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Communication Studies

Phone(775) 784-6839
Location Lincoln Hall(LH) 318
Address 1664 N. Virginia Street
Reno, NV 89557
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Degrees & Programs

Degree Requirements

So what will I learn?

Communication Studies students learn presentation, writing, and research skills.  Some of the many communication competencies covered in our classes include:

  • How to successfully present a public speech to inform or persuade audiences in a variety of contexts.
  • How to write and adapt messages for academic, professional, or interpersonal audiences.
  • How to research, critically evaluate, and synthesize information to build coherent and well supported arguments for a variety of contexts.
  • How to manage conversations including listening strategies, conflict management techniques, and understanding diverse communication styles.
  • How to collaborate with others and use decision-making strategies to accomplish group goals.
  • How to design, implement, and evaluate public advocacy messages or utilize effective persuasion strategies.
  • How to be an ethical communicator in an increasingly diverse and globalized world including building awareness of your own communication choices and communication cultural differences.

Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies

Communication Studies focuses both on the practice and development of skills for competent communication as well as analyzing and studying the how people create shared meanings and interpretations of the world around them.  Students with communication competency can find success in a variety of careers and enriched personal relationships:  Communication Studies aims to connect the classroom to the real world.

Faculty in our department specialize in communication skills related to problem-solving and conflict management—whether it is using negotiation or mediation skills in interpersonal relationships or utilizing collaboration and deliberation to understand and devise solutions for community problems.  In this, our department focuses on two interrelated areas of communication:  Relational Dynamics (RD) and Public Advocacy and Civic Engagement (PACE).

Relational Dynamics: focuses on the development and maintenance of relationships (personal, friendship, romantic, family, workplace, organizational, intercultural, and community).

Public Advocacy and Civic Engagement: focuses on how we influence and persuade public audiences through speaking, argument, and mediated communication.  Students in this track learn about advocacy campaigns in business, political, community, or social movement contexts.

BA, Communication Studies (33 credit hours)

COM 101 Oral Communication OR COM 217 Argumentation and Debate
COM 113 Fundamentals of Speech Communication
COM 212 Introduction to Communication Research
COM 311 Communication Research Methods.
21 additional COM elective credits, with at least 18 upper-division credits

Minor, Communication Studies (18 credit hours)

COM 101 Oral Communication OR COM 217 Argumentation and Debate
COM 113 Fundamentals of Speech Communication
COM 212 Introduction to Communication Research
9 upper-division COM elective credits

GPA for Required Classes: Student must obtain a “C” (2.0 GPA) in all major or minor courses.  Student must also maintain a 2.0 GPA overall to fulfill university and college graduation requirements.

Courses Offerings at a Glance: Students can choose to focus their electives within Relational Dynamics or Public Advocacy and Civic Engagement, or choose among all our electives based on their interests and career goals.


*Independent Studies and Internships require instructor permission.  Students must work with a full-time faculty member to set up requirements and learning contract in advance of the semester the student wishes to receive credit.

Master of Arts in Communication Studies

The MA in Communication Studies offers opportunities for students to develop a theoretical foundation and skill repertoire associated with managing conflict across a number of contexts. Students may focus on interpersonal, organizational, or public areas of conflict management and are able to include courses from other graduate areas of study. Graduates will find employment in related areas such as public advocacy, labor relations, human resources, dispute resolution services. The degree also is helpful for management positions and for application to related PhD programs.

The mission of the master’s program in communication studies is to provide a foundation of theoretical and applied knowledge for those interested in or tasked with preventing, managing or resolving conflict. Communication takes a central role in conflict and conflict resolution; thus, this program is uniquely suited to prepare students to understand and respond to a number of activities that intersect with conflict and conflict resolution. Such activities include, for example, public campaigning, social agitation, advocacy, deliberation, mediation, facilitation, and collaboration.

The program will teach students to identify and manage conflict in a variety of contexts, including interpersonal, organizational, societal, and global. Important concepts threaded through the curriculum include diversity, inclusion, tolerance, ethics, understanding, assertiveness, and responsibility--all values inherent in successful management of these communication events. The program focuses on the process and nature of communication as a means to create social meaning and change in order to prepare students to help create a just world.

MA, Communication Studies (32 credit hours)

COM 700  Research Methods
COM 760  Seminar: Communication Theory
COM 795  Comprehensive Examination (1-3 credits)
One other approved methods course
Non-Thesis Option: 20 additional elective credits
Thesis Option: 16 additional elective credits and Com 797: Thesis (6 credits)

Elective Course Offerings

COM 604 - Principles of Persuasion
COM 607 - Gender and Communication
COM 612 - Intercultural Communication
COM 622 - Difference and Communication
COM 634 - Communication and Conflict Resolution
COM 641 - Rhetoric of Dissent
COM 654 - Alternate Dispute Resolution
COM 664 - Leadership: A Communication Perspective
COM 668 - Facilitating Difficult Discussions
COM 690 - Special Problems in Speech Communication
COM 720 - Seminar: Interpersonal Communication
COM 730 - Seminar: Organizational Communication
COM 740 - Seminar: Public Communication
COM 793 - Independent Study

Program of Study

A minimum of 32 graduate level credits (courses at the 600-700 level) must be taken. A 400/600-level course that was taken at the 400-level as an undergraduate may not be repeated at the 600-level.

• At least 18 of the 32 credits must be in COM.
• A maximum of 9 credits can be transferred into the degree program through Graduate Special Status or transfer credit.
• At least 15 of the 32 credits must be at the 700-level.
• At least 1 credit of comprehensive exam must be taken by all students. 3 credits may be taken by those exiting through comprehensive exam option. For those completing the thesis option, the comprehensive exam is 1 credit.
• All graduate courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or better in order to satisfy graduate program requirements. Grades of a “C-“ or below are considered failing grades in graduate school and will not count in a student’s program of study.

University of Nevada, Reno

University of Nevada, Reno
1664 N. Virginia Street
Reno, NV 89557-

(775) 784-1110
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