Human Communication Studies at Ship

The Human Communication Studies program helps students develop critical thinking skills, discover and practice cultural sensitivity, and facilitate future marketability.

Communication is a learned skill, one that encompasses verbal and nonverbal messages, as well as listening and understanding. Human Communication Studies allows you 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.

The human communication studies program at Shippensburg University boasts strong mentorship between advisors and their advisees. A faculty advisor guides each student through the class selection process, discusses career objectives, and offers feedback on coursework. In other words, advisors help you prepare for the future.

Because human communication is, and always will be, a vital component to life's path, our students find personal applications for the skills, techniques and strategies offered in each course. When you can apply what you've learned in the classroom to your own life, knowledge becomes real and dynamic. This major combines the understanding of theoretical aspects of human communication with practical application of the same. Students form bonds with fellow majors as they work together to improve their communication skills.

Faculty in the program represents a healthy diversity of cultural and theoretical perspectives and places classroom teaching as their number one priority. 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 and creative thinking, interaction, student involvement, service-learning, and projects that reflect real-life situations.

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. 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 students for the global marketplace, which is significantly more culturally diverse than ever before in history.

Our 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
  • Various leadership and service positions

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.

The average salary for Human Communications jobs in PA is $56,000.

  • Students will engage in the analysis of theory; the application of theory; and the design and execution of research projects
  • Students will apply contextual and goal-orientated judgments to the use of communication theory in practice and research
  • Students will be prepared to apply theoretical concepts of communication to their academic and professional activities
  • Students will demonstrate skill through planning, preparing, and engaging in a variety of oral communication settings
  • Students will engage in course work that encourages and demonstrates the interdependence of communication and culture in order to promote competence

Writing 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. Other ways you can prepare for this major include:

  • Take three years of the same foreign language in high school so that the university language requirement is fulfilled.
  • Develop an awareness of, and interest in, all aspects of the world. A vital curiosity hones a student's ability to process and communicate information.
  • Become aware of the differences among people and how those differences may work toward harmony rather than contention.
  • Find opportunities to present your ideas to others by speaking before audiences or working in groups to solve problems.

Majors must complete 36 credits in the discipline (21 core credits and 15 elective credits). The core courses help you develop an understanding of the process of human communication and increase your level of communication competence. A partial list of course titles include:

  • Human Communication Theory
  • Intergroup/Intercultural Communication
  • Small Group Communication
  • Public Speaking
  • Interviewing
  • Rhetorical Criticism
  • Organizational Communication
  • Computer-Mediated Communication

We also offer courses in:

  • Resolving conflict
  • Interpersonal communication
  • African-American communication
  • Gender and communication
  • Identity communication
  • Workplace training

The Alpha Gamma chapter of Lambda Pi Eta, a national honor society sponsored by the National Communication Association, is one opportunity for students to get involved in campus life. The Communication Club facilitates students' scholarly and extracurricular interests by providing a venue to enhance their interaction with peers and professionals in the field, and the student chapter of the Pennsylvania Communication Association provides scholarly opportunities and contact with professionals in the field.  

Human Communication Studies
112 Dauphin Humanities Center, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1732
Department Website