Communication Studies


s part of a liberal arts education, the Communication Studies department educates students to be innovative, global citizens who are leaders and advocates in their interactions with others, in their professional lives, and in their communities. 

To earn a degree, students take 10 courses in 3 overlapping areas of investigation:

  • Critical Media Studies: Ways different media forms and systems shape our communication practices and structure our understanding of society, politics, and culture
  • Interpersonal/Intercultural Communication: Everyday interactions in dyads and small groups; how we communicate with, about, and across difference
  • Rhetoric: Analyze, create, and consume ethical and effective messages; examine the public discourse to consider how voices and images shape our social, political, and cultural landscape

Students in Communication Studies courses:

  • Effectively create and present oral, written, and mediated communication
  • Apply communication theory to identify and critique patterns of meaning and power.
  • Demonstrate understanding of theory development and the relationship among theory, method, and practice.
  • Respond ethically to communicative practices and perspectives.
  • Effectively engage opportunities for positive social change.


Department Features

  • Community-based learning
  • Global and intercultural learning, both on campus and abroad
  • Undergraduate research experiences
  • Innovative critical media education
  • Award-winning faculty members who are leaders in their fields
  • Among Minnesota private colleges, Gustavus Communication Studies is in the top 3 for the number of majors we graduate.
  • Communication degrees comprise the largest share of humanities bachelor’s degrees.
  • Employment in media and communication occupations is projected to grow 14% from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.
Students conversing with a faculty member

Skills Gained from a Communication Studies Degree

  • Critical thinking/problem solving (e.g. creativity, analysis)
  • Written, oral, and visual communication skills (e.g. convey information clearly and to understand others)
  • Public speaking
  • Collaboration/teamwork
  • Leadership skills (e.g. dependability, emotional intelligence, strategic decision-making)
  • Information gathering and analysis
  • Interpersonal skills (e.g. empathy, active listening, conversational, nonverbal communication)
  • Intercultural skills (e.g. open-mindedness, understanding, adaptability)
  • Organizational skills (e.g. planning, attention to detail)
Two students conversing at a table.

Career Fields with a Communication Studies Degree

  • Social and digital media
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Meeting and event planning
  • Journalism
  • Media production
  • Public Relations
  • Human resources
  • Writing and publishing
  • Government/politics
  • Non-profit leadership
  • Law
  • Many more – the skills students gain are adaptable to many professions
Two students conversing at a table.

Engage with Communication Studies

Public Deliberation and Dialogue Public Discourse celebrates 10 years

Mark BraunProfessor507-933-7368web
Pamela ConnersProfessor507-933-7541web
Patricia English-SchneiderProfessor507-933-7372web
Martin LangAssociate Professor507-933-6899
Phillip VoightAssociate Professor507-933-7369
Hagar AttiaAssistant Professor507-933-6897web
Sarah Wolter ’02Assistant Professor507-933-7365web
Breena BrockmannVisiting Assistant Professor507-933-7346web
Jules WightVisiting Instructor507-933-7366web
Jane ChouanardAdministrative Assistant507-933-7414
John BraunProfessor Emeritus