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School of Communication Studies

Dr. Eva M. McMahan, Director
Phone: (540) 568-6228

Professors
F. Kalupa, W. Kimsey, E. McMahan, S. Rollman

Associate Professors
M. Aleman, E. Fife, M. Smilowitz, J. Stone, T. Whitfield

Assistant Professors
C. Aleman, T. Ball, P. Bsumek, M. Davis, D. Della Noce, C. Hickerson, R. Leppington, L. Nelson, S. Thompson, J. Yoon

Lecturers
E. Armstrong, A. Barnes, A. Brickner, E. Clarke, A. Conis, R. Green, M. Gulotta, G. Hazard, T. Herron, C. Johnson, L. Keimig, J. Krauklis, L. Mayfield, K. Owens, M. Parsons, A. Roth, S. Smitherman,
S. Sylvest, T. Wray

 

Mission
Career Opportunities and Marketable Skills
Co-curricular Activities and Organizations
Admission to the Major
Policy for Students Transferring from Another Institution
Minimum Grades
Limitations in Applied Courses
Major and Degree Requirements
Concentrations
Minor Requirements

 

Mission Statement

The School of Communication Studies seeks to provide students with the opportunity to study the messages and outcomes resulting from human interactive processes that involve the content and relationship dimensions of sources, receivers, channels and contexts. The study of communication includes the social scientific study of human communication behavior in diverse contexts and the qualitative study of rhetoric. The context of primary concern in the School of Communication Studies is that involving face-to-face communication between and among people. The primary concerns within the school include human communicative interactions within interpersonal settings such as dyads and small groups, public speaking, communication within organizations, between organizations and the public as well as campaign communication processes. Within these contexts students study conflict resolution, communication in health settings and political settings, the interaction of culture and communication, language, nonverbal communication, written and oral communication skills, and social influence among human beings in a variety of settings.

 

Goals

As the school offers courses and programs in communication studies, the school seeks to fulfill the following goals:

  • To prepare all JMU students who take a communication studies course to use oral communication skills     effectively

  • To prepare students with a major or minor in communication studies for graduate and professional study as     well as for careers in communication and communication-related professions

  • To provide co-curricular opportunities which enhance and reinforce communication competencies for all     JMU students
  •  

    Career Opportunities and Marketable Skills

    Ideal for the communication studies graduate are careers that involve substantial interaction with other people. Such careers are part of the following fields:

    • Consulting
    • Entertainment
    • Hospitality Industry
    • Management
    • Personnel
    • Politics
    • Sales
    • Teaching

    Study in communication studies also serves as valuable pre-professional preparation for graduate and professional studies in the following fields:

    • Communication
    • Counseling
    • Law
    • Management
    • Ministry

    Students who study communication studies acquire skills that enable them to interact with others effectively. These skills include:

    • Speaking in front of groups
    • Speaking in front of groups
    • Interacting effectively in small groups
    • Using nonverbal communication skills such as use of space, voice, eyes and facial expressions
    • Constructing persuasive messages and campaigns
    • Using computers for word processing, statistical analysis, desktop publishing, graphic design, web page construction and browsing the Internet
    • Analyzing communication problems at the organizational level
    • Persuading successfully
    • Using language effectively
    • Writing effectively
    • Mediating and resolving conflicts

     

    Co-curricular Activities and Organizations

    To enhance courses and programs in communication studies, the school offers a variety of co-curricular activities and organizations open to all JMU students. Co-curricular activities involve practical communication experiences for which credit is available, either through the various practicums or one of the school’s applied courses. Co-curricular organizations are student clubs and honorary societies associated with the school’s individual programs of study.

    Below is a complete list of the school’s activities and organizations.

     

    Activities

    • Center for Mediation Studies: Activities concern the use of methods of alternative dispute resolution for resolving conflicts.
    • Communication Evaluation Conference: An annual, student-organized program in which student research papers on communication topics are presented.
    • Debate Team: Affords students interested in debating intercollegiate tournament competition and local audience experiences.
    • Individual Events Team: Intercollegiate tournament competition and local audience experiences for students interested in public speaking and the oral interpretation of literature can be acquired through individual events team participation.
    • Health Communication Institute: Students interested in effective communication with health communication professionals can work with the institute in a practicum or directed project.

     

    Organizations

    • Delta Sigma Rho-Tau Kappa Alpha: A chapter of a national honorary organization for students competing in intercollegiate debate and individual events.
    • International Association of Business Communicators: A chapter of a national organization for students and professionals interested in business communication and public relations.
    • Lambda Pi Eta: A chapter of a national honorary organization for students interested in communication.
    • Madison Mediators: Students interested in effective conflict resolution and mediation skills can participate in the activities of the Madison Mediators.

     

    Admission to the Major

    Admission to JMU does not guarantee admission to the School of Communication Studies. Students must submit an application for admission to the major during the semester in which they complete the SCOM course requirements. The School of Communication Studies reviews applications for admission to the major each semester. All students interested in majoring in the program must apply for a limited number of spaces. Admission to the major or minor is based on availability to the most qualified students. Applicants with an average of 2.7 in SCOM 240 and SCOM 245 and a cumulative 2.7 GPA at JMU will be automatically admitted. Other applicants will be admitted based on qualifications and availability of spaces. Once admitted to the School of Communication Studies, a student cannot retroactively apply more than nine hours of SCOM courses, including SCOM 240 and SCOM 245, to her/his major.

     

    Policy for Students Transferring from Another Institution

    Admission to JMU does not guarantee admission to the School of Communication Studies. The School of Communication Studies reviews applications for admission to the major and minor each semester. All transfer students interested in majoring or minoring in the program must apply for a limited number of spaces. Admission to the major or minor is based on availability to the most qualified students. Applicants with an average of 2.7 in SCOM 240 and SCOM 245 and a cumulative 2.7 GPA at JMU will be automatically admitted. Other applicants will be admitted based on qualifications and availability of spaces. Once admitted to the School of Communication Studies, a transfer student may petition for SCOM credit for courses taken at previous institutions.

     

    Minimum Grades

    Any course taken to fulfill a degree requirement in communication studies must be completed with a minimum grade of “C” (2.0).

    A communication studies course completed with a grade of “C-” or “D,” including courses to fulfill JMU’s baccalaureate degree requirements, may be credited toward graduation, but may not be included as course work toward a communication studies major or minor.

     

    Limitations in Applied Courses

    No more than six hours combined credit in SCOM 318, Practicum in Communication Studies; SCOM 390, Directed Projects and SCOM 495, Internship in Communication Studies, may be counted toward a major in communication studies.

     

    Degree and Major Requirements

    The School of Communication Studies offers the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees with a major in communication studies. Students must take at least 39 hours of work in communication studies beyond the General Education requirement. All programs must include at least five elements:

    • Fifteen hours of required courses
    • Successful completion of SCOM 394, Core Assessment in Communication Studies. All majors in communication studies must complete a set of assessment tests at the beginning and at the end of their program of study. The semester a student is accepted into the major, the following tests must be completed: 1) Communication Studies Core, 2) Concentration and 3) additional affective measures required by the school. After completing the requirements for the communication studies core and the selected concentration, majors will enroll in SCOM 394 and complete the same sequence of tests taken at the start of their program.
    • Fifteen hours of courses within distribution areas to meet the school depth requirement
    • Nine hours of free elective courses in communication studies at the 300 or 400 level
    • Twelve hours of course work at the 300 level or above outside of the major program of study; or a second major or minor

     

    Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies

    Degree Requirements

    Required Courses
    Credit Hours

    General Education 1

    41

    Foreign language classes (intermediate level required) 2

    0-14

    Philosophy course (in addition to General Education courses)

    3
    University electives 3
    11-49

    Major requirements (listed below)

    39

     
    120

    1The General Education program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. The number of credit hours necessary to fulfill these requirements may vary.

    2The foreign language requirement may be satisfied by successful completion of the second semester of the intermediate level of the student’s chosen language (typically 232) or by placing out of that language through the Department of Foreign Language’s placement test.

    3A minimum of 12 credit hours of university electives must be at the 300 level or above, or students must earn a second major or minor.

     

    Major Requirements

    Core Requirements
    Credit Hours

    SCOM 240. The Process of Human Communication

    3

    SCOM 242. Presentational Speaking

    3

    SCOM 245. Signs, Symbols and Social Interaction

    3

    SCOM 280. Introduction to Communication Research 1

    3
    SCOM 341. Persuasion
    3
    SCOM 394. Core Assessment in Communication Studies
    0
    Depth Requirement: (15 hours required from the depth areas below)  

    Communication Skills (choose one of the following):

    3
         SCOM 243. Oral Interpretation  
         SCOM 247. Small Group Communication  
         SCOM 261. Public Relations Techniques I: Written  
         SCOM 332. Mediation  
         SCOM 342. Argument and Advocacy  
         SCOM 358. Business and Professional Communication Studies  
         SCOM 361. Public Relations Techniques II: Visual  
         SCOM 449. Communication Training  
    Communication Research (choose one of the following):
    3
         SCOM 381. Communication Criticism  
         SCOM 383. Communication Research Methodologies  
         SCOM 385. Qualitative Communication Research Method  
         SCOM 386. Communication Survey Research  
     Communication Theory and Context (choose three of the following):
    9
         SCOM 320. Introduction to Interpersonal Communication  
         SCOM 231. Introduction to Alternative Dispute Resolution  
         SCOM 248. Intercultural Communication  
         SCOM 260. Introduction to Public Relations  
         SCOM 270. Introduction to Health Communication  
         SCOM 313. Topics in Communication Studies (1-3 credits)  
         SCOM 331. Communication and Conflict  
         SCOM 345. Nonverbal Communication  
         SCOM 346. Free Speech in America  
         SCOM 347. Communication, Diversity and Popular Culture  
         SCOM 348. Communication and Gender  
         SCOM 349. Ethnographic Approaches to Communication                        Studies  
         SCOM 350. Organizational Communication  
         SCOM/WRIT 351. Visual Rhetoric  

         SCOM 352. Communication and Social Movements

         SCOM 353. American Political Culture and Communication

         SCOM 354. Communication, Environment and Environmentalism

         SCOM 431. Legal Communication

         SCOM 432. Senior Seminar in Conflict and Mediation Studies

         SCOM 440. Family Communication

         SCOM/ANTH/HIST 441. Oral History and Social Justice

         SCOM 448. Seminar in Cultural Communication

         SCOM 450. Advanced Studies in Organizational Communication

         SCOM 460. Public Relations Management

         SCOM 461. Public Relations Campaigns

         SCOM 470. Health Communication Campaigns

         SCOM/SMAD/POSC 472. Media and Politics

     Additional communication studies electives at the 300-400 levels

    9

     
    39

    1 This course fulfills the College of Arts and Letters writing-intensive requirement for the major

     

    Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies

    Degree Requirements

    Required Courses
    Credit Hours

    General Education 1

    41

    Quantitative requirement 2

    3

    Scientific Literacy requirement 2

    3-4
    University electives 3
    21-46

    Major requirements (listed below)

    39

     
    120

    1 The General Education program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. The number of credit hours necessary to fulfill these requirements may vary.
    2 In addition to course work taken to fulfill General Education requirement.
    3 A minimum of 12 credit hours of university electives must be at the 300 level or above, or students must earn a second major or minor.

    In addition, students pursuing a B.S. in Communication Studies must complete MATH 220, Elementary Statistics, or a school-approved statistics course with a grade of “C” (2.0) or better. MATH 220 can count as either a General Education or a B.S. mathematics requirement, but not both.

     

    Major Requirements

    Core Requirements
    Credit Hours

    SCOM 240. The Process of Human Communication

    3

    SCOM 242. Presentational Speaking

    3

    SCOM 245. Signs, Symbols and Social Interaction

    3

    SCOM 280. Introduction to Communication Research 1

    3
    SCOM 341. Persuasion
    3
    SCOM 394. Core Assessment in Communication Studies
    0
    Depth Requirement: (15 hours required from the depth areas below)  

    Communication Skills (choose one of the following):

    3
         SCOM 243. Oral Interpretation  
         SCOM 247. Small Group Communication  
         SCOM 261. Public Relations Techniques I: Written  
         SCOM 332. Mediation  
         SCOM 342. Argument and Advocacy  
         SCOM 358. Business and Professional Communication Studies  
         SCOM 361. Public Relations Techniques II: Visual  
         SCOM 449. Communication Training  
    Communication Research (choose one of the following):
    3
         SCOM 381. Communication Criticism  
         SCOM 383. Communication Research Methodologies  
         SCOM 385. Qualitative Communication Research Method  
         SCOM 386. Communication Survey Research  
     Communication Theory and Context (choose three of the following):
    9
         SCOM 231. Introduction to Alternative Dispute Resolution  
         SCOM 248. Intercultural Communication  
         SCOM 260. Introduction to Public Relations  
         SCOM 270. Introduction to Health Communication  
         SCOM 313. Topics in Communication Studies (1-3 credits)  
         SCOM 320. Introduction to Interpersonal Communication  
         SCOM 331. Communication and Conflict  
         SCOM 345. Nonverbal Communication  
         SCOM 346. Free Speech in America  
         SCOM 347. Communication, Diversity and Popular Culture  
         SCOM 348. Communication and Gender  
         SCOM 349. Ethnographic Approaches to Communication                        Studies  
         SCOM 350. Organizational Communication  
         SCOM/WRIT 351. Visual Rhetoric  

         SCOM 352. Communication and Social Movements

         SCOM 353. American Political Culture and Communication

         SCOM 354. Communication, Environment and Environmentalism

         SCOM 431. Legal Communication

         SCOM 432. Senior Seminar in Conflict and Mediation Studies

         SCOM 440. Family Communication

         SCOM/ANTH/HIST 441. Oral History and Social Justice

         SCOM 448. Seminar in Cultural Communication

         SCOM 450. Advanced Studies in Organizational Communication

         SCOM 460. Public Relations Management

         SCOM 461. Public Relations Campaigns

         SCOM 470. Health Communication Campaigns

         SCOM/SMAD/POSC 472. Media and Politics

     Additional communication studies electives at the 300-400 levels

    9

     
    39

    1 This course fulfills the College of Arts and Letters writing-intensive requirement for the major

     

    Concentrations

    Conflict Analysis and Intervention

    This concentration prepares students to analyze conflict interaction and explore various methods of formal and informal conflict intervention in interpersonal, workplace and legal contexts. Included among the conflict intervention processes studied are negotiation and mediation. A concentration in conflict analysis and intervention can prepare students for careers in human services, human resources, government, and dispute resolution, and is also useful for students who wish to pursue the study of law or careers in management and international relations.

    In addition to the 15 hours of required communication studies courses, students studying conflict analysis and intervention must complete the following 18 hours from among the depth requirements. Additionally, students are encouraged to enroll in an internship during their junior or senior year.

    Courses
    Credit Hours

    SCOM 231. Introduction to Alternative Dispute Resolution

    3

    SCOM 331. Communication and Conflict

    3

    SCOM 332. Mediation

    3
    SCOM 385. Qualitative Communication Research Methodologies
    3
    SCOM 431. Legal Communication
    3

    SCOM 432. Senior Seminar in Conflict and Mediation

    3

     
    18

     

    Cultural Communication

    This concentration prepares students to analyze, engage and manage communication situations where cultural identity becomes relevant to the persons involved in the interaction. Students study communication processes and theories that help explain dynamics of intercultural interactions in personal and professional contexts. The concentration affords students cultural competencies necessary for personal growth and professional success in increasingly diverse work and social settings. Communication skills learned here prepare students for careers in education, management and training, international relations, and law.

    In addition to the 15 hours of required communication studies courses, students studying communication and culture must complete the following hours from among the depth requirements. Additionally, students are encouraged to enroll in an internship during their junior or senior year.

    Courses
    Credit Hours

    SCOM 248. Intercultural Communication

    3

    SCOM 347. Communication, Diversity and Popular Culture

    3

    SCOM 349. Ethnographic Approaches to Communication Studies

    3
    SCOM 381. Communication Criticism
    3
    SCOM 448. Seminar in Cultural Communication
    3
    Choose one of the following:
    3
         SCOM 348. Communication and Gender  

         SCOM 352. Communication and Social Movements


     
    18

     

    Health Communication Studies

    This concentration prepares students to study communication in a variety of contexts within the health care environment. Students study communication interaction between health professionals and patients/clients and health promotion communication strategies. This concentration prepares students for a variety of careers including public relations director in a health care context, hospice manager, health director for corporations and many others.

    In addition to the 15 hours of required communication studies courses, students studying health communication must complete the following hours from among the depth requirements. Students are encouraged to enroll in an internship during their junior or senior years.

    Courses
    Credit Hours

    SCOM 260. Introduction to Public Relations

    3

    SCOM 261. Public Relations Techniques I Written

    3

    SCOM 270. Introduction to Health Communication

    3
    SCOM 350. Organizational Communication
    3
    SCOM 470. Health Communication Campaigns
    3
    Choose one of the following:
    3
         SCOM 381. Communication Criticism  
         SCOM 385. Qualitative Communication Research Methods

     
    18

     

    Interpersonal Communication Studies

    Students analyze how messages are used to manage personal relationships in social and professional contexts. By examining research, theory and processes of interpersonal communication, students learn important principles for managing impressions and building rapport, identifying needs and pursing influence goals, reducing relational uncertainty and adapting to change. Students completing the concentration learn to communicate the value of healthy relationships, are well prepared for graduate school, and develop relational skills for excelling in careers such as peer counseling, education, family and human services, sales and management, aging services, ministry and community leadership.

    In addition to the 15 hours of required communication studies courses, students must complete the following 18 hours from among the depth requirements. Students are encouraged to enroll in an internship as well as become involved in a research or community service project during their junior or senior years.

    Courses
    Credit Hours

    SCOM 320. Interpersonal Communication

    3

    SCOM 340. Interviewing

    3

    SCOM 345. Nonverbal Communication

    3
    SCOM 440. Family Communication
    3
    Choose one of the following:
    3
        SCOM 231. Introduction to Alternative Dispute Resolution  
        SCOM 247. Small Group Communication
        SCOM 248. Intercultural Communication
        SCOM 270. Health Communication
    Choose one of the following:
    3
         SCOM 381. Communication Criticism
         SCOM 383. Communication Research Methodologies
         SCOM 385. Qualitative Communication Research
         SCOM 386. Communication Survey Research

     
    18

    Students are encouraged to enroll in SCOM 330, Special Topics in Interpersonal Communication, in partial fulfillment of their SCOM elective requirement.

     

    Organizational Communication Studies

    Organizational communication involves the study of the ways people interact within organizations, such as business, government, education and nonprofit groups. The specific focus of this concentration is internal and external communication of organizations. This concentration prepares students for careers in business and for the study of law.

    In addition to the 15 hours of required communication studies courses, students studying organizational communication must complete the following 18 hours from among the depth requirements.

    Additionally, students are encouraged to enroll in an internship during their junior or senior year.

    Courses
    Credit Hours
    SCOM 331. Communication and Conflict
    3

    SCOM 350. Organizational Communication

    3

    SCOM 358. Business and Professional Communication Studies

    3
    SCOM 449. Communication Training
    3
    SCOM 450. Advanced Organizational Communication
    3

    Communication research course (depth requirement)

    3

     
    18

     

    Public Relations Studies

    This concentration focuses on the management of communication between organizations and their internal and external publics with the goal of mutual understanding and influence. Public relations practitioners work with specific publics relative to focused goals. Preparation for a career in public relations should include a broad educational base and a variety of communication skills.

    In addition to the 15 hours of required communication studies courses, students studying public relations must complete the following 18 hours from among the depth requirements in order to receive a letter upon graduation that verifies that they have completed a program of public relations studies. The school also recommends that students enroll in an internship during their junior or senior year

    Courses
    Credit Hours
    SCOM 260. Introduction to Public Relations
    3

    SCOM 261. Public Relations Techniques I: Written

    3

    SCOM 361. Public Relations Techniques II: Visual

    3
    SCOM 386. Communication Survey Research
    3
    SCOM 460. Public Relations Management
    3

    SCOM 461. Public Relations Campaigns

    3

     
    18

     

    Public Communication Studies

    This concentration is concerned with the presentation and management of messages in public contexts. Analysis, preparation and criticism of public messages prepare students for participation in public life. Professional preparation should include a broad educational base and a variety of communication skills.

    In addition to the 15 hours of required communication studies courses, students studying public communications must complete the following 15 hours from among the depth requirements. The school also recommends that students enroll in an internship during their junior or senior year.

    Courses
    Credit Hours
    SCOM 342. Argument and Advocacy
    3

    SCOM 352. Communication and Social Movements

    3
    SCOM 353. American Political Culture and Communication
    3
    SCOM 381. Communication Criticism
    3
    SCOM 431. Legal Communication
    3

     
    15

     

    Minor Requirements

    Admission to the Minor

    Admission to JMU does not guarantee admission to the School of Communication Studies. Students must submit an application for admission to the minor during the semester in which they complete the SCOM course requirements. The School of Communication Studies reviews applications for admission to the minor each semester. All students interested in minoring in communications studies, conflict analysis and intervention, or health communication must apply for a limited number of spaces. Admission to the minor is based on availability to the most qualified students. Applicants with an average of 2.7 in SCOM 240 and SCOM 245 and a cumulative 2.7 GPA at JMU will be automatically admitted. Other applicants will be admitted based on qualifications and availability of spaces.

    Once admitted to the School of Communication Studies, a student cannot retroactively apply more than nine hours of SCOM courses, including SCOM 240 and SCOM 245, to her/his minor.

     

    Communication Studies Minor

    A minor in communication studies requires 18 hours of course work in communication studies beyond the General Education requirement, including SCOM 240 and SCOM 245, and a minimum of nine hours at the 300 level or above. Before a student begins a minor in communication studies, the school director and the student’s adviser must approve his or her planned program of study.

     

    Conflict Analysis and Intervention

    The minor in conflict analysis and intervention prepares students to analyze conflict interaction and explore various methods of formal and informal conflict intervention in interpersonal, workplace, and legal contexts. The program is intended for students not majoring in communication studies who wish to supplement and augment their major area of study. The requirements for a conflict analysis and intervention studies minor are 18 credit hours.

    Courses
    Credit Hours
    SCOM 231. Introduction to Alternative Dispute Resolution
    3
    SCOM 240. Process of Human Communication
    3
    SCOM 245. Signs, Symbols and Social Interaction
    3
    SCOM 331. Communication and Conflict
    3
    SCOM 332. Mediation
    3
    Choose one from the following:
    3
         SCOM 247. Small Group Communication
         SCOM 248. Intercultural Communication
         SCOM 270. Introduction to Health Communication
         SCOM 345. Nonverbal Communication
         SCOM 348. Communication and Gender
         SCOM 350. Organizational Communication
         SCOM 352. Communications Social Movements
         SCOM 353. American Political Culture and Communication
         SCOM 431. Legal Communication

     
    18

     

    Cultural Communication Minor

    The minor in cultural communication is designed to provide students with principles and theories of communication processes that help explain dynamics of intercultural interactions in personal and professional contexts. The program is intended for students not majoring in communication studies who wish to augment their major area of study, develop skills of cultural competence and increase their awareness of diversity.

    Courses
    Credit Hours
    SCOM 240. Processes of Human Communication
    3
    SCOM 245. Signs, Symbols, and Social Interaction
    3
    SCOM 248. Intercultural Communication
    3
    SCOM 349. Ethnographic Approaches to Communication Studies
    3
    SCOM 448. Seminar in Cultural Communication
    3
    Choose one from the following:
    3
         SCOM 347. Communication, Diversity and Popular Culture
         SCOM 348. Communication and Gender

     
    18

     

    Health Communication Minor

    The minor in health communication is designed to provide students not majoring in communication studies with conceptual and applied knowledge about communication interaction and its effects on health care, health care practitioners and patients/clients. In addition, the minor should provide students with knowledge of the functions of communication within health care organizations. It is designed for students pursuing careers in health communication or other health care fields.

    Courses
    Credit Hours
    SCOM 240. Process of Human Communication
    3

    SCOM 245. Signs, Symbols and Social Interaction

    3
    SCOM 270. Introduction to Health Communication
    3
    SCOM 350. Organizational Communication
    3
    SCOM 450. Advanced Organizational Communication
    3
    SCOM 470. Health Communication Campaigns
    3

     
    18

     

    Political Communication Minor

    The School of Communication Studies and the Department of Political Science offer a joint minor in political communication with emphases on political campaigning and interest groups. The purpose of this minor is to provide students with conceptual, practical and applied knowledge in the fields of public and private interest groups and political campaigns. For a full description of this minor, refer to “Interdisciplinary Programs.” This minor is exempt from the School of Communication Studies minor admissions policy.