We communicate to produce an effect on one another or on large groups of people. The communication science major explores how people use messages to inform, persuade and entertain.
Students apply social science theory and research to contemporary issues in media and professional communications. For instance, media effects research can focus on public opinion, political communication, media and social change, and the framing of public policy issues. Communication science also can probe the practices, processes and effects that influence attitude and behavior change.
Communication science students are prepared to launch creative and meaningful careers in roles involving communication research, organizational development, information resources and communications strategy. They are also equipped with the knowledge and skills to go directly to law or graduate school.
With 900 students, the School of Communications is home to about 20 percent of Elon’s student body. The school’s goal is to guide students to think, write and produce meaningful information in this digital and global age. The school’s four majors reflect the four purposes of communication in society: journalism (to inform), strategic communications (to persuade), media arts and entertainment (to entertain) and communications science (to discover). Electives are offered in specialty areas such as sports communications, audio recording, photojournalism, and documentary film.
Elon is one of 18 private universities in the nation with an accredited communications school, alongside Syracuse, Columbia, Northwestern, Miami, the University of Miami and others. Based on data from an annual national survey conducted by the University of Georgia, our program is ranked ninth-largest among accredited private colleges and universities and the 56th-largest of 480 programs surveyed nationwide.
The School of Communications has 47 full-time faculty and staff members, ranging from a Pulitzer Prize recipient who teaches writing courses to nine faculty members who have received teaching awards for excellence in the classroom. Professors combine years of professional experience with a passion for teaching and a commitment to helping students succeed.
Our undergraduate program is housed in the 48,000-square-foot McEwen communications building. Additional teaching and learning spaces are located on the second floor of Powell to support our graduate program in Interactive Media. Our state-of-the-art facilities include six digital media labs equipped with Mac desktop computers and large screen monitors, two television studios with a centralized control room and engineering bay, 18 advanced video editing suites, a 24-track digital HD recording studio and control room, a digital audio production lab, and a high-definition film screening room with 7.2 surround sound. Students have free access to a large inventory of professional HD camcorders, DSLR still cameras, audio recorders, light kits, microphones, tripods, field monitors, camera dollies, stabilizers, grip equipment, and much more.
Elon’s School of Communications is recognized nationally for its deep and innovative curriculum that emphasizes engaged learning and serving the public good. Students take a majority of their coursework in the arts and sciences. Within the major, communication science students explore the role of media in society, examine legal and ethical issues, get hands-on experience in technological convergence, and learn how to research, write and analyze information through the process of communication inquiry.
All students in the School of Communications complete one or more professional internships before graduation. The school has a full-time internship director to assist students in securing a quality internship. In recent years, students have been interns or worked in communication research roles at a variety of media and communications organizations in North Carolina and across the nation, including:
Communications students produce undergraduate research of significance, presenting their work at national conferences, United Nations Internet Governance Forums, the Federal Communications Commission, a U.S. Congressional hearing on digital television policy and many other venues.
Elon offers many opportunities to participate in student media and organizations, including the Pendulum student newspaper and Pendulum Online, Elon Student Television, WSOE-FM radio station, the Phi Psi Cli university yearbook, the Cinelon student cinema group, and the Live Oak Communications student-run agency.
In 2009, the Pendulum received a regional first-place award for best all-around non-daily newspaper from the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and two students placed first in regional competition for online commentary and in-depth reporting. Last year, the Pendulum received an American Collegiate Press third-place award for best online package of the year for election coverage.
In 2009, the Hearst Foundation named Randy Gyllenhaal the best collegiate television journalist in the nation.
Three times in five years, the Broadcast Education Association has selected Elon’s Phoenix14News as the #1 student newscast in the nation. Program segments produced for a weekly 30-minute sports show that airs on ESPN2 in North Carolina received a first-place award in the television sports reporting category.
In addition, Elon has an active chapter of SPJ and top academic students are involved in Lambda Pi Eta, the communications honor society.
To get involved right at the start, first-year students can participate in FreshTV, which exposes them in a hands-on way to the wide range of student media opportunities. Later, students can choose to participate in the school’s Elon in LA program, a nine-week summer experience in which students take a course and work 30+ hours a week in an internship related to the entertainment industry.
Students with high academic achievement and media experiences in high school may be selected for the university’s Communications Fellows program. Fellows enjoy exclusive first year experiences, plus scholarship assistance and a study abroad grant. Visit the Elon Fellows programs Web site for more information.
More than two-thirds of Elon students participate in study abroad by the time they graduate – one of the highest percentages in the nation. Communications professors regularly lead study abroad courses to Europe, Asia and Australia; teach in Elon’s China program; and have led the university’s Costa Rica and London programs.