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Communication Studies, Bachelor of Arts

Communication Studies


Communication is the central means by which individuals organize society, create identities, and negotiate meaning.  Understanding how well others communicate and learning how to communicate well with others is key for personal and professional success. The Communication Studies program in St. John’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences provides students with the theories and practices to communicate effectively.

A degree in Communication Studies focuses on how humans use symbols, both verbal and nonverbal, to inform or persuade other individuals as they create meaning, form human relationships, and manage conflict in a variety of contexts, cultures, and environments. It allows students the opportunity to develop their communicative practices and strategies in analyzing, producing, and delivering messages--in both 'everyday' situations and those marked by urgency or crisis-- which will help them influence and lead others across their professional, personal, and civic lives.

The Department of Communication Studies offers a wide range of courses to help students understand and develop communication skills within political, legal, professional, organizational, interpersonal, and intercultural settings. Students will select from courses that provide them with a strong background in communication theory and practice, and communication criticism and history. Students will become effective ethical communicators, learning the communicative practices necessary to participate in civic affairs by learning how to evaluate and respond to controversy, provide meaningful commentary upon social and interpersonal engagements, and exercise sensitivity to the myriad of ways we exist in and make sense of the world.

Students who major in Communication Studies will take required courses in communicative practices and then specialize in one of three concentrations: Communication & Culture, Organizational Communication & Leadership, or Political Communication & Civic Engagement. 

Department Contact

Jeremiah Hickey, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Chair
[email protected] 

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For more information about admission to this and other acclaimed undergraduate programs at St. John’s University, please visit Undergraduate Admission


To complete the 36-credit hour B.A. in Communication Studies, students will:  

  • Select 18 credit hours (9 required, 9 elective) from Communicative Practices 

  • Select 18 credit hours from one of three concentrations:     

    • Communication & Culture  

    • Organizational Communication & Leadership  

    • Political Communication & Civic Engagement. 

Communicative Practices, Required: 9 credit hours from:  

SPE 1000c – Core Public Speaking (Cross listed with HON 1020c) 
RCT 1155 – Language and Intercultural Communication     (Cross listed with CSD 1155, ANT 1155, HON 1155) 
RCT 4000 – Senior Seminar  

Communicative Practices, Electives: 9 credit hours from:  

RCT 1015 – Interpersonal Communication (RCT 1005C/ HON 1025C – Interpersonal for Pharm)  
RCT 2000 – Advanced Public Speaking 
RCT 2020 – Persuasion                                                            (Cross listed with HON 2720) 
RCT 2300 – Human Communication: Theory & Research Methods  
RCT 3130 – Foundations of Rhetorical Theory                         (Cross listed with CLS 3200)  
RCT 3140 – Rhetorical Criticism 

Students will select 18 credit hours from one of the following concentrations: Communication & Culture, Organizational Communication & Leadership, Political Communication & Civic Engagement.  
A student can substitute an independent study and/or internship for one course in each concentration.  

Concentration One: Communication & Culture: Examines the role of communication in a variety of contexts, especially in the creation and negotiation of identities. 

Communication & Culture. 18 credit hours from:  

RCT 2010 – Rhetoric of Sports  
RCT 2015 – Non-Verbal Communication  
RCT 2030 – Rhetoric of Pop Culture  
RCT 2035 – Public Memory  
RCT 2080 – Media and Culture  
RCT 2100 – Transnational Feminism  
RCT 2110 – Oral Interpretation 
RCT 2120 – Race, Communication & Identity  
RCT 2150 – Romance in Communication   
RCT 3150 – Rhetoric of Social Movements 
RCT 3190 – Rhetoric of Religion                                          (Cross listed with THE 3615) 

Concentration Two: Organizational Communication & Leadership: Examines communicative practices within and between organizations, helping individuals develop skills in problem solving, conflict management, and leadership. 

Organizational Communication & Leadership. 18 credit hours from:  

RCT 2025 – Organizational Communication 
RCT 2050 – Decision Making                                                (Cross listed with HON 2065) 
RCT 2070 – Strategic Communication  
RCT 2225 – Communicative Leadership through Conflict Management  
RCT 2250 – Crisis Communication  
RCT 2170 – Environmental Communication 
RCT 3140 – Rhetorical Criticism  
RCT 3180 – Legal Argumentation  

Concentration Three: Political Communication & Civic Engagement. Examines communicative practices that sustain political institutions, including the strategic use of language, citizen interactions, and community mobilization. 

Political Communication & Civic Engagement: 18 credit hours from:  

RCT 1010 – Debate in a Global Context                                  (Cross listed with HON 1510) 
RCT 2030 – Rhetoric of Pop Culture 
RCT 2035 – Public Memory  
RCT 2040 – American Public Address 
RCT 2060 – Argumentation: Inquiry & Advocacy                      (Cross listed with HON 2065)  
RCT 2080 – Media and Culture 
RCT 2090 – Great Speeches of NY  
RCT 2100 – Transnational Feminism  
RCT 2130 – Race, Communication & Surveillance  
RCT 2170 – Environmental Communication 
RCT 2200 – Political Communication  
RCT 3120 – Free Speech Tradition in the US  
RCT 3150 – Rhetoric of Social Movement 
RCT 3160 – Modern Rhetorical Theory                                    (Cross listed ENG 3900)  
RCT 3180 – Legal Argumentation  
RCT 3190 – Rhetoric of Religion                                               (Cross listed with THE 3615) 

B.A. Communication Studies/ JD:

The Department of Rhetoric, Communication & Theatre offers a joint B.A. in Communication Studies/ J.D. Interested students must contact the Pre-Law Advisor in the St. John’s College Dean’s Office before the start of their junior year. For more information, please see:


Career Outcomes

Excellent communication skills are important in both social and career settings. A U.S. Department of Labor study indicated that there are 16 qualities for high job performance. Ten of these qualities are commonly studied in the field of communication: listening, speaking, creative thinking, decision making, problem solving, reasoning, self-esteem, sociability, self-management, and integrity/honesty. Another study indicates that the most essential skills need to be a competent employee are: interviewing, listening, planning and conducting meetings, resolving conflicts, and public speaking. All of these are communication skills.

By majoring or minoring in Public Address at St. John's, you will gain invaluable skills that can be applied in a variety of careers including law, education, business, religious vocations, media, and public service. More importantly, the study of communication will equip you for leadership in whatever career you eventually pursue.

Additional Information

Rhetoric and Public Address majors gain an academic and professional edge by joining the Epsilon Delta honor society.