Communication Studies, Bachelor of Science


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.

  • 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

A central assumption of these Degree Program Learning Outcomes (DPLO) is that communication constructs the social world and is relational, collaborative, strategic, symbolic, and adaptive.

  • Students will engage Communication scholarship, theories, and research methods.
    • Explain Communication scholarship, theories, and/or research methods.
    • Apply Communication scholarship, theories, and/or research methods.
    • Contribute to Communication scholarship using the research methods of the discipline.
  • Students will create messages appropriate to audiences, purposes, and contexts.
    • Locate and use information relevant to audiences, purposes, and contexts.
    • Adapt messages to the diverse needs of individuals, groups, and contexts.
    • Present messages in various communication modalities and contexts.
    • Critically reflect on one’s own messages after the communication event.
    • Utilize communication to respond to issues at local, national, and/or global levels (civic engagement).
  • Students will critically analyze messages and communication situations.
    • Identify meanings embedded in messages.
    • Articulate characteristics of mediated and non-mediated messages.
    • Engage in critical thinking.
    • Evaluate situations and barriers that affect communication goals.
    • Evaluate public discourses and issues from a Communication perspective.
  • Students will apply ethical communication principles and practices.
    • Identify ethical perspectives.
    • Evaluate the ethical elements of a communication situation.
    • Propose solutions for (un)ethical communication.
  • Students will utilize communication to embrace difference.
    • Recognize individual and cultural similarities and differences.
    • Articulate the connection between communication and culture.
    • Articulate one’s own cultural standpoint and how it affects communication and world view.

Major Requirements
  • This major requires 60-67 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:18-25 units
      • Organizational Communication Emphasis: 18 units
      •  Minor: 18-24 units
      • Certificate: 18-25 units 

    Take the following 42 units with a Grade of "C" or better in each course:
    Communication core:
    • Please note that you may take CST 408 in your final two years before graduation, after completing at least 89 units toward your degree. However, you must apply to and receive prior approval from our Communication Studies faculty members, and we reserve the right to deny approval based on our assessment of your preparation and competence. You may apply up to 3 units of it toward your major requirements.

      Students who select the organizational communication emphasis (below) may use an additional 3 units of CST 408 for the emphasis requirements. CST 408 may be taken on a pass/fail basis. 

      Select from the following: (6-12 units)
  • Emphasis, Minor, or Certificate (18-25 units)
    Select One:
    • Organizational Communication Emphasis (18 units). Offered in-person at the Flagstaff campus and Glendale Community College; not currently offered online. 

      • Complete the following 18-units of organizational communication course work with a Grade of "C" or better in each course.
        • CST 312, CST 315, CST 472, CST 477 (12 units)
        • Additional coursework chosen in consultation with your advisor including up to 3 units of CST 408 in addition to the 3 units allowed as part of the major (above). CST 408 may be taken on a pass/fail basis. (6 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.

      Certificate (18 to 25 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.

  • Students enrolled in this plan may not enroll in or pursue the following due to the number of overlapping units:

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.