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Undergraduate Program

VT COMM – Focus and Possibilities

The major in communication, leading to a B.A., allows students to develop a broad understanding of the discipline and specific expertise in either public communication or mass communication. VT COMM focuses on strategic, theoretical, and practical application of message creation, delivery, analysis, and criticism in cultural and historical contexts.

Communication majors are prepared to continue their studies in graduate school or immediately apply their skills in various professional settings because of the broad applicability of both the theory to which they are exposed and the competencies they develop.  Based in a strong liberal arts curriculum, VT COMM prepares students to enter careers in mass media, business, the entertainment industry, public service, government, or professional specializations, such as law.

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Students choose one of three options in COMM in order to specialize in the discipline. Two options involve the study of public communication: Public Relations and Communication Studies. The other option involves the study of mass communication: Electronic and Print Journalism.

Communication Studies -- This option is designed to provide students with a broad overview of communication theories and practices, stressing understanding and effective participation in communication across interpersonal, organizational, and public contexts. For students interested in graduate school and/or fields such as politics, law, education, business, ministry, or medicine, the Communication Studies option could be especially appealing because of its analytical and critical approach to communication.

Multimedia Journalism: Electronic and Print -- This option prepares students for news media careers in newspapers, magazines, broadcasting and new media. The lines that separate these specialties are blurring as media convergence becomes more nearly the norm. Courses provide both practical skills and theory covering history, law and ethics, current controversies and opportunities in the changing news media.

Public Relations – This option emphasizes both skill and management functions of public relations through theoretical and practical applications. Public relations spans media, organizational, corporate, and political contexts and includes investigation and analysis of public relations situations (e.g., crises, successes), message production and campaign planning, writing and presentation, and evaluation of public relations strategies. Public relations permeates many areas of corporate, non-profit, and political careers, so this option provides students a foundation for many different career paths.

Choosing an Option

For some students, the direction is clear; others spend two or three semesters exploring the possibilities. Students deciding on an option might take development courses in two or more options in order to make the best individual choice.  The option should be declared in the sophomore year.

Advising Support Center

130 Shanks


Ms. Kim Dodson

Ms. Denise H. Young

Dr. Marlene Preston


VT COMM offers a resource for student speakers who are preparing or rehearsing speeches.  Peer coaches will work with individual student speakers or small groups so that students can get feedback and improve their skills before presenting a speech in the classroom or at a conference. 

This free service is provided by the department to help students across majors develop competence in oral communication.

Please see the CommLab website – -- for more information or to make an appointment. 

For information about the test-out for Public Speaking, please see


Please contact: 

Ms. Brandi Quesenberry, Associate Director

Dr. Marlene Preston, Director