Communication B.A.

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The B.A. in communication allows you to concentrate in one of five areas of study: journalism; media communication; public and professional communication; public relations/advertising; and speech, language and hearing science.


The journalism concentration highlights news narrative, multimedia reporting, news ethics and writing for the newsroom. Emphasis is on multimedia reporting in the digital era, which well-equips students to write for both online and offline media platforms. Journalism, as a field, values social justice, giving voice to the voiceless, holding those in power accountable and pursuing truth. Our journalism courses feature hands-on interviews with real sources, guest lectures from area journalists and field trips to news events around the RIC campus and Providence. This is a practical, hands-on concentration that gives students the right tools to land a reporting job fresh out of college.

Media Communication

The media communication concentration prepares students for careers in the entertainment industry, specifically in radio, television and other digital production fields. Students are encouraged to make use of the on-campus multimedia production studio and join student-run organizations such as The Anchor (the student newspaper), ANCHOR TV and WXIN (the RIC radio station). Internships in local media outlets are also encouraged.​​​​

Public and Professional Communication

The public and professional communication concentration focuses on oral and written communication for students interested in management, government or a profession dealing with people in public and interpersonal settings.

Public Relations/Advertising

The public relations/advertising concentration is for students who are interested in a career in strategic communication: public relations, publicity, advertising and, to some degree, marketing. Focus is on facilitating communication for both an organization and its public. Using both the theoretical and the applied, an internship is required to provide on-the-job experience.

Speech, Language and Hearing Science

The speech, language and hearing science concentration gives students a basic understanding of speech, language and hearing. Our curriculum covers the core courses considered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to be prerequisites for graduate study. While an advanced degree in speech-language pathology or audiology is required by ASHA, our program offers students the necessary background for graduate study. Many of our students go on to pursue advanced degrees.

Program Details

Course Information

Program/Learning Goals

Journalism Concentration

Upon completion of this program, students will have:

  1. An awareness and appreciation of the foundation of the First Amendment and ethical issues in the media.
  2. The ability to think critically, creatively and independently.
  3. The ability to write correctly and clearly in forms and styles appropriate for scholarly research as well as the communication professions, audiences and purposes they serve.
  4. An understanding of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and other forms of diversity in domestic society in relation to mass communication, as well as an understanding of the diversity of people and cultures and of the significance of mass communication in global society.
  5. The ability to gather and critically evaluate in-depth information from diverse sources.
  6. An understanding of the history and development of communication technologies and processes and the ways in which this history has affected individuals and society. In addition, they will be able to analyze effectively the potential consequences of newly emerging technologies.
Media Communication Concentration

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:

  1. Apply social science research findings, critical theories and methodologies related to the impact of mass media on American society and culture.
  2. Understand the local and global impact of new communication technologies on political, social and economic institutions.
  3. Understand the decision-making process in mass media organizations, with focus on the organization, economic, technological and societal constraints on decision makers.
  4. Understand media ethics, law and regulation and cultural diversity and become responsible media practitioners.
  5. Understand how mass media is produced, reproduced, consumed and constructed within cultural context.
  6. Conceptualize, develop, plan and execute a media or multimedia project through the phases of production: pre-production, production and postproduction.​
Public and Professional Concentration

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:

  1. Apply research skills and critical thinking to communication in a sustained argument or discussion.
  2. Structure messages for specific audiences and develop ideas with appropriate supporting materials.
  3. Improve oral and physical delivery in public and group contexts.
Public Relations/Advertising Concentration

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:

  1. Understand what strategic communications and specifically public relations and advertising are and do.
  2. Understand the appropriate applications of theories and concepts from the disciplines of communication, psychology, sociology and political science.
  3. Understand the tools used to measure and influence public opinion.
Speech and Hearing Science Concentration

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:

  1. Apply the skill of hearing speech sounds to the process of phonetic transcription.
  2. Apply theories of speech and language development to data collected from a normal child.
  3. Understand the science of speech and hearing, including acoustics, speech perception and anatomy and physiology.
  4. Understand the principles of audiology.
  5. Apply for and gain admission to graduate programs in speech and hearing science.

Writing in the Discipline

1. Why or in what ways is writing important to your discipline/field/profession?

The ability to communicate clearly is central to each concentration in the Communication Department. Writing is at the heart of good journalism, broadcasting, documentary film-​making, public relations, advertising, and public, professional and academic discourse. Whether you create speeches, films, content for the web, advertisements, brochures, or academic articles, it is important to communicate information clearly and persuasively.

2. Which courses are designated as satisfying the Writing in the Discipline (WID) requirement by your department? Why these courses?

The courses described below satisfy the WID requirement for the different concentrations within the Communication Department. 

All concentrations: COMM 251: Research Methods in Communication

Journalism concentration: COMM 201: Writing for News

Media concentration: COMM 243: Preproduction for Digital Media and COMM 340: Media Ethics

Public and professional communication concentration: COMM 351: Persuasion

Public relations/advertising (select one from the following): 

  • COMM 201: Writing for News
  • COMM 311: Public Relations Strategy
  • COMM 312: Advanced Writing for Public Relations and Advertising
  • COMM 339: Creativity for Public Relations & Advertising

Speech, language and hearing science concentration: COMM 255: Introduction to Language and COMM 320: Speech and Language Development

3. What forms or genres of writing will students learn and practice in your department’s WID courses? Why these genres?

Students will practice and experiment with many different genres of academic, journalistic, and professional writing in the Communication Department. The genres students produce will depend on their chosen concentration.

4. What kinds of teaching practices will students encounter in your department’s WID courses?

Students will encounter active and experiential teaching practices in the Communication Department’s WID courses. Most writing assignments include written feedback from instructors, some involve several drafts with individual face-to-face feedback, and others involve peer evaluation and feedback. Learning to write well is a life-long process. Instructors in the Communication Department take pride in nurturing students’ creativity and skills as part of that process.

5. When they’ve satisfied your department’s WID requirement, what should students know and be able to do with writing?

Students who have completed the WID requirement should feel confident in their ability to communicate effectively through writing in their field. They will have experiential, portfolio-building writing exercises to demonstrate their proficiency. Specific skills will vary by concentration.​​​​​

In PHIL 351 and PHIL 356, students practice formal writing with clear analysis and evaluation of philosophical positions. They receive instruction and feedback about using good grammar and good reasoning to defend or criticize philosophical positions, and they are introduced to the responsible use of relevant scholarly resources.

In PHIL 460, students receive guidance and feedback on a substantial term paper that engages with recent scholarship and follows disciplinary conventions of philosophical publications.

4. What kinds of teaching practices will students encounter in your department’s WID courses?

Cumulatively over the course of this plan, students receive lots of instruction and feedback from their teachers on the forms and contents of their philosophical writing. They exercise their skills frequently in shorter writing assignments and have multiple opportunities for longer papers. They also engage in peer collaboration and peer review under the teachers’ supervision.

5. When they’ve completed your department’s WID requirement, what should students know and be able to do with writing?​

When students have satisfied philosophy’s requirements for writing in the discipline, they should understand the typical goals and forms of philosophical writing, and they should have practiced using common conventions of philosophical publications. More generally, they should have sustained practice in using clear academic prose to analyze and evaluate arguments about reality, knowledge, ethics and other basic aspects of human experience and thought.​​

Minors in Communication & Digital Media Production

Declaring a minor allows you to explore other areas of interest and make interdisciplinary connections. Minor areas at RIC complement and reinforce all major areas of study. By declaring a minor, you can set yourself apart as a candidate for job, internship and volunteer opportunities. There is a minor in communication and a minor in digital media production.

Minor in Communication

Minor in Digital Media Production