Cover Photo Image

From the School of Communication Studies Director

Welcome to the School of Communication Studies at James Madison University! Whether you’re a current student, a prospective student or a guest, we encourage you to consider all that the school has to offer. 

We are proud to play a central role in general education, with almost every student at the university taking one of our fundamentals of human communication courses during freshman year. Additionally, we offer a wide range of coursework grouped into a variety of concentrations for our undergraduate majors, including advocacy, conflict, cultural, health, interpersonal, organizational and public relations. We also offer several minors in health, culture, and conflict analysis and intervention, and we have just taken over administration for the Sport Communication minor. We are excited to have a new master’s degree program in Communication and Advocacy, with our first group of students graduating in May 2015.

Students are encouraged to participate in any of the large number of organizations and activities associated with the school. Our debate and individual events teams are consistently among the best in the country, and both groups offer many opportunities for involvement beyond joining the team. Majors and minors are welcome to join any of the student organizations within the school that include Lambda Pi Eta (a national communication honor society), the International Association of Business Communicators, the Shout Out feminist blog, the Public Relations Students Society of America, and more.

The faculty and students in our program are highly engaged with a wide range of groups in the community and around the country. The school is the home for the Institute for Constructive Advocacy and Dialogue (ICAD), whose ongoing outreach efforts establish connections between the university and the broader community. In communication studies, many classes feature service-learning projects wherein students assist nonprofit organizations in the Harrisonburg community with their special events and communication efforts. Our faculty regularly presents at a wide range of conferences and publishes research in some of the top journals in our field, while our undergraduates are consistently successful in having their own research accepted at high profile academic conferences. When our alumni return for SCOM events, they frequently discuss how the coursework and other experiences in the major have been helpful in their chosen professions.

You can find a great deal of information about us on the website, while Facebook and Twitter are other good places to look for the latest news concerning our activities. Don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Toni Whitfield, the assistant director of the School, or me if you have any question. Thanks for stopping by!

Eric Fife


Eric Fife

Professor and SCOM Director

Back to Top