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Communication Studies

Communication studies is an academic discipline that concerns human communication–both verbal and nonverbal. It deals with a variety of issues related to these processes, including the sharing of meaning, the encoding and decoding of messages, and the development of relationships using communication in a variety of contexts.

Our department focuses on interpersonal communication, intercultural communication, nonverbal communication, and theories of communication, among other areas.

SHSU ranked #8 on the Best Online Master's in Communication Studies list!

The online master's degree and certificate programs are a great opportunity for secondary school teachers, community and small college instructors, human resources managers, nonprofit and community advocates, and those in management positions to advance their careers.

Bachelor of Arts &
Bachelor of Science

The communication studies undergraduate program may be completed as a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. In both degree paths, you will study nonverbal communication, intercultural communication, family communication, principles of persuasion, communication theories, conflict management, and more. The major course work will provide you with the skills necessary to effectively communicate in interpersonal, small group, and various other contexts.


The minor in communication studies is 18 hours and available face to face or completely online. The course work will prepare you with the soft skills needed to work in almost any field. Many communication studies minors are majoring in fields such as health care, education, criminal justice, business, or engineering. Course work in persuasion, conflict management, deception, and intercultural communication offer real world skills to help you navigate interactions in these fields.

Undergraduate Certificates

The undergraduate certificate programs in communication are designed to satisfy current market demands for professional communication skills. These certificates highlight transferrable specialist skills, allowing you to distinguish yourself from other candidates to potential employers, scholarship committees, or internship committees.

Undergraduate certificates are freestanding credentials that can be earned as a standalone certification or awarded on the way to a bachelor’s degree.

Master of Arts

The online communication studies graduate degree program focuses on advanced topics in the field, including conflict resolution, health communication, gendered communication, computer mediated communication, organizational communication, and interpersonal and family communication. These areas of study exemplify common topics in communication research. The MA program is designed for aspiring doctoral students in communication studies and is also beneficial for professionals wishing to advance their careers.

18-Hour Graduate Certificate

In addition to the master’s degree, the department offers an 18-hour certificate program for those who wish to advance their careers. The certificate is a great option for high school teachers with a graduate degree who are looking to teach dual credit communication courses.


  • Q: What is the difference between a BA and BS?

    • Bachelor of Arts requires coursework in foreign language, philosophy, and creative arts.
    • Bachelor of Science requires coursework in natural sciences and math or computer science.
  • Q: What career paths do these degrees lead to?

    • Corporate Trainer
    • Diplomat
    • Community Affairs Director
    • Management
    • Human Resources
    • Teaching at all levels
    • Development Coordinator
    • Public Advocacy
    • New Media Content Manager
    • Government Relations
    • Fundraising Manager
    • Nonprofit Director
    • Lobbyist
    • Patient Advocate
  • Q: What marketable skills do these degrees provide?

    • Professional oral and written communication
    • Effective presentation skills
    • Research and analytical skills
    • Evaluation of sources and information validity
    • Data synthesis
    • Critical thinking and the ability to compare and contrast information
    • Conflict management and resolution
    • Interpersonal communication
    • Listening skills
    • Leadership and teamwork
    • Problem solving
    • Ethical communication
  • Q: What is the admissions deadline?

    Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science

    See the admissions application deadlines on the Admissions page.

    Master of Arts

    Applications to the online communication studies master’s program are reviewed on a rolling basis, with priority application deadlines of: March 1st for the fall semester; October 1st for the spring semester. We will accept and continue to review applications until all program slots are filled.

    Applications must be submitted by the admissions application deadlines.

Alumni Testimonials

Lauren Archer Hodge

Lauren Archer Hodge

Choosing to attend Sam Houston State University and major in Speech Communication with a minor in Mass Communications was one of the best decisions I have ever made.... My career in education has lead me to be in positions as a classroom Teacher, Assistant Principal, and currently Principal of an elementary campus. The skills I attained in my Speech Communication classes have played an essential role in the everyday job duties I perform as a Principal. Whether it’s speaking and presenting at a national conference, creating campus newsletters, to working in small groups with my fellow principal colleagues, I attribute my success to the strength of my educational background. Speech Communication/Communication Studies is a degree that you will utilize in any field of work.

Morgan Webb

Morgan Webb

My Communication Studies degree has helped me immensely in my career as a leader in the U.S. Army as well as contributing to my acceptance into 5 well respected law schools.... Communication Studies relates directly to my work because I communicate everyday! Understanding the importance of emotional intelligence and the impact it can have has assisted in my success thus far as an Army officer. All of the faculty members are friendly and the classes were engaging. My favorite course was Intercultural Communication, because it gave me insight into various types of cultures. Anyone looking to succeed after graduation should choose Communication Studies as a major or minor.

Matthew Wald

Matthew Wald

My time with the graduate program at SHSU has proven invaluable to me. I remember being so nervous when I started my first semester. Every professor however provided me with care and guidance to facilitate my journey through each and every class. I learned critical information about Communications that has and will continue to positively influence both my personal and professional relationships and careers.... The program is diverse and inclusive. I particularly enjoyed our group discussions that we participated in throughout multiple courses despite preferring to typically work in solitude. I was introduced to views and opinions that expanded and questioned my own, and helped me to personally formulate and change mine. I use what I have learned through this program on a daily basis and cannot wait to continue to utilize what the staff has taught me in forging and strengthening relationships in my everyday life. From my family, friends, and career advancement, the Graduate Communications program at SHSU has provided me with the tools necessary to succeed in every avenue.

Margaret Smallwood

Margaret Smallwood

I have another master's, and I cannot tell you how much more I enjoyed the Sam Houston program. It's a real gem. Getting my master's in communication studies was a long-time goal of mine, and when I started the Sam Houston program in 2018, I was both excited and nervous. The program was tremendously valuable to me professionally and personally.... I had majored in comm studies as an undergraduate, but in all the years since, the field had grown exponentially. With every class I took at Sam Houston, I felt like I was not only learning valuable information that is relevant to my career and personal life, but I really got how relevant the information is. Anyone who knows me knows I don't emote a lot, but the professors are fantastic. I felt like they not only were knowledgeable, but also very compassionate and kind people as well. When I ran into a rough patch, which you always do with graduate work, the SHSU professors were there for me. They approached me as a human, not a number, and were both challenging and supportive.