The study of speech communication involves developing theories and research tools to analyze, explain, and improve human interaction. Departmental courses focus on two-person interaction, small group decision making, communication patterns in organizations and other complex systems. Focus is also on speaker-audience interaction in public speaking contexts.
Students must complete 36 hours in the major, maintain a grade point average of 2.0 in the major, and complete at least 18 hrs in a minor area of study. Majors must complete core requirements (12 hrs) as well as requirements for the Interpersonal Communication track (15 hrs) and electives (9 hrs). Students need a total of 124 hours to graduate (not including AD credits).
The department encourages students to work closely with faculty in advising, teaching, research projects, and informal interactions. Speech Communication majors and minors receive their formal academic advisement from a faculty member assigned by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Students interested in careers as communication professionals may contact the department at (618) 650-3090.
Students choose one of the following tracks and complete all requirements for that track as listed below. Additional hours of any applicable speech communication courses may be completed to total 36 hours for completion of the major.
Students who choose the Corporate and Organizational Communication track focus on communication within the context of businesses and other organizations. Effective communication in organizations is necessary both for the attainment of organizational goals and for individual productivity and satisfaction. This track is designed for those who will have to perform in organizational settings and want to become more effective in their interactions with others for a more successful and fulfilling work life. This knowledge is especially important now that the "world of work" is undergoing such rapid change. In addition to learning, understanding, and applying organizational theories and research, students will also develop important organizational skills such as conflict management, decision making, goal setting, team building, giving feedback, etc. Students completing this track will be prepared for careers in a wide variety of organizational settings and roles (sales, management, human resources, training, etc.), as well as for graduate study in communication or business.
Students in the Interpersonal Communication track are generally attracted to it for the solid preparation it provides for graduate school. This track provides students with a thorough theoretical and practical understanding of the ways in which verbal and nonverbal communication are used in defining, negotiating, and modifying relationships. This track also increases students' awareness of both the many types of, and the myriad influences on, interpersonal relationships. A thorough, systematic examination of relevant theory and research regarding interpersonal communication is provided. Students who select this track as pre-graduate study preparation will find themselves with an excellent foundation upon which to begin careers in the academic community, such as professor, researcher, or administrator. Those choosing this track as an end in itself will be well prepared for positions in the business sector such as recruiters and trainers.
Students who choose the Public Relations track will study under a model program, designed to meet and exceed national guidelines for undergraduate public relations education described in Public Relations Education for the 21st Century: A Port of Entry, sponsored by the Commission on Public Relations Education. This track stresses written, oral, graphic, and technological applications of communication skills. Elements of the program are designed to keep entry-level students in touch with upper division students, and past graduates in touch with all students. In addition, students will experience the "paired course" concept, an idea that helps students integrate materials across their sequence of study. And finally, students may join our award-winning chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America, which is affiliated with the national professional association, Public Relations Society of America.
Remember: You must complete at least 18 credit hours in a minor area of study and a total of 124 credit hours to graduate.
Please click on the links to your left for details about individual Tracks.