Department of Communication Studies

Chair: Dr. Terry Thibodeaux (936) 294-1356

Information: (936) 294-1497; Suite 410 College of Humanities and Social Sciences Building (CHSS)

Website: Department of Communication Studies

Communication Studies is the modern heir to one of the world’s oldest disciplines. Its connection to thought and language is fundamental, and its primacy in marriage and the family, in obtaining employment, and in advancing a career regardless of one’s field are well documented.


Communication Studies students learn how to prepare and present informative and persuasive speeches using the latest technologies and learn the skills necessary to effectively engage in interpersonal, small group, and organizational forms of communication in a variety of contexts. They study the nuances of nonverbal communication, the dynamics of communication in the family, the principles of persuasion, the influence and power of culture on communication, as well as lying and other forms of deception, and theories of communication and how to apply them to various contexts in today's rapidly changing world.


The Department of Communication Studies provides a rich climate in which to pursue the study of communication with a highly qualified faculty who take a personal interest in each student's learning. The friendly, cooperative climate among faculty is reflective of the general climate of collaborative learning throughout the department. Faculty participate in collaborative research projects with departmental colleagues and those from other departments, as well as providing opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students. All classrooms are equipped with the latest classroom and presentational technology. A state-of-the-art research laboratory in the department enhances research.

Suggested Minors

There is no preferred minor for Communication Studies. Students should select a minor that suits their interests and career needs. Common minors include English, Political Science, Foreign Languages, Psychology, Criminal Justice, Human Services, and Sociology.

Career Opportunities

The Department of Communication Studies offers coursework that provides for a wide variety of career choices. Faculty members and students have ongoing research programs in such areas as relationship maintenance and repair, health communication, intercultural communication, new communication technologies, and visual persuasion. The program is actively involved in advising students about course sequences available to prepare them for careers in both public and private organizations and agencies.

Communication Studies graduates enter a variety of fields, including teaching at all levels, public advocacy and public relations, governmental relations, the ministry, motivational speaking, education, event planning, website development, and marketing. Many continue their studies in Communication Studies graduate programs and in law schools.


Required Courses for Major

Communication Studies offers both the Bachelor of Arts (B. A.) and Bachelor of Science (B. S.) degree options. The B. A. option requires 14 hours of a foreign language plus a Philosophy course, while the B. S. option instead requires 8 hours of natural science plus a math/statistics or computer science course beyond the core curriculum science requirement.

Students choosing to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Communication Studies must complete at least 30 hours of credit in Communication Studies (COMS) courses, including at least 9 hours of advanced courses and 6 hours of elective courses in the program. To satisfy the foreign language requirement, all hours must be taken in the same language.

If students choose the Bachelor of Science degree option they must complete at least 30 hours of credit in Communication Studies courses, including at least 9 hours of advanced courses and 6 hours of elective courses in the program.

All students must take the following courses:

Required Courses
COMS 1361Public Speaking3
COMS 2331Intro - Comm Theory & Research3
COMS 2386Interpersonal Communication3
COMS 4381Communication Theory3
12 hours Advanced COMS credits12
6 hours COMS elective credits6
Total Hours30

COMS 2382 does not count toward the 30 hour requirement for majors.

Student Organizations

Students may take advantage of the department’s student organization, Speakeasies. The department is also home to the Lambda Beta chapter of Lambda Pi Eta, the official honor society of the National Communication Association.


The department offers internship opportunities for qualified students through COMS 4378.


The Department of Communication Studies offers several scholarships. Most scholarship deadlines are in March for the following academic at: Scholarships4Kats.

COMS 1361. Public Speaking. 3 Hours.

An introductory course in research, composition, organization, and delivery of informative and persuasive speeches for various purposes and occasions. Includes strategies for reducing speaker apprehension.

COMS 2331. Intro - Comm Theory & Research. 3 Hours.

An introduction to theory and research in the field of communication with an emphasis on interpersonal and family communication. Students prepare reviews of literature as well as scholarly abstracts.

COMS 2382. Comm. for Bus. & Professions. 3 Hours.

This course examines theory and research in interpersonal principles, leadership strategies, listening, and nonverbal communication. Emphasis is on the application of this knowledge to develop communication skills in settings such as interviewing, group decision-making, speech preparation and presentation. Non-Minors only. Non-Specializations only.
Prerequisite: Non-Majors only.

COMS 2386. Interpersonal Communication. 3 Hours.

Theory and research in one-to-one communication in relationships. Topics include perception, listening, conflict management, and the development and maintenance of relationships.

COMS 2390. Multimedia Communication. 3 Hours.

Applications of technology to the preparation and presentation of speeches and other forms of oral discourse.
Prerequisite: 12 COMS hours completed and Sophomore, Junior or Senior Classification.

COMS 2393. Computer MediatedCommunication. 3 Hours.

Students examine how computers mediate communication issues, such as interpersonal relationships, social networking, information literacy, political agendas, and entertainment.

COMS 3350. Communication and Pop Culture. 3 Hours.

Students will identify messages and meanings contained in popular culture, and will examine how messages from music, television, films, celebrities, and advertising reflect and create social norms.

COMS 3360. Interpreting Visual Images. 3 Hours.

This course will examine messages found in visual communication. Students will learn how to analyze visual messages using theoretical constructs. The course will increase students' awareness of visual messages and the persuasive impact of those messages. Credits 3.

COMS 3365. Humor in Communication. 3 Hours.

This course examines how humor functions across a variety of contexts, including interpersonal, organizational, public, and political. It is based on theory, research, and practical application.
Prerequisite: Junior standing or consent of instructor .

COMS 3370. Intercultural Communication. 3 Hours.

A study of the theory, research, and practice of communicating within and across cultures. Research in intercultural communication will be studied with an emphasis on application to the studentis own intercultural communication.

COMS 3371. Conflict, Negotiatn & Resolutn. 3 Hours.

Explores the complexities of conflict in order to understand the forces that make conflict challenging and to develop a repertoire of skills for thinking about and managing conflict more effectively in a variety of close relationship contexts.

COMS 3372. Interpersonal Health Comm. 3 Hours.

This course examines patient and physician communication skills, communicating social support for those with serious illnesses, survivorship, identity issues, media influence, and e-health across a wide range of communication contexts. These include family, culture, and computer-mediated communication. The course uses a lecture/discussion format.
Prerequisite: Junior standing.

COMS 3382. Persuasion. 3 Hours.

A study of the principles of attitude change and theories of persuasion as they apply to the speaker, political campaigns, and social movements. Fall.

COMS 3383. Small Group Communication. 3 Hours.

An examination and application of the research, theories, and practices of interaction, leadership, and problem-solving in formal and informal small group settings. Spring. Spring.
Prerequisite: COMS 2386 or COMS 3384.

COMS 3385. Community Applied Communica. 3 Hours.

Recommendations are made for improving student communication with people from differing backgrounds in community organizations. Students will work with such an organization throughout the semester for a minimum of 20 total hours over at least six visits to the service-learning site. A list of organizations is provided in class.

COMS 3390. Human Comm In Virtual Organztn. 3 Hours.

Analyzes the impact of human communication technology on organizations of all types, including political, social, religious, and educational institutions. The course will examine how communication technologies shape organizations, channel power, manage crisis, establish leadership, and redefine privacy and freedom of expression.
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing and 12 hours of communications studies courses.

COMS 4091. Independent Study in Communication Studies. 3 Hours.

This course allows a student to pursue particular problems or issues beyond the limits of current course offerings. The problem or issue, however, will be within the studentis area of specialization. This course may be taken for Academic Distinction credit. See Academic Distinction Program in this catalog. May be repeated for credit. Senior standing.
Prerequisite: 12 hours COMS completed and approval of the Chair.

COMS 4365. Nonverbal Communication. 3 Hours.

The study of systems of nonverbal communication and their effective use, including body language, vocalic, facial, and spatial communication. Students will apply current theory and research in nonverbal communication to their own communication.

COMS 4366. Deceptive Communication. 3 Hours.

(Prior SH course id: COM 466); An in-depth study of lying and other forms of deception in a variety of communication contexts, including interpersonal, public, and legal. Designed to provide empirical, ethical, and critical understanding of deception to aid students in assessing their own messages and the messages of others.
Prerequisite: At least sophomore standing.

COMS 4378. Internship In Comm Studies. 3 Hours.

An on-the-job application of skills and theories learned in the classroom for selected individual students who have completed their junior year. Internships are with public relations and governmental agencies, businesses and non-profit organizations.
Prerequisite: At least junior standing, 12 COMS hours completed, and approval of the Chair.

COMS 4381. Communication Theory. 3 Hours.

Survey of contemporary theories of communication.
Prerequisite: 12 hours COMS completed.

COMS 4385. Professional Comm. Development. 3 Hours.

This course will strengthen development of communication skills required for professionals working in complex organizations, especially non-profit and community organizations. Each student will be assigned to work with a community organizational leader throughout the semester who will provide individual assessments and feedback.
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.

COMS 4386. Family Communication. 3 Hours.

An intensive examination of interpersonal communication at all levels in the context of families. Students pursue original research projects, reviews of literature, and annotated bibliographies.
Prerequisite: COMS 2386.

COMS 4387. Relationship Communication. 3 Hours.

This course explores communication as it occurs in various types of personal relationships, with a special focus on romantic relationships and close friendships. Emerging contexts for such relationships, such as long-distance and mediated forms, are included, as are suggestions for enhancing the quality of communication and satisfaction with them.
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.

COMS 4392. Sem In Communication Studies. 3 Hours.

This course provides students an opportunity to study new areas of scholarship in communication and special interest topics offered on a rotating basis.
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.

Chair: Terry Thibodeaux

Richard S Bello, PHD, Professor of Communication Studies; Associate Dean of CHSS, Department of Communication Studies, PHD, LSU & A&M College; MA, LSU & A&M College; BA, LSU & A&M College

Frances Elizabeth Brandau, PHD, Professor of Communication Studies, Department of Communication Studies, PHD, LSU & A&M College; MA, Univ of Southern Mississippi; BS, Univ of Southern Mississippi

Yixin Chen, PHD, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, Department of Communication Studies, PHD, University at Buffalo, Suny; MA, Univ of Texas-El Paso; ME, Huaqiao University; BE, Huaqiao University

Terry Thibodeaux, PHD, Professor and Chair of Communication Studies, Department of Communication Studies, PHD, Univ of Southern Mississippi; MED, McNeese State University; BA, McNeese State University

Lisa Joanne Van Raalte, PHD, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, Department of Communication Studies, PHD, Arizona State University; MA, Univ of Hawaii At Manoa; BA, Univ of Hawaii At Manoa

Melinda Rachelle Weathers, PHD, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, Department of Communication Studies, PHD, George Mason University; MA, Univ of Houston-Main; BA, Texas A&M University

Shuangyue Zhang, PHD, Professor of Communication Studies, Department of Communication Studies, PHD, Ohio State Univ; MA, Kent State University; MA, Shandong University; BA, Shandong Normal University

Interim Faculty

Patricia J Capps, MA, Lecturer of Communication Studies, Department of Communication Studies, MA, Louisiana Tech University; MFA, Florida State University; BFA, Univ of Southern Mississippi

Terri Elaine Jaggers, MA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, Department of Communication Studies, MA, Sam Houston State University; BS, U-Houston Downtown

Nilam Patel, MA, Lecturer of Communication Studies, Department of Communication Studies, MA, Sam Houston State University; BS, Rice University

Candice Marie Shivers, PHD, Lecturer of Communication Studies, Department of Communication Studies, PHD, Walden University; MA, Texas Southern University; BA, Sam Houston State University