Communication Major (B.A.)

The purpose of the communication major is to prepare students to engage more knowingly with the communicative patterns, problems and practices that they will encounter in their personal, professional and civic lives. This purpose requires that students learn to move beyond commonplace and conventional understandings of "communication" and acquire sophisticated perspectives — workable orientations — for describing, analyzing, reflecting upon and engaging with those patterns, problems and practices. Accordingly, the major not only acquaints students with a variety of empirical, critical, historical, theoretical and pragmatic perspectives on communication phenomena, but encourages them to formulate workable orientations of their own for engaging with communication issues and questions. Students who graduate with a communication major are prepared to become thoughtful and proficient "communication decision-makers" during their postgraduate lives.

Students wishing to declare communication as a major should contact the department's academic adviser, Andrew Sharp, for application information and requirements.

Majors must complete ten courses (40 credits) with a 2.0 overall average in the major. The distribution of required courses for the major is as follows:

Complete the following three introductory courses: 1
CMN 455Introduction to Media Studies4
CMN 456Propaganda and Persuasion4
CMN 457Introduction to Language and Social Interaction4
Select three 500-level communication analysis courses 212
Select four upper-division courses 316
Total Credits40
  • Majors must earn a grade of C or better in each introductory course.
  • Students must complete the 400-level prerequisite before taking a 500-level course.
  • At least two of the three 500-level courses must have different 400-level prerequisites.
  • Majors must earn a grade of C- or better in all three analysis courses.
  • CMN 500 Public Speaking, CMN 599 Internship, and CMN 575 Research Practicum cannot be used to fulfill an analysis course requirement.
  • Students are eligible to take upper-division courses after successfully completing at least two of the 500-level analysis courses, each with a different 400-level prerequisite.
  • At least one of the student's four upper-division courses must be at the 700 level.
  • Majors must earn a grade of C- or better in all upper-division courses.
  • Up to four credits of CMN 795 can be used towards the major, but can only fulfill the capstone requirement with department approval. 
  • CMN 796 Comm-Entary Journal cannot be used to fulfill the advanced-level requirement.

A maximum of 8 credits of independent study (CMN 795 Independent Study) may be counted toward the major. CMN 799H Honors Thesis and CMN 796 Comm-Entary Journal cannot be used to fulfill an advanced course requirement. The Discovery Program Capstone requirement may be fulfilled by completing any 700-level communication course except CMN 796 Comm-Entary Journal. CMN 795 Independent Study can only fulfill the capstone requirement with department approval and can be repeated for a maximum of 8 credits.

Transfer students must complete 20 credits of their communication coursework at UNH to complete the major satisfactorily. Exchange students may transfer no more than 10 approved credits from another institution to be applied toward completion of the communication major at UNH.

Candidates for a degree must satisfy all of the University Discovery Program requirements in addition to satisfying the requirements of each individual major program. Bachelor of arts candidates must also satisfy the foreign language proficiency requirement.

Major department courses may not be used to satisfy Discovery category requirements except in the case of a second or dual major.

1. Students will be able to describe the Communication discipline and its central questions. We expect students to be able to:

  • Explain and synthesize the history of Communication theory.
  • Articulate the differences between approaches within the discipline (media studies, language and social interaction, and rhetorical studies).
  • Identify contemporary debates within the field.
  • Distinguish Communication scholarship from other areas of study.
  • Understand the role of Communication scholarship in society.
  • Articulate the relevance of communication in civic life, including an ability to apply key concepts in the field to world events, situations, or problems.

2. Students will be able to think critically about communication processes by applying communication theories and concepts. We expect students to be able to:

  • Identify theories, perspectives, principles, and concepts relevant to the discipline.
  • Recognize academic writing, identify the work’s thesis, explain its method, assess the evidence used, and determine its significance.
  • Engage with communicative patterns, processes, problems, and practices that they encounter in their personal, professional and civic lives.
  • Acquire effective frameworks for describing, analyzing, reflecting upon, and engaging with those patterns, processes, problems, and practices.

3. Prepare students to become thoughtful and proficient communicators. We expect students to be able to:

  • Become critical consumers of messages.
  • Understand how meanings are constructed by speakers and audiences.
  • Evaluate claims and arguments, and to be able to explain how they are grounded.
  • Recognize the collaborative construction of meaning and its relation to social change.
  • Explore the ways in which various forms of communication constitute, maintain, and transform social life.
  • Formulate coherent arguments/theses, provide support for their perspectives, and communicate them clearly and logically.
  • Select creative and appropriate modalities and technologies to accomplish communicative goals.
  • Adapt messages and coordinate communication with others recognizing the diverse needs.