About the School of Communications

The School of Communications includes over 1,700 students, 8 undergraduate major programs and a Master of Communication program.

Formed in 1983, the School includes 40 full time faculty, primarily based in Lake Superior Hall.


Communications is a multidisciplinary liberal arts and professional field.  At Grand Valley a student may choose a major in Communication Studies or one of seven specialized majors.

Communication Arts includes majors in Film and Video Production, Photography, and Theatre In these fields communication is seen primarily as the creation of meaning in both original work and performance.  Besides language, these fields emphasize communication by means of images, movement, and dramatic action. The Film and Video Production and Photography programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

Mass Communications includes majors in Advertising and Public Relations, Broadcasting, and Journalism.  These fields deal with the communication of information to mass audiences.  Studies emphasize verbal and nonverbal messages and the constantly developing technology used in these specialties.

The Health Communication major was developed in direct response to a growing need for professional communicators in the health care fields.  Health communication majors are educated across a wide range of content in advertising, public relations, writing, marketing, and the health sciences.

Communication Studies draws on the resources of both communication arts and mass communications.  To these it adds the rhetorical tradition that emphasizes discourse - both person to person and to audiences, by public address, argumentation, persuasion, and dialogue. The Master of Communication degree is a versatile program that meets the needs of various aspects of professional communication.

In all major fields students will be expected to acquire the theoretic insights and practical skills appropriate to related professions.

In order to create a common experience for students in the School of Communications, a common core of coursework is required of all majors.  By integrating diverse disciplines and traditions, these courses help students understand the nature of human communication.

School of Communications Core Coursework (9 credits):

COM 101 Concepts of Communication
COM 295 Theories of Communication

and one of the following:
COM 201 Speech
COM 215 Story Making (SWS)

Capstone requirement: COM 495 Issues In Communication. All students majoring in the School of Communications must take COM 495 (three credits) during their senior year. This capstone course offers a synthesis of ideas and theories about one or more current critical issues in communication.


Mission Vision Values

By the Numbers


1,714 Total Students

461—Advertising and Public Relations


274—Communication Studies

386—Film and Video Production

114—Health Communication




48—MS in Communications



40 Full Time Faculty

2012 Activity

More than 22 awards and honors

More than 160 scholarly or creative works

26 journal publications

45 conference presentations

320 service activities to the university and community $44,000 in external grant funding



Page last modified November 1, 2013