Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

Why should I take a Communication Studies course?

Communication skills are cited as some of the most important skills employers look for in the hiring process. Business leaders consistently say the three top qualities they want in their employees are communication skills. Can you speak articulately and assertively? Are you a confident and respected leader? Do you work well with others in teams? Can you manage interpersonal conflict effectively? These are some of the skills that students practice in communication studies coursework, preparing them to be effective and successful in a wide range of professional and social contexts.

Research supports that communication courses make a difference in students' self confidence and communication competence. No matter the degree you choose, communication studies courses will benefit you in your personal, family, social, work, and community relationships.

If I can only take one Communication Studies course, which one should it be?

Interpersonal Communication (CMST& 210), Public Speaking (CMST& 220), and Small Group Communication (CMST& 230) are considered the three basic communication studies courses offered at Clark College. These courses introduce students to the basics of presentational speaking, relationships, and group work. If you want an additional Communication Studies courses, Clark offers Intercultural Communication, Introduction to Mass Media, and Organizational Communication. These courses provide a more wide-ranging look into the world of Communication Studies.

Most four year universities and colleges require at least one communication course. You should check with the institution you plan to transfer to see which courses they require. 

What can I do with a Communication Studies degree?

Anything you want! A Communication Studies degree is one of the most practical degrees for a number of career paths. Success in almost all jobs requires a good understanding of communication. Communication skills are always listed as the number one or two quality that employers are looking for in applicants. The number of possible career paths is almost limitless. Unlike many professional degree programs, there is no single job titled "Communication Expert," so you won't find that listed in the job announcements. On the other hand, you are not restricted to one career path after you get your degree in Communication Studies.

Knowing more about how people communicate, why they communicate the way they do, and the most effective ways to communicate in a variety of situations are important in any field, epsecially if you are in sales, customer relations, teamwork, training, public information, negotiation, etc. As a minor and as a major, whether you enter the work force or go on to graduate studies in any field, your undergraduate study in Communication Studies will serve you well.

Of course if you find you love Communication Studies so much that you wish to teach others at a Community College or University, you could decide to go on for a Master's Degree or PhD!
List of opportunities.

What do you study in the Communication Studies course?

Communication Studies (CMST) is specifically focused on the study of human communication within such contexts as interpersonal relationships, small groups, public communication, and cultures. Topics of study vary accordingly and include such areas as language and meaning, nonverbal communication, relationship stages, conflict management, leadership, and problem solving, and presenting to an audience. Students examine both the theoretical concepts of each discipline and its application.

What does it take to be a successful Communication Studies student?

Students that are successful in Communication Studies courses are those that attend class prepared and engaged. If you read the chapter assignments, come to class prepared to participate, and accomplish the course assessments you should be a successful communication studies student.

Are internships offered or required in the Communication Studies department?

Communication studies students are not required to take an internship, but internships or special projects are available through the department. Internships and special projects can be an asset in developing job contacts and as a valuable experience to list on your resume.

Is service learning required in Communication Studies courses?

Small Group Communication has a required service learning component to the course curriculum. Other courses are introducing service learning as either a component or as an option to coursework.

 What is service learning?

Service-learning is a method of education under which you will learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized service experiences that meet actual community needs and that are coordinated in collaboration with Clark College and the greater Clark County community. It is integrated into your academic curriculum and will provide you opportunities to use your newly acquired skills and knowledge in world-to-work situations within the community.

Service-learning enhances what is taught by extending student learning beyond the classroom and into the community. Assignments will provide a "real" and common communication experience in addition to critical reflection and analysis using the concepts covered in course offerings.

How can I get an A.A. degree or Certificate of Achievement in Communication Studies at Clark?

The department is working on offering this degree and certificate in the near future.

Where can I transfer to get a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Studies?

Whether you are planning to stay close to home or going further away, there are many colleges and universities throughout the United States that have excellent departments in Communication Studies. A Communication Studies faculty member can help advise you on your choices.

Who is my advisor?

All full-time faculty in the Communication Studies department can serve as an advisor. If you have had an instructor that you particularly like just ask them if they will serve as your advisor.

Do I always have to see the same advisor?

No. However, it is useful to have an advisor that know you and your interests but if you are not satisfied with the advisor you have chosen, you may seek out another advisor.

How do I know what I need to do about my general education requirements?

General Education requirements are spelled out in the college catalog published every two years. A Communication Studies advisor can help you navigate the information.

Will I have to give speeches in a Communication Studies course?

All Communication Studies courses require participation in the form of speaking (asking questions, providing examples, voicing insights, etc.) and active engagement in practical exercises. Graded and non-graded speeches are required in the Public Speaking course.

In the Small Group Communication course students will give a group presentation. Other Communication Studies courses will require some form of presentation whether formal or informal.

Keep in mind faculty realize there is a high level of speech anxiety among students and work hard to minimize that stress.

Will I be required to talk about personal information in a Communication Studies course?

You will not be required to talk about topics that you are uncomfortable with. However, the process of learning demands critical reflection about your life experiences and long-held assumptions. Talking through these things with others may be very fruitful. That is why Communication Studies professors take care to foster supportive classroom environments.

Why is the department so strict on attendance in Communication Studies courses?

Much of the learning in communication courses comes from participation in class discussion and exercises. Course work is frequently based on a collaborative learning approach and involves working with others in small groups or in pairs. Thus, an entire class learning environment is contingent on students, active engagement and, more basically, their presence.

Students who have frequent absences not only are less likely to have successful learning experiences but also negatively affect their classmates.

What types of assignments should I expect in a Communication Studies course?

All courses will generally have exams, written components, in-class participation components, and a presentation component.

 Will I be required to do a group project?

That depends upon the class. Graded and non-graded group projects are common and important exercises in Communication Studies courses. The ability to work collaboratively with others is a crucial communication skill in today's professional world so it is important that Communication Studies students have many opportunities to practice.

Small Group Communication courses require students to work in teams and generally produce a group project. Other Communication Studies courses might include a formal or informal group or dyadic (two person) project.

Can I take communication studies courses in the evening, on weekends, or during the summer?

Communication Studies courses in Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication, Small Group Communication are all offered in the evenings and during the summer. Interpersonal Communication is offered as part of the Weekend Degree during the Spring quarter.

Please look at the class schedule for dates and times of classes for a specific term.

When are Communication Studies courses offered?

Each quarter courses are offered during both the day and in the evenings. 

Are any Communication Studies courses offered online?

Interpersonal Communication is offered online.

Intercultural and Organizational Communication are offered in the hybrid models.

Where do Communication Studies courses fit in the general education requirement?

Interpersonal Communication (CMST& 210), Public Speaking (CMST& 220), and Small Group Communication (CMST& 230) are part of the General Education Requirements accepted under the Communication or Humanities; Small Group Communication is also accepted as a Social Science distribution requirement but can only be applied if NOT applied as a Humanities option.

Intercultural Communication (CMST 216) and Introduction to Mass Media (CMST& 102) are  accepted as Humanities distribution options.

Will my Communication Studies courses transfer to a four-year institution?

The three basic Communication Studies courses: Interpersonal Communication (CMST& 210), Public Speaking (CMST& 220), and Small Group Communication (CMST& 230) should transfer to any four year accredited institution. All other course offerings should also transfer, depending on each institution's course offerings.

It is wise to coordinate with your transfer institution beforehand so there will be no surprises. Again, a Communication Studies advisor can help you with this.

What are the differences between the three basis Communication Studies courses?

The three primary Communication Studies courses focus on three of the five levels of communication. All incorporate elements of one another within them; however the primary focus changes dependent upon the "audience" in which an individual is communicating.

Interpersonal Communication (CMST& 210) focuses one-on-one communication between an individual and their partners, family members, friends, coworkers, etc.

Public Speaking (CMST& 220) focuses on communication between an individual and a large audience.

Small Group Communication (CMST& 230) focuses on communication between an individual and a small group of people working together to achieve a common goal.

Are there prerequisites or specific requirements for Communication Studies courses?

There are no prerequisites for the Communication Studies courses offered at Clark; however, college level reading and writing skills are highly recommended.

There is one prerequisite for Organizational Communication (CMST 310); students must be accepted into the BASAM program and have completed CMST& 210, CMST& 220, OR CMST& 230.

What if I have further questions?

Contact: Professor Deena Godwin, Communication Studies and Journalism Division Chair at or (360) 992-2948.