Sep 27, 2023  
OHIO University Undergraduate Catalog 2014-15 
OHIO University Undergraduate Catalog 2014-15 [Archived Catalog]

Communication Studies, School of

Scripps College of Communication
Lasher Hall, 43 W. Union St.
Athens, OH 45701
Phone: 740.593.4828
Fax: 740.593.4810

Michael Butterworth, Ph.D., Director
Lynn Harter, Ph.D., Associate Director for Undergraduate Studies
Benjamin Bates, Ph.D., Associate Director for Graduate Studies

The School of Communication Studies (COMS) offers a liberal education, emphasizing the scientific and artistic bases of communication. The School is firmly committed to providing quality instruction in the theoretical bases of human communication and the application of theory in specific contexts. The core courses combine theory and practice, as students learn the historical and conceptual foundations of the field of communication. At the same time, the curriculum equips students with skills in speaking, writing, critical thinking, discussion, problem solving, leadership, and project planning. Students complete a rigorous academic program, consisting of courses in theory, research methods, presentations, and engaged learning practica. Elective courses in the School complement the required courses and expand the students’ repertoires of competencies and skills. Enhancing the core and major courses are study in a related area or minor, study of other cultures, and contemporary technology. Students’ choices lead to competence in such fields as training and human resources, law, politics and government, health advocacy, campaign implementation, and survey research. All told, the major is designed to augment students’ lives and careers through a clearer understanding of the effects of communication and messages in their professional and personal lives.

The COMS website ( should be consulted for the most current information.

Special Opportunities

Internship Program

For students to apply the theory of the classroom to the practical world of the workplace, the School of Communication Studies supports a carefully supervised internship program. During the academic year, students serve as student interns in a wide variety of occupational settings. Many of these internships are identified and developed by the students. The period of an internship is usually 14 weeks, and 1 to 15 credits may be earned. To qualify for an internship, a student must be a major in Communication Studies and satisfy a series of School requirements; as a result, internships for academic credit are usually scheduled during the junior or senior year. For more information regarding this program, contact the School’s internship coordinator.

Forensics Program

Through its forensics program, the School of Communication Studies provides the opportunity for all University students to meet outstanding undergraduates from 300 or more colleges and universities in intellectual competition. Approximately 20 tournaments at other schools and several held on campus enable a student to develop skills in debate, extemporaneous speaking, oratory, rhetorical criticism, and oral interpretation. Excellence in scholarship and superior performance in speech communication are rewarded in several ways. Delta Sigma Rho-Tau Kappa Alpha national honorary is open to students who excel in forensics and are in the upper third of their classes. A student need not be seeking a Communication Studies major to participate in the forensics program. For more information regarding Ohio University forensics, contact Dan West, the John A. Cassese Director of Forensics, at his email address:

Preparation for Law School

The Association of American Law Schools states that the goals of prelegal education are: (1) comprehension and expression in words, (2) critical understanding of the human institutions and values with which the law deals, and (3) creative powers in thinking. Students in the School of Communication Studies who plan to enter law or paralegal school will find excellent opportunities for meeting these goals. In addition, all Ohio law schools require an undergraduate degree from an approved institution before admission.

A prelaw student in Communication Studies will be counseled individually and advised in developing a total course of study to meet the intellectual challenges of the legal profession. Suggested areas of study include communication theory and practice, argumentation, legal oratory and communication, English composition and literature, history, political science, business law, behavioral sciences, humanities, comparative arts, economics, and philosophy. Prelaw students are encouraged to investigate the Communication and Public Advocacy concentration of the Communication Studies major.

Transferring Into the School of Communication Studies From Within Ohio University

Students interested in applying to COMS are encouraged to make an appointment to meet with Dr. Lynn Harter, associate director of undergraduate studies. Appointments are scheduled by contacting Ms. Erin Thompson in Lasher 022, by telephone at 740.593.4842, or by email at during business hours.

The School of Communication Studies permits internal applications as follows:

  • students must have a minimum accumulative GPA of 2.75 for consideration; applying with the minimum does not guarantee acceptance;
  • students in their first years at Ohio University, with fewer than 30 hours, should apply by March 1 for transfer the following fall (August);
  • students who have completed more than 30 hours should apply by October 1 for transfer the following spring (January) or March 1 for transfer the following fall (August);
  • students must apply online, using the form, which is available two weeks prior to the deadline at the School website,

University policy requires the processing of the paperwork to change programs by the Friday of the second week of the semester, or you will remain enrolled in the initial college, regardless of the application date.


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