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a student practices a speech in front of a classmate in the Speaking Center

Communication Studies

Our program examines human communication in a variety of contexts, exploring how communication fosters success in relationships, organizational settings, and society more broadly.

Communicating in All the Right Ways

Our program enhances skills critical for success in today’s society – the ability to speak, think, and write effectively. Employers report that the most important skills they look for in employees are the abilities to work with a team and to communicate verbally.

We not only help prepare students to be good employees, but we also help them become effective citizens with successful social relationships. Students take courses that show how communication works in health, legal, political, organizational and social settings or courses that enhance skills in interviewing, argumentation and public speaking.

We also offer classes that focus on such topics as crisis communication, humor, deception, and persuasion. Majors can study gender issues, social movements, political campaigns, race relations, and interpersonal conflict in our courses.

Coursework

Courses such as Introduction to Communication Studies, Interpersonal Communication, and Rhetoric and Public Life introduce students to the basic theories of human communication.

Upper level courses explore those theories in more specific contexts, such as businesses and nonprofits, crisis situations, the healthcare industry, intercultural settings, and social movements.

Degree Options

There are one Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and one Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees available with this major.

More about this Major

Outcomes

Because communication is central to all areas, a degree in Communication Studies prepares graduates for a variety of careers.

We have graduates who have gone into politics and nonprofits. Some have pursued jobs in sales, management, human relations, and public relations. Some have been entrepreneurs who have built vibrant businesses, large and small.

Students have entered advanced degree programs in law, religion, college student personnel, and communication at such institutions as Duke University, University of Texas, Florida State University, Texas A&M, and University of Georgia, as well as at Southern Miss.

Our graduates have been employed by organizations such as IMG Sports, New York Life, Enterprise, United Way, Marriott, AT&T, Wells Fargo, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, and the American Heart Association.
A Communication Studies degree is worth so much more than the diploma. Since freshman year I have been challenged both academically and socially.

Courses You Might Take

CMS 340: Intercultural Communication

Students complete group work together in the University Think Center.

Enhances student understanding of communication between people with different cultural backgrounds

CMS 403: Political Communication

Offers a comprehensive study of the role of communication in political campaigns and in the general political process

CMS 410: Organizational Communication I: Theory and Process

A class meets outside on a gorgeous South Mississippi day.

Explores the communication process within organizations

CMS 435: Speech Communication in Legal Contexts

Examines the research findings and persuasive strategies used in various legal contexts

CMS 440: Health Communication

Students learn both in the classroom and outside of the classroom, as shown in this trip to the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.

Studies communication theory and practices with attention to doctor-patient interactions

CMS 445: Crisis Communication

Explores communication strategies for managing a crisis effectively before, during, and after an event

CMS 460: Public Advocacy and Advanced Argumentation

A group of students show off their Lambda Pi Eta Honors Society certificates.

Investigates the rhetorical tactics that are used to create social change

Meet Some of Your Professors

Dr. Steven Venette

Associate Professor

Favorite Course: CMS 445: Crisis Communication

Expertise: Risk and crisis communication, organizational communication, and argumentation

Dr. Kathryn Anthony

Assistant Professor

Favorite Course: CMS 440: Health Communication

Expertise: Organizational health communication and risk and crisis communication

Dr. Marcus Coleman

Assistant Professor

Favorite Course: CMS 403: Political Communication

Expertise: Voter identification legislation, patriotism as civic engagement, and political ideology

Take the Next Steps

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Apply to Southern Miss

Be aware of our deadlines, $40 application fee and other items on our checklist. Admission requirements vary for freshmen, transfers, prospective Honors College students and others.

Southern Miss undergraduate degrees are available online, at the Hattiesburg campus, at the Gulf Park campus, and/or through a hybrid delivery that includes both online and on-campus courses.