Missouri State University
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Department of Communication 

For More Information

Dr. Shawn T. Wahl

Missouri State University
901 South National Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65897
Office: 417-836-4423
Fax: 417-836-4774
Email: Communication@missouristate.edu

Career Preparation

Employment opportunities in public relations, communication, and organizational communication have expanded rapidly during the past decade. As the United States economy continues to become more service-oriented, career opportunities in communication are likely to increase at a rapid pace.

Choosing to develop your knowledge of communication and your communication skills through formal study can prepare you for specific communication careers and enrich your personal and professional lives in many ways.

Today’s world is inherently communication-oriented. More individuals with communication backgrounds are required in business, industry and government. More teachers of communication are needed to train these professionals. Even with the constraints of a tight economy, career opportunities in communication are likely to expand significantly.

Programs offered through the Department of Communication at Missouri State are designed to prepare students for a variety of careers. The most common fields for communication graduates include: business, public relations, advertising, marketing, social and human services, nonprofit administration, arts and entertainment, government, international relations, education, law, health, technology, and media.  

Academic Program

Missouri State offers B.S. degrees in Public Relations and Socio-political Communication. Within the B.A. and B.S. degrees in Communication, options are available in Organizational Communication, Health Communication, Intercultural Communication & Diversity, Intercultural Communication, Rhetoric, and Communication Studies. A B.S. Ed. degree in Speech and Theatre Education also is available for those who desire a career in secondary education. A flexible 15 credit hour minor in Communication also is available.

Our entry level courses do not require extensive training or prior coursework in communication. The curriculum is sequenced to build skills and competencies gradually. However, a student would benefit from taking high school classes in English and speech. Good writing and speaking skills are essential to success in all areas of communication.

The Department of Communication offers an M.A. program for those seeking a graduate degree. In addition, an Applied Communication option is available for students pursuing the M.S. in Administrative Studies degree.

The department also offers undergraduate and graduate certificate programs in Conflict and Dispute Resolution. A certificate program may be completed by itself or as part of your undergraduate or graduate degree program. 


Students majoring in communication will select courses from the following areas. Please consult the Missouri State Catalog online at www.missouristate.edu/catalog for specific course descriptions. 

  • COM 115: Fundamentals of Public Speaking
  • COM 120: Fundamentals of Debate
  • COM 205: Interpersonal Communication Theory and Skills
  • COM 209: Survey of Communication Theory
  • COM 210: Communication Research Methods


  • COM 305: Service Learning in Communication
  • COM 307: Gender and Communication
  • COM 309: Principles of Public Relations
  • COM 315: Public Speaking II
  • COM 320: Principles of Advanced Debate
  • COM 321: Intercollegiate Debating
  • COM 322: Introduction to Argumentation
  • COM 325: Nonverbal Communication
  • COM 326: Effective Listening
  • COM 328: Persuasion
  • COM 332: Small Group Communication
  • COM 336: Communication in Organizations
  • COM 350: The Rhetorical Tradition and Contemporary Applications
  • COM 360: Introduction to Intercultural Communication
  • COM 379: Writing for Public Relations
  • COM 390: Communication and Aging
  • COM 397: Topics in Communication


  • COM 405: Interpersonal Communication
  • COM 417: Teaching of Speech and Theatre
  • COM 436: Communication and Leadership
  • COM 439: Techniques and Cases in Public Relations
  • COM 449: Communication Program and Issues Management
  • COM 495: Communication Internship
  • COM 496: Readings in Communication and Persuasion



  • COM 500: Service Learning in Communication Graduate Study
  • COM 505: Health Communication
  • COM 506: Family Communication
  • COM 509: Proseminar in Public Relations
  • COM 510: Direction of Forensic Activities
  • COM 511: Conflict and Communication
  • COM 512: Communication and Diversity in the Workplace
  • COM 513: Ethical Issues in Communication
  • COM 521: Communication, Mediation, and Negotiation
  • COM 550: Political Communication
  • COM 566: Social Movement Communication
  • COM 597: Studies in Communication Theory and Practice



The department is particularly proud of its excellent teaching faculty, nine of whom have received the prestigious University Teaching Award. In addition to being excellent teachers, our faculty are scholars who conduct research and publish in the field’s top academic journals. One faculty member was recently honored as the university’s top academic advisor and subsequently was named outstanding advisor by the National Academic Advising Association.

Faculty in the department encourage students to become involved in the community and to apply their classroom learning through internships and service learning opportunities. For example, a number of public relations students design materials, special events and campaigns for area nonprofit organizations.


The Department of Communication is housed in Room 375 of Craig Hall, a modern facility designed as a communication, language, and performing arts center. A 20-station computer classroom provides students access to state-of-the-art publishing software and other communication tools.



Student organizations and activities include the Public Relations Student Society of America, the communication honor society Lambda Pi Eta, and the Missouri State chapter of the Association for Women in Communications.


For many years, Missouri State has been recognized as having one of the best forensics programs in the nation, with a nationally-ranked debate team. Each year, our students participate in more than 20 debate tournaments from coast to coast, and the program is supported both by university funds and the generous Tom Black Fund endowment.


The Department of Communication sponsors a number of internship programs which place advanced students in jobs with local businesses, industries, governmental agencies, and nonprofit organizations.

Center for Dispute Resolution

Opportunities for training and hands-on experience in mediation, negotiation, and conflict management are available through the Center for Dispute Resolution. The Center provides mediation services to city and county courts and private individuals, as well as collaborating with numerous community groups and organizations. Undergraduate and graduate certificates in Conflict and Dispute Resolution are available in conjunction with the Center. 

Sample Schedule

Missouri State is committed to assisting students to graduate in four years--see sample graduation plans for this major.

The following is a sample schedule for this major--your actual schedule will vary.

First Semester Courses Hours
GEP 101 First-Year Foundations 2
COM 100 Introduction to Majors in Communication 1
CIS/CSC 101 or 111 2
KIN 100 Fitness for Living 2
COM 115 Fundamentals of Public Speaking 3
Self-Understanding 3
Natural World with Lab 4
Total Hours 16
Second Semester Courses Hours
PHI 105 Critical Thinking 3
PLS 101 American Democracy and Citizenship 3
MED 120 Mass Media and Society 3
ENG 110 Writing I 3
MTH 130 or higher 3
Total Hours 15