Human Communication Studies
The Human Communication Studies program helps you (1) develop critical thinking skills, (2) discover and practice a cultural sensitivity, and (3) facilitate your future marketability.
What is Human Communication Studies?
Communication is a learned skill, one that encompasses verbal and nonverbal messages, as well as listening and understanding. The academic endeavor of Human Communication Studies allows students to fully understand, and better shape, human interaction in all facets of professional and personal lives. As defined by the Association for Communication Administration (1995), Communication Studies focuses on how people use messages to generate meanings within and across various contexts, cultures, channels, and media. The field promotes the effective and ethical practice of human communication.
What careers can be found in the communication field?
Survey after survey of employers and placement specialists identifies high-caliber written and oral communication skills as the most important qualities desired in a job applicant. All careers involve human interaction and require the ability to process information and communicate it in oral or written form. Sensitivity to the diversity within and among audiences, such as employees within an organization or customers served by that organization, is also vital to communication competence. Therefore, a cross-cultural approach to communication is emphasized to prepare you for the global marketplace which is significantly more culturally diverse than ever before in history.
Human Communication Studies graduates report that they are working for major companies in management, sales, human resources, higher education (admissions and student services), marketing, public relations, insurance, training, and various other leadership and service positions. They go on to graduate school, law school, and professional training schools. Some even own their own businesses providing such widely different services as financial planning, executive placement, graphic design, and communication consulting services. Using internships and academic minors as a way of preparing for a particular career, Human Communication Studies majors continually find themselves competitive in almost any career choice, due to their ability to adapt quickly to changing markets.
What is the job outlook?
Because job choice is almost unlimited, the job outlook is always good. As the American economy has switched to a more service-oriented one, the demand for employees with communication skills has increased. Even when there is a downturn in the economy, human communication studies graduates can adapt because their information processing skills make them more flexible and trainable. Additionally, developing an awareness of cultural differences allows for agile adaptability to a culturally diverse world.
Are there internship opportunities?
Although internships are not required of all majors, many students earn credits while working in business or industry outside the classroom environment. The internship provides the career focus necessary to apply the communication skills acquired. Students have completed a wide variety of internships locally and around their home towns. Options are in place to do internships during the school year or in the summer. Interns have worked for legislators, government agencies, radio, television, publications, banks, manufacturing companies, nonprofit organizations, law firms, entertainment industries, insurance companies, large corporations, and small businesses. More information about internships may be found at the department’s website at http://website.ship.edu/hcs.
How do I prepare to be a Human Communication Studies major?
Find opportunities to present your ideas to others by speaking before audiences or working in groups to solve problems. It is also important to improve your writing skills because those skills are critically linked to your ability to communicate orally and these skills are, in turn, critical for success in the extensive research projects you will explore throughout your academic career. So, do well in the college writing class, a required pre-requisite for this major. Take three years of a foreign language in high school so that your university language requirement is fulfilled. Develop an awareness of, and interest in, all aspects of the world around you. A vital curiosity hones your ability to process and communicate information. Become aware of the differences among people and how those differences may work toward harmony rather than contention.
What kinds of courses will I take?
The courses you take will develop your understanding of the process of human communication. More importantly, your active participation in these courses will increase your communication competence. A partial list of course titles include: Introduction to Human Communication Theory, Intergroup/Intercultural Communication, Small Group Communication, Advanced Public Speaking, Interviewing, Rhetorical Criticism, Organizational Communication, and Computer-Mediated Communication. In addition, courses are available in resolving conflict, interpersonal communication, African-American communication, gender and communication, identity communication, health communication, workplace training, and others. Our faculty is always involved in discovering the needs of our students and constructing courses to fill those needs. Class sizes are small enough for personal contact with faculty and our curriculum stresses critical thinking, interaction, student involvement, and projects that reflect real-life situations.
What student organizations exist in this field?
The Alpha Gamma chapter of Lambda Pi Eta, a national honor society sponsored by the National Communication Association, is one opportunity. It is by invitation for those who meet specific academic achievements.
The Communication Club facilitates students’ scholarly and extracurricular interests by providing a venue to enhance their interaction with peers and professionals in the field.
The student chapter of the Pennsylvania Communication Association provides scholarly opportunities and contact with professionals in the field through the Pennsylvania Communication Association, Eastern Communication Association, and National Communication Association.
Why study Human Communication Studies at SU?
ADVISEMENT - The relationship with your advisor is a critical one. Your advisor will guide you through the class selection process, discuss your career objectives with you, and offer feedback on your coursework. In other words, your advisor will help you prepare for your future. The human communication studies program boasts strong mentorship between advisors and their advisees.
CLASSES YOU WILL ENJOY - Because human communication is, and always will be, a vital component to your life’s path, you will find personal application for the skills, techniques, and strategies offered in each course. When you can apply your learning to your own life’s situation, it becomes real and dynamic. This major combines the understanding of theoretical aspects of human communication with practical application of the same. You will form bonds with your fellow majors as you work together to improve your communication skills.
FACULTY - Faculty in the program represents a healthy diversity of cultural and theoretical perspectives and places classroom teaching as their number one priority.
Where can I get more information about Human Communication Studies at SU?
For specific program information, contact:
Department of Human Communication Studies
Dauphin Humanities Center 112
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257-2299