What is a Communication Major?

The study of communication focuses on how people construct, use, and interpret messages across multiple channels and types of media to inform, persuade, manage, relate to, and influence each other within and across social contexts and cultures. Communication is one of the fastest growing areas of study among UCSB’s undergraduate students. Approximately 1,350 students as pre-majors or majors are currently pursuing the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Communication. The Communication program offers an array of courses across three different areas of interest: interpersonal/intergroup, media and organizational communication.

At UCSB, the Communication major requires completion of upper-division courses chosen from areas such as language and human communicative behavior; interpersonal, family, small group, organizational, and mass communication; persuasion; gender, ethnic, and cultural influences on communication; communication in conflict resolution; and communication law. Choice of electives allows students to shape their programs according to their particular interests.

Major, General, and Career Information





From UCSB's Communication Department: 

We provide baccalaureates with knowledge of social science scholarship in communication in an accessible, supportive, and respectful atmosphere while simultaneously aiding students to apply theory and research to pressing social problems. Admission to the undergraduate major requires completion of four pre-major classes (introduction to communication, theory, methods, and statistics) with a GPA requirement that is the highest in the College of Letters & Science. Within the major we provide extraordinary opportunities for undergraduate communication students to go beyond the ordinary. We encourage study in other cultures, languages, and places, and participation in the University of California's Education Abroad Program, we have an internship program which provides opportunities within the Santa Barbara area, and we encourage participation in the University of California's Washington D.C. and Sacramento internship program.

The department has an active program for students who wish to participate in faculty research projects. These Undergraduate Research Students have an opportunity to participate in all phases of research from the design of experiments and field research to the analysis of data and interpretation of results to learn not only about research that has been done by others but also to be part of the discovery process itself. The department's Senior Honors Program offers a challenging learning experience that spans four quarters of the student's academic career. During that time, students conduct an independent research project under the supervision of a faculty advisor and write a Senior Honors Thesis.

Employers want employees who can communicate effectively: 

In 2014, the Association of American Colleges & Universities collected national survey data from 400 executives (e.g., owners, CEOs, presidents, vice presidents) at private sector and nonprofit organizations. The survey asked executives to "rate how important it is that recent college graduates they are hiring demonstrate proficiency in 17 different skill and knowledge areas." The most highly valued skills among the 17 skills were: "written and oral communication skills, teamwork skills, ethical decision-making, critical thinking skills, and the ability to apply knowledge in real-world settings" ( 

In the Department of Communication, undergraduate students learn how to communicate effectively in organizational, school, family, and peer environments within and across cultures. By taking courses in Interpersonal Communication, Culture and Communication, Relational Communication, Conflict Management, and Organizational Communication, our Communication majors learn strategies for behaving appropriately and effectively to meet their objectives, while treating others in ethical and respectful ways. 

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