The Department of Communication offers two majors, Communication and Journalism. These have separate requirements and each offers a Bachelor of Arts degree. More information is provided below.
407 Machmer Hall
Degree: Bachelor of Arts
Contact: April M. Tidlund
Chairperson of Department: To be announced. Professors Carbaugh, Cooks, Cronen, Hanson, Jhally, Morgan, Norden, Servaes; Associate Professors Bailey, Castañeda, Chakravartty, Chang, Ciecko, Geddes, Henderson, Scharrer; Assistant Professors Fuentes-Bautista, Gencarella, Moreira, Shabazz, Shimpach, West; Lecturers Geisler, Phillips; Adjunct Professors Byg, Portuges.
Majors focus on the role of communication in society, learning new ways of thinking about communication as they explore everything from face-to-face interaction to new media technologies. Students develop critical and analytical skills for understanding the role of communication in their own lives and in the larger society.
The emphasis in most courses is on critical thinking, and the courses focus on one or more of five topic areas: 1) film studies; 2) rhetoric and performance studies; 3) media and popular culture studies; 4) gobal media, technology, and governance; and 5) language, culture, and social interaction.
Admission to the undergraduate major is restricted. Although many first-year and transfer students are admitted directly into the Communication major when they are admitted to the university, the major is restricted for students already on campus.
Students majoring in Communication must complete at least 12 courses (36 credits) in Communication.
1. All three of the following (9 credits):
2. At least one course (3 credits) from the following:
3. At least one course (3 credits) from the following:
4. Seven additional courses (21 credits minimum). At least 15 credits (five courses, including 375) of the total 36 credits for the major must be at the 300 level or above, and must include at least three credits from courses numbered at the 400 level or above.
Each semester a number of Special Topics (COMM 297, 397, 497, or 597) and Seminar (COMM 491, 492, 493, 494, 495, 591, 592, 593, 594, or 595) courses may also be used as electives.
Please note the following restrictions:
1. All major courses must be taken for a letter grade, not Pass/Fail.
2. Only three credits of COMM 396 Independent Study may be used within the 36 credits of departmental requirements.
3. General practicum (UMASS 298Y) credits given for internships may not be counted toward the major.
4. A minimum GPA of 2.000 in the major is required for graduation.
5. Only 6 credits of production courses may be applied toward the 36-credit department requirement.
Internships and International Exchanges
Internships are optional, supervised apprenticeships that serve as introduction to many types of organizations and professional work. They can provide applied, hands-on experiences that complement the theoretical orientation of the undergraduate curriculum. In many cases, they provide experiences and connections that help students find jobs after graduation.
The B.A. in Communication is a liberal arts degree, preparing students for any career that calls for higher literacy skills, analytical reasoning, and critical thinking. The Communication major helps prepare many students for work as communication specialists in industry; local, state, and federal government agencies; educational institutions; research organizations; and political organizations. Specific positions in such organizations can include: production, sales, and programming positions for radio and television stations; media and communication advisers for political campaigns, intercultural organizations, labor unions, and government agencies; and communication consultants for personnel management, advertising, and sales organizations.
108 Bartlett Hall
Degree: Bachelor of Arts
Contact: Karen List
Director of Major:? Professor Karen List. Professors Blais, Sims, Whitehead; Associate Professor McBride; Lecturers Fox, O’Brien-Weiss, Perkins, Roche, Simurda; Adjunct Lecturers Allen, Berman, Brodeur, Carey, Cohen, Forcier, Foudy, Katzenbach, Madsen, Muller, Neal, Newton Skolfield, Vandal.
The field of journalism is changing rapidly. The emphasis on traditional, ethical journalism remains, but the ways in which journalism is gathered and transmitted have been transformed. Reporters who once wrote for a newspaper are likely now to find themselves also writing for the paper’s website, taking digital photos to accompany articles, and recording podcasts (audio) and vodcasts (video). Multimedia reporting is the reality not only for newspapers, but also in television, radio, photography, public relations, and online jobs. As equipment becomes cheaper and more portable, freelancing work for a variety of media has also become easier. “Backpack reporting” allows one person to report, write, take pictures and record audio and video on assignments, both domestically and abroad, and transmit them to media outlets instantaneously. Journalism also continues to be a solid foundation for many going into teaching, the law, government and other fields where communication and critical thinking skills are paramount.
The Journalism major has a distinguished, award-winning faculty including winners of the Pulitzer Prize and the Freedom Forum Journalism Teacher of the Year Award. It draws a diverse group of students who graduate to jobs in newspapers, magazines, television, on-line journalism, and other fields requiring skills in reporting and writing. The major emphasizes both the theory and practice of journalism. Students receive a thorough grounding in the ethics and traditions of journalism as well as the nuts and bolts of reporting and writing. Although graduates of the program end up in a variety of fields including law, government, public relations, and teaching, the major is geared for students who want to work in journalism: daily or weekly newspapers, magazines, online publications, and broadcast media. Alumni work at the New York Times, the Boston Globe, National Public Radio, Dateline NBC, The Associated Press, and dozens of top media outlets around the world.
1. JOURNAL 300 Newswriting and Reporting (4 cr), plus at least one advanced writing course offered by the program.
Admission to the Major
Admission to the Journalism major is restricted. Students may be admitted directly into the major as first-year students when they apply for admission to the university. Transfer students may be admitted directly to the major during orientation or may be asked to complete more coursework at the university before admission. For students already on campus, the major is restricted, and they must apply. Students from any major are welcome to apply during the first or second semester of their sophomore year. Applicants must be a 3.000 GPA and provide a written statement of purpose. There are no prerequisite courses. Applications are available from the Journalism office or online at www.umass.edu/journal/UMAJournalism/major/requirements/index.html.
Journalism majors acquire qualifications for positions in which reporting, research, writing, and editing are central. These may include work for newspapers and other news organizations, book publishing, public relations, and government agencies. The major is also recognized as strong liberal arts preparation for graduate study in such fields as journalism, mass communication, history, advertising and public relations, or law.