Create lasting connections with people through meaningful communication. Create lasting connections with people through meaningful communication. Create lasting connections with people through meaningful communication. Create lasting connections with people through meaningful communication. Create lasting connections with people through meaningful communication.

College of Arts & Sciences

Department of Communication & Media Studies

Communication Studies

Questions?

Undergraduate Admission

(630) 637-5800

admissions@noctrl.edu

Why pursue a communication studies degree at North Central College?

Communication studies majors specialize in verbal messages in face-to-face settings, whether one-on-one in small groups or one-to-many. The communication studies major at North Central College will prepare you for graduate school as well as careers in law, business, higher education and other fields that require excellent oral and written communication skills.

You can also:

  • Assist professors with their research.
  • Present research at local and national undergraduate conferences.
  • Apply for scholarships in communication studies.
  • Participate in study abroad programs or shorter December Term trips.
  • Join PRSSA, our student public relations club.
  • Receive individualized coaching when you join our nationally ranked speech and debate team.
  • Attend regional and national speech competitions, where many North Central students have earned top finalist honors.

More Department information

Communication Studies, B.A.

Communication studies focuses on the intersection of theory and practice in a variety of contexts.  Students are led to understand, to use, and to critique communication as it is presently practiced in society and to develop critical thinking regarding communication strategies and analysis.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Communication and Media Studies.

Major Requirements

Core Courses

  • COMM 100 - Introduction to Public Speaking

    COMM 100 - Introduction to Public Speaking

    4.00 credit hours

    An introductory course examining fundamental public speaking skills, including the preparation, presentation and evaluation of informative and persuasive speeches. Particular focus on audience awareness and the organization of an oral message for comprehension. This course may not be taken after completing CARD 102.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • (or CARD 102 First Year Seminar: Speaking)

  • COMM 185 - Global Media in a Digital Age

    COMM 185 - Global Media in a Digital Age

    4.00 credit hours

    A survey of the development, structure, economics and regulation of the major media with a special emphasis on digital communication and the rise of the internet. Though the primary focus of the course is on media in U.S., some time and attention is devoted to global media industries. The sociological and cultural impact of media on society and civic life will be a central theme throughout the course.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science, Global Understanding, U.S. Power Structures.
    iCon(s)
    Engaging Civic Life, Innovating Our World.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • COMM 285 - Argumentation and Debate

    COMM 285 - Argumentation and Debate

    4.00 credit hours

    An intermediate course that addresses both theory and practice in argumentation. Through preparation and participation in debates, students learn the basic principles of debate, emphasizing the development of research, critical thinking and oral presentation skills.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CARD 102 or COMM 100.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Humanities, Ethical Dimensions.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • COMM 287 - Advanced Public Speaking

    COMM 287 - Advanced Public Speaking

    4.00 credit hours

    Building upon the fundamentals learned in COMM 100, students refine their skills in impromptu, manuscript and extemporaneous speaking in applied settings. The class includes communication theory as well as speech preparation and delivery techniques for speeches that include variations of informative, persuasive and special occasion speeches, as well as emphasis on oral interpretation of texts. This advanced skills course serves Communication majors as well as other students who are seeking to improve their presentation skills.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CARD 102 or COMM 100.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Arts.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • COMM 301 - Rhetoric and Public Discourse

    COMM 301 - Rhetoric and Public Discourse

    4.00 credit hours

    Students develop an understanding of rhetorical communication in the public sphere. The course explores historical and contemporary rhetorical theory, which students use to critique the rhetoric of current public issues. In addition to developing an understanding of the integral role rhetoric plays in civic life, students develop their abilities to analyze, critique and contribute to public discourse.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CARD 102 or COMM 100.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Humanities.
    iCon(s)
    Engaging Civic Life.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • COMM 317 - Intercultural Communication

    COMM 317 - Intercultural Communication

    4.00 credit hours

    A study of the basic components involved in intercultural communication. Topics considered include, but are not limited to: cultural biases, cultural determinants of experiences and backgrounds, social perception, verbal interaction, nonverbal interaction and opinion leadership.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Junior standing.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science, Global Understanding.
    iCon(s)
    Challenging Inequity, Thinking Globally.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • COMM 367 - Persuasion Theory

    COMM 367 - Persuasion Theory

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to the study of persuasive communication from a social scientific perspective. Theories examines the characteristics of source, message and audience. Topics covered include strategic planning and organization of persuasive messages, audience analysis, motives and values, effective use of language, the role of context and purpose, propaganda and the abuse of persuasion, campaign planning and brand messaging. Students present and analyze persuasive materials orally and in writing as a way of developing communication and critical abilities.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CARD 101; CARD 102 or COMM 100; Junior standing.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • COMM 400 - Communication Theory and Research

    COMM 400 - Communication Theory and Research

    4.00 credit hours

    An advanced study of the different traditions of communication theory and their epistemological, normative and ontological assumptions. The focus of this course is on student comprehension of the breadth of thinking within the field of communication and on the responsibility for positioning oneself as a scholar or professional within this field of thought.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Twenty credit hours in Communication and Junior standing.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Writing Intensive.

    Schedule Of Classes

Electives

Two courses from the following:

  • COMM 200 - Interpersonal Communication

    COMM 200 - Interpersonal Communication

    4.00 credit hours

    An introductory study of the theory and practice of human communication within diverse relationships and contexts. The emphasis will be on dyadic (one-on-one) communication and the basic verbal and nonverbal strategies affecting perception and comprehension within the communication process. Key subtopics will include nonverbal communication, verbal styles, relationship development and conflict management. Requires participation in written and oral activities designed to develop and improve interpersonal skills.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science.
    iCon(s)
    Being Human.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • COMM 214 - Group Interaction

    COMM 214 - Group Interaction

    4.00 credit hours

    Students are introduced to the theory and practice of small group communication and decision-making. The course features an extensive group project, where students develop their abilities to participate, observe, analyze, evaluate and intervene in small group communication.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science, Community Engaged Learning.
    iCon(s)
    Being Human.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • COMM 250 - Introduction to Public Relations

    COMM 250 - Introduction to Public Relations

    4.00 credit hours

    An introductory course familiarizing students with core public relations concepts, historical underpinnings, foundational theory and careers in PR. An overview of the functions, practices and growing application of public relations in private industry and the public sector, the course examines the nature and role of public relations, activities of public relations professionals, the major influences impacting organizational behavior and the ethics of public relations.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • COMM 280 - Business and Professional Communication

    COMM 280 - Business and Professional Communication

    4.00 credit hours

    An intermediate course in which students develop the skills and strategies for use in written, face-to-face and electronic communication in professional settings. Students learn fundamentals of writing and presenting in professional contexts and may investigate organizational communication practices such as interviewing, performance feedback, training and meeting management.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CARD 102 or COMM 100; COMM 200 or COMM 214; Junior standing.

    Schedule Of Classes

Advanced Electives

One course from the following:

  • COMM 330 - Organizational Communication Theory

    COMM 330 - Organizational Communication Theory

    4.00 credit hours

    Students develop an understanding of the major theoretical perspectives contributing to the study of organizational communication, from classical management through cultural, critical, feminist, postmodern and constitutive approaches. Students conduct basic field research and learn how to employ theoretical perspectives for analyzing communication practices in organizations.

    Prerequisite(s)

    COMM 214 and four additional credit hours in Communication.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    U.S. Power Structures, Writing Intensive.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • COMM 335 - Freedom of Expression

    COMM 335 - Freedom of Expression

    4.00 credit hours

    Examines the First Amendment's protection of freedom of speech, religion, press and association, and its role as a cornerstone of American democracy. Students study foundational U.S. Supreme Court cases that have defined and delimited these freedoms. They learn how to analyze legal and moral arguments and conduct basic legal research. They also develop an understanding of the political and philosophical conflicts surrounding the exercise of First Amendment freedoms.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CARD 101; CARD 102 or COMM 100; Junior standing; or instructor consent.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Ethical Dimensions.
    iCon(s)
    Engaging Civic Life.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • COMM 350 - Public Relations Strategy

    COMM 350 - Public Relations Strategy

    4.00 credit hours

    An advanced-level course in PR examining organizational principles, applied theory and strategic planning practices—including social media integration-underscoring the effective management of public relations. Team-based applications of PR research planning, tactics and implementation for real-world clients. The course also emphasizes best practices in PR writing across platforms.

    Prerequisite(s)

    COMM 250 and MEDI 225.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • COMM 370 - Health Communication

    COMM 370 - Health Communication

    4.00 credit hours

    Summative course examining the intertwining of communication with issues of health and medicine. Emphasis on the unique cultural, media, political-legal, interpersonal and organizational factors influencing communication in healthcare settings.

    Prerequisite(s)

    COMM 200 or COMM 214; Junior standing.

    iCon(s)
    Examining Health.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • COMM 389 - Gender, Sexuality and Mass Media

    COMM 389 - Gender, Sexuality and Mass Media

    4.00 credit hours

    An advanced introduction to the complex relations between gender and the mass media. Special emphasis is placed on the social construction of gender and sexuality, representations of the body and feminist theories of media.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Junior standing.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Humanities, U.S. Power Structures.
    iCon(s)
    Being Human, Challenging Inequity.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • COMM 390 - Seminar in Communication

    COMM 390 - Seminar in Communication

    4.00 credit hours

    Examination of special topics within the area of communication studies.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Eight credit hours in Communication.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • COMM 490 - Seminar in Communication

    COMM 490 - Seminar in Communication

    4.00 credit hours

    Examination of special topics within the area of communication studies.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Eight credit hours in Communication.

    Schedule Of Classes

Additional Requirements for the B.A. Degree

Foreign Language

Students must demonstrate elementary competence in a foreign language. For more information, see the B.A. Degree Requirements within the Academic Regulations section of this catalog.

Eight credit hours from the following:

  • CLSS 255 - Greek and Roman History and Historians

    CLSS 255 - Greek and Roman History and Historians

    4.00 credit hours

    Survey of major developments in Greek and Roman history from roughly 800 BCE–400 CE. In addition to understanding how societies in ancient Greece and Rome built, defended and lost their empires, the course also studies the social, cultural and environmental experiences of these complex civilizations. Students read modern historical interpretations as well as translated ancient historical sources of the period.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Humanities, Global Understanding.
    iCon(s)
    Thinking Globally.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHIL 110 - Ethics

    PHIL 110 - Ethics

    4.00 credit hours

    An examination of alternative bases for morality and the arguments by which moral claims are justified.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Humanities, Ethical Dimensions, Community Engaged Learning.
    iCon(s)
    Being Human, Engaging Civic Life.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHIL 210 - Professional Ethics

    PHIL 210 - Professional Ethics

    4.00 credit hours

    Professional ethics in selected career fields including law, business and biomedicine. Students may apply basic concepts to the career of their choice, relate their personal ethics to professional ethics and become better informed consumers of professional services. This course begins with an examination of the alternative bases for making moral judgments.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Humanities, Ethical Dimensions.
    iCon(s)
    Innovating World.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHIL 230 - Logic and Critical Thinking

    PHIL 230 - Logic and Critical Thinking

    4.00 credit hours

    An examination of inductive and deductive reasoning, formal and informal fallacies and rules and procedures for evaluating arguments.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENGL 274 - English Language Arts

    ENGL 274 - English Language Arts

    4.00 credit hours

    An exploration of how literature, writing and grammar are taught in secondary school settings. Students examine historic and current theories of Language Arts pedagogy, analyzing and evaluating approaches to develop a better understanding of contemporary issues and best practices. Workshops on writing and revising processes.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CARD 101, CARD 102 and EDUC 101ENGL 270 and ENGL 272 recommended.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENGL 314 - Writing Commentary and Cultural Criticism: The Public Intellectual

    ENGL 314 - Writing Commentary and Cultural Criticism: The Public Intellectual

    4.00 credit hours

    A workshop-based public and professional writing course for student-critics who want to learn the art and craft of opinion commentary for publication. Reading for contentand craft, students propose, pitch, write and edit shorter, timely pieces such as op-eds, first person essays, humor/satire, polemics, jeremiads and arts or other reviews, as well as longer essays of cultural criticism. Writing and Rhetoric.

    Prerequisite(s)

    ENGL 200 and ENGL 242.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Arts.
    iCon(s)
    Engaging Civic Life.

    Schedule Of Classes

Applied Communication Minor

Applied communication focuses on communication practice in a variety of contexts. Students are led to understand, to use and to critique communication.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Communication and Media Studies.

Minor Requirements

A minimum of 20 credit hours, including:

Public Speaking

One of the following:

  • CARD 102 - First-Year Seminar - Speaking

    CARD 102 - First-Year Seminar - Speaking

    4.00 credit hours

    Introduces students to fundamental communication skills that help them to be successful in college, with particular emphasis on public speaking. Students develop their abilities to give effective informative and persuasive presentations, to conduct responsible research and to adapt messages to different contexts and audiences. Attention is also given to the college transition as well as students finding their place on campus and within local communities

    Schedule Of Classes

  • COMM 100 - Introduction to Public Speaking

    COMM 100 - Introduction to Public Speaking

    4.00 credit hours

    An introductory course examining fundamental public speaking skills, including the preparation, presentation and evaluation of informative and persuasive speeches. Particular focus on audience awareness and the organization of an oral message for comprehension. This course may not be taken after completing CARD 102.

    Schedule Of Classes

Audience/Context

One of the following:

  • COMM 200 - Interpersonal Communication

    COMM 200 - Interpersonal Communication

    4.00 credit hours

    An introductory study of the theory and practice of human communication within diverse relationships and contexts. The emphasis will be on dyadic (one-on-one) communication and the basic verbal and nonverbal strategies affecting perception and comprehension within the communication process. Key subtopics will include nonverbal communication, verbal styles, relationship development and conflict management. Requires participation in written and oral activities designed to develop and improve interpersonal skills.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science.
    iCon(s)
    Being Human.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • COMM 214 - Group Interaction

    COMM 214 - Group Interaction

    4.00 credit hours

    Students are introduced to the theory and practice of small group communication and decision-making. The course features an extensive group project, where students develop their abilities to participate, observe, analyze, evaluate and intervene in small group communication.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science, Community Engaged Learning.
    iCon(s)
    Being Human.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • COMM 280 - Business and Professional Communication

    COMM 280 - Business and Professional Communication

    4.00 credit hours

    An intermediate course in which students develop the skills and strategies for use in written, face-to-face and electronic communication in professional settings. Students learn fundamentals of writing and presenting in professional contexts and may investigate organizational communication practices such as interviewing, performance feedback, training and meeting management.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CARD 102 or COMM 100; COMM 200 or COMM 214; Junior standing.

    Schedule Of Classes

Structure and Delivery

One of the following:

  • COMM 285 - Argumentation and Debate

    COMM 285 - Argumentation and Debate

    4.00 credit hours

    An intermediate course that addresses both theory and practice in argumentation. Through preparation and participation in debates, students learn the basic principles of debate, emphasizing the development of research, critical thinking and oral presentation skills.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CARD 102 or COMM 100.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Humanities, Ethical Dimensions.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • COMM 287 - Advanced Public Speaking

    COMM 287 - Advanced Public Speaking

    4.00 credit hours

    Building upon the fundamentals learned in COMM 100, students refine their skills in impromptu, manuscript and extemporaneous speaking in applied settings. The class includes communication theory as well as speech preparation and delivery techniques for speeches that include variations of informative, persuasive and special occasion speeches, as well as emphasis on oral interpretation of texts. This advanced skills course serves Communication majors as well as other students who are seeking to improve their presentation skills.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CARD 102 or COMM 100.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Arts.

    Schedule Of Classes

Intercultural Communication

  • COMM 317 - Intercultural Communication

    COMM 317 - Intercultural Communication

    4.00 credit hours

    A study of the basic components involved in intercultural communication. Topics considered include, but are not limited to: cultural biases, cultural determinants of experiences and backgrounds, social perception, verbal interaction, nonverbal interaction and opinion leadership.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Junior standing.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Social Science, Global Understanding.
    iCon(s)
    Challenging Inequity, Thinking Globally.

    Schedule Of Classes

Advanced Elective

One of the following:

  • COMM 301 - Rhetoric and Public Discourse

    COMM 301 - Rhetoric and Public Discourse

    4.00 credit hours

    Students develop an understanding of rhetorical communication in the public sphere. The course explores historical and contemporary rhetorical theory, which students use to critique the rhetoric of current public issues. In addition to developing an understanding of the integral role rhetoric plays in civic life, students develop their abilities to analyze, critique and contribute to public discourse.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CARD 102 or COMM 100.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Humanities.
    iCon(s)
    Engaging Civic Life.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • COMM 330 - Organizational Communication Theory

    COMM 330 - Organizational Communication Theory

    4.00 credit hours

    Students develop an understanding of the major theoretical perspectives contributing to the study of organizational communication, from classical management through cultural, critical, feminist, postmodern and constitutive approaches. Students conduct basic field research and learn how to employ theoretical perspectives for analyzing communication practices in organizations.

    Prerequisite(s)

    COMM 214 and four additional credit hours in Communication.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    U.S. Power Structures, Writing Intensive.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • COMM 350 - Public Relations Strategy

    COMM 350 - Public Relations Strategy

    4.00 credit hours

    An advanced-level course in PR examining organizational principles, applied theory and strategic planning practices—including social media integration-underscoring the effective management of public relations. Team-based applications of PR research planning, tactics and implementation for real-world clients. The course also emphasizes best practices in PR writing across platforms.

    Prerequisite(s)

    COMM 250 and MEDI 225.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • COMM 367 - Persuasion Theory

    COMM 367 - Persuasion Theory

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to the study of persuasive communication from a social scientific perspective. Theories examines the characteristics of source, message and audience. Topics covered include strategic planning and organization of persuasive messages, audience analysis, motives and values, effective use of language, the role of context and purpose, propaganda and the abuse of persuasion, campaign planning and brand messaging. Students present and analyze persuasive materials orally and in writing as a way of developing communication and critical abilities.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CARD 101; CARD 102 or COMM 100; Junior standing.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • COMM 370 - Health Communication

    COMM 370 - Health Communication

    4.00 credit hours

    Summative course examining the intertwining of communication with issues of health and medicine. Emphasis on the unique cultural, media, political-legal, interpersonal and organizational factors influencing communication in healthcare settings.

    Prerequisite(s)

    COMM 200 or COMM 214; Junior standing.

    iCon(s)
    Examining Health.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • COMM 390 - Seminar in Communication

    COMM 390 - Seminar in Communication

    4.00 credit hours

    Examination of special topics within the area of communication studies.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Eight credit hours in Communication.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • COMM 490 - Seminar in Communication

    COMM 490 - Seminar in Communication

    4.00 credit hours

    Examination of special topics within the area of communication studies.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Eight credit hours in Communication.

    Schedule Of Classes

Speech Communication Internships and Jobs

A North Central education integrates career preparation with rich academic study. Our faculty encourages you to refine and apply your knowledge in an interconnected world. Here you'll learn to think independently and work globally to solve problems and lead.

Internships

Recent graduates in speech communication include:

  • Morning news reporter, Fox News Chicago WFLD TV, Chicago
  • Production assistant, ESPN 1000, Chicago
  • Marketing and promotions intern, Emmis Communications, Chicago
  • Client success coordinator, Eclipse Telecom, Chicago
  • Associate attorney, Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman, Northbrook

Careers

Recent graduates in speech communication include:

  • Management consultant
  • Marketing project manager
  • Financial client service associate

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Learn more about financial aid and costs for North Central College

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