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B.S. in Communication

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Program Chair: Stephen D. Farina

Clarkson’s Communication degree integrates communication, design and technology. Students develop a highly transferable and flexible repertoire of abilities and a solid, conceptual understanding of communication theory and practice. Together these prepare students to pursue professional careers or graduate programs in this dynamic field.

Starting with a set of five required courses, students develop abilities which are the foundation of any successful 21st century career in communication: writing, speaking, graphic design, teamwork and communication theory. Students then enhance and deepen these abilities through seven additional communication courses, which can be focused in areas like new media or technical communication. Students may select specific courses or, in conjunction with Communication & Media faculty, design independent study projects to further personal and professional interests.

Our faculty take advantage of Clarkson’s technological environment to provide instruction in writing, speech, mass media, web design, environmental rhetoric, graphic arts, digital video, usability testing, computer documentation, instructional design, and information architecture. Students work with C&M faculty in experiential learning projects, ongoing research activities, and regular classes to learn, design and experiment with the latest communication principles, theories and abilities.

In classes and in project work, students learn to analyze communication problems and to generate successful solutions, applying, when appropriate, various communication technologies. Our program enables students to learn and experiment with computer-mediated communication, digital video and audio, animation, and other emerging communication technologies and electronic media. Students also learn and examine the societal implications of such technologies.

The general requirements for the B.S. in Communication ensure that students have substantial exposure to mathematics, science, technology, computing, and liberal arts. Communication majors are required to obtain 15 credit hours in an external field (e.g., biology, computer science, digital arts, history, information systems and business processes (ISBP), information technology, psychology) which often provides them with a secondary field for further personal or professional development.

Students can use the remaining credits required for graduation to pursue individual interests or career goals. COMM490 (Internship) serves as a bridge to industry or to advanced study in the field. Students may choose to complete their internship by doing professional communication work for offices on campus or for off-campus businesses and organizations.

Students may earn a double major by fulfilling the requirements for the B.S. in Communication and another discipline at Clarkson, often without overload coursework. Students pursuing other majors may acquire a Minor in Communication.

Along with meeting the requirements of the Clarkson Common Experience, Communication majors must fulfill the following requirements:



Cr. Hrs.
  Course Title
Cr. Hrs.
All Knowledge Areas must be fulfilled    


Theory of Rhetoric for Business, Science and Engineering* 3

Mathematics Courses (includ. Stat 282)

 6    COMM313 Professional Communication 3

Science Courses (includ. lab course)

7    COMM341  Intro. to Web Design 3
Computer Courses  6   COMM410 Theory and Philosophy of Comm.* 3

Add'l Math, Science, or Computer Course

 3    COMM490 Communication Internship 3
University Seminar 3     Plus 7 Communication Courses


First-Year Seminar




External Field: 15 hours
Five courses to be chosen in consultation with advisor in a subject area outside the department, such as the following:
Biology Environmental Science & Policy
Business History
Chemistry Information Technology
Computer Science Mathematics
Digital Arts & Sciences Physical Therapy
Engineering Physics
FREE ELECTIVES: 45 hours  

Students choose the remaining hours without restriction to take additional Communication courses, or additional liberal arts, engineering, business, or science courses; to pursue another external field; to transfer credit from junior and community colleges; to double major; or to design individual areas of study.

The Communication program is designed to be flexible. In most cases, students work closely with their academic advisor to arrange an appropriate sequence of courses. The following eight-semester plan is typical only in that it indicates students should take the general requirements before pursuing the external field requirement. Since all courses are not offered each semester, and since some courses in the external field may have prerequisites, students should seek the guidance of their academic advisors in planning their academic program.

*Must be taken in addition to courses in Part I, General Requirements.

Communication Curriculum
First Semester   Second Semester
Course Title Cr. Hrs.   Course Title Cr. Hrs.
COMM210 Theory of Rhetoric 3     COMM Elective 3
COMM214 Computer Applications     COMM341 Intro to Web Design 3
  & Concepts 3     Elective 3
UNIV190 The Clarkson Seminar 3     Math Elective (Stat. 282) 3
  Math Elective 3     Science Elective w/lab 4
  Science Elective 3       line
FY100 First-Year Seminar 1        
First Semester   Second Semester
Course Title Cr. Hrs.   Course Title Cr. Hrs.
  COMM Elective
  COMM313 Prof. Communication 3
  COMM Elective 3     COMM Elective 3
  External Field 3     External Field 3
  Elective 3     Elective 3
  Elective 3     Elective 3
First Semester   Second Semester
Course Title Cr. Hrs.   Course Title Cr. Hrs.
  COMM Elective 3     COMM Elective 3
  MA/SC/Computing Elective 3     Elective 3
  Elective 3     External Field 3
  External Field 3     Elective 3
  Elective 3     Elective 3
First Semester   Second Semester
Course Title Cr. Hrs.   Course Title Cr. Hrs.
COMM410 Theory and Philosophy 3     COMM Elective 3
COMM490 Internship 3     Electives 11
  External Field 3       line
  Electives 6        

Students in the Class of 2010 and later — see Academic Requirements for details of the Clarkson Common Experience including the First-Year Seminar, the Clarkson Seminar, Knowledge Area (KA) courses, University Courses (UC), and related requirements.

Topical Listing of Communication Courses
Not all courses are offered each year or each semester (see annual Courses publication)
COMM210 Theory of Rhetoric for Business, Science and Engineering COMM412 Organizational Communication
COMM214 Computer Applications and Concepts COMM414 Computer Documentation
COMM217 Introduction to Public Speaking COMM417 Business and Professional Speaking
COMM220 Writing for New Media COMM420–25 Communication: Independent Study
COMM221 2D Digital Design COMM427 Digital Video Production II
COMM310 Mass Media and Society COMM428 Public Debate and the Environment
COMM313  Professional Communication COMM440 PHP/MySQL Interactive Design
COMM320 Digital Photography COMM442 Advanced World Wide Web Interface Design
COMM322 Typography and Design COMM444 Unix Web System Administration
COMM327 Digital Video Production I COMM480 Undergraduate Teaching Assistant in Communication & Media
COMM330 Science Writing COMM490 Communication Internships
COMM341 Introduction to Web Design COMM512 Organizational Communication
COMM345 Information Architecture COMM542 CGI Programming with Perl
COMM391-95 Communication: Special Topics COMM544 Unix Web System Administration
COMM409 Introduction to Instructional Design COMM620-625 Communication: Independent Study
COMM410 Theory and Philosophy of Communication