College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Advising - Zulauf Hall 201 - 815-753-0114

A 2 + 2 Plan Leading to a Bachelor of Arts or a
Bachelor of Science Degree in Communication Studies

 

All degree requirements are subject to the provisions and notices in the Undergraduate Catalog. Information is valid through August 2014.

  

B.A. or B.S. Degree in Communication Studies

The Department of Communication at NIU offers one of the largest and most diverse programs of its kind in Illinois. Our students have excellent high school and community college backgrounds, and our faculty is internationally renowned for research and professional accomplishments. The department prides itself on being user-friendly. Our student/faculty ratio is low; and most courses are taught by professors, not teaching assistants.  Each student has access to several advisers to consult with about scheduling, campus questions, and career counseling.  The department is diverse in terms of both faculty and students.  More than half of our students are female.  Minority students earn degrees in our department at a much higher percentage than in most NIU programs, and we incorporate multicultural perspectives into many classes.

Our degree program for communication studies majors offers three separate choices.  The emphasis in rhetoric and public communication includes courses in theory, practice, and criticism appropriate for study in the general field of human communication.  Students in this emphasis have a broad communications background appropriate for a variety of careers in organizational/corporate, educational, or governmental settings.  This emphasis is strong preparation for pupils planning to pursue graduate and/or law school.  The emphasis in media studies combines classes in general communication with courses in mass communication theory, history, criticism, and production.  Graduates of this emphasis have found jobs in the film and television industries and increasingly in corporate media production and new technologies such as interactive multimedia and Internet web design.  The emphasis in 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.  Students in this field have been employed in public relations, advertising, marketing, promotions/events planning, human resources, management, training, and consulting.

Students may also include journalism courses in these emphases or as a minor or second major.

Internships

Our internship program is proactive in its placement of students. The experience gained from an internship is far too valuable to be available to only a few. Recent placements have been made at advertising and marketing agencies, public relations firms, government offices, retail stores, TV and radio stations, health care facilities, financial institutions, insurance companies, convention centers, amusement parks, non-profit organizations, and chambers of commerce. A number of interns have worked outside the state and even outside the country. Some students parlay their internship into a job opportunity after they graduate! What students can do with a communication internship is as unique and exciting as our students themselves.

Career Opportunities

We feel a degree from NIU's Department of Communication prepares our graduates to succeed in an increasingly competitive job market. Our alumni have been hired in a variety of positions, including public relations liaison, sales service representative, human resources manager, community relations liaison, corporate communication staff, website developer, convention and meeting planner, advertising copywriter, buyer/merchandise manager, corporate trainer, account executive, recruiter, TV announcer, film editor, broadcast technician, reporter/fill anchor, news writer, radio broadcaster, program director, sportscaster, videographer, television producer, speech writer, regional manager, retailer, fund-raiser, philanthropic representative, legislative assistant, and project coordinator. And these impressive job titles are obtained early in our graduates' professional careers!

Faculty

Twelve of our faculty have won the very competitive and prestigious Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award given by NIU. (Second only to the Department of English's 13.)  Several other faculty members have won teaching awards and fellowships granted by state, national, and international associations and institutes.

Faculty members of the Department of Communication are committed to high quality teaching as well as to scholarly research and publication in the form of books, chapters in books, journal articles, and papers presented at professional conferences.

Production and New Technologies

For well over a decade, we have structured the production portion of our curriculum with an emphasis on creating actual program materials for both cable television and competitive festival exhibition. Nightly newscasts, documentaries, talk shows, TV spots, and dramatic productions are written, produced, and directed entirely by students in our DeKalb campus studios.

NIU's Northern Television Center was the first student-staffed production facility in the country to be approved by Turner Broadcasting for insertion of "Local Edition" newscasts on the Headline News channel. Cable programs are transmitted throughout the university. Competitive/festival productions are eligible for entry in a variety of regional and national venues that solicit student-made work.

In addition, we have two computer labs equipped with Newsbanks, computer graphics software and word processing capabilities, and a photo lab equipped with full color scanners for graphics use, a Tektronics Phaser color printer, multi-media computer capabilities, and digital photography technology.

The Center for Telematics uses technology to combine the traditional branches of communication in innovative ways, as well as create an interdisciplinary alliance among government, industry, and academia.  For the student, the center means access to presentation technology, the Internet, and a lab dedicated to the latest digital developments, such as computer graphics delivery systems and long-distance learning opportunities.  Our students will be ahead of the curve as telematics transforms how and where everyone will work, learn, and interact.

Extracurricular Opportunities

Some of our students join the staff of the Northern Star, which is consistently rated in the top 20 of the nation's 103 daily college newspapers. 

Also, the university has two NPR broadcast (FM) stations, WNIU (classical music) and WNIJ (jazz), and an Internet radio station affiliated with the Star.

Finally, the Department of Communication is home to NIU Forensics, consisting of both debate and individual events.  Any undergraduate is welcome to hone skills in advocacy, public speaking, and oral interpretation. Ours is one of the finest programs in the country, with a long tradition of national recognition.

What Classes Should I Take at My Community College?

As you earn your associate's degree or work toward completion of the IAI General Education Core Curriculum, you should try to take classes that will satisfy requirements for your degree at NIU. For example, you must choose either a B.A. or B.S. sequence at NIU.  A B.S. at NIU requires you to take a combination of math and science courses.  A B.A. requires completion of a foreign language sequence or four years of a high school foreign language with grades of 'C' or better.  Check NIU’s Articulation Tables to see which classes will transfer to NIU from your community college.  For more details about these and other NIU requirements, consult the Undergraduate Catalog.

Suggested Semester Plans at Community Colleges

 2 + 2 Plan for Org/Corp

Fall     Spring  
ENGL 103  3   ENGL 104  3
For. Lang1/MATH2 3-4   For. Lang1/MATH2 3-4
Soc. Science Gen Ed 3   COMS 100  3
Humanities Gen Ed  3   Humanities Gen Ed  3
Science Gen Ed  3-4   Soc. Science Gen Ed  4
  15-17     15-17
       
Math Core 3   For. Lang1/MATH2 3-4
For. Lang1/MATH2 3-4   Gen Ed  3-4
Science Gen Ed  3   Gen Ed 3
Humanities Gen Ed  3   Electives (any level) 3
Interdisciplinary Gen Ed  3   Electives or Gen Ed  3
  15-16     15-17

Suggested Semester Plans at NIU

 Semester 1      Semester 2  
COMS 252 3   COMS 303 3
COMS 302 3   COMS 304 3
COMS 200/220/300/305/309/361 3   COMS 400/401/419/496R 3
BA/BS Course3 3   BA/BS Course3 3
300/400 Level Elective 3   300/400 Level Elective 3
  15     15
 Semester 3      Semester 4  
COMS 370/380/461B/496D or JOUR 335 3   COMS 402/404/405/461A/480/496A 3
COMS 403/455/481 or JOUR 480 3   COMS 300/400 Level Elective 3
COMS 300/400 Level Elective 3   COMS 407 3
BA/BS Course3 3 BA/BS Course3 3
300/400 Level Elective 3   300/400 Level Elective 3
  15     15

1Required for B.A. degree. Previous foreign language background may reduce or fulfill this requirement; consult the NIU Undergraduate Catalog for further information on the B.A. requirement in foreign language. B.A. students must also fulfill the core competency requirement in mathematics.

2Required for the B.S. degree.

3 If taken at the Community College as highlighted in the plan or completed in High School per university guidelines, replace these with other courses (recommend a minor).

4All communication studies majors should seek advice from their department adviser regarding the selection of 300-400 level courses in their major.

Minimum 120 total; 40 at the 300-400 level.

2 + 2 Plan for Rhetoric & Public Communication

 

Suggested Semester Plans at Community Colleges

Fall Spring
ENGL 103 3 ENGL 104 3
For. Lang1/MATH2 3-4 For. Lang1/MATH2 3-4
Soc. Science Gen Ed 3 COMS 100 3
Humanities Gen Ed 3 Humanities Gen Ed 3
Science Gen Ed 3-4 Soc. Science Gen Ed 4
15-17 15-17
Math Core 3 For. Lang1/MATH2 3-4
For. Lang1/MATH2 3-4 Gen Ed 3-4
Science Gen Ed 3 Gen Ed 3
Humanities Gen Ed 3 Electives (any level) 3
Interdisciplinary Gen Ed 3 Electives or Gen Ed 3
15-16 15-17

Suggested Semester Plans at NIU

Semester 1 Semester 2
COMS 252 3 COMS 200/300/309/361 3
COMS 305 3 COMS 401/419/496R 3
COMS 400 3 COMS Elective Block 3
BA/BS Course3 3 BA/BS Course3 3
300/400 Level Elective 3 300/400 Level Elective 3
15 15
Semester 3 Semester 4
COMS 403/455 or JOUR 480 3 COMS Elective Block 3
COMS Elective Block 3 COMS Elective Block 3
COMS Elective Block 3 COMS Elective Block 3
BA/BS Course3 3 BA/BS Course3 3
300/400 Level Elective 3 300/400 Level Elective 3
15 15

1Required for B.A. degree. Previous foreign language background may reduce or fulfill this requirement; consult the NIU Undergraduate Catalog for further information on the B.A. requirement in foreign language. B.A. students must also fulfill the core competency requirement in mathematics.

2Required for the B.S. degree.

3If taken at the Community College as highlighted in the plan or completed in High School per university guidelines, replace these with other courses (recommend a minor).

4All communication studies majors should seek advice from their department adviser regarding the selection of 300-400 level courses in their major.

Minimum 120 total; 40 at the 300-400 level.

2 + 2 Plan for Media Studies

Suggested Semester Plans at Community Colleges

 

Fall Spring
ENGL 103 3 ENGL 104 3
For. Lang1/MATH2 3-4 For. Lang1/MATH2 3-4
Soc. Science Gen Ed 3 COMS 100 3
Humanities Gen Ed 3 Humanities Gen Ed 3
Science Gen Ed 3-4 Soc. Science Gen Ed 4
15-17 15-17
Math Core 3 For. Lang1/MATH2 3-4
For. Lang1/MATH2 3-4 Gen Ed 3-4
Science Gen Ed 3 Gen Ed 3
Humanities Gen Ed 3 Electives (any level) 3
Interdisciplinary Gen Ed 3 Electives or Gen Ed 3
15-16 15-17

Suggested Semester Plans at NIU

Semester 1 Semester 2
COMS 251 3 COMS 252 3
COMS 355 3 COMS 357/358/359 3
COMS 356 3 COMS Elective Block 3
BA/BS Course3 3 BA/BS Course3 3
300/400 Level Elective 3 300/400 Level Elective 3
15 15
Semester 3 Semester 4
COMS 455/403 or JOUR 480 3 COMS 407 3
COMS Elective Block 3 COMS Elective Block 3
COMS Elective Block 3 COMS Elective Block 3
BA/BS Course3 3 BA/BS Course3 3
300/400 Level Elective 3 300/400 Level Elective 3
15 15

1Required for B.A. degree. Previous foreign language background may reduce or fulfill this requirement; consult the NIU Undergraduate Catalog for further information on the B.A. requirement in foreign language. B.A. students must also fulfill the core competency requirement in mathematics.

2Required for the B.S. degree.

3If taken at the Community College as highlighted in the plan or completed in High School per university guidelines, replace these with other courses (recommend a minor).

4All communication studies majors should seek advice from their department adviser regarding the selection of 300-400 level courses in their major.

Minimum 120 total; 40 at the 300-400 level.

For More Information

The department welcomes all students interested in opportunities for quality classroom experiences, numerous pre-professional opportunities, and involvement in a wide array of student organizations related to the varied field of communication.

For more information on the program, please contact:

Gretchen Bisplinghoff, Ph.D.
Undergraduate Director
Department of Communication
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, Illinois 60115-2828
(815) 753-7107
FAX: (815) 753-­7109
E-mail: gbisplin@niu.edu

www.comm.niu.edu/comm/

 

For a current NIU Undergraduate Catalog and application materials, contact:

Office of Admissions
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, Illinois 60115 ­2857
(800) 892-­3050 (toll-­free in Illinois)
or (815) 753-­0446
www.niu.edu/admissions 

 

Northern Illinois University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, national origin, disability, status based on the Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA), or status as a disabled or Vietnam-era veteran. Further, the Constitution and Bylaws of Northern Illinois University provides for equal treatment regardless of political views or affiliation, and sexual orientation.