Academic Programs Catalog

College of Communication Arts and Sciences

Undergraduate Program


The goal of the major in communication is to prepare students to synthesize, analyze, and criticize major functions, structures, and processes of communication within interpersonal, organizational, and mediated communication contexts. The major is designed to equip its graduates:  (a) to understand the processes involved in human interaction especially as these processes relate to a variety of cultural perspectives, (b) to assess the role and function of new and social media, (c) to identify and critically analyze the major theoretical perspectives in the field of communication, (d) to write and speak clearly using communication concepts, and (e) to develop transferable skills in problem solving in interpersonal interactions, in small group settings, and with diverse populations.

Undergraduate work in communication creates greater awareness of the intricate networks that shape human interaction.  Communication study is designed to prepare students to become human relations specialists in industry, the media, and government as well as for graduate study and further professional education.  Majors most commonly pursue careers in sales, corporate project management, fund raising, corporate recruiting and training, customer relations, public relations, and government.

Students who transfer from community or junior colleges may transfer a maximum of 10 credits in communication for the major.  Such credit will not replace any required course unless it is so evaluated by the department.

Admission to a Second Bachelor's Degree Program or an Additional Major

Ordinarily, students will not be permitted to pursue additional majors and second bachelor's degree majors in the Department of Communication. Students seeking admission to a second bachelor's degree program or an additional major must meet the requirements for admission as a junior to the College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts Degree in  Communication

  1. The University requirements for bachelor's degrees as described in the Undergraduate Education section of the catalog; 120 credits, including general elective credits, are required for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication.

    The University's Tier II writing requirement for the Communication major is met by completing any one of the following courses:  Communication 425, 440, 475.  Those courses are referenced in item 3. b. (3) below.
  2. The requirements of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences for the Bachelor of Arts degree.
  3. The following requirements for the major:
    a. The following courses outside the Department of Communication (18 to 24 credits):
    (1) A required cognate in the behavioral and social sciences that consists of six courses from at least three of the following five departments:  Anthropology, Economics, Human Development and Family Studies, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology
    b. The following Communication courses (30 to 45 credits):
    (1) A grade of 2.0 or higher must be achieved in each of these courses:  Communication 300 (4 credits), 225 (3 credits), 240 (4 credits), and Communication 275 (3 credits); each of these 4 courses must be completed prior to enrolling in any 300–400 level Communication courses.
    (2) Communication 391 (4 credits), a course emphasizing topics in culture and diversity.
    (3) One of the following communication specializations (7 credits):
    Interpersonal:  Communication 325 and 425.
    Mass Media:  Communication 375 and 475.
    Organizational:  Communication 340 and 440.
    The completion of the four–hundred level course in any one of the specializations satisfies the capstone/synthesis requirement for the communication major.
    (4) Communication electives:  additional credits in Communication courses as needed to meet the requirement of at least 30, but not more than 45, credits in courses in the major.

Students should meet with their academic advisors concerning the minimum and maximum numbers of elective credits available to them at various stages in their programs.

Students are strongly encouraged to complete an internship approved by the Department of Communication whether for university credit based on academic eligibility standards or on a voluntary, non–credit basis.  The department will make every effort to assist communication majors in finding appropriate internship placements.

Students who are enrolled in the communication major are encouraged to structure their programs to include courses in one of the following  concentrations:  business, telecommunication, mediation and dispute resolution, culture and diversity theory and research, or prelaw.

Students who pursue a concentration in business must complete the following courses: Accounting 230, Economics 201 or 202, General Business and Business Law 323, Management 325, and Marketing 327. Students should contact their academic advisors for additional information.

Minor in Sales Leadership

The Minor in Sales Leadership provides students with the set of educational experiences, courses, and training they need to become successful sales agents and leaders in a sales-intensive corporate setting.  The minor prepares students to be successful in any sales setting and provides the management skills necessary to expand their careers in a manner consistent with their goals.

The Minor in Sales Leadership is administered by the Department of Communication in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences in cooperation with the Department of Marketing in the Eli Broad College of Business and is available as an elective to students who are enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs at Michigan State University. Preference will be given to students in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences  and The Eli Broad College of Business. As space permits, students from other colleges desiring the minor will be considered on an individual basis. Students who are interested in the minor must contact the Department of Communication in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. With the approval of the department or school and college that administers the student’s degree program, courses that are used to satisfy the requirements for the minor may also be used to satisfy the requirements for the bachelor’s degree. The student’s program of study must be approved by the student’s academic advisor for the minor.


To be considered for admission, a student must have been formally admitted to a bachelor’s degree program at Michigan State University. Admission is competitive. Students must be enrolled in or have completed Marketing  313, Personal Selling and Buying Processes, and have demonstrated mastery of course content. Other admission criteria include performance on a sales aptitude test, work experience, and a statement of purpose. Each applicant will be interviewed by a faculty program administrator and each student’s application will be rank ordered. Students may be admitted provisionally contingent on their performance in MKT 313.

To apply to the program, students should complete an application after the midterm in Marketing 313 and submit it to the sales  communication specialization coordinator in the Department of Communication.

Students must:

  1. provide their final or midterm grade in Marketing 313;
  2. provide their overall grade-point average in their major;
  3. provide a statement of purpose indicating why they want to enter the minor;
  4. provide their score on a sales aptitude test that measures values, behaviors, and skills;
  5. participate in a personal interview to determine their interest in and readiness for the minor in which performance in the interview will be assessed and used as a criterion for admission.
Requirements for the Minor in Sales Leadership

Students must complete 19 credits from the following courses:
1.     All of the following courses (10 credits):      
      COM 360 Advanced Sales Communication 3
      COM 483 Practicum in Sales Communication 1
      MKT 313 Personal Selling and Buying Processes 3
      MKT 383 Sales Management       3
2.     Three of the following courses (9 credits):    
      ADV 375 Consumer Behavior       3
      ADV 481 Retail Strategy Analysis     3
      CAS 492 Special Topics         3
      COM 315 Information Gathering and Interviewing Theories 3
      COM 325 Interpersonal Influence and Conflict 3
      COM 340 Leadership and Group Communication 3
      COM 399 Special Topics in Communication 3
      MGT 475 Negotiation and Conflict Management 3
      MKT 302 Consumer and Organizational Buyer Behavior 3
      MKT 412 Marketing Technology and Analytics 3
      MKT 430 Key Account and Customer Relationship Management 3
      MKT 490 Independent Study       3
      MKT 491 Special Topics in Marketing     3
      SCM 371 Procurement and Supply Management 3
      Special Topics courses must be related to sales and preapproved by the instructor and program administrator in the respective colleges.  
3.     Completion of a minimum of 500 hours of experiential learning outside of course work, including a professional sales internship and any combination of the following activities and experiences: participation in collegiate level sales presentation competition, active member of the Global Sales Leadership Society, service as an executive officer of a professional student organization, participation in a commercial sales training program, shadow salesperson or manager for a day, interaction with a sales mentor for one semester, or other preapproved sales-related activity. Students should see the managing director for the minor to have their selected activities or experience preapproved.  

Specialization in Public Relations

Students who are enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts degree program with a major in communication may apply for admission to the Minor in Public Relations. For additional information, refer to the Minor in Public Relations statement.