Getting Started & "Diving In"
First year students are highly encouraged to take Com 15 Public Speaking and Com 06 Messages, Meaning and Culture along with their GE courses. Transfer students are encouraged to take both Com 15 and Com 06, as well as Com 098 Introduction to Communication Research. Once the lower division core courses are completed, students then select upper division courses according to their interests, future plans, and required categories.
Make an appointment to see your academic advisor, or drop in during posted office hours to go over your ideas, plans, questions, and interests. There is a lot of flexibility in the major, and there are opportunities for "double-counting" in the GE and with other majors and minors. Also consult the college catalog (use link at left or via the registrar's page). If you are curious about courses, you can download class syllabi from previous semesters (see link at left).
Students planning on going to law school should take as many writing, critical thinking, logic, and conflict resolution classes as possible, as well as a political science course on the Constitution. This means taking courses in a variety of disciplines (philosophy, English, political science) in addition to communication (argumentation, conflict & reconciliation, persuasion, criticism, and public speaking).
Students planning on a career in business are encouraged to take organizational communication, group communication & leadership, persuasion & propaganda, and ethics, in addition to courses in statistics, marketing, management, and intercultural communication. We also highly recommend fluency in at least one language other than English. Spending a semester abroad will also prove useful.
Students hoping to attend graduate school in communication should avail themselves of research opportunities both in and outside the communication classroom. Consider taking advanced writing and methodology courses, as well as statistics and foreign languages. Students are also strongly encouraged to write an honors thesis in the senior year.
Students pursuing interests in film and television should take the media courses (mass communication, media and communication ethics) in the major, plus courses in journalism, film studies, screenwriting, theory & criticism in the arts, communication criticism, and public discourse. Be sure to take advantage of national and international internship programs to learn technical skills with equipment and to begin establishing your network early. Consider a summer program at UCLA or NYU, or the internship course in Los Angeles through BestSemester.Com.
Public Relations & Marketing?
Students interested in public relations and marketing would do well to take the persuasion, argumentation, ethics, and organizational communication courses in the major, as well as courses in journalism, marketing, principles of design, graphic design, and a course or two in psychology and human motivation.
Students interested in counseling ought to consider courses in interpersonal communication, conflict & reconciliation, ethics, & group communication, as well as offerings in gender studies and social psychology. Most graduate programs prefer that you also take general psychologyand abnornal psychology. Also consider a double major or minor in psychology.
International Development & Missions Work?
If you imagine yourself doing domestic and/or international aid work, managing non-profit agencies, or heading off to the missions field, take as many international courses as possible, including courses in political science and anthropology, and go on off campus programs (such as Westmont in Mexico). Be sure to include communication courses such as intercultural communication, international rhetoric, organizational communication, and communication ethics.
In addition to taking courses in religious studies (for those interested in the pastorate), also consider courses in psychology (for those interested in combining counseling and seminary courses). Pastors also spend a lot of time working within and running Christian organizations, so we recommend organizational communication, as well as courses in ethics, interpersonal communication, and group communication and leadership. Given our increasingly diverse society, we also highly recommend international rhetoric and intercultural communication. If you are going to be a preacher -- take all the public speaking classes you can as well as courses in honing your critical thinking and writing skills, such as communication criticism and advanced composition.
Go Off Campus!
Communication Studies majors at Westmont are encouraged to spend a semester off-campus. The San Francisco Urban program works well with the major, as do many international pro grams. Recent off campus programs for com majors have included trips to Northern Ireland, Germany, Israel / Palestine, South Africa, and Spain.