Communication Studies Major

Program Summary

The bachelor of arts in communication studies is designed to teach students about human communication in its varied contexts and modes of expression. The goal of our program is to teach students to write, speak, listen, and think critically; adapt to a wide range of audiences and cultures; successfully manage personal relationships; work effectively in groups and organizations; and conduct independent research.

I brought my senior portfolio into the interview. The COO of the company was blown away! She even brought in the president of the company to show him. After looking through my portfolio, she told me that she thought I was qualified for a better position than the one for which I was interviewing. This position is way better! I have Comm. Studies to truly thank!Olivia Keaggy

Objectives and Goals

A degree from Samford will prepare you for whatever career path you choose. Personally, our caring, friendly, supportive environment will leave you with a clearer understanding of your own values and professionally, you will be empowered and inspired to make amazing contributions in your chosen field, thanks to our state-of-the-art technology and world-class faculty.

  • Understand human communication in its varied contexts and modes of expression;
  • Write, speak, listen, and think critically;
  • Adapt to a wide range of audiences and cultures;
  • Successfully manage interpersonal relationships;
  • Work effectively in groups and organizations; and
  • Conduct independent research.

View Curriculum

Is This Program for Me?

Deciding on a major is one of the most important decisions you will make. As you consider your options, think of your interests and aspirations. Samford is dedicated to offering you the support and encouragement you need in a compassionate, caring environment, whatever path you take.

I got my first job offer! They loved all my Comm. Studies stuff, especially the portfolio and workshop. I applied for an editing position, but when they saw everything I had done in Communication Studies they wanted to add to my responsibilities...I think that speaks very well for the department!Amy Bonds

What Makes Us Different?

Samford has an established history of producing graduates who make the world a better place. We are a forward-thinking institution driven by growth, and we produce nationally recognized graduates who are industry leaders.

I am working at Land Investment Company as their marketing and research manager. By the way, my portfolio helped me land the job! For that I am definitely grateful!Lanie Beth Thompson

Student Research

Our student research program offers students opportunities to stand out from the "rest of the pack." Our students routinely have their papers accepted for presentation at the Theodore Clevenger Undergraduate Honors Conference. We've won the top paper award at that conference twice! Last year, two of our students' papers ranked in the top 10 among 90 papers submitted in Louisville, Kentucky. Both papers earned the department's Excellence in Interpersonal Research Award. Next year, three of our students will travel to the National Communication Association's conference in Chicago to present their research: two of those papers have been designated as top papers.

Moreover, if a student has a particularly strong interest in a theory or research project, we will bring in scholars from other universities to help them with their research. For example, three of our students decided to do an experiment using Expectancy Violations Theory, so we brought in Dr. Jerold Hale from the University of Georgia. He is the co-author of that theory, and it was a very successful partnership.

The Senior Experience

Our program for seniors has been identified as one of the best in the Howard College of Arts and Sciences. In the first semester of senior year, our students create and deliver workshops to the Birmingham community in which they teach audiences to become better communicators. Recent workshops have taught participants how to manage conflict, communicate better with their families, become more skilled at intercultural communication, comfort others in times of crisis, and communicate more assertively.

In the second semester, our seniors create electronic portfolios of their work, detailing what they've learned since coming to Samford and showcasing their best projects. The portfolio has helped some of our graduates get the jobs they desired and has helped others get accepted into graduate school. We're very proud of our senior portfolios because they reflect the most advanced form of academic assessment in higher education today.

The senior workshop and electronic portfolio are part of what makes the Communication Studies department distinct from all others. No other department offers undergraduate students the opportunity to engage in actual human training and development as well as providing academic assessment via a web-based product. This helps distinguish our students from the masses who graduate each year from college. And, employers and graduate schools have responded quite positively to our students' work.

Career Preparation

At Samford University, we begin with the end in mind. Your ultimate goal is to receive a college degree, and between classroom experiences and internships, we make sure you will graduate with a résumé full of marketable skills that will make you an invaluable hire for any employer.

I am a pharmaceutical rep. with Eli Lilly and Co. and LOVE IT! Life is great and getting better. The electronic portfolio and my senior workshop were big helps in getting me hired.Chase Williams

Career Opportunities

What can you do with a degree in Communication Studies? We prepare students for virtually any type of career, because strong communication skills are valued in practically every profession. When the National Association of Colleges and Employers asked 480 companies what applicant qualities and abilities were most important, communication skills were at the top of the list. The employers noted that they see far too many applicants who don't know how to articulate their ideas clearly or how to interact effectively with others, skills that are critical in today's world.

I use my Communication Studies degree every day. I spend much of my time writing donors and my skills in webpage creation and design are really being put to good use. During my job interview, I showed my senor portfolio, which my supervisor loved!Bethany Rushing

Communication skills are a key asset in applying for a job and for career advancement. So, the most important component of our program is preparing students to communicate effectively, no matter what the job, no matter what the setting. And our students choose an incredibly wide variety of career paths. Parents of our majors are usually very relieved to discover that over the past four years, we've had a 100% placement rate: all of our students either get jobs or enter graduate school. The department works very hard to insure our students stay on track and make progress toward their goals so they have attractive post-graduation career options.

We currently have alumni working in these areas:

Advertising copywriter
Banking and finance
Chaplain
Communication consulting
Corporate development
Customer relations
Education
Event planning
Film
Guidance counselor
Insurance industry
Interior design
International missions
Law
Management
Marketing
Marriage and family therapy
Ministry
Pastoral counseling
Pharmaceutical sales
Politics
Primary and secondary school teaching
Professional writing
Public relations
Radio
Real estate
Sales
Social work
Speech therapy
Sports promotion
Talent agent
Television
Theatre
University professor

Internship Program

While our internship program is optional, most of our students choose to participate because internships are invaluable preparation for a wide variety of careers.

Benefits

Participation in an internship offers the following potential benefits for students in Communication Studies:

Opportunity for hands-on experience.

While students may learn a great deal of information in their courses, there is no substitute for direct experience in a professional environment. Internships allow students to gain direct experience.

Opportunity to determine best fit in a professional environment.

Experiential learning can aid students in assessing various career areas.

Preparation for job searches.

Students prepare resumes, write cover letters, and interview as if they were applying for a job. This gives students valuable experience in preparation for seeking employment.

Compilation of a portfolio.

Certain internships allow students to compile their work in a portfolio which can later be shown to potential employers.

Opportunity to demonstrate professionalism.

This enhances the reputation of the Department and Samford University and increases the credibility of a student's degree.

Provision of an incentive for academic achievement.

Since only students with strong academic records and supporting letters from faculty members are accepted into the program, students should view the internship program as an incentive to perform well academically in all their coursework.

Enhancement of the maturation process.

Since internships require a great deal of personal responsibility, the experience provides an important step in an individual's personal and professional maturation process.

Confidence building.

Successful completion of an internship often provides a student with the professional confidence necessary to begin the job search.

Professional learning experience.

Internships allow students opportunities to develop practical skills in realistic contexts where professional criticism is both immediate and constructive. Students also have opportunities to observe and understand connections between coursework and the world of work. Finally, internships aid in the identification of knowledge and skills essential to success in a particular profession.

Potential employment opportunities/contacts.

Occasionally internships lead directly into employment opportunities. Although this is more the exception than the rule, internships certainly do provide students entry into a professional network. Contacts made through internships are valuable sources of information for securing future employment.

Recent Internships

Listed below are a few of the recent internships our students have held:

Alabama Center for Law and Civic Education
Alabama Magazine
Atlanta Jr. Golf Association
Avail (Homeless support, Triumph Services (Mental Health Support, Birmingham)
Better Basics (Book Publishing)
Birmingham Ballet
Birmingham Barrons
Cassidy Turley (Property Management, Nashville, Tennessee)
Cayenne Creative (Advertising, Birmingham, Alabama)
Children’s Hospital of Alabama (Development)
Christ Church (Plano, Texas)
Church at Brook Hills
Daxco (Database Management)
Dreamcakes
Dunwoody Speech Inc. (Speech Pathology, Dunwoody, Georgia)
First Baptist Church, Gainesville, Georgia
Hall Strategies (Public Relations, Nashville, Tennessee)
Kathy G and Company (Events Management)
Liberty Baptist Church, Chelsea, Alabama
Livingston Group (Video Editing, McGregor, Texas)
Marketry Inc
Marketry Inc. (Market Research)
Mossaic Birmingham
Mountain Brook Jr. High (Counseling)
Northstar Youth Ministries
One Roof (Homeless Advocacy)
Peachtree Corners Baptist Church
Premier Productions (Media Production)
Ramsey Counseling Services (Psychological Counseling, Richmond, Kentucky)
Red Moon Marketing (Advertising, Charlotte, North Carolina)
Rick and Bubba Inc.
Samford Athletics
Samford ELLI
Samford ESL
Samford Events Management
Samford University Alumni Association
Samford University Fellows
Samford University Recruitment
Senator Johnny Issacson (Georgia)
Sony Music (Nashville, Tennessee)
The Arc of Jefferson County
The Bell Center
Thinkwell Creative (Collierville, Tennessee)
Vestavia Hills Baptist Church
Wilbanks Agency
Women’s Missionary Union

Internships and Current/Previous Employment

Internships are intended to represent new learning experiences. They are also designed to involve the student in the complete job search process. Therefore, internship credit is not given for current or past employment activities. Furthermore, internship credit is not granted retroactively for previous internships that the student may have completed. There may be situations, however, where a student may wish to intern at an agency where he/she is employed. This may be done subject to the following guidelines:

  • The focus of the student's responsibilities must be on communication-related tasks;
  • The focus of the internship writing assignments (journal and debriefing reports) must be on communication-related concepts.

Student-Arranged Internships

Students may become aware of an internship opportunity that is not part of the Internship Program's current placement pool. If a student is interested in arranging his/her own internship, this must be done well in advance of the proposed start of the internship to give the Director of Internships sufficient time to assess the quality of the placement. Students may NOT arrange internships at agencies owned by a family member and/or have family members as site supervisors.

Compensation

Although most internships are not paid, occasionally students may be offered a stipend or financial compensation for their work. Students are strongly encouraged to choose their internships based on the perceived value of the learning experiences rather than on the amount of money they might receive.