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Communication Studies (B.S. or B.A.)

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Why Study Communication Studies at NIU?

In our communication studies program, you’ll gain skills crucial to succeed in media and public communication careers. You’ll learn to analyze written, oral, visual and electronic messages from historical, critical and social science perspectives. You’ll also learn to produce such messages as a means of artistic and functional expression. 

Our three areas of emphasis in communication studies are:

  • Rhetoric and public communication – Prepares you to become an effective and ethical speaker, listener and writer. You will become a more alert critic of information and argument while gaining responsible advocacy and leadership skills that are essential in business, nonprofit and civic settings.
  • Media studies – Preparing you for roles in media development and production. Courses emphasize the development of media technology, the way different forms of media affect content, strategies for critical citizenship and consumption of media messages. The film/video portion of the curriculum emphasizes creating actual program materials for both cable television and competitive festival exhibition.
  • Organizational/corporate communication – Combines a common core of courses in communication with classes that examine communication systems, training and consulting as well as advertising and corporate advocacy in business, community and governmental settings.

Careers with a Communication Studies Degree

Careers that hire people with communication degrees are vast – from an acquisitions editor to a grant writer to a special effects technician.

  • Graduates in Rhetoric and Public Communication find jobs in all areas of communication, including organizational/corporate, educational and governmental settings. Rhetoric and public communication also provides strong preparation for graduate and/or law school.
  • Graduates of the Media Studies emphasis regularly find work in film and television, marketing and public relations, media and entertainment management, corporate media production, instructional technology, web programming and design, social media management, advertising and communication technology.
  • Graduates of the Organizational/Corporate Communication emphasis have found employment in public relations, advertising, marketing, promotion/event planning, human resources, management, training and consulting.

Communication Studies Faculty

Most courses beyond the 100 level in the Department of Communication are taught by our professorial faculty rather than graduate assistants. Instructors possess expertise and research in diverse areas such as:

  • The philosophy of technology
  • African American rhetoric
  • Flirting
  • Decision-making
  • Organizational communication
  • Documentary production
  • Freedom of Speech
  • Presidential Rhetoric
  • Popular Culture
  • Ethical Communication
  • Relational Communication
  • Television Studies
  • Screenwriting
  • Narrative Production
  • Argumentation and Debate
  • Human/Machine Communication