2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Jun 22, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Department of Communication Studies

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Schools & Departments

Click here for the Department of Communication Studies Faculty

Communication Studies is the oldest department at Emerson College, and the first Communication Department in the United States. Top ranked nationally, Communication Studies’ programs engage students to be innovative storytellers, creative change agents, critical thinkers, public diplomats, and communication practitioners in an increasingly global, diverse, and digital world. From their first day at Emerson, Communication Studies students are immersed in local, national, and global projects through intensive coursework, teamwork, internships, and co-curricular activities such as the nationally acclaimed Emerson Polling; Forensics; PRSSA; OSCAR TALKS in Los  Angeles; Globe Com; Common Collective; and the Communication, Politics, and Law Association, the oldest student organization at Emerson.

Communication Studies students work with their counterparts in Barcelona, Lisbon, Mexico, Canada, Thailand, Nepal, Pakistan, India, China, and Chile with short- and long-term public diplomacy projects and intensive and immersive global programs, such as the annual Emerson-Blanquerna Global Summit, the Sports Communication and Global Public Relations Workshop in Barcelona, the Rosarito (Mexico) Public Diplomacy Workshop and Film Festival, the annual Intercultural Communication Conference, the International Academic of Business Disciplines conference, global Esports conferences, the International Public Relations Conference, and the Globe Com Project, where students work with colleagues from 16 universities worldwide. Students also have the opportunity to study abroad for a semester in locations including Barcelona, Sydney, and Switzerland, as well as at Emerson Los Angeles and Washington, DC.

Students have the opportunity to be involved in creating, planning and coordinating global events and activities connected with the Emerson Blanquerna Center for Global Communication which last year, working with Emerson Polling, organized the 9th Annual Global Summit with academics and professionals from around the world. Journalism icon Bob Woodward and commentator Katy Kaye were keynote speakers at the historic Watergate Hotel in Washington DC.

Locally, in Boston, our students are change agents within the community, creating and managing collaborative civic engagement activities with the ON THE STAME PAGE program, the global Team Harmony Eradicate Hate/We Have a Dream Tulsa project (teamharmonyfoundation.org), the Bird Street Civic Engagement Project, Boston Horace Mann Day and Evening Academy in Roxbury, the Worcester Red Sox (WooSox), and Rosarito Boys and Girls Club, as well as various digital storytelling campaigns with city, state, and national governments, NGOs, and nonprofits.

Communication Studies faculty members are engaged teacher-scholar-practitioners who bring a wealth of real-world experiences to the classroom. Our faculty challenge students to be innovative leaders and enhance career success with immersive class experiences like traveling to the Iowa Caucus and Wisconsin Primaries during presidential campaigns and other states during midterm elections; Women’s FIFA Championship in Sydney Sports Project, Sports Public Relations Workshops at the Super Bowl and ESPYs; Sports Communication Workshops; and special programs with noted alumni from ESPN, Esports, the Olympics, MLB, NBA, FIFA in the US and abroad; State Department Programs in public diplomacy and crisis management; and nonprofit and advocacy campaigns at the local, state, national, and global levels. Our professors are mentors for students to explore and collaborate within politics, sports, public relations, public diplomacy, crisis communication, civic engagement, pre-law, and negotiation.

Communication Studies prepares graduates for leadership in all areas of strategic communication within our majors and minors. The principles and practices developed in Communication Studies-being a strategic and effective communicator, as well as an ethical and critical thinker-are cornerstones for life-long success. The 4 + 1 MA programs in Sports Communication, Political Communication, and Strategic Public Relations provide a pathway for Emerson students to complete a Bachelor of Science degree and, with one additional intensive year, obtain a Master of Arts degree and the opportunity to complete courses, internships, and immersive work experiences in Barcelona at Blanquerna School of Communication and International Relations, the first communication department recognized by the European Union.

Our alumni include local, national, and global leaders in politics, public and traditional diplomacy, government, business, law, advocacy, public relations, public affairs, sports communication, Esports, project management, crisis communication and management, negotiation, and corporate and nonprofit communication, among others.

Communication Studies at Emerson is ranked as one of the top three programs in the United States. Join a 141-year legacy of success and leadership as you study the power of communication at the first Department of Communication founded in the United States.

Signature Semesters and Global Communication Programs in the Department of Communication Studies

The CS Signature Semesters and Programs distinguish our majors and focus on immersive experiential learning.

The Emerson Washington, DC, Semester may be taken in the junior or senior year. Leveraging Emerson’s alumni network and faculty contacts in the US capital, internships match students’ career goals in politics, sports, government, community service, public affairs, or public relations. Students register for 8 credits of internship and three other classes, including a political communication practicum and an international relations course. All classes fulfill course requirements in the department.

The Presidential Campaign/Midterm Election Semesters are offered during the US Presidential campaign and midterm elections. In the fall/spring/fall of these election years, students have opportunities for immersive experiences in presidential campaigns in Iowa, New Hampshire, California, and other states as well as selected states involved in the midterm election cycle.

The Civic Engagement Semester focuses on politics, public relations, public diplomacy, civic engagement, and social advocacy and community building on the local, national, and global levels. Students register for 8 credits of internship and choose two 4-credit courses from our civic engagement and social advocacy options. Recommended courses include CC 250 : Public Relations, CC 344 : Rhetoric of Social Movements, CC 356 : Crisis Communication, and CC 361 : Public Diplomacy. CC 263 : Argument and Advocacy and CC 266 : Conflict and Negotiation are prerequisites.

The Barcelona Sports Communication and Global Public Relations Workshop is offered during Spring Break and special summer modules of each academic year and provides students the opportunity to engage with working professionals in sports and public relations in Barcelona. This includes immersive workshops with BARCA in sports management, special events, and public affairs, as well as special meetings and dialogue with CEOs in global public affairs, Barcelona Olympics historians and professionals, and Catalan government leaders in the one-week intensive experiential modules hosted by the Blanquerna School of Communication and International Relations of Ramon LLull University in Barcelona.

The Rosarito (Baja California Mexico) Public Diplomacy Border and Immigration Workshop is offered in summer school and winter intensive session and provides students the opportunity to engage in an ongoing crisis communication/global public relations campaign with students, governmental and business leaders, and citizens in Rosarito, Baja Mexico, located 30 miles south of San Diego. Projects include organizing and implementing an annual film festival and public relations campaign, border and immigration issues, art, sports and gastrodiplomacy campaigns, among others.

Minor Programs

The Department of Communication Studies offers students the opportunity to pursue minors that are complementary to the major programs offered throughout the College. Students who minor in the department are responsible for completing all prerequisites. Further, the department does not allow a prerequisite to be waived or taken concurrently with the particular course requiring that prerequisite. All minors require a minimum of 16 credits. Students may count up to 8 credits from the Liberal Arts requirements toward a minor. Specific requirements are detailed below.


    Bachelor of ScienceBachelor of Science / Master of ArtsMinor

    Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Schools & Departments