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Undergraduate Program

Why Study Communication at CSU?

Find Your Purpose

A degree in communication studies from CSU prepares you for the shifting demands of life, career, and community in the 21st Century. You develop invaluable skills that the world needs: verbal and written communication, leadership, critical thinking, problem solving, global understanding, personal accountability, inclusive teamwork, self-reflection, creativity, and digital proficiency.

These diverse skills will enable you to pursue your dreams, create new opportunities, and make a difference in the world. At CSU, communication inspires our students to think and act with purpose and passion.

Create Your Own Journey
Expand Your Skills
Find Your Connection

Areas of Study

The Department of Communication Studies at CSU is unique among undergraduate programs in that we offer courses from across three main areas of study that communication scholars focus on: Film and Media Studies, Relational and Organizational Communication, and Rhetoric and Civic Engagement. Ours is a one of the broadest communication degrees you can find. Regardless of the area you focus on, you will gain key communication competencies that all employers want.

There are two ways you can get to understand how these areas relate to and are different from each other. First, enroll in SPCM 180A: New to the Major Seminar. This course will ground you in the purpose of the major and provide a general introduction to each area. This course is strongly recommended for first year students.

Second, communication studies majors are required to take a core course that introduces fundamental concepts, theories, and practices unique to each area:

  • SPCM 100: Communication and Popular Culture introduces media studies approaches to understanding popular culture.
  • SPCM 130: Relational and Organizational Communication introduces communication processes and skills central to relating and organizing in interpersonal, small group, and organizational contexts.
  • SPCM 201: History and Theory of Rhetoric covers major concepts of rhetoric, from ancient to modern times, and their relationship to present-day approaches to communication.

Familiarize yourself with our areas of study so you can understand how classes in each area thematically differ. If you find yourself drawn to one area more than another, focus your communication studies elective classes there. If you have a particular career pathway in mind, your elective coursework will likely draw from two if not all three areas.

Similarly, some of our faculty and graduate students focus their teaching and research solely within one area of study, while others span more than one.

Film & Media Studies

Classes in this area examine television, film, new media, and music and their relationships to culture and society.

Sample classes:

  • SPCM 341: Evaluating Contemporary Television
  • SPCM 347: Visual Communication
  • SPCM 357: Film & Social Change
  • SPCM 453: Global Media Cultures

Relational & Organizational Communication

Classes in this area explore the verbal and nonverbal aspects of interpersonal, small group, co-cultural, intercultural, and organizational communication.

Sample classes:

  • SPCM 432: Interpersonal Communication
  • SPCM 433: Communication in Organizations
  • SPCM 434: Intercultural Communication
  • SPCM 436: Conflict Management & Communication

Rhetoric & Civic Engagement

Classes in this area explore the ways that public discourse is used to persuade and influence others across a range of rhetorical texts including speeches, political artifacts, architecture, photography, and museums.

Sample classes:

  • SPCM 320: Communication & Human Trafficking
  • SPCM 349: Freedom of Speech
  • SPCM 401: Rhetoric in Social Movements
  • SPCM 420: Political Communication

B.A. in Communication Studies

Degree Requirements

120 Total Credit Hours (minimum) – of these, 42 need to be upper division 

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Required Communication Studies Courses – 3 credits each

  • SPCM 100 Communication & Popular Culture (Fulfills AUCC requirement)
  • SPCM 130 Relational & Organizational Communication (Fulfills AUCC requirement)
  • SPCM 200 Public Speaking
  • SPCM 201 History & Theory of Rhetoric (Fulfills AUCC requirement)
  • SPCM 207 Public Argumentation
  • SPCM 479 Communication Studies Capstone                           

Communication Studies Electives                                                

  • Earn 27 credits from your choice of SPCM electives

College of Liberal Arts Electives

  • Earn 18 credits from your choice of select history, social science and arts & humanities courses

All-University Core Curriculum (AUCC) Requirements

  • Earn 31 credits from your choice of foundational courses offered across the university

Minor or 2nd Major

  • Earn 21 credits minimum in a minor of your choice or pursue a 2nd major.

Want More Details?

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Accelerated Degree Program

Graduate in 3 Years

Colorado State University Accelerated Programs allow students earning a B.A. in Communication Studies to graduate by the end of their third spring or summer term.

Call the CLA Advising Office to schedule an appointment: 970-491-3117

Students typically take 15-16 credits each fall and spring semester for three years, plus 6-9 credits over three summer sessions. Students who enter CSU with prior credit (AP, IB, transfer, etc.) may use applicable courses to further accelerate their graduation. To declare intent, students must complete an Accelerated Programs Student Agreement.

While pursuing Accelerated Programs has many benefits, there are also trade-offs. Students who graduate in 3 or 3 ½ years will need to invest in summer tuition, fees, and related expenses, but may reduce their overall cost of attendance.

Meet with your Academic Success Coordinator (ASC) to:

  • Discuss whether earning an accelerated degree in communication studies aligns with your life situation, as well as academic and career goals.
  • View a sample accelerated graduation plan.
  • Complete an Accelerated Programs Student Agreement.

Online Degree Program

Need a non-residency option for earning your degree?

Explore CSU Online for more information on pursuing a Communication Studies degree remotely.

Minors

Communication studies majors are required to earn a minor in a subject from any college across the university or complete a second major.

The Department of Communication Studies offers three interdisciplinary minors for CSU students: media studies, film studies, and political communication. Note that the media studies minor is not open to communication studies majors.

Film Studies Interdisciplinary Minor

Coordinated by Communication Studies

Film Studies is an interdisciplinary academic discipline that deals with historical, theoretical, and critical approaches to analyzing film. It is concerned with exploring the narrative, artistic, cultural, economic, and political implications of the cinema.

Media Studies

Offered jointly with Journalism and Media Communication

Study the impacts and roles of mass media in society. Courses focus on media and film history, criticism, law, ethics, social effects, cultural consequences, and multicultural and international media issues.

Political Communication Interdisciplinary Minor

Coordinated by Political Science

The Political Communication Interdisciplinary Minor is designed for students interested in the way ideas are communicated and shape the political process.

Academic Support & Advising

You are never alone on your path toward earning your degree in communication studies. Once you become a ‘comm studies’ major, you will be paired with an Academic Success Coordinator (ASC, or advisor) from the College of Liberal Arts. You can meet with your ASC by appointment as often as you need. They will help you learn the skills and competencies you need to successfully graduate from CSU, including, but not limited to:

  • Planning coursework on a semester-by-semester basis or creating a graduation plan
  • Registering for classes
  • Utilizing campus resources
  • Seeking out experiential opportunities within and beyond the major
  • Exploring a minor
  • Exploring study abroad opportunities

ASC guidance is invaluable. They want nothing more than to help you succeed.

Meet the Communication Studies Academic Success Coordinators

Carly Hennegan

Academic Success Coordinator

What did you study as an undergrad?

"B.A. in Journalism and Technical Communication (now Media Comm.) at Colorado State University!"

What's your favorite pro tip for managing school stress?

"Meditation, movement and a good planner. :-)"

What is your favorite dessert?

"Chocolate chip cookies and ice cream"

Neely Santeramo

Academic Success Coordinator

What did you study as an undergrad?

"English at Pittsburg State University."

What's your favorite pro tip for managing school stress?

"Regular exercise and returning my attention to the breath."

What is your superpower?

"My sensitivity."

Bruce Shields, Advisor

Academic Success Coordinator

What did you study as an undergrad?

"English major, Creative Writing Minor at University of Northern Colorado."

What's your favorite pro tip for managing school stress?

"Plan ahead: map out your month at a glance, then week at a glance each weekend, then day at a glance each morning."

What is your favorite dessert?

"Doughnuts."

Jessie Stewart

Academic Success Coordinator, Special Instructor

What did you study as an undergrad?

"I have always been a College of Liberal Arts fan. As an undergraduate I started in English and History but found I loved my public speaking class and joined the Communication Studies dept to grab another major there."

What's your favorite pro tip for managing school stress?

"Anything free that involves movement: we are lucky to live in a place that has sunshine and trails. Take the time to explore. Even just hanging out in the Oval can be a treat."

What is your superpower?     

"Driving long distances without tiring and finding ways for students to finish degrees in their time frame."

Visit, Apply & Learn More

Take a Virtual Tour of the College of Liberal Arts

Join our College of Liberal Arts student ambassadors as they show you around campus and share the student experience as a CLA Ram. They emphasize the spaces specific to students within liberal arts disciplines.

Connect with Department of Communication Studies Faculty and Students

The College of Liberal Arts recruitment team is happy to connect you with a faculty member or current student who can answer your individual questions.

Connect with the College of Liberal Arts Virtually

Attend a college information session hosted by CLA Recruitment Coordinator Jessica Rencher.

Take a Virtual Tour of Campus

See about 30 locations on campus and in Fort Collins by taking a look at Colorado State University's virtual tour. You will hear a little about each space and then you can look all around with 360-degree photos.

Get to Know the College of Liberal Arts

In the College of Liberal Arts, we study the cultural, social, environmental, and historical context in which we live and examine what it means to be human.

  • We are built on the foundation of critical thought, communication, and creativity
  • We are dedicated to preparing future leaders to improve the world
  • We've combined these beliefs with a focus on sustainability and real-world experience. Our students get their hands dirty, so to speak, by getting out of the classroom and into the community