Communication Studies

In many professions, the need for communication skills has never been more critical. Employers consistently cite communication skills as the major requirement for success in professional careers. A major in communication studies can help you acquire and learn to use those skills effectively. As a student of communication studies you will learn to analyze written, oral, visual, and electronic messages from historical, critical, and social science perspectives. You will also learn to produce such messages as a means of artistic and functional expression.

Find out more on the Department of Communication website!

Organizational/Corporate Communication

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 found employment in public relations, advertising, marketing, promotions/events planning, human resources, management, training and consulting.


Rhetoric and Public Communication

The Rhetoric and Public Communication emphasis provides a broad-based program of study that allows students to take courses from across the field of communication. Courses focus on helping students become effective and ethical speakers, listeners, and writers. Students become more alert critics of information and argument while gaining the skills of responsible advocacy and leadership that are essential in business, nonprofit, and civic settings.

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Media Studies

The Media Studies emphasis introduces students to the knowledge and skills that will prepare them for life-long success in media communications.  Course work includes instruction in mass communication theory, internet studies, media history, film and television criticism, screenwriting, and media production. 

Graduates with this emphasis regularly find employment in film and television, media marketing and public relations, media and entertainment management, corporate media production, instructional technology, web programming and design, social media management, advertising, and information and communication technology.

What can I do with this degree?

A bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies prepares you for an exciting, successful career. Here are a few examples:

  • Advertising Manager
  • Advertising Sales Agent
  • Communications Officer
  • Communication Outreach Specialist
  • Event Planner
  • Human Resources, Training Managers and Specialists
  • Instructional Technology Specialist
  • Nonprofit Advocate
  • Photojournalist
  • Publicist
  • Public Relations Manager
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Technical Writer
  • Television, Video, and Motion Picture Camera Operator & Editor
  • Writer and Author

Degree Information

The Department of Communication offers both B.A. and B.S. degrees for majors in Communication Studies and in Journalism. Students may pursue a double major in Communication Studies and Journalism or choose to major in one area and elect a minor in the other or in any other field of study at NIU. In addition, the department offers courses of study leading to a minor in Communication Studies, which can be tailored to meet a variety of interests including teacher certification, a minor in Journalism, and an interdisciplinary minor in Applied Communications which is offered jointly with the Department of English. Several of the department’s lower-division courses can be used by non-majors toward fulfilling area requirements in the university’s general education program. Courses in the department’s curriculum may also be utilized in interdisciplinary minors such as International Relations or Women’s Studies.

Major Requirements

(34-37 hours)

Who Studied Communication?

Notable NIU Communication Alumni

Nathan Blake (B.A. 2013, M.A. 2016) is the Digital Content Editor for Iowa Clinton Herald.

Cori Frankenberg (B.A., 2014) is the Baseball Communications Assistant for Minnesota Twins.

Miles Pfefferle (B.A., 2009) is a web designer, web developer, and photographer in Chicago.

Amy Aiello (B.A., 2005) is an Emmy Award-winning videographer and photographer in Chicago.

Marcus Leshock (B.A. 2003, M.A. 2005) is an Emmy Award-winning reporter for WGN-TV.

Bill Weinman (B.A., 1984) is an award-winning Producer-Director-Editor. He has worked on major motion pictures including The FugitiveThe AbyssJFK, and The Shawshank Redemption, and has produced and edited over 150 commercials and promos for such companies as Disney, FOX, ABC and MTV.

Nancy Meyer (B.A., 1978) is an artist manager for music management company Bates Meyer, Inc. in southern California


Contact Information

Department of Communication
210 Watson Hall
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115

Phone: (815) 753-1563
Fax: (815) 753-7109

Have a question?

Laurea Vazquez
Director of Undergraduate Studies

Ryan Pumroy
Undergraduate Program Advisor
Phone: (815) 753-5354