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What can I do with a Communication major?

The field of Communication develops analytical, critical and performance skills that enhance relationships in social and professional settings. We study communication for the purpose of promoting community and strategic competency. In every career and area of life where the abilities to communicate clearly and build relationships are important, our alumni are engaged.

Some careers requiring intensive Communication skills include:

  • Actor/Screenwriter
  • Attorney/Judge
  • Business Owner
  • Consultant
  • Financial Advisor/Investment Banker
  • Freelance Writer/Speaker
  • Graphics and Web Designer/Media Planner
  • Human Resource Coordinator
  • Marketer
  • Missionary
  • Pastor/Youth Minister
  • Professor
  • Sales Representative
  • Speech Therapist
  • Teacher
  • Trainer
  • Technical Analyst

Many of our alumni continue their education in Communication-related or specialized fields. Graduate degrees mentioned by survey respondents included areas of Communication, Marketing, Medicine, Psychology, Social Work, Speech and Language Pathology, and Theology. 

 

What are the Communication major requirements?

A Bachelor of Arts degree is offered in Communication. Requirements for a major are 32 hours, including a core of performance (COMM 201), theory (COMM 301 or 302), research (COMM 311 or 312) and senior capstone (COMM 494). These four courses comprise 14 of the required 32 hours needed for the major and should be completed in sequence. Additionally, students must choose from one of four concentrations in the area of Interpersonal Communication, Media Studies, Rhetoric and Culture, or Theater. Each concentration includes at least 16 hours of course work that progresses from introductory to advanced levels of study. Finally, every major must submit a portfolio and have a senior assessment interview as part of the capstone course.

Requirements for a minor are 20 hours in Communication courses including COMM 201, which also meets the general education requirement, and 301 or 302.

Requirements for a theater minor are 20 hours in Communication consisting of COMM 271, 272, 273, 374, and an elective upper-division theater COMM course. COMM 373 will NOT count towards the minor.

For more information, please visit the Curriculum page.

Are there departmental honors programs?

The Communication Department sponsors a chapter of Lambda Pi Eta, the National Communication Honor Society for undergraduate students. The chapter's purpose is to recognize, foster and reward outstanding scholastic achievement in the field of Communication. Basic requirements for membership include an overall grade point average of 3.5, and a departmental GPA of 3.7. Emily Langan is the faculty advisor.

The Communication Department also sponsors a chapter of Pi Kappa Delta, a National Honorary Forensics Organization which recognizes excellence in competitive speaking events. Students who attend at least five tournaments may be eligible for general honors, with increasing ranks of honors for more active tournament competitors. Rebecca Sietman is the faculty advisor.

The Communication Department offers an honors program for outstanding junior and senior majors desiring to carry out independent research. Details of the program are available from the department Chair, Ken Chase.

Should I do an internship? 

An internship serves as a bridge between academic life and the world of work, using general skills and knowledge acquired through a liberal arts education in specific career requirements. Internships are an elective option for Communication majors.

An internship can take place during the school year or in the summer, after 16 hours of coursework in Communication has been completed. Every unit of academic credit requires 40 hours on the job. No more than four hours of credit can be received for any internship experience and no more than four hours can count toward the 32 hours required for the major.

Last Fall, Wheaton Students participated in internships at 

  • Christianity Today
  • Crossway/GoodNews Publishers
  • The Chicago Tribune
  • Wheaton College's Advancement Office
  • By the Hand Club for Kids
  • Chick-Fil-A
  • Korean West Alliance Church
  • Jimi Allen Productions
  • Wheaton College's Athletic Department

 Summer and Spring internships included

  • Chicago Tribune
  • Target
  • Facets Media
  • Rochester Women's Magazine
  • Diablo Magazine
  • Blackberry Market
  • The Hollywood Reporter
  • Int'l. Center for Journalism, Berlin
  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • JiMi Allen Productions
  • Christianity Today
  • Korean West Alliance Church
  • Wheaton College's Advancement Office

Please contact Ken Chase for more information. 

How can I be a part of Arena Theater?

Arena Theater is a campus drama program which presents three full-length plays each year. All Arena Theater shows are cast from within Workout, a co-curricular activity involving about thirty students from various majors. Workout holds auditions at the start of the fall semester each school year. There are other opportunities in box office management, stage crew and technical production.

For more information, please contact Mark Lewis (Co-Director, Workout Director), Michael Stauffer (Co-Director, Designer) or Andy Mangin (Technical Director).

What opportunities are there in Debate and Forensics?

The Communication Department oversees a competitive speaking program in parliamentary debate. The Argumentation and Debate course (COMM 252) is the preparatory course for intercollegiate debate. Using a competitive debate format, the course highlights persuasive speaking and argument theory. 

Advanced Performance (COMM 353) and Persuasion (COMM 363) offer students the opportunity to expand their understanding of social influence and enact strategies to affect attitudinal and behavioral change. Courses in Theory (Comm 302) and Criticism (Comm 312) provide the intellectual context for debate as a civil art.

For more information, please contact Rebecca Sietman, the Director of Debate.

How can I develop my interest in Journalism? 

Students interested in pursuing a career in Journalism have several options. The Journalism Certificate provides an overall educational experience designed to prepare students for graduate school or entry-level positions. Students also can pursue Journalism through the Media Studies concentration of the Communication Major, which includes courses in Journalism (COMM 215), Media Performance (COMM 242) and Writing for Media (COMM 343). Internships (COMM 496) develop field-specific training in newspaper writing and editing, magazine publication, marketing and public relations, advertising agencies, television studios, web design and corporate communications. Occasional department lectures, site visits, classes and chapels feature guests with journalistic backgrounds.

The Record, a student-produced, weekly campus newspaper, provides opportunities in news writing, feature writing, sports writing, editing, photography, graphic design, layout and copywriting. For more information, please visit The Record's web site, email The Record or contact Clint Shaffer.

For more opportunities in Journalism, consider the Washington Journalism Consortium Program. This is an excellent off-campus experience that provides course credits toward Wheaton’s Journalism Certificate.

What opportunities are there in Media Production? 

There are several production courses within our curriculum, including Media Production and Narrative Media (COMM 246 and 345), Media Performance (COMM 242) and Writing for Media (COMM 343). Media Constructions (COMM 445) is an opportunity for advanced students to develop creative media projects. For more information, please contact Read Schuchardt or Joonhee Park.

Students can also become part of the staff at WETN. Promotions, underwriting, production work, weekly air shifts and WETN Cable are the primary areas of student involvement. WETN is supervised by the Academic and Media Technology Department under WETN Station Manager John Rorvik. There are open organization meetings at the beginning of each semester. For more information, please visit WETN's web site or email WETN. 

For more opportunities in Media Production, consider the Los Angeles Film Studies Consortium Program.

Where is the Communication Department Office? 

The Communication Department offices are located on the second floor of the Billy Graham Center. To reach the offices, take the stairs or elevator located to the right of the entrance to Barrows Auditorium. On reaching the second floor the offices are on the left before reaching the graduate school commons.

How do I declare a Major in Communication?

Some students are already definite in the major they want to study when they enter college, but most students declare their major at the Spring advising sessions of their Freshman Year.  It is beneficial to indicate your interest in studying Communication on your application prior to arrival at Wheaton in order to be paired with an advisor from the Communication Department.  Students may declare a major at any time by completing a major change application form, found online, and submitting it to their Department Office Coordinator, with the approval of their current advisor.  For more information about Major declaration and change, visit Wheaton's Academic Information page.

 

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