UMKC Catalog


Communication Studies Department Description

The department offers courses leading to a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies.

The Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies degree offers three areas of emphasis:

  • Interpersonal and Public Communication
  • Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Film and Media Studies

The Interpersonal and Public Communication emphasis offers study in the areas of public address and rhetoric, interpersonal and intercultural communication, organizational communication and areas associated with human communication behavior including advertising and public relations..

The Journalism and Mass Communication emphasis offers concentrated study in select areas including print and electronic journalism, radio, television, journalism, advertising and public relations.

The Film and Media Studies emphasis offers a comprehensive approach to film, digital video and new media production.

The UMKC debate program operates from the Department of Communication Studies. UMKC offers a great blend of quality education, extremely competitive debate program and a wonderful city to spend your college years in.

  • Travel Schedule: UMKC has a full travel schedule and travels the NDT/CEDA policy debate circuit. This includes tournaments at Harvard, Wake Forest, Northwestern, Pepperdine, Georgia State, West Georgia as well as a plethora of regional tournaments.
  • Squad Size: UMKC has a medium-sized squad which has the benefit of allowing all debaters the ability to go to many tournaments throughout the year. Each debater will have the chance to flourish at both regional and national tournaments.
  • Coaching: UMKC currently has an excellent coaching staff. Our excellent student-to-coach ratio guarantees hands-on coaching and extensive focus for each debater. We are proud of the great coaches that we have. Each enjoys competitive success of their own and proven coaching experience. Students interested in joining the team may submit applications to the director of debate, 816-235-1695.


Special Laboratories

The department has media classrooms and production spaces for student projects, that include a video production studio with multi-camera and “green-screen” capabilities, a sound recording facility with narration booth and radio console, and post production media labs outfitted with latest software, including Final Cut Pro, Avid, Pro Tools, Photoshop, After Effects, Flash, etc. These software packages provide the tools to not only edit sound and video, but to produce animation, motion graphics, and rich media content for the web. A student equipment check-out lab maintains an extensive inventory of production equipment ranging from traditional film cameras, such as Super 8 and 16mm; to the latest HD video cameras providing the capabilities for professional digital cinematography. Location lighting equipment includes tungsten, fluorescent & HMI instruments. Pro sound gear packages are also available to students including a wide variety of microphones, booms, mixers and digital recorders. Our facilities foster the ability to light, shoot and edit professionally, allowing the students to tell compelling stories that make an impact on audiences.

The nationally syndicated literary program "New Letters on the Air" is produced in association with the department and is broadcast on KCUR-FM, the 100,000-watt public radio station licensed to the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Internships are available to qualified students; they should contact the department for more information.


Special Awards and Scholarships

The Alex and Josephine B. Coleman Scholarship is awarded each year to an outstanding junior- or senior-level student. The award recognizes meritorious undergraduate work in communications and encourages program completion. The Suzanne Crispin Williams Scholarship is awarded annually to a non-traditional returning female student in Communication Studies or Women's Studies. A Film Finishing Fund provides grants to intermediate and advanced production students and the Student Film League holds showcases of student film and video projects. Cash prizes may be awarded for winning entries. The Faye Kircher Public Speaking Contest is held in the fall and spring semesters. Students enrolled in ComS 110 courses are selected by their classmates for participation in the public speaking contest. Cash prizes are awarded. The Fred G. Andrews Jubilee Creative Cinema Fund will provide support for sponsored or co-sponsored workshops, programming for Film and Media Arts, as well as internships and scholarships for students majoring in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Film and Media Arts. The Carol Koehler Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to a Communication Studies student enrolled in a three hour internship.


Career Implications

Communication students may find rewarding careers in the multifaceted communication industry. The program is excellent preparation for careers in business, industry, health, public relations, advertising, radio, video and film production, Non-profit organizations and Human resources.


Further Educational Opportunities

The B.A. in communication studies prepares students for advanced study in communication studies, film and media, as well as in graduate programs such as law, medicine, business, public administration and those associated with the applied and performing arts.


Internship Program

Although not required for a BA in Communication Studies, the Communication Studies Department strongly recommends the internship experience as a means of linking theory to practice, and preparing students to work effectively in professional settings. Internships provide students with on-the-job experience which is both practical and purposeful. The internship program allows opportunities for experience on a national and international level.

The Internship course number is COMS 484. Each intern is required to enroll in at least one credit hour. One credit hour requires 75 hours of internship work. Two credit hours require 150 hours of internship work. Three credit hours require 225 hours of internship work. Four credit hours require 300 hours of internship work.

Information on Internship Opportunities is available in the department office. The coordinator for the Internship Program is Linda Kurz. 816-235-5846.

Advising System

Current program requirements are available in the department office. Students must file a formal declaration of major with a departmental advisor. The department highly recommends that students meet with their major advisor before enrolling in classes each semester. At 90 hours or one year prior to graduation, students should file for a final degree audit with their major advisor and with the College of Arts and Sciences. Undergraduate advisors are Linda Kurz 816-235-5846 and Judith McCormick 816-235-1120 In addition to these undergraduate advisors, students in the Film and Media Studies Emphasis may contact Caitlin Horsmon 816-235-2735 or Lyn Elliot 816-235-1708 for advising in that emphasis area.


Financial Aid

Students with University work-study assignments are welcomed as student assistants in various aspects of the department's activities.