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Communication Studies - Professional Resources

divisions of the field; academic and professional associations; college communication programs.

Divisions of the Field

The Communication discipline has roots in several other disciplines. Speech and Journalism programs were once housed in English departments, whereas Mass Communication and Interpersonal Communication faculty often received extensive training in the social sciences, such as Psychology and Sociology. Today, the common theme of Communication Departments is a focus on messages and the people who send and receive them. The discipline has grown over the years, to the point where there are many subspecialties. Listed below are some of  these areas of specialization.

National and international professional associations also help define the major divisions of the field. These divisions are common throughout the U.S., regions of the U.S., and world. Most universities offer distinct courses of study in these areas. Some of these areas even have web sites devoted to them; we've included several of these.

Divisions or sections comprised of specific populations or those interested in similar professional issues also exist for: Elementary/Secondary; Community College; Small College; Senior College; Graduate School; Women's Studies; Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Studies; African American Communication; and La Raza.

Academic and Professional Associations

Professional organizations provide numerous services for their members. They all provide a place for people (a) to meet others, (b) to gain relevant knowledge and information, and (c) to become part of an organized collective with common interests and goals. These organizations often have special student sections for newcomers.

Academic Associations

  • National Communication Association
    This site contains a wealth of information. Be sure to look at convention information, Lambda Pi Eta and student groups listings (under What's New), an introduction to CommSearch (under Publications), listings of communication programs around the world, information on subscribing to CRTNET News (under Research), and other organizations and resources.
  • International Communication Association
    Contained at this site is a description of the various divisions, publications, conferences, and additional information on the association. Check out the President's welcome (Association)! Also look at the different ICA publications and submission information.
  • World Communication Association
    Read all about the World Communication Association, its officers, journal, conferences, and newsletter. Many useful internet resources are also listed.
  • American Communication Association 
    This site is, itself, a guide to the discipline. It points to different subdisciplines of the field. Click on ACA Electronic Reference Desk and then on Communication Associations.

Regional organizations:

Professional Associations

College Communication Programs

There are hundreds of undergraduate college programs in communication in the United States. The following list of undergraduate and graduate programs is useful in finding quality education in this discipline.

For advice on whether or not to attend graduate school:

Advice for Undergraduates, Phil Agre

Professional Listservs for Students

 The Kent State University Communication Studies Program