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    Hamline University
    Apr 20, 2024  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2020-2021 Undergraduate Bulletin [Archived Bulletin]

Communication Studies Department

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The communication studies program involves students in critical inquiry and informed practice. All human enterprise depends upon communication, therefore communication professionals have a special responsibility to create and analyze messages with critical attention to the processes that shape them, the information that supports them, the arguments that are made, and the effects messages produce. Communication is central to our personal and social lives, in our families, and in our work. Skill in communication is consistently identified as one of the most important abilities employers value and seek when hiring.  Knowing how to effectively communicate also enables us to participate meaningfully in civic life.  Whether the messages are verbal or nonverbal, face-to-face or mediated, private or public, as a communication studies student you will be challenged to create, describe, analyze, explain, and evaluate them as a knowledgeable communicator. Communication studies will help you develop your ability to:

  • Analyze and evaluate the effects of communication in various contexts including communication in public and personal settings, and when using technology
  • Understand and analyze the interaction of diversity with communication
  • Recognize what is necessary to work as a productive member of a group or team
  • Ask relevant questions about communication and formulate ways to answer those questions
  • Develop your own ability to communicate competently in various contexts including when communicating face-to-face, in small or large groups, in organizations, across diverse cultures, and using technology

The communication studies major is composed of several required core courses and additional courses chosen in conjunction with the program advisor. Students choose additional courses depending upon their individual interests and the direction they wish to pursue in the field. Communication studies faculty work closely with students to direct them to coursework that will be most beneficial to them given their academic and career interests.

The department of theatre arts operates a TV studio that supports original student video productions. A video production course is offered regularly through Theatre Arts, and can be applied to the Communication Studies major. In addition, the Communication Studies Department works closely with the digital media arts program.

Postgraduate Opportunities

Corporations typically cite knowledge and skills in communication as among the most important assets a college graduate brings to business. Students may pursue diverse career opportunities in wide- ranging fields related to communication. Career choices by majors include law, human resources, higher education administration, social service work, community organizing, speech writing, legislative work, public relations, advertising, sales, management, performing arts management, work in broadcast or print media, journalism, teaching, and other areas.

Research and Internships

Communication studies majors are encouraged to participate in the collaborative research program as a way to pursue advanced level study with a faculty member. Majors are also encouraged to do an internship, which can be done for major credit if supervised by a communication studies faculty member (see the Bulletin description of internships). Communication studies majors have been interns in areas such as social services, human resources, print media, broadcast media, public relations and advertising, event planning, education, law, and others. 


Communication studies majors who have a minimum GPA of 3.5 in major courses are invited to apply for the departmental honors program. A student pursuing departmental honors will complete a serious extensive independent research in an area of interest, under the supervision of a departmental faculty member. Candidates for departmental honors must apply to the department for honors and obtain approval for the proposed project no later than 14 months prior to expected graduation. If approved, the candidate works closely with a departmental faculty supervisor to complete an independent research project, culminating in a written honors thesis which is then presented and defended to an examination committee. If both the written thesis and the oral examination are deemed worthy of honors, a copy of the thesis is filed in the Hamline University Bush Library and departmental honors are awarded at graduation.


Departmental faculty combine active professional work in their respective fields with their primary role as educators. All faculty members in Communication Studies are involved in professional areas of their specializations beyond the campus, nationally and internationally, presenting research, and working as consulting professionals in various capacities.

Endalk Chala, assistant professor, BEd 2005, English Language Teaching Education, Dilla University, Dilla, Ethiopia; MA 2006, Journalism and Communications, Addis Ababa University, Addis, Ababa, Ethiopia; PhD 2019, Media Studies, University of Oregon.

George M. Gaetano, associate professor. BA 1977, MA 1979, PhD 1995, University of Minnesota. Publications in humor theorizing and humor research. Teaching and research interests include organizational communication, persuasion, family communication, gendered communication, intercultural communication, public speaking, and humor research.

Suda Ishida, professor, chair. BA 1988, Chiang Mai University, Thailand; MA 1996, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia; PhD 2002, University of Iowa. Publications in global media studies. Teaching and research interests include media studies, global media and social-political conflicts, cultural and critical theories, history of U.S. journalism, and intercultural communication.


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