The Department of Communication at UNH emphasizes a range of studies in human communication, including rhetoric, media, and interpersonal communication. Students are taught to analyze verbal, nonverbal, and mediated messages from a variety of perspectives including historical, critical, interpretive, and empirical approaches. Students explore connections and interrelationships among the people, environments, and messages that comprise the social world.
The communication major prepares students well for a wide variety of careers in business and industry, public relations and advertising, personnel, government, education, media, and social services. Students expecting "vocational education," however, will be disappointed. We do not train students to do specific communication tasks, such as how to run a camera or how to construct a magazine advertisement. Rather, we help students to develop their understanding of how communication works the way it does, such as why certain production techniques influence people's interpretations of televised messages or how a particular advertising theme reflects and reinforces the values of a society. Students grapple with such "how" and "why" questions as they study instances of public address in political campaigns, social movements, governmental pronouncements, news reports, and community dialogues. Students also tackle the how's and why's of interpersonal communication between friends, family members, work colleagues, acquaintances, and strangers.
The department is committed to providing a strong liberal arts orientation that helps students develop their abilities to think--to describe, analyze, critique, explore, integrate, synthesize, and create ideas. The department's faculty members believe that these are the skills and abilities that will be the most useful resources in students' professional, civic, and personal lives after leaving UNH. The program trains students to understand, adapt to, and participate in social change. These educational efforts lead to the kind of fundamental understanding that identifies the communication professional and also provides a firm foundation for advanced, graduate study in communication and related fields.
The department's faculty members have a strong national and international reputation for their research and publications. In addition, the department is recognized on campus for its commitment to teaching. About half of the department's tenure-track faculty members have won awards for teaching excellence. The faculty is also very active in university, community, and professional service.
The department offers a Business Applications Option for communication majors who want to augment the liberal arts focus of their major with professional training in such areas as marketing, advertising, and organizational behavior.
The department offers a Media Practices Option for communication majors who want to augment their major with training in media production and applied media communication through courses at UNH-Manchester Communication Arts Department.
The department also offers Internships, which are designed to integrate classroom study and supervised practical experience in a work setting. Internship credits do not count toward completion of the Communication Major, but they do contribute to the total number of credits needed for graduation.