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B.S. in Communication

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Program Chair: Stephen D. Farina

Program Goals

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.

  • Outcome 1: Students will develop informative and persuasive communication skills.
  • Outcome 2: Students will develop competencies in a range of communication technologies.
  • Outcome 3: Students will develop an ability to work effectively and ethically in the professional workplace.
  • Outcome 4: Students will develop the ability to critically analyze language and media use in society and the workplace.

Program Requirements

Communication Majors take five required COMM courses: COMM 210 Rhetoric for Business, Science and Engineering, COMM 313 Professional Communication, COMM 341 Introduction to Web Design, COMM 410 Theory & Philosophy of Communication, COMM 490 Communication Internship, and seven other elective COMM courses, such as COMM 221 2D Digital Design, COMM 310 Mass Media and Society, COMM 327 Digital Video I, and COMM 322 Typography and Design.
In addition, 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 also 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.

Social Documentation is a double major integrating a communication and media major with a social science, humanities, or liberal studies major.  It emphasizes critical inquiries into societal issues along with the study of recording and documenting theories, techniques and technologies.   A substantive knowledge base in a social science or humanities discipline enables students to ground their communication degree in an area of interest that will also give them a distinctive perspective. Likewise, the critical thinking, persuasive, and media production skills learned from the communication program will empower the social science or humanities major to more effectively create products that can influence, entertain or educate.  For more information, see the  Social Documentation Curriculum .

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  
  COMM210 Theory of Rhetoric for Business,
Mathematics Courses
    Science and Engineering*
(includ. Stat 282)
  COMM313 Professional Communication
Science Courses
  COMM341 Intro. to Web Design
(includ. lab course)
  COMM410 Theory and Philosophy of
Computer Courses
Add'l Math, Science,
  COMM490 Communication Internship
or Computer Course
    Plus 7 Communication  
University Seminar
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        
Topical Listing of Communication Courses
Not all courses are offered each year or each semester (see annual Courses publication)
COMM210 Theory of Rhetoric for COMM417 Business and Professional
  Business, Science and   Speaking
  Engineering COMM420–25 Communication: Independent
COMM214 Computer Applications and   Study
  Concepts COMM427 Digital Video Production II
COMM217 Introduction to Public Speaking COMM428 Public Debate and the
COMM220 Writing for New Media   Environment
COMM221 2D Digital Design COMM440 PHP/MySQL Interactive Design
COMM310 Mass Media and Society COMM442 Advanced World Wide Web
COMM313  Professional Communication   Interface Design
COMM320 Digital Photography COMM444 Unix Web System
COMM322 Typography and Design   Administration
COMM327 Digital Video Production I COMM480 Undergraduate Teaching
COMM330 Science Writing   Assistant in Communication
COMM341 Introduction to Web Design   & Media
COMM345 Information Architecture COMM490 Communication Internships
COMM391-95 Communication: Special Topics COMM512 Organizational Communication
COMM409 Introduction to Instructional COMM542 CGI Programming with Perl
  Design COMM544 Unix Web System
COMM410 Theory and Philosophy   Administration
  of Communication COMM620-625 Communication: Independent
COMM412 Organizational Communication   Study
COMM414 Computer Documentation