Communication Major at Shady Grove

The Universities at Shady Grove
9636 Gudelsky Drive
5119 Camille Kendall Academic Center (Building III)
Rockville, MD 20850
Phone: 301-738-6208

Program Director: Leah Waks, Ph.D.

The department offers an exciting curriculum that prepares students for academic and professional careers in business, government, health, education, social and human services, and related fields. Courses offered by the department include persuasion and social influence, rhetoric and the analysis of messages, communication and new media, digital communication, organizational communication, public relations strategies, and intercultural communication. All students in the program at Shady Grove are required to complete mandatory advising each semester.

Admission to the Major

Students interested in Communication should have an overall GPA of 2.7 or better, and a grade of "C-" or better in each of the three courses specifically required by the major (COMM250COMM107, Statistics, or their equivalents). Applicants should also attain junior standing (56 or more transferable college credits) by the time of enrollment. For more information on admission and 1xx or 2xx-level coursework requirements, please visit the Communication website at or the Transfer Credit Services website at Requirements for the major are as follows:

  1. Complete one of the following courses with a grade of "C-" or better: BMGT230CCJS200EDMS451PSYC200SOCY201STAT100 or equivalent.
  2. Complete COMM107COMM200COMM230, or equivalent with a grade of "C-" or better
  3. Complete COMM250 or equivalent with a grade of "C-" or better
  4. A cumulative GPA of 2.7 or better

Students may repeat only one of the gateway courses and that may be repeated only once in their attempt to meet the requirements.

Transfer Students

Internal and external transfer students who meet the gateway requirements specified above and have a cumulative GPA of 2.7 in all college-level coursework may apply to the program.


All students may appeal admission decisions. Those students denied admission may appeal to the university's Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the degree program in Communication, students should be able to demonstrate the following knowledge and skills:

  1. An ability to distinguish among a variety of theoretical approaches in the communication discipline and use them appropriately and effectively in academic work.
  2. An ability to conduct research and write research reports employing social scientific and/or humanistic approaches in the communication discipline.
  3. An ability to argue clearly and effectively in a speech.

Chair: S. Parry-Giles

Director: L. Waks

Assistant Director: R. Nuredini

Academic Program Management Specialist: S. Soza

Professor: S. Parry-Giles, Chair

Principal Lecturer: L. Waks

Senior Lecturers: S. Bae, A. Nixon

Lecturers: D. Clemons, A. Dapherede, I. Genovese, J. Soeder, M. Williams

The course of study for a Communication major must satisfy all of the following requirements:

Course Title Credits
Oral Communication
Select one of the following:3
Oral Communication: Principles and Practices
Critical Thinking and Speaking
Argumentation and Debate
Modes of Communication Inquiry
COMM250Introduction to Communication Inquiry3
Fundamentals of Communication Skills
COMM130Professional Communication and Writing1
Select one of the following:3
Business Statistics
Elementary Statistics and Probability
Introduction to Educational Statistics
Statistics for Criminology and Criminal Justice
Statistical Methods in Psychology
Introductory Statistics for Sociology
Communication Studies
Communication Theory & Principles6
Introduction to Public Relations
Rhetorical Theories
Communication Science Theories
Media Theory
Research Methods
COMM304Communication Research Literacy3
Select one of the following:3
Qualitative Communication Research Methods
Rhetorical Methods in Communication
Quantitative Methods in Communication
Select one of the following Leadership & Social Change courses:3
Argumentation and Public Policy
Theories of Group Discussion
Communicating Leadership
Communication Management
Communication in Complex Organizations
Negotiation and Conflict Management
Special Topics Seminar in Dialogues and Deliberation
Interpersonal Arguing
Special Topics in Public Relations
Special Topics in Digital Communication
Special Topics in Science Communication
Voices of Public Leadership in the Twentieth Century
Visual Communication
The Discourse of Social Movements
Select one of the following Diversity & Inclusion courses:3
Communication and Gender
The Rhetoric of Black America
Essentials of Intercultural Communication
Selected Topics in Communication (COMM398B: Communication, Culture & Sport)
Rhetoric of the 1960s
Public Life in American Communities, 1634-1900
Select one of the following:3
Experiential Learning
Communication Practicum
Select one of the following:3
Argumentation and Public Policy
News Writing and Reporting for Public Relations
Mediated Communication
Communication and Digital Media
Documentary Theory and Practice
Experiential Learning
Communication Practicum
Negotiation and Conflict Management
Conflict Management
3xx or 4xx-Level COMM Electives12
Total Credits46


  • Because the department's curriculum changes over time, the department's Undergraduate Director may approve other appropriate Communication courses to meet the requirements for each track.
  • Courses required for the Communication major, but taken outside COMM, may be used to satisfy general education requirements.
  • Only 3 credits of COMM386 may apply toward the major.
  • No course grade below the grade of "C-" may count toward the major.
  • An overall GPA of 2.0 in the major is required for graduation.

Roadmaps for all graduation plans can be found here. Select the College of your major to find the corresponding roadmap.

For more information on developing a graduation plan, please refer to the Student Academic Success-Degree Completion Policy section of this catalog.

Advising is available throughout the year in the Camille Kendall Academic Center, Suite 5119. Students should check Testudo for their registration date and for any mandatory advising blocks.

Undergraduate Research Experiences

Research experiences include assisting on faculty research projects, and participating in special team research projects.

Fieldwork Opportunities

To further enhance learning and career training, the department incorporates special hands-on classes such as Health Communication Campaigns, Visual Communication, and Web Design. The department also strongly promotes internship and service learning opportunities with local and state businesses and institutions, and encourages students' participation in student-run clubs.


The department's internship program helps communication majors gain professional experience, build a professional portfolio, and take the first steps toward a career. The department structures its internship program around a course, COMM386: Experiential Learning, offered each school term.

Student Societies and Professional Organizations

Social and academic activities are available to students by participating in the following student organizations: the Undergraduate Communication Association and the Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society.

Scholarships and Financial Assistance

The department offers the Chaim and Miriam Bentzlovitch Scholarship to students who exhibit academic excellence. Each year the department distributes a call for applications through email.