As organizations become more interrelated locally and globally, the demand for highly effective communication skills grows.  What is considered effective, however, is dependent on the context in which communication takes place. The focus of the professional communication major is on developing communication competence across a variety of professional interpersonal, group, organizational, public and intercultural contexts. The study and practice of professional communication results in the flexibility to enter and grow in a number of professions and fields, including healthcare, law, government, business, nonprofits, science and technology. Our graduates are able to explain the major theories of approaches to communication, analyze the specific needs of a communication situation, apply their communication skills to multiple professional contexts, as well as be prepared for graduate work in those fields.

The courses listed to complete the College of Professional Studies Professional Communication major and minor are offered in an 8-week accelerated format.  Note: The comprehensive Professional Communication course listing includes semester courses as well as 8-week accelerated courses. 

Professional Communication

Major in Professional Communication

Requires 30 credit hours, including:

CMST 1000Introduction to Communication3
CMST 2000Introduction to Small Group Communication3
CMST 2100Interpersonal Communication3
CMST 2310Argument in Contemporary Society3
CMST 3300Persuasion3
CMST 3310Ethics in Human Communication3
Choose four of these five CMST/ADPR/COMM courses:12
Communication and Conflict
Organizational Communication
Intercultural Communication
Media Writing
Mass Communication Theory and Research
Total Credit Hours30

Minor in Professional Communication

Requires 21 credit hours, including:

CMST 1000Introduction to Communication3
CMST 2000Introduction to Small Group Communication3
CMST 2100Interpersonal Communication3
CMST 3100Communication and Conflict3
CMST 3300Persuasion3
2 courses totaling 6 credit hours of CMST electives6
Total Credit Hours21

Courses other than the communication studies courses listed may be completed to fulfill elective credit hour requirements. Such options are generally not offered in the 8-week format. Consult an adult student adviser.

Courses listed above are offered in the 8-week accelerated format. However, the comprehensive CMST course listing that follows includes semester courses as well as 8-week courses.


CMST 1000. Introduction to Communication. 3 cr. hrs.

A survey of communication principles and processes as they relate to interpersonal communication, small group communication, culture and communication, persuasion, communication in organizations, and mediated communication.

CMST 1300. Public Speaking. 2 cr. hrs.

Examines theory and practice of effective public speaking. The course includes informative, persuasive, and occasional speaking. Criticism and critical listening skills will also be emphasized.

CMST 2000. Introduction to Small Group Communication. 3 cr. hrs.

Examines theories, principles and methods of small group communication. The course will focus on such topics as: leadership, problem solving, roles, norms, and climate. The class takes a systems approach to groups and students will have hands-on experience in a decision making group.

CMST 2010. Communication Approaches to Interviewing. 3 cr. hrs.

Stresses communication theory and current research related to interviewing. Provides in-class practice with interchanging roles as interviewer/interviewee in several types of interviews. Current research in interviewing techniques, assistance in resume preparation and legal guidelines for questions are among the topics for discussion.

CMST 2100. Interpersonal Communication. 3 cr. hrs.

Examines person-to-person communication with a focus on such topics as social roles, conflict management, relationship development, perception, communication effectiveness and relevant theories. Prereq: CMST 1000.

CMST 2300. Business Communication. 2 cr. hrs.

Provides students with the opportunity to explore and develop the presentation skills necessary for success within the context of business through a study of communication and theory. Includes informative, persuasive, and small group presentations, as well as an emphasis on critical thinking, listening, non-verbal and technological presentation skills. Students may not receive credit for both CMST 2300 and CMST 1300. Prereq: Soph. Stndg. and enrolled in College of Business.

CMST 2310. Argument in Contemporary Society. 3 cr. hrs.

Explores the role of argument in contemporary society. Includes analysis and application of various theories of public argumentation. Areas include identification of fallacies, refutation, forms of argument, and formal and informal logic.

CMST 2600. Foundations of Communication Studies. 3 cr. hrs.

Surveys major theoretical approaches to communication studies, reviews the history of the discipline and introduces students to basic research methods in the field.

CMST 2800. Debate/Forensic Practicum. 1 cr. hr.

Students participate in intercollegiate debate and/or individual events and travel to various tournaments. May be repeated for 1 credit per term. A maximum of 3 credits can be applied to the CMST major.

CMST 3100. Communication and Conflict. 3 cr. hrs.

Communication and conflict explores theoretical and experiential avenues to conflict management, resolution, and regulation through communication styles and methods. The communicative contexts for investigation are interpersonal and organizational (profit and non-profit). Exercises and case studies provide an opportunity to implement theoretical learning from the course. Prereq: CMST 2100 or cons. of instr.

CMST 3200. Organizational Communication. 3 cr. hrs.

Presents historical and current perspectives on the origins and usefulness of organizational theories as they relate to communication issues. Emphasizes the relationship between organizational life and communication principles. Ultimate goals, assumptions, and cases relating to organizational communication theories are developed and discussed.

CMST 3210. Business and Professional Presentations. 3 cr. hrs.

Explores and offers practice in the types of oral communication faced in organizational settings. The emphasis is on creation, development, and delivery of professional presentations building on persuasion and informative speaking skills.

CMST 3240. Diffusion of Innovations: The Role of Communication in Technological Change. 3 cr. hrs.

Introduces the role communication plays in the spread of new ideas through social systems. By investigating the variables that influence the diffusion process, students learn how to assess and proactively affect change processes. Prereq: CMST 3200 or cons. of instr.

CMST 3300. Persuasion. 3 cr. hrs.

Surveys theories, principles, and practices of persuasion. Special emphasis on the social, psychological and cultural study of influence. Prereq: CMST 1000.

CMST 3310. Ethics in Human Communication. 3 cr. hrs.

Explores theoretical and practical ethical questions of importance to responsible communicators in personal and public contexts. Discussion of ethical theories in communication studies provide an opportunity to explore case studies and contemporary communication dilemmas critically, while heightening personal sensitivity to the underlying ethical implications of human communication. Prereq: CMST 3300 or cons. of instr.

CMST 3340. Classical Rhetorical Theory. 3 cr. hrs.

Analyzes Greek and Roman rhetorical theory from the rise of the early sophists in Greece to rhetoric's decline in the early Christian era. Special emphasis on Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintilian. Prereq: CMST 1000 and CMST 3300; or cons. of instr.

CMST 3350. Modern Rhetorical Theory and Criticism. 3 cr. hrs.

Discusses contemporary theoretical and critical approaches to the description, analysis, interpretation, and evaluation of public discourse. Examines and applies principles established by such theorists as Kenneth Burke, Ernest G. Bormann, Chaim Perelman, and Stephen Toulmin, among others. Prereq: CMST 1000 and CMST 3300; or cons. of instr.

CMST 3410. Intercultural Communication. 3 cr. hrs.

Examines the influence of culture on communication within Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa. International in scope, the course also analyzes communication between people from different national cultures and provides an analytical framework for dissecting intercultural exchanges. Prereq: CMST 2100 or cons. of instr.

CMST 3800. Communication and the Legal Process. 3 cr. hrs.

This course focuses on the role of communication in the American legal system. The course is designed to acquaint students with the various dimensions of communication in the practice of law with a particular emphasis on the trial process.

CMST 4110. Family Communication. 3 cr. hrs.

Introduces communication phenomena in the family setting. Examines how communication affects the development, maintenance and enhancement of family relations. Prereq: CMST 2100 or cons. of instr.

CMST 4120. Gender and Communication. 3 cr. hrs.

Examines the relationship between gender and communication. Includes discussion of verbal and nonverbal communication patterns of males and females, various explanations for these patterns, perceptions of gender differences and the implications these perceptions have for people in several contexts (public, interpersonal and organizational). Prereq: CMST 2100 or cons. of instr.

CMST 4130. Communication and Urban Families. 3 cr. hrs.

Investigates communication about urban families, the communication links between urban families and institutions and communication practices within urban families. Emphasizes the diversity among urban families as well as the stressors and strengths found in the urban context. Prereq: CMST 2100 or cons. of instr.

CMST 4140. Intergenerational Communication. 3 cr. hrs.

Focuses on communication theories and the role of communication in intergenerational interactions within a wide variety of contexts including: interpersonal, workplace, familial, health, and mediated technology. Prereq: CMST 1000 and 2100; or cons. of instr.

CMST 4220. Communication Approaches to Training and Development. 3 cr. hrs.

Emphasizes development of training sessions within organizations. Diagnostic methods for assessing needs and determining the utility of specific training are explored. Roles of consultant, in-house human resource trainer, and liaison with subject matter experts are differentiated. Students develop training modules for communication skills training. Prereq: CMST 3200 or cons. of instr.

CMST 4230. Managerial Communication. 3 cr. hrs.

The communication relationship between managers and employees involves a set of circumstances not often found in everyday communication with friends and colleagues. The differences in power, knowledge, job description, and life experiences create many unique and challenging interactions. Takes an in-depth look at the circumstances which affect communication between managers and their employees as well as at a number of theories and strategies for improving communication in the workplace. Prereq: CMST 3200 or cons. of instr.

CMST 4250. Leadership and Communication. 3 cr. hrs.

Explores communication variables involved when leaders attempt to influence members to achieve a goal. Topics include: power, credibility, motivation, research on leader traits, styles and situations, and current models of leadership such as transactional, transformational, charismatic, and functional approaches. The different leadership challenges posed by community and institutional settings will also be explored. Prereq: CMST 3200 or cons. of instr.

CMST 4260. New Communication Technologies in the Workplace. 3 cr. hrs.

Presents a historical and theoretical review of the impact of new communication technologies on organizations and their membership. Focuses on the organizational, social and communicative implications of new communication technologies across a broad range of contexts in the organizational setting, including: interpersonal, groups and teams, management, and technological innovations. Includes some special topics particularly relevant to new communication technologies including: anonymity, privacy and surveillance, and technology apprehension. Prereq: CMST 3200 or cons. of instr.

CMST 4270. Communicating in Multinational Organizations. 3 cr. hrs.

Examines the influence of culture on communication in organizations. Global comparisons in organizational communication are offered including analysis of European, Asian and Latin American corporate cultures. Intercultural communication in U.S. organizations is also explored. Prereq: CMST 3200 or cons. of instr.

CMST 4320. Philosophy of Communication. 3 cr. hrs.

Outlines foundational theories and concepts regarding rhetoric's contribution to our understanding of reality, knowledge, truth, and certainty. Topics include: the role of rhetoric in the construction of our knowledge of science, politics, ethics, religion, law, gender and culture. Prereq: CMST 3300 or cons. of instr.

CMST 4330. Freedom of Speech. 3 cr. hrs.

Examines definitions, issues, problems and requirements for protecting or curbing free expression of speech in areas such as defamation and invasion of privacy; religious-moral heresy; provocation to anger; commercial speech; time, place, manner and institutional constraints; and prior restraint. Analysis of landmark cases and contemporary public arguments. Prereq: CMST 3300 or cons. of instr.

CMST 4360. Rhetoric of Social Movements. 3 cr. hrs.

Examines the rhetoric of social change and methodologies for analysis and appraisal of social movement discourse. Rhetorical strategies will be traced through contemporary movements including: civil rights, feminism, Native American, anti-nuclear, abortion, gun control, Ku Klux Klan, and others. Prereq: CMST 1000 and CMST 3300; or cons. of instr.

CMST 4400. Cross-Cultural Communication in the United States. 3 cr. hrs.

Explores the dynamics of cross-cultural communication in the U.S. and obstacles to effective interaction across American co-cultures. Examines the interpersonal patterns of selected ethnic groups, races, religions and social classes in the U.S. with the aim of improving cross-cultural understanding and communication. Prereq: CMST 2100 or cons. of instr.

CMST 4500. Health Communication. 3 cr. hrs.

Provides an introduction to the field of health communication. Examines the role of communication in health care with a focus on provider training and the provider-patient relationship. Theoretical models for developing effective health communication programs are discussed and applied within a variety of health care settings. Prereq: CMST 2100 or cons. of instr.

CMST 4600. Communication Consulting. 3 cr. hrs.

Students are introduced to communication consulting and the design implementation of communication audits for corporate and non-profit settings. Surveys various models of consulting. Students learn to design and implement a communication audit that includes needs assessment, interpretation, and recommendations. Methods of audits include survey design, interviews and focus groups. Prereq: CMST 1000, and CMST 3200; or cons. of instr.

CMST 4810. Directing Speech Activities. 3 cr. hrs.

Theory and practice in the organization and management of co-curricular speech activities in high school and college.

CMST 4953. Seminar in Communication Studies. 1-3 cr. hrs.

Special subjects of seminar to be announced in the Schedule of Classes. Variable topics.

CMST 4961. Special Institute/Workshop/Project in Communication Studies. 1-3 cr. hrs.

CMST 4986. Internship in Communication Studies. 1-3 cr. hrs.

Internship in Communication Studies provides students with the opportunity to apply theories, skills and techniques in communication as believed appropriate within specific organizational settings. S/U grade assessment. Prereq: CMST 1000 and CMST 2310; or cons. of instr. CMST 3200 is recommended but not required.

CMST 4995. Independent Study in Communication Studies. 1-3 cr. hrs.

Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

CMST 4997. Communication and Contemporary Issues. 3 cr. hrs.

A capstone experience for Communication Studies majors. Examines communication theories and principles in the context of contemporary events and social issues. Students conduct original communication research and apply theories to specific communication contexts and practices. Prereq: CMST 2600 and must have completed at least 21 additional credit hours in the CMST major.

CMST 4999. Senior Thesis. 1-3 cr. hrs.

The application of rigorous methodology in developing and writing a thesis under the direction of an adviser. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.