Communication Major (B.A.)

Communication Major (B.A.)
Communications Students in class

What is communication?

Communication is the study of efforts to create, share and control meaning. Communication occurs in face-to-face contexts, via speech and the body, and through technologies as old as writing and as new as social media. In this degree program, students explore the role of communication in relationships between people, cultures, industries and technologies. Through courses in rhetoric, media studies, and language and social interaction, students learn how different modes of communication shape understanding and social relations. Our goal is to help you become a critically-engaged citizen and skilled communication professional prepared for work in a wide variety of fields, from business and marketing to community organizing and government.

Why study communication at UNH?

Students in communication study real-world political issues, news events, cultural phenomena and communication between friends, family members, colleagues, community members and strangers. To enhance their coursework, students may also learn digital media production in the state-of-the-art Communication Media Lab; engage in multi-modal digital, film, audio, and web-based research and scholarship with the student and faculty group UNH CAMRA; facilitate meaningful conversations and collaborate with our local communities on topics important to civil society through the Civil Discourse Lab; host social, educational and networking events with the honor society Lambda Pi Eta; and gain experience and expertise through a communication internship.

Potential careers

  • Academic counselor
  • Human resources administrator
  • Journalist
  • Marketing specialist
  • Media writer
  • Non-profit director
  • Producer
  • Public relations professional
  • Social media analyst
  • headshot
    Theatre: Dance Option and Communication Majors
    Lily Neher ’23 knew from the start that she wanted to major in dance. It’s something, she says, that has always been part of her. So it’s natural that the UNH program drew her here. “I loved the flexibility that the dance program offered and how strongly they encourage double majoring,” Neher says. “I was able to double major in communication and dance and had incredible advising…
    Learn More
  • headshot
    Psychology and Communication Majors
    Alexa Bobinski ’23 knew she wanted to study psychology. It’s a subject she loved in high school and one she has continued to explore. But during her sophomore year, she found herself searching for something more. What, exactly, she wasn’t sure. Then she took Intro to Communication and things fell into place. “I felt like I had finally found my fit,” Bobinski says. “A few…
    Learn More
  • Mel in front of Murkland Hall
    Communication and International Affairs Majors
    Mel Nagashima ‘22 came to UNH interested in all things media and the opportunity to step outside his comfort zone. When he got involved in the Semester-in-the-City program, he found his spark and passion: helping immigrant families in the U.S. Now, he’s headed to Boston for a dream full-time job in nonprofit communications. Watch video
    Learn More
  • headshot
    Communication and Women's and Gender Studies Majors
    With a dual major in communication and women’s and gender studies, Elza Brechbuhl is excited by the possibilities her courses offer inside and outside the classroom. Her discussion-based classes address complex issues and enable “honest, very personal” conversations with her peers. “I love my majors because they hug and slap me at the same time,” she says. “I’m often invited to events in the…
    Learn More
  • Makenna Comeau
    Communication Major
    Although she entered UNH undeclared, Makenna Comeau trusted that COLA had many options for someone with diverse interests in anthropology, psychology and the humanities.  “It was important for me to test the waters before settling into a major because I wanted to make the very best decision for my future,” she says. “I most appreciated my Introduction to Media Studies class with Joseph Terry…
    Learn More

Curriculum & Requirements

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.

Degree Requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement: 128 credits
Minimum Residency Requirement: 32 credits must be taken at UNH
Minimum GPA: 2.0 required for conferral*
Core Curriculum Required: Discovery & Writing Program Requirements
Foreign Language Requirement: Yes

All Major, Option and Elective Requirements as indicated.
*Major GPA requirements as indicated.

Major 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.

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.

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.

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.


Take the Next Step

student in doorway of UNH campus building
Learn How to Apply
thompson hall in summer
Schedule a Visit
student at Career Event
Request Information