Undergraduate Program Overview

...the history, processes, and effects of human communication...

Communication takes as its subject matter the history, processes, and effects of human communication. The departmental curriculum is designed to provide a liberal education in the arts and sciences of human communication as well as preparation for career opportunities in business, government, education, and related fields. Within the curriculum, students may pursue academic courses that emphasize many disciplinary areas, including organizational communication, public relations, intercultural communication, political communication, conflict management, cognition and persuasion, rhetorical theory, history of rhetoric, and criticism of public discourse.

The strength of a Communication major resides in an understanding of the place of communication in humanity and in a fully developed ability to participate effectively and responsibly in communicating with others. Your education in Communication will go beyond performance courses that teach the skills of speaking into courses that explore our knowledge of communication in business, government, and other human institutions and relationships.

Over the years, Communication has also served as an exceptional pre-professional major. Particularly those who proceed to study law, the helping professions, and governmental service have found the major critical to their later success. Many of our students remain in Communication by pursuing graduate work. A major in Communication contributes to the quality of life far beyond the workplace. Those who seek to be good citizens or just good neighbors leave the major with experience and understanding that enriches their lives.

The Undergraduate Major in Communication


The Communication major requirements are designed to provide multiple levels of knowledge of communication. The Department of Communication offers students the option to pursue Communication Studies or select from one of the following specializations: Health and Science Communication, Media and Digital Communication, Political Communication and Public Advocacy or Public Relations. The course requirements for the different specializations vary and the key to a successful completion of the COMM major requirements is based on planning the appropriate course sequence for your specialization of choice. The major is composed of six parts: Foundations of Communication, Research Methods, Communication and Society (consists of 2 courses: Leadership and Social Change and Diversity and Inclusion), Theory and Principles, 2 Applied courses, and Electives.

A grade of 'C-' or better is required in all courses used to satisfy major requirements.

Update regarding Spring 2020 grades: Due to the impact of COVID-19 on grading methods, we will consider the grade of Pass ("P") as meeting the minimum grade necessary for gateway and major requirements for courses taken in the Spring 2020 semester.

Requirements of the Major and Specializations for students admitted Fall 2020 and later

New Communication Curriculum

Description of Specializations

If you are a current UMD student and would like additional information on the major, please submit the form here: https://go.umd.edu/NewCOMM and we will email you a presentation on the new curriculum.


Requirements of the Major and the Tracks of Study for students admitted prior to Fall 2020

Public Relations

Rhetoric & Political Culture

Social Influence

Communication Studies