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School of Communication Studies

Schoonover Center 400
Athens, OH 45701

Michael Butterworth
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Scripps College of Communication

Schoonover Center 100
Athens, OH

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Undergraduate Admissions

120 Chubb Hall
1 Ohio University
Athens, OH 45710

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Organizational Communication  

The School of Communication Studies (COMS) offers a liberal arts education, emphasizing the scientific and artistic bases of communication. The school is firmly committed to providing quality instruction in the theoretical bases of human communication and the application of theory in specific contexts. The core courses combine theory and practice as students study the historical and conceptual foundations of the field of communication. An historical understanding of communication theory is useful but insufficient in a globally competitive world, so the major in communication studies also equips students with the competencies most prized by employers: strong oral and written communication, effective interpersonal and group communication, critical thinking, meeting planning, and problem-solving/decision-making (Booher, 2003).

Students complete a rigorous academic program consisting of courses in theory, research methods, presentations, and engaged learning practica. Elective courses in the school complement the required courses and expand the students' repertoire of competencies and skills. Enhancing the core and concentration-specific classes are courses in a related area, the study of other cultures, and contemporary technology. Students identify the means of completing the related area by working one-on-one with their academic advisors. The related area is an opportunity for students to "customize" their career interests in ways that set them apart from their peers when undertaking internship or job searches.

A bachelor's degree in communication studies is perfect preparation for a career in corporate training, foreign service, law, politics, labor relations, human services, campaign management, event planning, account representation, sales, or survey research. All told, the major is designed to augment students' lives and careers through a clearer understanding of the effects of communication and messages in their professional and personal lives.

Career Opportunities

Students concentrating their studies in communication and public advocacy focus on the integration of political and legal communication theory and practice. These studies emphasize the role of communication in argument, debate, and politics, including the ethical and rhetorical implications of constitutional guarantees and persuasive strategies characteristic of contemporary political communication. Recent graduates are attending nationally-ranked law schools, working as state legislative staff, lobbying in Washington, D.C., and managing political campaigns.

Health communication graduates are concerned with meeting people's communication and knowledge needs in such areas as the relationships between patients and their health care providers, family dynamics, dissemination of health information, and cultural and gender influences on communication. Recent graduates are employed in health care organizations as patient advocates or in human resources, national nonprofit health agencies, and as pharmaceutical company sales representatives.

Students focused on organizational communication are developing skills and competencies enabling them to understand the dynamics of, and function more effectively in, organizational structures. Recent graduates are employed in major consulting firms, national financial service companies, conference planning businesses, and information management organizations.

Our students often find their placement match while completing an internship. Although not a requirement in the major, the most highly motivated students are the ones likely to seek meaningful experiences through an internship. These experiences often confirm students' decisions to seek post-baccalaureate employment in those fields. Students also find their career directions while engaged in research teams supervised by faculty members. This chance to engage in meaningful research while an undergraduate often turns research team members in the direction of graduate school after completing their undergraduate studies.


Special Features

Forensics Team
Through its nationally competitive speech and debate program, the School of Communication Studies provides the opportunity for all University students to meet outstanding undergraduates from 300 or more colleges or universities in intellectual competition. Approximately 20 tournaments at other schools and several held on campus enable a student to develop skills in Lincoln-Douglas debate, extemporaneous and impromptu speaking, persuasion, rhetorical criticism, after dinner humor, and oral interpretation of prose, poetry, or drama. Excellence in scholarship and superior performance in speech communication are rewarded in several ways, including scholarships. Delta Sigma Rho-Tau Kappa Alpha national honorary is open to students in the upper third of their class who excel in forensics. More information can be obtained by writing to Dan West, the John A. Cassese Director of Forensics, at

National Communication Association Student Club
The NCA Student Club (NCASC) offers students opportunities to experience the field of communication outside the classroom. In addition to practical and professional experience, NCASC also offers quarterly networking trips, the chance to interact with professional speakers, an informational newsletter, and access to professionals through other NCASC and NCA chapters. The faculty advisor for the club is Dr. Brian Quick (

Lambda Pi Eta Scholastic Honorary
To recognize the excellent academic accomplishments of undergraduate communication majors, the school sponsors the Beta Mu chapter of Lambda Pi Eta, the national communication honor society. LPE provides its members with academic recognition, opportunities to participate in chapter-sponsored social and professional events, and, on the national level, provides an academic outlet for communication research through regional and national conventions. Dr. Christie Beck is the advisor of the chapter and can be reached at

Our Faculty

To learn more about our faculty, click here.



Please note: We offer concentrations, not separate majors. The following are the areas of concentration that we offer:

    *      Communication and Public Advocacy
    *      Health Communication
    *      Organizational Communication

The concentration is the means through which students develop their major while exploring the broad spectrum of human communication. The concentration provides a focus to the major but is not intended to be career specific. Each concentration promotes the development of skills and competencies applicable to a variety of potential careers under the broader headings of communication and public advocacy, health communication, and organizational communication.

Scripps College of Communication

The Ohio University Scripps College of Communication is a leader in communication education—and it is the pride of Ohio University. Generally regarded as one of the top five programs in the nation, Scripps prepares students to be effective and responsible communicators in a global society and advances the field through creative activity and research on communication concepts, issues and problems.

Since its founding 40 years ago, Scripps has grown from just two schools – communication and journalism – to five schools offering more than 40 nationally acclaimed programs. These range from the very technical in the J. Warren McClure School of Information and Telecommunication Systems to the deeply theoretical in the School of Communication Studies – and everything in between in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, and the Schools of Media Arts and Studies and Visual Communication. In May 2006, the University received a commitment of $15 million from the Scripps Howard Foundation and the college was named in its honor.

Scripps also houses the WOUB Center for Public Media, which operates five public radio stations, two public television stations and one cable television station serving more than 60 counties. Through the center’s Student Development Program, more than 250 of the college’s students gain hands-on radio and television experience by assisting with the stations’ day-to-day operations.

Scripps has been recognized as “one of Ohio University’s most distinguished programs” by the Guide to 101 of the Best Values in America’s Colleges and Universities.

In the fall of 2010, Scripps was named a Center of Excellence in the state of Ohio.
Scripps alumni number 26,000 worldwide and are some of the most recognizable names, successful leaders and notable contributors in the field of communication.

Ohio University

Established in 1804, Ohio University is the oldest public institution of higher learning in the state of Ohio and the first in the Northwest Territory. Admission to Ohio University is granted to the best-qualified applicants as determined by a selective admission policy.