Program Highlights

The drive to communicate forms the basis of human social behavior and is a critical element of any organization or field of employment, regardless of technological advancement or change. The study of communication provides you with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in a rapidly changing society. Classes in communication blend theory, methodology, and practice and are central to the investigation and understanding of communicative processes.

The Communication major offers four options: The General Studies option, Media Studies concentration, Organizational Communication concentration, and Public Relations concentration.

General Studies option:

  • Provide more diverse flexible choices in the Communication discipline.
  • May work with your advisor to choose available courses for a more tailored approach specific to one's interests/needs.
  • Suitable for those who do not want to choose a concentration and/or want flexibility in completing a Communication degree.

Media Studies Concentration:

  • Study media's roles, messages, and effects in various contexts.
  • Focus on radio and/or video production in addition to theory and professional practice in the media environment.
  • Some possible career option areas: social & digital media, editing, production, broadcasting, writing, promotion, advertising sales, and general operations.

Public Relations concentration:

  • Focus on creating and managing effective communication with internal and external audiences.
  • Help build strong, positive and effective relationships with the public through communication.
  • Some possible career option areas: event planning, managing social media manager, media relations, research, promotions, fund raising.

Organizational Communication concentration:

  • Study the nature and role of communication in professional contexts.
  • Develop and manage effective communication skills to achieve professional and organizational goals.
  • Prepares students for a wide-range of careers in professional contexts.
  • Some possible career option areas: corporate communication, training, recruiting, and customer relations.

Performance learning is integrated into the Communication Department!

  • WJMU Radio Station: Students work in various roles of the radio station. They create, develop and execute original radio programming. They also serve in executive roles of station operation.
  • Various classes incorporate performance in learning:
    • Manage a website: Students are in charge of a website while enrolled in one specific class, Social Media Writing.
    • Serve as organizational consultants for local organizations, gathering data and making recommendations.
    • Produce gender training/information seminars to specific groups, such as residence hall floors and residence hall advisors.
  • London semester-long internship opportunities.

As a Communication major, you are given flexibility and customization with the major: core classes and track requirements, but room/space to take courses outside the department to cater and adapt to specific areas of interest. You are given practicality: practical experience gained through internship requirements and class projects. Students are also open to diversity: diverse discipline approaches within the major and different concentrations within the major.

The major consists of 36-37 credits. These credits can include up to six credits of Communication Laboratory and up to six hours of internship. A student can earn either a B.A. or B.S. degree in the Communication major.

Plan of Study

Departmental Course Offerings

Courses change each semester, so this list should not be considered a commitment to these individual topics. However, this does represent a list of many of our current and popular courses. The list is provided so that you can begin to imagine your academic career at Millikin in this major.

Introduction to Communication Theory Introduces students to the communication discipline and the systematic study of human communication. Emphasis is placed on providing students with the theoretical grounding necessary for future work in the Department of Communication. In the course of the semester, they will also meet department faculty, learn about their scholarly interests and explore career opportunities. (CO101)
Intro to Radio Industry Study of practical and theoretical applications of radio production techniques, including performance, programming, editing, sales and management. (CO110)
WJMU Radio Laboratory Students may enroll in this course to complete lab requirements and/or earn credit for their work at WJMU. The pre-requisite to work at WJMU is CO110, Introduction to Radio Industry, or consent of instructor. May be repeated for up to 6 credit hours maximum total; 3 credit hours/semester maximum. (CO181)
Public Speaking Theory and practice in speech preparation and delivery. Emphasis is on inquiry, evidence, reasoning and decision making.  Fulfills the Oral Communication Studies requirement for University Studies. (CO200)
Communication Research Methods Introduces students to the varied research methodologies, both quantitative and qualitative, used in the communication discipline. Specific attention is paid to representative scholarship from the discipline to facilitate student understanding of the sources and applications of communication knowledge. Pre-requisite: CO 101 or consent of instructor. (CO204)
Introduction to Video Production Designed to provide students with television production techniques as they pertain to single camera. electronic news gathering (ENG) and documentaries. Storyboarding editing skills and script writing are emphasized. Production techniques under direct supervision of instructor will aid the student producer in creating news features and/or a documentary or original design. (CO220)
Media History Media consumption and interaction are essential elements of citizenship in our ever-increasingly broadcast and streamed global culture. This course is designed as an exploration of the  historical affects and roles of the mass media, particularly in western culture. The major form of mass communication i.e. books, periodicals, recorded music, film, radio, television, and the internet will be covered. Special emphasis will be placed on critical analysis of how media messages have impacted individuals and societies, and on theories of communication. Students will move beyond being "consumers" of media to becoming "analysts" of media and it's importance in the development of the contemporary culture. (CO225)
Business Conversations Students will practice the skills necessary for interpersonal and group communications in a business setting. This includes the use of communication technologies for presentation and meetings. Fulfills the University  Studies Oral Communication Studies Requirement. (CO230)
Business and Professional Communication The focus is on developing a working knowledge of the theory and skills for interpersonal communication, groups and teams, informative and persuasive presentations, and the use of communication technologies in business and professional presentations. This course does not count toward a Communication major or minor.  Fulfills the Oral Communication Studies requirement for University Studies. (CO242)
Introduction to Public Relations Covers basic public relations principles and tools such as research, planning, media relations, press releases, public service announcements, brochures, newsletters, layout and printing techniques, position papers, and special events. Pre-requisite: CO101 or consent of the instructor. (CO251)
Seminar in Communication (1-3) Per Semester Topics to be announced each year but may include topics such as media and culture, nonverbal communication and communication in close relationships. Pre-requisite: CO101, communication major or consent of instructor. (CO260)
Topics in Discourse Studies Critical studies of discourse in social context.  Topics might include ethnic minority portrayals in the mass media, representations of law in popular culture, and the discourse concerning popular culture.  Pre-requisite:   Communication 101, junior or senior standing or consent of instructor. (CO306)
Argumentation and Advocacy This is a course designed to introduce students to enduring rhetorical and argumentative techniques for the analysis of moral disputes, public policy controversies, and institutional change conflicts. The theme for this course is "reason in life." The objectives are (1) greater familiarity with the rhetorical tradition in communication studies, (2) the development of a stock of critical argumentation strategies, (3) the practice of argumentation skills, (4) careful consideration of the appropriateness and effectiveness of critical and argumentative practice. (CO307)
Communication Ethnics and Freedom of Expression Considers the place of communication in the human situation, critically evaluates theories of ethics, takes up at least one significant problem in applied communication ethics, and makes an examination of some of the famous texts concerning freedom of expression. Pre-requisite: CO 101 or consent of instructor. (CO308)
Small Group Communication Designed to provide students with an understanding of theory, research and methods of group interactions. Practical applications stressed through study of roles, conflict and leadership. Pre-requisite: Communication 101 or consent of instructor. (CO310)
Advanced Radio Production and Performance Copywriting, interviewing, on-air performance, and new studio production techniques are studied and practiced. Students are responsible for several broadcast-ready productions. Pre-requisite: CO110. (CO314)
Advanced Video Production A more intensive study of advanced production techniques. Some of these include: script and treatment development, advanced camera and lighting techniques, nonlinear editing, and work with third party graphic and image manipulation programs. Pre-requisite: CO220. (CO324)
Interpersonal Communication This course centers on the study, critique and application of the theory and research in communication interpersonal relationships.  It examines the role communication plays in the construction of relationships. (CO330)
Gender Communication Examines the variable of gender and its impact on verbal communication, non-verbal communication, marital communication, conflict and organizational communication. Pre-requisite: Communication 101 or consent of instructor. (CO332)
Survey of Organizational Communication Examination of the theories of communication within an organization. Topics include formal and informal networks, leadership and management styles, human relations, and corporate culture. Practical application through case studies, simulation and analysis of local companies. Pre-requisite: CO101, junior or senior standing or consent of instructor.
Training and Technology Applications in Organizations In this course, students will explore how organizations can facilitate learning in a global environment with a specific emphasis on technology. Topics include such things as the following: adults learning theory, training techniques, and cutting-edge communication technologies. Students design and deliver training modules by utilizing various technology applications. (CO342)
Communication and Conflict Introduces students to effective strategies for addressing conflict and mediating disputes. Participants analyze the ways they handle conflict and investigate theoretical approaches to conflict mediation. (CO343)
Leadership & Communication Focuses on the key concepts of leadership and application of those concepts in real-world scenarios. Effective participation in this course should help the student better understand the complex interconnections between power, leadership, and group processes. (CO344)
Leading Organizational Change Embracing and effectively managing change is essential for organizations to thrive in today’s dynamic and complex environments.  Effectively responding to economic, social, demographic, legal, technological, competitive, global, and labor market variables, requires continuous organizational change ranging from relatively minor adjustments to major strategic shifts.  Regardless of the nature and cause of change, improper approach and implementation can lead to unintended consequences and/or disastrous results.  This course focuses on how to approach and implement organizational change in ways that maximize the likelihood of intended outcomes.  Topics include organizational culture, reasons for change, framing problems as opportunities, psychology of change, approaches to change. (CO345)
Topics in Writing for Communication Professionals Specialized workshops in writing for students seeking to develop skills for mass media and public communication professions.  Topics will include:  Radio-Television Newswriting, Speech Writing, and Public Relations Writing.  Pre-requisite: Communication 101, junior or senior standing or consent of instructor. (CO351)
Seminar in Communication An intensive, junior-senior level of study of a particular topic of communication context. Pre-requisite: CO101, Communication major or consent of instructor. (CO360)
Internship (1-3, maximum total 3) Opportunities for majors to work with local businesses and agencies in order to receive practical experience. Maximum of three credits. Pre-requisite: 2.25 grade point average and junior Communication major, or consent of Department Chair. (CO370)
Independent Study (1-3) Per Semester Directed study in a topic chosen jointly by student and instructor, with approval of Department Chair. (CO391)
Topics in Persuasion Emphasizes the theoretical concepts that explain the process and effects of persuasion from both the source and the target perspective. Application of theories to the classroom, law, advertising, politics, marketing, interpersonal influence, corporate advocacy and social movements. Pre-requisite: junior or senior standing, CO101 or consent of instructor. (CO401)
Intercultural Communication Students will learn the theory and research about communication with various cultures, races and ethnicities. This course will provide insight to norms, values, beliefs and practices in various cultures. Major goals of this class will be to understand, adapt, and appreciate communication with different cultures, races, ethnicities. Ultimately, the focus and outcome is to improve one's intercultural communication competence, both verbal and nonverbal in various intercultural situations. While we will cover various cultures, races, ethnicities, students will develop an in-depth project on one particular culture, race, ethnicity. Counts toward the International Cultures & Structures requirement. (CO432)
Persuasion Campaigns and Performance You will plan, design, and implement a pro-social persuasion campaign for the Millikin campus or Decatur community. For example, you might produce a campaign to discourage social smoking or promote exercise. This class will blend theories of persuasion with plenty of time to work on the practicals. By the end of the course, you will have portfolio material useful for applying to jobs in advertising, marketing, sales, PR, creative arts, and anticipation for the student's entry into work and opportunities beyond undergraduate education. (CO480)
Internship Capstone Seminar Combines the internship experience and an opportunity for reflection on the graduating majors's internship or service learning experience and anticipation for the student's entry into work and opportunities beyond undergraduate education. (CO480)

Communication Careers

A strong liberal arts background and intensive work in all aspects of communication uniquely qualify graduates for a variety of positions. Graduates of our program have many career options.

  • human services
  • media
  • sales
  • counseling
  • training and development
  • public relations
  • business
  • publishing.

Recent graduates are now working for radio and TV stations, attending graduate school, planning media events, working in universities, organizing PR campaigns, trading commodities and much more. Recent Communication Alumni positions include: Production Assistant at 120 Sports, a web-based TV channel in Chicago; Leadership Development Consultant, Pi Beta Phi National Sorority Organization; Operations Manager at WGFA Radio; Marketing communications Coordinator at Runzheimer International; Community Specialist at American Cancer Society; and Social Media Manager, Serta Company.