Opportunities for Com Majors
Off Campus Programs
There are many exciting and challenging Off Campus Program Opportunities that work well with a Communication Studies major. There are also many programs that work well for your second major, your minor, or for general education.
Communication studies majors have studied at Oxford, England, Tanzania, Boston, San Francisco, and Ireland. There are many exciting possibilities. For more information visit the Westmont Off Campus Programs page.
Many communication studies majors spend a semester in San Francisco on the Urban Program. The program combines living and working in a unique urban setting, offering an opportunity for the study of cultural, ethnic, political, and business-oriented aspects of modern society. While enjoying the relative security and intimacy of a self-determined community, students reside in the heart of the city. The core of the program is a pre-professional internship that involves a minimum of 24 hours each week. Communication alumni have done field and office work at television station KTVU, public relations work for non-profit and for-profit organizations, chaplain duties at San Francisco General Hospital, and design and journalism work with San Francisco Magazine and Star 101.3 Radio.
Four of the eight internship units may be counted toward major electives, and many students take advantage of advanced writing and film studies courses that also count as major electives.
There are two different programs in Washington that appeal to communication studies majors. Both include course offerings and internship opportunities that will count as major electives, and in some cases major requirements.
American Studies Program
During their semester in Washington, DC, junior and senior students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in their chosen field and interact with decision-makers while studying in interdisciplinary seminars focused on domestic and international public policy and the foundations for policy analysis and public involvement. Washington experts serve as guest speakers. Students spend 20-25 hours a week in internships designed to complement their career interests, which include work in congressional offices, federal government agencies, law offices, public interest and research groups, social services, NGOs, grassroots organizations, media, the arts, and more.
American University Washington Semester, Washington, D.C.
Students have the opportunity to serve in internships in thirteen different tracks including national politics, foreign policy, economic policy and justice, journalism, and a number of other fields. Participants come from over 200 affiliated colleges and universities in the U.S. and from 28 international institutions. A limited number of Westmont students will be nominated for consideration for the program each semester.
Los Angeles Film Studies Center
Located in the Los Angeles area near major studios, this semester-long program combines seminar courses with 20-24 hour per week internships in various segments of the film industry, providing the opportunity to explore the industry within a Christian context and from a liberal arts perspective. Two required seminars focus on the role of film in culture and the relationship of faith to work in this industry. A variety of elective courses in film studies are available.
Mayterm courses also offer students the opportunity to get off campus, travel with a small group, and learn intensively and experientially. Many of our students have gone to China, England, Northern Ireland, South Africa, the Middle East, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, and Europe. Check with the Off Campus Programs Office to find out which Mayterms have been approved -- deadlines are usually in mid to late Fall.
Senior of the Year
Each year we recognize one student for academic achievement both in communication studies and in their general and other studies at Westmont. Typically, the senior of the year has achieved a near-perfect GPA in communication courses, but contributions to the department and fellow students are considered as well.
Lambda Pi Eta
Lambda Pi Eta is the official communication studies honor society of the National Communication Association (NCA). As a member of the Association of College Honor Societies, Lambda Pi Eta has over 400 active chapters at four-year colleges and universities worldwide.
Westmont students are invited to join when they've completed at least 60 units overall, at least 12 com units, have achieved a minimum GPA of 3.25, and are ranked in the top 1/3 of their class.
In-course honors are sometimes offered by the professor. If offered, you will do a bit of extra reading, meet more frequently with the professor and other students, and do some additional work in the class. When you complete in-course honors, it is noted on your transcript. You might ask, if the course is challenging already, why make it harder? Perhaps another way to view in-course honors might be, "I am already deeply interested in this subject -- I wonder how much more I can learn?"
Some students are motivated by doing high level research, writing, and working somewhat independently. If you desire to go above and beyond what you'd be expected to do in the classroom, or you have a particular research interest, talk to one of your professors about completing an honors thesis.
An internship is a supervised work experience related to a student's major or career goal for which the student earns academic credit. The work experience is part-time, paid or unpaid, and off-campus. What distinguishes an internship from a short-term job or volunteer work? Intentional learning takes place in the form of a self-directed learning plan. The plan is put together in consultation with a faculty advisor and the supervising employer. Westmont interns participate in a concurrent seminar on campus in order to read about and discuss issues of calling as well as to process both verbally and in writing the work experience in a community of peers. Internships are made available to juniors and seniors in the fall and spring semesters.
You may earn internship units through other, related departments, or you may enroll in the departmental internship course. You may also earn internship units at other colleges and transfer them in, or on a variety of off campus programs.
Your professors are usually engaged in research that is of particular interest to them -- sometimes they need assistance, and sometimes they're willing to share their journey with you. Ask them if they need help or would like to help you do research in similar areas.
Also, students are often excited by what they're learning in class or have theories they'd like to explore. In this case, you may approach a professor to direct a research project for you. You may sign up for a one-semester project, or an honors thesis, or small "bites" of research along the way. When you earn academic units for research, you also may earn major elective units. Doing research is highly recommended for students pondering a future in graduate school.