Communication Studies program

MUndergrad major mUndergrad minor

Take your communication skills to the next level

With a degree in communication studies, you'll increase your understanding of the communication process and develop communication skills to serve you personally and professionally throughout your life. Effective communication is essential for success in any job that requires working with other people, giving directions and instructions, making presentations, designing messages, persuading others, promoting ideas and products, and helping others resolve problems.

UW-La Crosse's Communication Studies Department focuses on academic training and professional skill building, so graduates develop outstanding abilities in writing, speaking, organization and critical thinking.

What is Communication Studies?

Communication studies is the study of the process of human communication.The field is broad because communication can be both verbal or non-verbal, and it is critical in a variety of settings. Communication can be interpersonal, mediated and intercultural. It can happen in public or private contexts. 

I am so grateful for my time at UWL. Thank you to my professors. They went above and beyond, not only to teach the content, but also to get to know me and support me.

Cameron Neader

Communication Studies jobs

Career opportunities for students graduating with a degree in Communication Studies are interesting and varied. Graduates may pursue communication-intensive careers in business, law, politics, social and human services, media, and higher education. Because effective communication skills are a major concern of almost every employer, the field also provides excellent knowledge foundation and general skills for careers in any type of business, industry or organization in both the public and private sector.

Students with a UWL degree in Communication Studies are also prepared for graduate study in fields such as organizational communication, media studies, international relations, health communication and college student personnel. The programs also provide a solid foundation for students who aspire to graduate study in communications, counseling, student life, seminary and law school. 

Entry-level careers

Promotional specialist
Customer service representative
Management or administration trainee
Media production
Media sales
Personnel/human resources
Public information officer and press secretary
Public relations
Salesperson
Event coordinator
Corporate trainer
Residence hall director

Long-term career development

Communication consultant
Government lobbyist
Human resources/personnel manager
Marketing communication manager
Media or advertising account executive
Non-profit organization director
Public affairs director
Vice president
Public relations
Dean of student life
Certified counselor
Development director

What distinguishes UWL's Communication Studies program?

Student involvement

Student organizations including Communication Club and Lambda Pi Eta allow students to become more involved with the department, the campus and in the community. Students in the Communication Club gain professional and social skills by providing peer advising, workshops and technical training. 

Earn credit for communication-intensive activities

Students are able to earn academic course credit for communication-intensive extracurricular activities through participation in communication studies activities courses and independent studies.

High rate of internship placement

The Communication Studies Department typically has one of the highest rates of internship placement at UWL. Faculty encourage students to include an internship as part of their academic experience, and many students pursue these experiences working in government, public or social services, public relations, advertising, management, promotions or other related organizations. 

Apply knowledge in small group discussions, research, case studies

Inside the classroom, students learn a wide variety of applications of theories and concepts. Courses focus on community and research projects, small group discussions, and case studies that ensure students leave the program with skills and knowledge to be successful. Communication studies faculty members help build skills not only in the student’s area of program emphasis, but across the communication studies field.

Writing-in the major program

Communication Studies is a Writing-in-the-Major Program, which means students will learn about written as well as spoken communication.

Semester-long investigation of a communication-related topic

Every communication studies major completes a semester-long investigation of a communication-related topic. This senior capstone project allows students the opportunity to conduct undergraduate research and work closely with a faculty mentor. It provides firsthand experience with valuable skills such as analytical thinking, the use of research tools, and the development of critical arguments and research questions.

Connection to professional associations

The Communication Studies Department and faculty are affiliated with a variety of professional organizations including the National Communication Association, International Communication Association, Central States Communication Association, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, National Association of Television Programming Directors, and Rhetoric Society of America.

Scholarships available

The department offers several scholarship opportunities for Communication Studies majors. Visit the Communication Studies scholarships page to learn more.

Choose your path

Students can select a major or minor in Communication Studies with an emphasis in one of the following areas. The department also offers two interdisciplinary minors: A digital media studies and design and a leadership development.

  • Interpersonal Communication: Learn about how our daily interactions with others in one-on-one and small group communication impact our identities and relationships. Coursework focuses on theories and skills to ensure students' personal and professional relationships are successful as well as socially just. 
  • Media Studies: Gain skills in multimedia production; analyze media industries, texts, audiences, and technology from different perspectives and theories; and learn how to work within a media culture that intersects with history, politics, and economics. Media studies graduates have been successful in earning master's degrees as well as working in various media-related fields.
  • Organizational and Professional Communication: Receive intensive training in the types of communication that are essential in business, industry, and organizations of all kinds. Courses in this emphasis relate to the fundamentals of effective professional communication and focus on such topics as interviewing, leadership, communication in the health professions, and organizational communication.
  • Public Communication and Advocacy: Focus on communication as a tool for civic engagement and social change in our local, regional, national and international communities. Many students who choose this emphasis are interested in careers in public advocacy, law, government, politics or civic engagement more broadly. This emphasis gives students the opportunity to build on their ability to construct and examine public communication messages in order to ensure a more just world.

Areas of study

Sample courses