Many have said that symbolic communication is the defining human characteristic. Even with this recognition, its mysteries often elude us. How do messages lead to meaning—or misunderstanding or manipulation? How has public discourse influenced culture? What are the effects of image-based communication? These and other questions are explored in the Communication Studies major. Our symbol-making nature is considered in all its manifestations, with attention given to the verbal and nonverbal aspects of oral, print, and electronic messages.
The mission of Westmont’s Communication Studies department is to help students improve in both “wisdom and eloquence,” a centuries-old but still contemporary ideal. Students develop facility in communication, gain an understanding of rhetoric as part of the human experience, and bring Christian values to bear on communication as a moral act. Topics include the difficulty of interpersonal faithfulness in a transient culture, the increasing power of the media, and the role of persuasion and propaganda in social movements.
The bachelor’s degree in communication prepares students well for a wide variety of careers and opportunities. Graduating majors have entered the fields of marketing, journalism, management, teaching, mediation, counseling, editing, public relations, international relief and development work, ministry, advertising, sales, event coordination, diplomacy, film production, real estate and youth work. The major also provides the essential foundation for graduate work. Many graduates have gone on to law school, graduate study in communication, business school, and seminary, to name just a few.