Communications Studies, Writing majors now available to MU students

By Megan Ake

Available immediately, two new options for a major are being offered by the Department of Communication and Writing and the Department Language and Literature.  Students can now earn a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies or Writing.

A 36-credit hour program comprises the Communication Studies major, while a minimum of 36 hours must be earned in order to complete the Writing major.  Writing majors can pursue up to three additional hours in special topics courses.

Dr. Kathleen Edelmayer, chairperson of the Department of Communication and Writing, recognized the need for such a major to developed and helped to bring the Communication Studies program to life.

“It’s such an important area,” she said.  “Everyone needs the content - everyone needs to learn how to communicate effectively.”

Furthermore, Edelmayer added that the career paths provided by this major can be potentially endless.

“What can’t you do [with it],” she said.  “So many paths are opened because the major provides tons of skills for jobs.”

The program offers three different concentrations for the prospective student to develop their skills in: Oral Communication, Public Advocacy, and Organizational Communication.  Fifteen credits must be completed with regard to the concentration, while the other 21 credits come from a core set of Communication courses that all students will complete.

The core classes allow the student to see Communication in a larger context as they focus on topics such as Interpersonal Communication, Small Group Communication, Public Speaking, and Mass Communication.

“The program is practical and applicable to real life,” said Edelmayer.  She added that it provides a means for students to learn how to not only develop arguments, but to “analyze them and understand media” too.

Allison Follbaum, a sophomore majoring in Communication Studies, enjoys the classes she’s taken within the program so far. 

“I have always loved writing in any form, and it's something I could see myself doing for the rest of my life,” said Follbaum.  “I want to become proficient at something I love doing, and I think I've learned a lot from the writing classes I've taken so far.”

The Writing major option provides yet another path for students to take at Madonna.  Dr. Ann Russell, Director of Writing Programs, developed this major when she realized that “a core group of students with a talent for writing in many forms” existed on campus, and that this group needed a major to help them further develop that talent.

“Writing is a tough career path—demanding, competitive, and not for the thin-skinned,” Russell said, but also noted that “we have the faculty and the resources to create a successful general writing major, designed to provide our students with broad experience in various types of writing.”

Like the Communication Studies program, the new Writing major paves the way for students to have a variety of career opportunities, particularly those in which writing is paramount to the parameters of the job.  Russell points to the program’s flexibility when students prepare to look for a position.

“Whether students are planning careers as fiction or nonfiction writers and editors or as professionals in other fields that demand significant writing skills, the Writing credential opens doors to employment opportunities,” Russell said.

Additionally, students in the major receive career guidance in the program’s capstone course, Writing for Publication.

Those interested in declaring the Writing major can prepare by enrolling in and completing the composition sequence of courses – WRT 1010 and 1020 – as these are prerequisites for other courses in the major.  Other information can be obtained by contacting Dr. Russell directly.