Communication Studies

Communication Studies


The Communication Studies discipline examines the ways in which humans interact through the use of symbols: verbal, non-verbal, and visual. This examination includes the critical study of communication behavior among humans as well as providing practical experience in the crafting and presentation of messages. Within our department we offer courses from various areas within the field: Intercultural Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Organizational Communication, Rhetoric, Media Studies, Communication Technology, and other special topics that arise addressing contemporary developments and faculty research.

The Communication Studies program at Western offers a broad approach for students allowing them to explore many facets of the discipline from the applied to the theoretical. The department has a portfolio application process to become a major that ensures students are capable and focused on the content so that the in-class experience is enriched.

Western’s Communications Department is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Portrait of Courtney Hook

“I conducted research on Western's undergraduate population, and ended up with a 1,200-student sample to take an online survey I constructed.

"My paper was accepted to the Northwest Communication Association conference, and I was sent by the Communication Studies department to present my findings in Idaho and at Scholar's Week.”

Courtney Hook
Communication Studies Major

The Department’s Mission Statement to "…teach communication studies that nurture inclusive civil discourse, critical thinking, and cooperative solutions in a diverse global community. We offer opportunities to develop strong communication skills within a challenging liberal arts program", is at the core of the curriculum. As a result we survey the discipline as a whole while providing context for discussions of issues in society relevant to Western and the world that students will encounter after graduation such as diversity and difference, and what it means to be a valuable citizen of a society.

Department faculty and staff encourage a sense of community and engage with students to support their wellbeing and success. Through the talents, intellectual curiosity, and versatility of the diverse faculty, the department has established a strong intercultural and global orientation. 

Portrait of Emily Power

“The tools I learned in my Communications classes landed me a Social Media internship, which became a full-time job after my employer created a new position for me specifically! I literally could not believe it. It was such a humbling feeling – like all my hard work had finally paid off.”

Emily Power
Communications Major

Beyond the Classroom

The Communications Studies program has a strong sense of community within Western. Students in the program have opportunities to forge meaningful relationships with faculty and other students. A number of Communications students present their research at local, regional, and national conferences every year.

Additionally, the department's commitment to community partnerships opens doors to a variety of interesting and relevant service learning and internship opportunities. 

Students are encouraged to get involved with the Communication Club, and Debate Team.

Careers and Graduate Studies

Communication Studies majors have some of the most wide open prospects for employment of any major on campus. Our students are prepared to work in any field by being able to dynamically process information and be able to communicate it to audiences. Consistently, the ability to communicate effectively and work in teams is one of the highest priorities of those seeking to hire no matter the job, skills uniquely developed in our major. In addition, as a preparation for graduate school a number of our majors have presented at regional and national conferences whereupon many of our students have found placement in a variety of graduate programs across the nation.

Employers of Recent Western Graduates: 

  • Alaska Airlines 
  • Bureau of Education and Research 
  • Campus Point 
  • Comcast Arena
  • KCPQ-TV Q13 Fox
  • Microsoft
  • Walt Disney Company
  • Mount Vernon School District
  • SPIE: International Society for Optics and Photonics

Sample Jobs

  • Consumer Affairs Specialist 
  • Personnel Specialist 
  • Public Relations Specialist 
  • Promotions Manager 
  • Recruiter 
  • Mediator 
  • Training and Development Specialist 
  • Bank Officer 
  • Real Estate Agent

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.