The Communication Major is designed to prepare undergraduate students for the future in two ways. First, students are prepared to become professional communicators. The professional communicator role involves, but is not limited to, public relations, training, investor relations, human resources, community relations, crisis management, and governmental or legislative relations. Second, students are prepared to make contributions to a variety of organizations from a communication perspective. Students have the opportunity to develop special knowledge and skill with regard to conflict, groups, leadership, relationships, public relations, political campaigns, organizations, etc. Whichever path students choose, they can be assured that communication knowledge and skills are highly valued. Communication majors choose one of two concentrations leading to the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science degree. The concentrations are Public Relations and Communication Studies.
This major fulfills the A or the L areas of the REAL Curriculum, depending on your concentration. Students choosing the Public Relations concentration will fulfill the L REAL area, and will need majors and/or minors to fulfill the R, E, and A areas to complete the REAL Curriculum requirements. Students choosing the Communication Studies concentration will fulfill the E and A REAL areas, and will need majors and/or minors to fulfill the R and L REAL curriculum requirements. All students need to complete REAL foundational math and cornerstone requirements.
REAL Foundational Requirements
Foundational Writing (3 Credits)
Foundational Math (3 credits)
REAL Cornerstone Requirements
Writing Intensive (WI) Courses (6 credits)
Writing Intensive courses are denoted below with a (WI). Two writing intensive courses are required to graduate, with at least one at the 300- or 400-level.
General Education Requirements
General Education courses will be denoted below with a (GE). Students are required to take at least 30 credit hours of general education designated courses within their degree requirements. The Communication major includes 9-12 general education credits.
Major Requirements (51-53 credits)
B.S. Requirements (6-8 credits)
Working closely with their advisors, students will understand the Bachelor of Science degree requires six to eight semester hours selected from any of the following: mathematical science, natural and physical sciences, social and behavioral sciences, in any combination.
Required Major Courses (9 credits)
Courses with a COMS prefix must be completed with a “C” or higher. STAT 130 or STAT 200 can also be counted toward the B.S. requirement.
Communication Studies (36 credits) (E, A)
The concentration in Communication Studies prepares students for positions in both the private and public sectors as well as providing a solid foundation in the Communication discipline for those desiring to continue their education in graduate school. Courses in communication studies combine material from the humanities, fine arts, and social sciences in order to explain how and why people interact in the ways they do. Students in the Communication Studies concentration will study the ways that people use communication in public life, politics, and social movements. Students will learn how to analyze and evaluate communication practices in a wide variety of settings and be able to apply practical, oral, written and visual communication skills and knowledge necessary for success in the 21st century marketplace.This concentration fulfills the E and A REAL areas, and students will need majors and/or minors to fulfill the R and L REAL curriculum requirements. All students need to complete REAL foundational math and cornerstone requirements.
Required Courses: (24 credits)
Choose three of the following: (9 credits)
Communication Elective (3 credits)
Three credits in any course(s) with the COMS prefix except COMS 130, COMS 230, and COMS 330.
Public Relations (36 credits) (L)
The concentration in Public Relations prepares students for positions as professional communicators by providing a combination of technical communication skills and theoretic knowledge necessary to make them competitive for entry-level public relations positions. This concentration fulfills the L REAL area, and students will need majors and/or minors to fulfill the R, E, and A REAL curriculum requirements. All students need to complete REAL foundational math and cornerstone requirements.
Required Courses (27 credits)
Communication Elective (9 credits)
Choose 9 credit hours of elective credits from School of Communication courses. Six (6) credit hours must be at the 300 or 400 level. No more than 6 hours of internship credit (including the 3 required hours) may be used to meet requirements for the major.
Additional Degree Requirements
To graduate with a major in Communication, a student must have a grade point average of 2.25 or higher for all courses taken with a COMS prefix.
Open Credit Hours (67-69 credits)
These credits can be used to fulfill additional courses, majors, minors, and/or REAL Curriculum requirements, including Foundational Writing and Foundational Math.
Total Credits Needed for Degree 120
Students wishing to complete an internship must have a 2.0 GPA in the major and must apply and interview for the privilege of participating in an internship experience.
Internships are available at approved agencies for qualified students. Students work under departmental supervision in private corporations, public organizations, advertising and public relations agencies, lobbying groups, and other organizations that will provide a suitable environment for learning. To qualify for an internship, a student must be a major in Communication and must be in good academic standing with 75 hours of credit completed. Communication majors have interned at Burson-Marsteller Public Relations, Frankfurt, Germany; Edelman Public Relations, Washington, D.C.; Gray and Rice Public Relations, Boston, Massachusetts; Stanton Communications, Washington, D.C.; United Way, Roanoke, Virginia; Pulaski Rangers Minor League Baseball, Pulaski, Virginia; Police Department, Roanoke, Virginia; Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles; Virginia Tourism; Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, Spartanburg, South Carolina; Blue Ridge Hospice, Winchester, Virginia; The Children’s Museum, Washington, D. C.; Carilion Health Care System; Crawford Long Medical Center; United Network for Organ Sharing, Richmond, Virginia; and the International Association of Travel Agencies.