Department of Communication Studies

Bachelor of Arts

Laurie Arliss, Professor and Chair

Communication studies is the home of Ithaca College’s liberal arts approaches to understanding human interaction in its many forms. Students and faculty in the Department of Communication Studies seek to understand the way in which culture both affects and results from communication, as they explore a diversity of communication forms, practices, and organizations in an increasingly complex global culture. The department emphasizes small, interactive classes and close student-faculty interaction; its courses and cocurricular activities both provide a foundation in communication theory and skills and encourage multiple avenues of inquiry within which students can craft their own meaningful academic experiences.

The department offers two majors and two minors.

The communication studies major combines theory and practice in classes that focus on how, why, and with what effects people communicate — creating and sharing meaning, whether it be in the workplace, an informal gathering of friends, a family celebration, or a nationwide political process (to name just a few possibilities). A major in communication studies develops competence in theoretical analysis as well as the practical implementation of communication. The program is recommended for students who want a broad liberal arts background as preparation for careers in such fields as public relations, business, government, social services, and law, or for graduate study.

The culture and communication major is offered in cooperation with the Roy H. Park School of Communication and other departments at the College. This interdisciplinary program makes connections between two areas of inquiry: the study of how culture informs and shapes all aspects of communication, and its corollary area of investigation — how communication is the process through which culture is created, modified, and challenged. To explore these relationships, students consider culture and communication from a variety of intellectual perspectives across schools and divisions at the College. A degree in culture and communication prepares students for graduate study, whether law school or business school, or master’s and doctoral programs in a range of critical studies areas. Students interested in this major should contact the coordinator, Bruce Henderson, professor of communication studies, 422 Muller Center.

The minors offered in the department — communication studies and health communication — allow considerable flexibility so that a student can select courses which best complement his or her major. Those seeking a broad disciplinary focus can opt for the communication studies minor. Health communication is an interdisciplinary minor. All minors must be declared through consultation with the departmental chair; minor advisers guide students in course selection.

Requirements for Honors in Communication Studies

Departmental honors are awarded based on a senior project done under the sponsorship of a faculty member and its successful defense in an oral examination conducted by a faculty committee. A cumulative GPA of 3.50 is required. Students must propose the project by the end of the penultimate semester before graduation and must complete it by the middle of the semester they plan to graduate.

See CLTC courses

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