAU Liberal-Studies-required freshman composition, and foundation mathematics course.

    You must take at least 21 of your major units at Northern Arizona University. Any exceptions to this requirement must be approved by a Communication Studies advisor.

General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit.

    You may take these remaining courses from any of the academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. You may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.

    We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you.

Additional Information
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.