The West Virginia University Department of Communication Studies has changed its undergraduate curriculum in order to more specifically prepare students for today’s in-demand careers.

Beginning in 2013, students majoring in communication studies will have the option to choose one of five tracks: interpersonal, health, social media and communication technology, or strategic and organizational communication. An integrated communication studies track, designed to expose students to a more generalist communication education, will also be available.

“Communication skills continue to be the number one requirement for many organizational and leadership positions,” said Matthew Martin, PhD, chair of the department. “We are paying attention to what employers want and what our students need in order to succeed in the workplace. We made these changes to more specifically prepare students for in-demand careers.”

“Our alumni and students are very excited about these changes,” said communication studies undergraduate program coordinator Andrea Weber, PhD. “We have been able to add a number of courses to our curriculum that will benefit both majors and minors.”

Once admitted to the program, students can choose one of these five areas of emphasis to obtain their Communication Studies degree.

In health communication, students will learn to facilitate preparation for health-related careers by focusing on communication over the lifespan, health campaigns, mediated communication and persuasion.

Interpersonal communication develops the ability to investigate, identify and enact effective behaviors in personal relationships with family, coworkers, small group, friends and romantic partnerships.

Social media and communication technology guides students in the emerging role of social networking and social media, in human communication for interpersonal, instructional, organizational and strategic contexts. Social media is a particularly high-demand area given the emergence of these technologies in a variety of interpersonal and professional fields.

“Many students ask us how they can use social media effectively, because their bosses and their bosses’ bosses want to know,” said Nick Bowman, PhD, research associate in the media and interaction lab and assistant professor of communication studies. “In our program, they get a chance to dive deep into the science of how people communicate through technology so they can create and sustain successful social and digital media strategies in a variety of applications.”

An interest in strategic and organizational communication shapes development in the ability to successfully navigate any organization by improving your understanding of organizational communication, social media, small group dynamics, persuasion and communication campaigns.

The integrated communication track allows students to gain exposure to a generalist communication education by tailoring their degree program using a customized blending of these areas. Students will work closely with their major advisers to choose the track that is appealing to them and matches their future career goals.
For more information about the new tracks or admission to the program, contact Andrea Weber, at 304-293-3905 or



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