Create messages that convey meaning and shape interaction

The Bachelor of Arts in Communication major focuses on how verbal and nonverbal messages create meaning in various contexts.

This ranges from interactions between two people to interactions within groups. It also encompasses the creation of messages aimed at mass audiences across cultures and media. Particular interest is in the effect of messaging on human behavior. Coursework guides students to apply communication principles to a world of increasing complexity. Over the course of your studies as a Communication major, you will study…

  • Principles of public relations and advertising
  • Organizational communication
  • Rhetorical theory and criticism
  • Argumentation and persuasion
  • Media  and visual communication 
  • Popular culture
  • Intercultural communication
  • Active listening and nonverbal communication

This major is part of the Department of Communication

Degree Requirements

Major Requirements: The Bachelor of Arts with a major in Communication requires 45 hours of major courses. As part of their major courses, students will choose from one of four areas of specialization, totaling 21 hours:​

  • Interpersonal and Organizational Communication
  • Media Arts and Broadcast Journalism
  • Public Relations and Advertising
  • Rhetorical and Cultural Studies

Electives: Choose nine hours from one of the areas of specialization in the major or from the remaining courses in the major’s core; six hours must be upper-division.

General Education Requirements: The Communication degree requires 57 hours of general education courses that students complete over four years in addition to their major courses and electives.

View or download the full Communication degree plan (PDF)

Some examples of Communication coursework that students take includes:

  • Social Media for Public Relations –  Explores how to use emerging technologies strategically to monitor conversations on the Internet, engage online communities, identify influencers, establish thoughtful leadership, optimize content for search engines, and measure performance across social media platforms.
  • Visual Communication –  Focuses on the ethical and social concerns of image construction. Students will learn to design professional-looking images created with the latest image-editing and graphic layout software.
  • Communication and Popular Culture  –  Examines popular culture and the complex history surrounding it. Students will learn to analyze popular culture and will have the opportunity to conduct an analysis of an event in the Austin community.

Outside the Classroom

Communication Internships

An internship is a valuable opportunity for a student. It provides hands-on experience key to career development. It's a unique chance to experience daily life in a job and decide whether or not it's a good fit for you. You'll also have the chance to network and make important connections for career opportunities. 

For example, Tomorrow Huff put her Communication major to work as an intern with the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. As an operations assistant for Sixers Basketball and Dance Camps, she handled logistics for the teen and preteen campers, while immersed in a professional sports environment.

The following is a list of internships students have held in the past and should provide Communication majors with some ideas for what is available:

  • Austin Film Festival
  • Austin Music Network
  • Capital internship in D.C.
  • Chipps Quinn
  • Dateline NBC
  • Fox News, NY
  • Kinko's Golf Classic
  • Manhattan University
  • New York Yankees
  • Polo International
  • SXSW Volunteer Coordinator
  • Tate Austin
  • Texas Music Commission
  • Texas State Capital

Capstone Project

Our required, semester-long Capstone course examines a topic of your choosing. This completes a two-semester research/experiential course sequence, which is notable for a smaller liberal arts school. The combination of research and practical learning gives students an opportunity to hone their abilities and develop skills valued by employers and graduate schools.

What’s a Capstone? Find out.

Our Faculty

Shanan Butler

“Teaching is foremost about connection. I see teaching unfolding through both pragmatic and playful approaches of inquiry. As a result, my personal teaching style involves immediacy, humor and critical pedagogy coupled with discussion, lecture and reflection.”

– Shannan H. Butler, PhD, associate professor


“At its heart, teaching is about finding new ways to connect ideas — ways that students perhaps hadn't considered before. Sometimes that means doing it in ways that even I as a teacher hadn't thought about, which is why I have always remembered the Latin proverb: "One learns by teaching.”

– Billy Earnest, PhD, associate professor



Alumni Outcomes

Students in the Communication major complete their undergraduate education prepared to enter the workforce in a variety of fields or to pursue post-graduate education.

Marketable skills include:
  • Writing and oral communication
  • Critical thinking, especially for consuming and synthesizing information
  • Analyzing issues from multiple perspectives
  • Interpreting data
  • Crafting persuasive messaging
  • Understanding how to be influential 
  • Ability to meet strict deadlines
  • Ability to compare and contrast information
  • Project management
Examples of potential careers a Communication major may pursue include:
  • Digital media manager for an internet media company, such as Facebook, Google or Twitter
  • Advertising copywriter or content strategist on the client side or agency side
  • Public relations executive for a large corporation or an agency
  • Nonprofit specialist for organizations such as charity water, The Red Cross or the Humane Society
  • Television producer for a major network such as ABC, CBS, TNT or the CW
  • Online content creator for companies like Mashable, Buzzfeed or Upworthy

Read about our successful alumni. See what they have to say about life after St. Edward’s.

About the Minor

Students who wish to earn a Communication minor must take the following coursework, totaling 21 hours.

Required Courses
  • Communication Theory
  • Media Communication
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Intercultural Communication
  • Electives

Students choose nine hours from one area of specialization in the major or from the remaining courses in the major's core. Six hours must be upper division.

Are you a current student? Contact your advisor for next steps on declaring your major or minor.