The department offers a Communication Major which seeks to produce theoretically informed graduates with the necessary practical and analytical skills for successful professional careers, including the ability to: think critically and express ideas clearly and creatively; perform close textual analysis of various forms of communication (written, visual, nonverbal); analyze historical and contemporary forces behind cultural identities and relationships; and, finally, analyze the structures and institutions that inform the relationship between media, technology and society. To achieve these goals, the department has developed three core curriculum areas for the Communication Major:
- Texts and Representation employs close analysis of various kinds of texts to investigate the specific ways in which they produce meaning. The core incorporates critical approaches and it studies the way these texts reinforce and challenge cultural perceptions and identity formations. It draws on areas of film studies, rhetorical criticism and new media studies.
- Identities and Relationships examines the formation of relationships and identities in different historical, cultural and communication contexts. Drawing particularly on the fields of relational communication, postcolonial studies, and critical race and ethnic studies, core courses in this area examine the power dynamics that characterize interactions and the formation of different types of identity.
- Structures and Institutions analyzes the political, economic and social forces that define the media landscape and the organization of media industries. Drawing particularly on the fields of political economy and media industry studies, core courses in this area examine the connections between communication and broader historical formations, such as the market, the state and civil society.