What is Communication Studies?

Communication Studies is a growing discipline that is engaged in both social-scientific and humanistic approaches to the analysis, understanding and improvement of human communication. The discipline traces its roots to ancient Greek and Roman studies of the functions of public discourse in society, but in the Twentieth Century communication came to embrace the studies of interpersonal and small group interaction, human relations in organizations, media and society, and intercultural interaction. Although interdisciplinary in spirit, the discipline has a core of knowledge, theory and concepts concentrating on such things as symbols, messages, interactions, networks, and persuasive campaigns. Uniting the field is the belief that the role of communication in human experience is basic to comprehending complex situations and problems in the modern world. The discipline has roles in both the broad traditions of liberal arts education and in the development and refinement of practical skills.

The Department of Communication Studies at The University of Montana-Missoula focuses on three broad areas of study: interpersonal interaction and human relationships, organizational and institutional communication, and rhetoric and public discourse. The knowledge and skills the student may acquire in each of these areas are important to functioning effectively in one's personal life, at work, and as a citizen of the larger society in a rapidly changing world.

Our Mission

As faculty members in the Department of Communication Studies, we are committed to promoting knowledge, criticism, and practical application of human communication. We educate students to be critical observers of social problems, to participate effectively in public life as citizens, and to become involved in culturally diverse personal and professional relationships in their communities.

Departmental Objectives

  • To encourage the development of students’ critical and analytic abilities about both the processes and consequences of human communication.
  • To create a stimulating learning environment based on mutual respect, support, and collaborative learning.
  • To establish high standards of scholarship.
  • To deliver a curriculum which integrates humanistic and social scientific perspectives on human communication.
  • To make students aware of diverse cultures and ways of thinking.
  • To improve students' communication skills.
  • To encourage and support faculty in research, creative, and service activities for the discipline, the community, and society.

The B.A. and M.A. programs in Communication Studies help to prepare students for such diverse professions as: public relations officer, marketing analyst, human resources or personnel manager, community mediator, political speech writer, health communication trainer, social services director, and student services coordinator. Also, undergraduate and graduate study can assist the student in pursuing advanced studies for law, the ministry, and higher education. Both B.A. and M.A. students majoring in the Department of Communication Studies are encouraged to take cognate or allied course work in other fields and departments; typical areas for minors and double majors in recent years have included: Human and Family Development, Political Science and Public Administration, Sociology, Psychology, Social Work, Anthropology, Business Administration, Education, and Journalism.