Central communication studies majors experience a broad education that prepares them to take their place in the professional world. Majors are working in diverse fields such as social and mass media, public relations, marketing, management and human resources, nonprofit services, healthcare, politics and law. Award-winning faculty are experts in the field whose connections help students reach their goals, including internships and jobs. Communication studies students develop skills in critical thinking, writing and speaking for a variety of audiences in the contexts of interpersonal, intercultural, public and mediated communication.
Nearly 100% of majors are employed, in graduate school or completing service within a year of graduation
51% of communication studies majors either study abroad or participate in the Chicago Semester or Washington, D.C., intern program
100% of majors complete at least one internship or pre-professional experience before graduation
The Real World
Alex Bleadorn ’16, claims service representative, Farm Bureau Financial Services, West Des Moines
Sarah Purdy ’16, writer/editor/publishing consultant, The Write Place Publishing & Design, Pella
Emily Friedricks ’15, project manager, Webspec Design, Des Moines
Lauren Newendorp ’15, program centre manager, Ruffalo Noel Levitz, Brisbane, Australia
Morgan Baustian ’14, placement coordinator, QPS Employment Group, Grinnell
Anne Youngman ’14, community relations specialist, Mercy Hospital, Iowa City
Anna Leavenworth ’13, brand marketing coordinator, The Des Moines Register
Holly Osborn ’13, health and sports writer, 303 Magazine, Denver
Jacob Dreyer ’11, public information director, Christian Opportunity Center, Pella
Allison Fegley ’08, director of booking and event services, Hoyt Sherman Place, Des Moines
Ben Christian ’07, senior manager of partnership marketing, The Royals, Kansas City
Deputy communications director for governor of Iowa, Des Moines
Editor in chief, SEAPOWER magazine and staff vice president, communications at the Navy League of the United States
Vice president for strategic communications, America’s Health Insurance Plans, Washington, D.C.
Morning anchor, WHO-TV, Des Moines
Digital product manager, PGA of America, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Trainer, Nationwide Insurance, Des Moines
Event and volunteer coordinator, Hoyt Sherman Place, Des Moines
Director of marketing & PR, Des Moines Symphony
Central offers a variety of communication-related student groups and activities, including:
CAB (Campus Activities Board)
SCATE (Students Concerned About The Environment)
SOS (Student Orientation Service)
Admission Office Ambassador
Connect with the communication studies department on Facebook for other news and events.
A major in communication studies is great career preparation and an excellent foundation for graduate study. Our majors have gone on to grad programs in the following fields:
Mass communication and journalism
Communication sciences and disorders
All communication studies majors complete at least one internship or pre-professional experience. Students have completed internships in a variety of organizations locally, nationally and internationally, including:
Media representative intern, White House, Washington, D.C.
Naturalist, Jasper County
Marketing intern, Fit for Sport, London, England
Public relations intern, Pella Regional Health Center
Program assistant, Iowa Council for International Understanding, Des Moines
Nutritional education intern, health clinic, Merida, Mexico
Marketing intern, Iowa Events Center, Des Moines
Social media liaison and program coordinator, performing arts school, Vienna, Austria
Content communications intern, Pella Corp.
Reporting intern, KNIA/KRLS radio, Pella
PR intern, non-profit fair trade store, Pella
Strategic communications intern at JDRF, New York
Branding strategy intern, LW Branding, Chicago
Courses & Faculty
From the ins and outs of public relations to the keys to effective public speaking, communication studies prepares students with the skills they will need for the future.
Communication studies students examine the process of creating messages, meaning and relationships in a broad array of contexts. Students are first introduced to theoretical concepts that enhance their skills and understanding of communication in interpersonal, intercultural and public settings, as well as in contemporary media. Advanced students examine communication related to professional engagement and ethics, civic responsibility and media citizenship.
Shelley-Jean Bradfield, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Associate Professor of Communication Studies, interest areas include global media cultures, feminism and gender studies and the construction of identities in the media
Dennis Doyle, B.A., M.S., Ph.D. Professor of Communication Studies, interest areas include interpersonal communication, communication ethics and performance studies
Meryl Irwin, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Lecturer of Communication Studies, interest areas include rhetoric, argumentation, aesthetics, political theory, immigration, citizenship, documentary film and new media
Linda Laine, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Associate Professor of Communication Studies, interest areas include communication in organizational, intercultural and health contexts
Communication in Everyday Life
Introduction to Communication Theory
Core courses and/or electives
Evaluating Contemporary Media
Communicating Health & Illness
Communication Research & Writing
Core courses and/or electives
Digital Media Discourses
Internship in communication studies
Negotiating Organizational Cultures
Senior Seminar in Communication Ethics
Internship in communication studies
The Central Difference
Curriculum for Career Flexibility
The career world is changing so rapidly that we prepare students not just for their first job, but for the job they will have several years after graduation, one that possibly doesn’t even exist yet. To achieve this goal, students explore an intentionally broad-based curriculum focusing on concepts and oral/written skills sought by employers. Further enhancing flexibility, students often complement a major or minor in communication studies with a wide variety of programs, such as business, psychology, political science, arts or athletics/health.
Communication students complete both internships and applied projects embedded in courses. These opportunities enhance theoretical learning and provide interactions with people in a variety of settings and help students acquire professional experience and skills employers are seeking. Recent experiential learning opportunities have included:
Planning and promoting an event for a local non-profit organization
Managing an organization’s social media
Interviewing immigrants about their experiences
Volunteering and researching an organizational culture
Working with individuals with cognitive disabilities
Emerging Media Citizenship
Acknowledging that students are highly engaged in social and digital media, communication studies provokes them to think intentionally about their media citizenship. Specifically, students reflect on consuming and producing media messages that construct identities, cultures and social inequalities.
Exploring Civic Engagement
Communication studies includes a focus on local and global civic engagement, examining the role of citizen voices and public forums, social movements, strategic campaigns and risk communication. The Senior Seminar in Communication Ethics explores the intersections of personal decision-making with the needs of one’s relationships, community and society. Other advanced communication courses closely examine the inherent tensions in our desire for interdependency and social justice.
Central Adds 12 Faculty Members
Twelve new faculty members will join Central College this year — experts in physics, chemistry, music and more.
Want to find out more about Communication Studies at Central? Contact us to learn more about this major and our other strong academic programs. Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.