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College of Arts and Sciences

Communication Department

The mission of the Communication Department is to foster the practice and study of communication to inform and transform society for the better. The department promotes the study of communication and the arts of persuasion, community-building, and journalistic reporting that contribute to the Greek ideal of the "agora" as the center of a democratic, diverse society. We pursue this mission by encouraging: 

  1. A passion to use communication as a powerful tool in the promotion of justice in our world
  2. Perception in effectively interpreting and understanding communication situations and challenges
  3. Performance in being able to prepare and present effective, responsible messages.

We envision a world where communication is founded on respect for individual autonomy and equality, and where such communication contributes to self-realization, self-determination, and democracy.

The department offers BA and minor degrees in Communications Studies, Journalism, and Strategic Communications.

BA degree programs:

  • Communication Studies BA. Communication Studies is a liberal arts major.  Students in the major develop a deep understanding of how communication works in different contexts, studying how language works, digital media, intercultural and interpersonal communication. Communication Studies majors develop effective oral and written communication skills along with vital research skills that will serve them well regardless of their future career path. Students get valuable practical training in applying their communication knowledge and skills through internships or service learning courses that are useful for both building experience and finding jobs after graduation. Our majors go on to graduate school or careers in diverse fields ranging from marketing, real estate, corporate communication and communication consulting to development aid work and non-profit advocacy.  Learn more here.
  • Journalism BA. The BA is a professionally oriented major that prepares you for careers in the mass media, most especially in journalistic media, whether traditional – print or broadcast – or part of the newer online world, where storytelling is conducted via audio, visual and networking means as well as through text. You take a core of media writing and reporting classes that emphasize preparation for the variety of journalistic media. Graduates go on to jobs with online publications, newspapers, television stations, newspapers, and documentary makers. Learn more here.
  • Strategic Communications BA. The BA is a professionally oriented major that converges public relations with reputation management and brand communications. Special emphasis is placed on preparing students to lead projects for social change in their communities. The major is complemented by the Center for Strategic Communications, which oversees a student-run consultancy committed to helping values-driven organizations. Members of the student agency engage and service real world clients to achieve specific communication goals. Graduates from this major go on to careers in both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Learn more here.

Go to the main degree page for details and degree requirements for the BA and minor degrees.


Special Interest

The Communication Department’s Sharon James Lecture Event
“Competing Newspaper Agendas: What Are Zimbabweans Thinking About?”
By Dr. Rick Malleus
Wednesday, April 5th, 2017, 6-8pm in Casey Commons
Refreshments will be served! Download the flyer.

Pinkwashing: do you know where your money goes? Pink ribbons. Pink shoes. Pink gloves. Athletes, companies, and movie stars use pink to promote products and raise breast cancer awareness. Student Uyen Le worked with Professor Caitlin Ring Carlson to develop ethical standards for breast cancer awareness campaigns. Read the article and watch the video here.

On a trip to New York City during his junior year at Seattle U, Nick McCarvel '08 walked into the office of Tennis Magazine and asked about an internship. Eight years after graduating with a degree in journalism, McCarvel covers major sporting events of all types every continent. Read the article here.

The Professor John R. Talevich Memorial Scholarship for students in the Communication Department supports internship opportunities, noted Department Chair Chris Paul. Details here.

Communication Professor Sonora Jha, PhD, published "On Spine and Crown" in Seattle, City of Literature (2015, Sasquatch Books). The anthology of Seattle writers is a collection of essays, history, and personal stories that pay tribute to Seattle’s literary heritage. More here.