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Communication Arts and Sciences

Major Requirements


The Communication Program

The study of communication at Merrimack College provides students with an interdisciplinary approach to human interaction.  The communication major examines verbal and nonverbal messages as they shape and are shaped by relationships, organizations, and media.  Our program at Merrimack explores practices, processes, and contexts in which communication occurs.  Communication courses provides students with opportunities to examine the theories and research used to develop the discipline as well as the skills and knowledge needed to meet the complex communication challenges of the 21st century.

According to a national survey of employers, communication is the most important skill sought when hiring and promoting.  Our goal is to develop sophisticated producers and consumers of communication who understand how face-to-face and mediated messages influence and shape daily life and public opinion.  Students graduating from the program are able to critically analyze oral, written, and visual communication.

Major Requirements

All Communication majors complete a common core of required courses that provide an overview of the discipline.  Students then choose a major concentration in interpersonal, organizational, or mass communication.

Interpersonal Communication focuses on how verbal and nonverbal communication shapes and is shaped by human relationships, including friendships, romances, families, and work relationships.  It concentrates on “people skills” required for success in any endeavor.  Students gain the understanding and skills for listening, relating to and managing people, leading and influencing others, and presenting them effectively.  In addition, students explore issues such as deception, attraction, identify, and gender.

Organizational Communication focuses on how members of organizations and society achieve their collective goals through the ongoing mutual exchange of verbal and nonverbal messages.  It explores issues of leadership, decision-making, conflict, collaboration, identity, and technology in the public, private, and state sectors.  Many upper level classes place students in work settings to gain an understanding of the roles of communication in organizational processes and to enable students to develop a practical set of skills.

Mass Communication focuses on the exchange of mediated messages that are filtered through some form of technology.  It includes various channels of mass communication (TV, radio, film, newspapers, popular music, public relations, advertising, and the World Wide Web) and machine-assisted interpersonal communication (social networking websites, blogs, wikis, text messaging, and e-mail).  Students explore theories, processes, and effects of mass communication, as well as applied production of mediated messages.

Satisfying the requirements for the major in Communication includes completing a minimum of 38 credits in the major and a minimum of ten (10) courses, as specified below.

The following core courses are required of all Communication majors (starting with the class entering in fall 2010):

               COM 1020           Public Communication

               COM 2010           Communication Methods

               COM 2201           Intro to Interpersonal Communication

               COM 2301           Intro to Organizational Communication

               COM 2401           Intro to Mass Communication

               COM 4900           Senior Seminar

Additional Requirements:

               Four (4) additional COM courses, as follows:

  • At least two (2) 3000-level courses in your choice of concentration (interpersonal, organizational, or mass communication).  One of these courses must be an advanced/theory course in the concentration.