Frequently Asked Questions
- Does the Communication Department allow me to specialize in some specific area of the field (like journalism, public relations, or film & video)?
- Does the Communication Department have any special programs or opportunities that I should be aware of?
- When should I start taking Communication classes?
- How do I become a Communication major at Villanova?
- Who will help me choose classes relevant for COM majors?
- How do I go about getting an internship in Communication?
- Does studying abroad slow down my graduation progress in Communication?
- Is there a particular minor or second major that is recommended for Communication students?
- Do Communication students do well after they leave Villanova?
- Why is there no "s" in Communication?
Does the Communication Department allow me to specialize in some specific area of the field (like journalism, public relations, or film & video)?
Yes! We offer 8 different specializations for our undergraduate major: Rhetorical Studies, Performance Studies, Public Relations & Advertising, Journalism, Interpersonal Communication, Organizational Communication, Media Studies, and Media Production.
Our mission is to provide a grounded Communication education, rooted in the liberal arts tradition, and in the theory and research practices of the field—so these courses provide the foundation necessary for you to specialize in one (or more) aspect of Communication or to create your own course of study across the areas.
Does the Communication Department have any special programs or opportunities that I should be aware of?
Several! We offer a remarkable opportunity to spend a semester in Rome, interning within the Vatican Social Media Office, Rome Reports, Catholic News Service, and IFAD. We also offer a unique study abroad opportunity in Greece where students take courses on ancient Greek rhetoric, democracy, myth, and performance actually on the ancient sites across Greece! In our Social Justice Documentary Program students create films that are screened in film festivals across the US. We have an active alumni network for graduates of our program. We have a cutting-edge, unique undergraduate curriculum, internship opportunities across the Philadelphia metropolitan area, a strong M.A. program, and a host of new programs and activities that change each semester! In addition to all these Departmental resources, our students are active in the campus newspaper, television, and radio stations.
We recommend that students who are interested in majoring in Communication begin taking their COM requirements, COM 1000 and 1100, as early as possible—typically, the second semester of their freshman year. Although you won’t be behind if you start the first semester of your sophomore year, the prerequisite structure of our curriculum benefits those who get an early “jump” on the program.
First, and foremost, make sure that you do well in your first semester(s) at Villanova, since we require a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or above; we’re the largest major in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, so we do not make exceptions to this policy. Second, you need to either complete, or at least be registered for, our first two requirements, COM 1000 and COM 1100. If you meet both of those requirements, then drop by Garey 28, and fill out a major declaration form
Once you’ve declared the COM major (see above), then you will be assigned an advisor from our stable of outstanding full-time faculty. Once you’ve been in the program for one year, then you can, if you wish, choose an advisor whose area of specialization matches your interests. Either way, your advisor serves as a resource person for our program, and as the person who provides you the PIN necessary for course registration each semester.
You should make an appointment to meet with the Communication Department’s Internship Coordinator, Prof. Juanita Weaver. She can talk with you about the difference between credit and noncredit internships, and describe the process you go through to secure an internship in Communication.
Very rarely! Our Department sends the largest number of students abroad at Villanova University, so, as long as you discuss the implications with your COM academic advisor, there are rarely any problems. Depending on the international program selected, many students are able to transfer 6 credits toward the Communication major. If you are interested in studying abroad, but would rather do so over the summer, check out our summer Greece program. Contact the Study Abroad Office for more details, and to learn more about the Greece program, or any other international opportunities available to Villanova students!
Second majors or minors depend upon your specialized interests. COM students often double-major with a language (or have a language as a minor), which can be quite valuable in a multicultural, global workplace. Our students also major/minor in Honors, Political Science, English, Economics, Education, and, sometimes, with Marketing (in the School of Business). Double-majoring or minoring within the Department of Global Interdisciplinary Studies, for example in Gender & Women's Studies, Africana Studies, Arab & Islamic Studies, Peace & Justice or Latin American Studies is also a good option. Basically, although our curriculum will keep you busy for your years at Villanova, you do have room to add in other programs to your plan of study.
Our graduates have found great success with their COM degrees. If you plan well and coordinate your course of study, do well in your classes, get involved in the opportunities available on campus, and gain internship experience, you’ll find that many doors open up for you! If our graduates want additional education, they find success: our students have received fellowships and assistantships from some of the top COM graduate programs and film schools in the country, and others have received admission to top-tier law schools. If our graduates want to engage first in service work, they find success: our students have historically been strong candidates for the Peace Corps; as well as other programs such as Teach for America and Catholic Relief Services. If our graduates want a career in for-profit organizations, they find success: our students work in top media, PR/advertising, and consulting firms. If our graduates want a career in nonprofit organizations, they find success: our students work in local and international organizations dedicated to advocacy and policy on a number of social justice issues. Our growing alumni network is a testament to the power of a Communication degree from Villanova, and the successes of our former students.
This is a mistake often made by those outside the discipline, primarily because we are accustomed to hearing about the “communications” industries—meaning those mass media outlets such as television, internet, radio, cell phones, and the like. Occasionally, very rarely, you will see a Communication program use the “s” in its name, but this typically means that it is a media-only program. Since our Department focuses on all areas of study related to human communication, we do not use the “s,” and prefer it that way. Our belief, well-summarized by scholar Gary Cronkhite, is that “Theorists of communication may occasionally analyze specific messages, or communications, but that is not the name of their field of study.”