Develop the skills to enter a variety of creative, dynamic, and cutting-edge career fields.

The Marian University Bachelor of Arts in Communication program sets students up for success by exposing them to the tools needed to excel in delivering information across contemporary platforms and in a variety of creative, dynamic, and cutting-edge career fields.

Individuals in the BA in Communication program will learn the in-demand skills today’s modern employers are seeking. Our expert faculty helps students master quality foundational knowledge in oral, written, and interpersonal communication, as well as emphasizing the principles and theory of communication.

To gain real world experience, those in the communication program engage in an integrated study of intercultural, ethical, and practical communication situations that professionals face in the work world. Students have the chance to create social media campaigns for businesses and nonprofits, as well as work with clients in service-learning projects and gain field experience through internships.   On the job training, networking opportunities and valuable experience helps set our graduates apart from the competition.

The versatility of the communication program will provides students with in demand skills employers are seeking and position them for professional careers in a variety of areas including: public relations, organizational communication, journalism, management, marketing, development, and event planning.


Based on your career goals, choose from one of three tracks to help you stand out with employers

  • Organizational communication
  • Digital communication studies
  • Public relations and strategic communication


Work on The Muriel Press project, which gives direct experience with marketing and public relations related to the production and publication of a book.


Get involved with The Sabre Voice, an online publication. Get your writing published and earn additional hands-on experience as an editors, public relations specialist, and webmaster.


Learn about the Communication Program

Listen to Dr. Cooper Wakefield and he outlines the communication programs at Marian, in which students can choose an emphasis in public relations, digital media studies, or marketing and public relations. Beginning with foundational classes in communication, students will finish their degrees in focused in their intended major. Upper level students participate in service-learning projects and all seniors complete a capstone project that is relevant to the emphasis of your major. Students will have the opportunity to write for Marian’s student newspaper, the Sabre Voice, gain hands-on experiences through The Muriel Press, and participate in internships.

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The Program

Through the Marian University Bachelor of Arts in Communication program students engage in one of three concentrations: organizational communication, digital communication studies, or public relations and strategic communication. Students engage in an integrated study of intercultural, ethical and practical communication situations that professionals face in the work world.

Communication majors must complete the communication core, general education course requirements, and foreign language requirements during their course of study.  Students are strongly advised to take BUA 203: Career Preparation, which is a 1 credit course.

Throughout the bachelor’s program, students will maintain a professional portfolio of samples of their work. The portfolio is reviewed in COM 405: Senior Seminar.

General Education Courses

As a bachelor’s level student, you are required to take about 30 credits of general education courses as part of the 120 credits required for a bachelor’s degree.  Gen eds are required regardless of your major.

All students take 10.5 to 17 credits in these areas:

  • Mathematical Reasoning
  • Argumentative and Research Writing
  • Introduction to Christian Theology
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Introduction to Ethical Reasoning
  • First Year Studies

Core Courses

Communication majors will take courses covering topics such as:

  • Intercultural communication
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Student newspaper
  • Public speaking
  • Principles of marketing

For more details regarding this program, view Marian’s Academic Bulletin.

Sample Course Plan:
Download Sample Course Plan

Communication Core, 27 credits:

This course examines the history of communication including verbal, nonverbal and written forms. The curriculum covers various ways of studying communication processes, including communication models. Students are introduced to the application of basic communication concepts and theory to interpersonal, group, organizational and mass communication contexts.

Students gain experience working on the publication of a newspaper, with the opportunity to serve in a number of capacities: news writing and reporting, features and sports writing and reporting, layout and design, photojournalism, advertising sales and management. This course may be taken more than once for credit.

This course introduces students to the principles of writing news in text from for web-based publications and as scripts to be used in broadcast-style reports via the web, television or radio. In addition to news, public relations writing – in the form of news releases and public service announcements (PSAs) – and advertising writing is covered.

A course applying traditional rhetoric and communication theory to oral presentations. Students study, write, deliver and evaluate public speeches. Emphasis is placed on the students’ ability to speak from an outline in a variety of situations including informative speaking, persuasive speaking and demonstration speaking. All presentations are made in class and videotaped to aid in evaluation.

This course develops intercultural communication competence through an exploration of cultures. Using a broad definition of culture which includes norms, values, beliefs, art, music and literature, students examine the world as a place of dynamic change and cultural interaction, increasing their need for intercultural sensitivity generally. Through both theory and personal experience, students examine how the various components of communication are affected by and interface with the intercultural experience. Service learning is a component of this course.

The course introduces students to the use of computer programs for desktop publishing. Students design and produce various documents, including brochures, newsletters, etc. A thorough understanding of the elements of good design is stressed in the course through the application of both analytical and hands-on skills.


The purpose of the course is to provide students with an understanding of the background, principles and implications of theories of communication both generally and within specific communication contexts. Students compare the ways these differing approaches and theories influence the way people see and interpret behavior; and the ways these approaches and theories make differing predictions about human behavior.

A seminar course that assesses communication majors’ and minors’ general integration of material covered by their course of study. Students demonstrate their competency in the field by completing a critical analysis paper, public relations analysis or creating an experimental training program. Discussion focuses on current communication research that forms the basis for students’ projects and papers. Students also create a professional portfolio, conduct a job search and make an oral presentation.

A learning approach that integrates college studies with paid, practical work experience that is directly related to the Communication major. Students earn credit for internship work experience. Opportunities for internships exist in business, industry, government, and service agencies.

A learning approach that integrates college studies with paid, practical work experience that is directly related to the Communication major. Students earn credit for internship work experience. Opportunities for internships exist in business, industry, government, and service agencies.

Students will elect to complete one of two emphasis areas: organizational communication or public relations and strategic communication.

Organizational communication emphasis (21 credits)

12 credits:

(Also MGT 321)  The course provides a broad overview of the theoretical and conceptual issues relevant to organizational communication. The focus is on how communication operates in organizations, the impact of communication on organizational life and how communication can be made more efficient and effective in meeting personal as well as organizational goals.

The course utilizes classical and contemporary methods of logical reasoning, emotional appeal and ethos as persuasive techniques to teach students problem analysis, research of evidence, and formulation and defense of one’s position on an issue. Students write and present position papers on contemporary issues, analyze advertising, and mass media techniques of persuasion and political rhetoric as well as explore the ethical issues surrounding the use of persuasion and propaganda in conveying messages. In the process, the course helps students become rational decision-makers who are able to defend and debate their positions on critical issues. Students are assessed on both written and oral skills.

With emphasis on practical application, the course focuses on the theories and dynamics of group decision-making. Various processes are explored along with leadership responsibilities and analysis of group effectiveness.


A systematic analysis of the management process involving an integration of classical, behavioral, and modern contemporary philosophies. The importance of relating the theoretical principles of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling to practical experience is featured.

3 credits from the following:

The course examines the basic principles and theories of interpersonal communication. Students study and practice basic principles for effective interpersonal communication. Study includes language, perceptions, values, culture, nonverbal communication, self-concept, listening and their effects on communication.

A seminar course which focuses on improving overall communication competence, by honing students’ listening skills in a variety of contexts both professional and personal. Attention will be paid to both theory and practice of listening with particular attention to the HURIER model.

3 credits from the following:


This course focuses on building students’ presentation skills in a variety of professional settings including training, advocacy and sales. Individuals and teams design professional-length presentations involving the use of visual and audio aids, written materials for the audience and computer-generated graphic presentations. Students develop proficiency in the critique and analysis of professional presentations.

With an emphasis on practical application of communication theory, students use a variety of assessment and experiential training models to enhance organizational communication. Students assess organizations, plan, and deliver experiential training modules in real world settings. Students learn and apply leadership and facilitation skills. (The course is recommended for juniors and seniors who have completed COM 232 Public Speaking or COM 101 Fundamentals of Communication.)

3 credits of elective in Communication at 300 or 400 level

Public Relations and Strategic Communication emphasis (21 credits)

15 credits:

This course deals with the influence of mass media on people’s personal lives, corporate environments and the government. It studies the interrelationship of the mass media with individuals and society. The interaction of media with legal, political, cultural, economic and social forces and trends is examined. Study of the structure and practices of the media industries includes consideration of regulation, news coverage, advertising and public relations, government and technology.

Students will be introduced to the profession of public relations – its practice, history, and legal and ethical issues. This includes how to communicate with various publics (community, consumers, employers, government, the media) for various purposes (education, political and social action, community relations, issues and crisis management). Students will be encouraged to explore how public relations is practiced in their own disciplines.


Students will learn the theories and principles of good public relations writing and practice. This includes how to develop, write and present press releases, reports, speeches, newsletters and brochures, advertisements, papers and letters, and give interviews. Students also will learn theories of persuasion, practical legal and ethical concerns, and how to conduct and evaluate research. (Course may serve as a journalism upper-level writing elective.)


Students will write, edit and create content for the digital communication world. This course provides an advanced-level opportunity to practice and polish the related skills of reporting, writing and editing for multimedia platforms. Students will learn advanced newswriting with a focus on feature writing and investigative reporting, as well as advanced-level digital production skills for creating websites, social media tools and working with different file formats.

This course integrates philosophical analysis with cultural and media studies in order to examine the profound cultural role that the media play in shaping individual and social experience-how media production, content and reception affect the way in which we think, understand ourselves, perceive the world and live from day to day in an environment which is largely media-constructed. Through the application of critical thinking and various theoretical perspectives, we investigate how media representations significantly contribute to the formation of identities, values, beliefs, assumptions, social institutions and social practices. Specific attention is given to (1) how various media forms and genres-such as television, film, the internet, art, advertising, news reporting, music recording-produce and communicate meaning; and (2) how audiences receive, interpret and respond to media-generated content.

3 credits from the following:

The course examines the basic principles and theories of interpersonal communication. Students study and practice basic principles for effective interpersonal communication. Study includes language, perceptions, values, culture, nonverbal communication, self-concept, listening and their effects on communication.


ENG 105 Expository Writing, ENG 230 Professional Comp. & Research Writing, or appropriate English placement test score

A general overview of the scope and significance of marketing both domestically and internationally. The course emphasizes the marketing of consumer and industrial goods and analysis of the marketing mix variables of product, price, promotion and place. It introduces marketing policies and practices of business firms.

3 credits of elective in Communication at 300 or 400 level

Strongly Advised (not required):

A course in resume writing, interviewing skills, techniques for personal enhancement, and international business etiquette; supplies the student with criteria beyond academics for acceptance into the world of work and future entry-level management positions.

The BA in Communication program aligns with the curriculum recommendations of National Communication Association.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Advanced skill development in written, spoken and interpersonal communication
  • Theoretical and practical knowledge of the principles of communication, emphasizing ethical issues within the field.
  • Integrated understanding of the intercultural factors leading to strong global perspectives and intercultural development.



The purpose of the Communication Program is to help students become well-rounded, critically minded, technologically experienced and globally aware communicators who use their communication skills for creative, productive and socially responsible purposes.

The Bachelor of Arts in Communication program prepares students for professional careers in a variety of areas, including event coordinating, journalism, management, marketing, public relations and writing. Through quality internship experiences, hands-on experience enhances student résumés and establishes relationships with numerous organizations, which often lead to professional employment opportunities.

The communication degree program has met or exceeded all of its benchmarks for student learning at each stage of the program for the 2014-15 academic year. In addition to ongoing assessment efforts in key courses related to each of the student learning outcomes, capstone data confirms this high degree of program effectiveness.

Communication, as a program, contributes to the following institutional learning outcomes:

Knowledge acquisition:

· 98.5% of students (N=133) assessed in COM courses in AY 2014-15 meet or exceed expectations

Critical thinking:

· 100% of students (N=96) assessed in COM courses in AY 2014-15 meet or exceed expectations

Effective Communication:

· 93.4% of students (N=61) assessed in COM courses in AY 2014-15 meet or exceed expectations

Global Perspectives

· 95.2% of students (N=165) assessed in COM courses in AY 2014-15 meet or exceed expectations

Socially Responsible Action:

· 97.0% of students (N=100) assessed in COM courses in AY 2014-15 meet or exceed expectations

In addition to maintaining a high degree of excellence within the program, the Communication Department supports learning across the university by contributing to successful effective communication outcomes in other academic programs. Therefore, the Communication program supports learning across the university as well as in the major.

Marian University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), is a regional accreditation agency that accredits degree granting institutions of higher education based in the North Central region of the United States. The HLC accredits institutions by evaluating them against the HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation. The criteria are a set of standards that institutions must meet to receive and/or maintain accredited status and the accreditation process is based on a system of peer review.

Marian University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Centered on an applied learning approach, the Marian University Bachelor of Arts in Communication program enhances student knowledge and skills in communication, provides one-on-one personal support from faculty and prepares those in the program for a successful career following graduation.

Admission to the communication program is based on the admission criteria of Marian University. Students are required to earn a C- or higher in all communication courses and maintain an overall GPA of 2.00 to earn their degree.


Matt Follen – Class of 2014
College Unit Director – Northwestern Mutual

VIDEO STORY: Watch Matt’s success story!



Bill Sunagel – Class of 2000
Marketing Director – Arandell Corporation

“The guidance from my program chair really helped me prioritize my goals and expectations. With the direction I received, I was able to achieve/exceed my personal objectives and pursue a career in the marketing field. I believe one of the advantages of Marian was the small class size and having professors that actually care about the students success and giving the personal attention. The curriculum available provided a diversity of courses that allowed me to really help identify my strengths. Once my core-competencies  were recognized I was able to focus on what I wanted to do and further develop the skills I was passionate about.  The guidance I received facilitated my adaption to the business world. The communication courses at Marian prepared me in many ways and gave me the opportunity to work in various industries. Being able to disseminate an organizations viewpoints/beliefs and/or promote products/services, resulting in getting a prospect/customer to make a decision based on something I created; is extremely gratifying. The skills I learned at Marian also strengthened my interpersonal skills which allowed me to effectively communicate to all levels of an organization and the organizations target audience.”


Maranda Abitz (Barth) – Class of 2008
Professional Counseling Program Graduate Student – University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

“A major in communication can help open many doors. It gives you a wide variety of job possibilities. I am pursuing a graduate degree in Professional Counseling, my communication background has really helped me in working with others. You can go on to so many other things with a degree in communication.”


Jessika Bustamante – Class of 2013
Project/Logistics Manager – Tarsus Group

“My communication degree has helped me at my current position every day. When meeting with clients, especially in situations where I am in foreign country, I am able to read nonverbal cues and use a combination of skills easily which helps me navigate the conversation. Being part of a global company many obstacles arise due to time differences, language barriers, and overall communication during projects. Courses such as Intercultural Communication helped me gain an understanding of other cultures and the way they work which has helped me create solutions that bind our communication barriers. From my past courses I was taught the importance and stages of interpersonal communication and relationship building, which have been crucial to making deals and partnerships for my company. Companies are looking for individuals with confidence, drive, and strong communication skills. A degree in communication can take you anywhere. It is so broad yet properly prepares you with the skills you need to be successful in any career path.”


Kent Wuebben – Class of 2000
Alliances Manager and Business Development – North America GlobalCollect, An Ingenico Group Company

“I’ve been a part of large organizations for 10+ years.  There are lots of moving parts, lots of intricacies to figure out, lots of tape to cut through and politics to deal with.  If you learn to have an effective and eloquent communication style you will succeed and also help others as an example of knowing how to get things done the right way.  I’ve seen people communicate well and succeed and also see people quickly fall out of good graces by not being able to communicate well.  Technology is great, embrace it but also remember communication drives everything from successful personal relationships to the employment setting. People have a lot to offer, stories to tell, information to share, at the end of the day knowledge is power but knowing how it use it to your advantage is more powerful.”  

Mary C. Klein, Ed.D.

Cooper Wakefield, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor


As part of the communication program, you will not only gain a valuable foundation of knowledge, but also engage in internship experiences in various specialized areas of employment. Through on-the-job training and networking opportunities, you will be prepared for actual work situations and responsibilities that puts you one step ahead of the competition.

Learn more about how a degree communication can help you achieve your future career goals. Contact us today!

Apply Now

For more information, please contact
Office of Admission

Dr. Mary Klein, Professor and Chair
Communication Department