Orientation starts like this: “Welcome, first things first, you are communication studies major not a communications major.” It’s made apparent from the first time you meet your peers and professors that there is a big difference between the two names for the major. What exactly? I didn’t know until later in my academic career when I actually began to take courses for my major. I always just assumed they were the same thing, but they are definitely different. Before I go into the differences between the two, I will tell you what communication studies is not.
Firstly, this is not an easy major and anyone who tells you it is, is probably a stuck-up STEM major who has never written a paper longer than 6-8 pages. In communication studies courses, the shortest paper that you will come across is 10-12 pages, and that’s excluding any citations and title pages. In addition, all of our papers are in APA format, except for the rhetoric courses. Most people play off communication studies courses as the easy ones that the jocks take, but in reality they actually major in business. People ask why people would major in communication studies, and the answer is that it is a major that can be used for anything and everything. If you have a good work ethic and want to be able to explore different industries with great skills, then this is the major for you.
Communication studies is a research driven major dedicated to understanding the various forms people use to communicate all over the world. From non-verbal communication to cultural communication comparisons, there is a class dedicated to each way, and it never gets boring. Each topic covered by professors is complex and interesting in a way that helps you understand how not only you communicate, but also how society as a whole communicates, both verbally and non-verbally. You’ll not only read an endless amount of material on the various topics, but you will also conduct both qualitative and quantitative research studies involving focus groups and transcription. There is not a single day of class that doesn’t involve hands-on work, as well as engaging concepts that can be applied to everyday interactions.
The major and its courses cover a broad range of topics that dip into other majors. It almost feels like the ultimate umbrella major that lets you sample all the other majors people super focus on from psychology to philosophy, and everything in between. This comes in handy when you want to declare a focus, personally I am a public relations focus. Not only will you have a broad range of knowledge and topics that you have specifically focused on, you also have outstanding interpersonal and communication skills that will outshine other majors. Communication studies emphasizes the importance of teamwork, collaboration, public speaking, and professional communication practices, which makes transitioning to the workplace easier.
Lastly, communication studies is the most welcoming community of professionals and friends. Don’t worry about feeling left out because you honestly can’t get anyone to shut up and leave you alone. People have a lot to say and they will say it in a way that won’t let you not pay attention. The community is so connected and friendly that everyone encourages each other to succeed and make lifelong friends. Being a communication studies major is a life where there are no downsides and only great opportunities.