Nov 30, 2023  
2018-2019 Catalog 
2018-2019 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Communication Studies

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Associate Professor: Martinez (Chair)
Visiting Professor: Hogan
Visiting Assistant Professors: Marinelli, Spikes

Communication Studies is an interdisciplinary, CIS-established major with opportunities to take a variety of Communication courses offered at Davidson, particularly in the subfields of mass communication, intercultural communication, and rhetoric as well as courses in other interdisciplinary fields. Communication Studies is one of the oldest liberal arts disciplines and the modern study of communication has expanded to include critical and social scientific approaches to a diverse array of symbolic forms, including not only speech but also interpersonal and intercultural communication, mass media, and new digital technologies.

Major in Communication Studies

To major in Communication Studies, students must apply for the major through the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies prior to spring break of their sophomore year. Application information can be found on the CIS website.


The major requires 11 courses, as follows.

I. Required Courses (2)

II. Elective Courses (7)

  • Four courses from within Communication Studies
  • Three courses from outside Communication Studies
  • One of these seven electives MUST focus on a research method or methods suitable for use in a thesis or other research project in the field.  
    Methodology courses that fulfill this requirement are:

COM 202 - Methods in Rhetorical Criticism 
HHV 250 - Methods in Health & Research 
SOC 201 - Social Statistics 
SOC 390 - Qualitative Research Methods 
SOC 391 - Survey Methodology  
SOC 392 - Quantitative Data Analysis  

III. Senior Thesis/Capstone (2)

All Communication Studies majors are required to complete an independent research, experiential learning experience, or community engagement project to fulfill the senior capstone requirement. 


  • No more than two courses at the 100-level may count towards the major.
  • No more than one independent study course may count towards the major.
  • A maximum of two courses may count towards both the COM major and a second major or minor.
  • No more than two courses taken from an institution other than Davidson may count towards the major. Once the Registrar has granted transfer credit, students may petition the Communication Studies department to approve transfer courses for the major.
  • Careful course planning is important to all Communication Studies majors, particularly those who plan to study abroad.


Students who qualify during their junior year with a minimum GPA and an approved research proposal will be eligible to complete a year-long thesis. The thesis will replace the capstone experience for students seeking honors. To qualify for honors at graduation, a student must have:

  • 3.5 GPA or higher in the major
  • 3.2 or higher overall GPA
  • A- or above on the final thesis


Minor Requirements

The interdisciplinary minor in Communication Studies requires six courses as follows:

  • COM 101  - Principles of Oral Communication
  • COM 201  - Introduction to Communication Studies
  • Three elective courses chosen from the list of courses. 
    At least one of the three must come from within Communication Studies
  • COM 495  - Communication Theory and Research
    Usually completed in the spring of senior year


  • Students interested in the Communication Studies interdisciplinary minor should first enroll in COM 101  and COM 201Although these are not prerequisites to other courses in the department, they should be completed before declaring the minor (see Application Procedures below). 
  • No more than two courses in the interdisciplinary minor may also be in the student’s major field of study.
  • No more than one course may count toward a student’s major and the Communication Studies interdisciplinary minor.
  • Only one course may be transferred from another institution.
  • Only one independent study course may be included in the interdisciplinary minor.
  • No courses taken Pass/Fail may be applied to the minor.
  • A grade of “C” or higher must be earned in all courses applied towards the interdisciplinary minor.

Minor Application Procedures

The Communication Studies Interdisciplinary Minor is administered by the Communication Studies department.  The faculty liaison is Dr. J. Michael Hogan.  Students interested in pursuing the Communication Studies Interdisciplinary Minor should contact the faculty liaison as early as possible to discuss curricular options.  A student must complete a written application, including a list of proposed courses for meeting the minor requirements, by the end of the junior year, and the College’s Minor Declaration Form must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office by February 1 of the student’s senior year.  If one of the proposed electives is COM 390  or COM 395  , the special topic or a complete description of the independent study must be included in the application.  Certification of the student’s completion of the requirements for the Interdisciplinary Minor will be made by the Registrar upon the recommendation of the Communication Studies department.

Courses Outside Communication Studies

For the major, choose three electives from this list.

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