Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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1 The University of Michigan Department of communication Studies 5370 North Quad 105 S. State St. Ann Arbor, MI Phone: Fax: Web: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 1. What is Communication Studies at Michigan? The major in Communication Studies focuses on the history, content and impact of the mass media and new, emerging media. We emphasize four crucial reasons for studying the mass media: Their enormous influence on our culture and those around the world Their role in shaping our individual and collective identities (including our attitudes toward others) Their centrality to everyday life, politics, the economy, and public policy Their impact on democratic institutions 2. Who majors in Communication Studies? At present, there are approximately 500 Communication Studies majors at the University of Michigan. Upon graduation, the majority of these students seek jobs in: marketing, advertising, public relations, and journalism (print or broadcasting). A growing number hope to apply their degree in Communication Studies to careers in new and social media technology. The curriculum is also excellent preparation for students who plan to continue their education in graduate or professional school programs. 3. What kind of job can I find with a Communication Studies degree? In today s information society, a degree in Communication Studies has a wide-variety of applications. In addition to the broad-based liberal arts education you will acquire a set of analytical skills and a core of knowledge that is widely applicable to different jobs within the communications field. Some of these include: corporate communications, news and social media, public relations, consumer communications, advertising, marketing, market research, print media, radio/television, multi-media, publishing, literary agent, public affairs, government, and education. 4. How do I become a Communication Studies major? The department is part of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA). Students who are interested in majoring in Communication Studies at Michigan must first be officially accepted to LSA. To declare Communication Studies as a major, you must have completed the four prerequisite courses. COMM 101, 102, 121 and 122 must be completed with a grade of C- or higher in each course. To be eligible to declare the major you must have at least a 2.7 prerequisite grade point average. Students must declare no later than second semester junior year. 5. When should I begin taking the prerequisite courses? Students interested in majoring in Communication Studies should begin taking the prerequisite courses no later than the first semester of sophomore year, preferably the end of freshman year. All four prerequisite courses must be completed before declaring the major. 6. How do I declare the major? After completion of the four prerequisite classes with at least a 2.7 prerequisite grade point average, an in-person declaration briefing is required to declare the Communication Studies major. This briefing is critical to learn about major requirements, department registration procedures and department policies. Appointments are made online through the Department s website: Students cannot declare by , phone, or fax. 7. Can I declare before finishing the required prerequisite courses? No, you must complete all required prerequisite courses (Comm 101, 102, 121 and 122) with a C- or better.

2 Official grades must be recorded on the student s official transcript. To be eligible to declare you must have at least a 2.7 prerequisite grade point average. 8. I ve heard that there will not be an admission application process anymore. Is this true? YES, this is true! You will no longer have to apply for admission to the major but there will still be an admission standard in order to declare. 9. What do I have to do in order to be eligible to declare a COMM major under the new curriculum? Students must finish Comm 101, Comm 102, Comm 121 and Comm 122 with at least a 2.7 prerequisite grade point average (GPA). Instructions for calculating your prerequisite GPA are on the front page of the checklist. 10. What if I don t have a 2.7 prerequisite GPA. Can I still declare the major? No, if you do not have a 2.7 prerequisite GPA you will need to seek an alternate major. You are strongly encouraged to meet with your LSA advisor to discuss these plans. 11. Does this mean I have to have a 2.7 (B-) in every prerequisite course in order to declare? No, the average of the grades in all four prerequisite classes must be at least What if I have a 2.67 GPA in the prerequisites? Can I round that up and declare? No, we use the same grade point average calculations as LSA and will require at least 43.2 honors points in the prerequisite classes, which is equal to a 2.7 grade point average. Honor points are defined in the LSA Academic Standards and Requirements (LSA Bulletin). 13. If im declaring in May or September and Ive taken a COMM ULWR course, do I have to take the two, 200- level COMM core Courses? Yes, you will need to fulfill this requirement. 14. If I don t have a 2.7 prerequisite GPA, can I re-take prerequisite classes to raise my GPA? No, this has not changed. We will not substitute grades from re-taken prerequisite courses. You should meet with your LSA advisor to discuss alternate major plans. 15. When should I schedule an advising appointment? You may meet with a Communication Studies department advisor as early as freshman year. Appointments are made online through the department s website: Advising appointments for prospective and declared majors are highly encouraged to be scheduled prior to registration in Wolverine Access. Faculty advising appointments are available September through April. Advising appointments with the Undergraduate Program Coordinator are available all year. 16. I need to see an advisor about my courses, the major, internships, etc. All undergraduate students need to go online to then click on Make an Advising Appointment to make an appointment. Prospective U-M students may make an appointment by contacting the Undergraduate Program Coordinator at: at least 2 weeks prior to the planned visit to the University of Michigan. 17. Who do I make an appointment with for: Pre-major Advising: Cheryl Erdmann Senior Audits (Major Release Forms): Cheryl Erdmann Study Abroad courses: Professor Kwak Honors Advising: Professor Huesmann Domestic Transfer Credit: any faculty advisor Internship (Comm 321): Professor Kwak 18. I m having a problem making an appointment on-line. Contact the department by phone ( ) or by 2

3 19. What are the Communication Studies major requirements? After completion of the four prerequisite courses (Comm 101, 102, 121, 122) and declaration of the major, students must complete the following requirements: Two (2), 200-level Comm core courses One (1), 300-level Comm ULWR course from courses numbered Comm additional upper-level (300 or 400) Comm elective credits One (1) Comm capstone seminar from courses numbered Comm *Including the prerequisite courses, the major requires 40 total credits. 20. Can the curriculum be completed in 4 years? The Communication Studies major may typically be finished within 4 years if all prerequisites are completed by the beginning of the second semester junior year. Transfer students may have a difficult time completing the prerequisites in enough time to finish all requirements within two years. A minimum of 5 terms is needed to complete the major. All students are strongly encouraged to schedule an advising appointment in the department to discuss the Communication Studies major. Transfer students may schedule an advising appointment by ing the Undergraduate Program Coordinator at before beginning courses at the University of Michigan. U-M students at the Ann Arbor campus must schedule an appointment through the department s website: Click on Make an Advising Appointment. 21. Can the credits of a repeated COMM course with a different topic titles count towards major requirements? Yes. Several topics courses are offered in the department. These courses may be repeated for credit, for up to 6 total credits under different topics. Comm 404, 405, 408, 409, 419 and 439 are repeatable for up to 6 credits. Repeatable courses must be taken under different topic titles in order to be counted toward the major. 22. What courses comprise my major G.P.A? COMM 101, 102, 121, 122, and the 24 credits in Communication Studies from requirements 1 and 2 listed on the major checklist. 23. How do I calculate my major G.P.A? Honor point values: A+/A = 4.0, A- = 3.7, B+ = 3.3, B = 3.0, B- = 2.7, C+ = 2.3, C = 2.0, C- = 1.7, D+ = 1.3, D = 1.0, D- = 0.7, E = 0.0 a. For each COMM course (including prerequisites) convert the letter grade to the numerical equivalent. b. Multiply the numerical equivalent by the # of credit hours in each course to determine the honor points for the course. c. Add the honor points for each course to determine the total honor points for the major. d. Divide the total honor points by the total # of credit hours to determine the average major GPA. 24. When will my grades for X class show up online? Faculty have up to 72 hours after their scheduled final exam period to submit course grades. 25. Does a Pass/Fail course satisfy the major requirements? No, LSA does not allow Pass/Fail elections to be used to meet requirements for the major. 26. What is a cross-listed course? Cross-listed courses are courses shared between two or more departments. Cross-listed (NOT meets with ) courses may count toward the requirements for more than one major. You must verify with both major advisors whether you may use a cross-listed course to fulfill major requirements. 27. What about Transfer and Study Abroad Credit? Declared Communication Studies majors have the opportunity to earn up to 6 upper-level credits of facultyapproved coursework completed at another institution, either inside or outside the United States, to count toward the major requirements. No transfer credit is allowed for any prerequisite course! 3

4 For more information go to our website at: Can I double major? Many students choose to combine their major in Communication Studies with a major in another department. In order to double major you must complete all requirements of both departments. Double majors with Communication Studies commonly include: Political Science, for students interested in law and government service Psychology, for students interested in advertising or public relations English, for those interested in print or broadcast journalism International Studies, for those interested in international media. 29. What classes are being offered next semester? The prerequisite courses (Comm 101, 102, 121 and 122) and the 200-level core courses (Comm 251, 261, 271 and 281) are offered every Fall and Winter term. In addition, the Department attempts to offer Comm 101 and/or 102 during the Spring and/or Summer half-terms. Comm 121 and Comm 122 are NOT offered during Spring or Summer half-terms. A variety of 300-level ULWR, 400-level capstone seminars and 300 and 400-level elective courses are offered each Fall and Winter term. During the Spring and Summer half-terms, the department offers two or three 300 and 400-level courses. The course schedule and LSA Course Guide for each term are opened for student viewing approximately 3 weeks prior to pre-registration backpacking. For example, backpacking for Fall, Spring & Summer terms begins around mid-march, so the schedule will be viewable about the 3rd week of February. Backpacking for Winter term begins around mid-november, so the schedule will be viewable about the 3rd week of October. These dates are approximate and are dependent on the Registrar s Office scheduling timelines. Prior to the release of the schedules for viewing, all course offerings are tentative and specific courses and schedules will not be available for release to students. 30. I m waitlisted for a course. How do I get in? DO NOT THE INSTRUCTOR. You must attend the first two lectures and, if applicable, the first discussion/lab section meeting. Attendance is critical. Instructors will issue permissions according to the department policies after the first week of class. If you receive a permission you will need to register for the class. Waitlist and permission policies are found at I m having difficulty registering for a class. Check the notes in Wolverine Access to see if the class is closed or reserved. Student Help pages in Wolverine Access contain information about registration. If you still experience difficulty contact Student Services at the Registrar s Office at I need a permission. You must be on the Wolverine Access electronic waitlist. Permissions are only given by the instructor of the course after the term starts. You must attend class and talk to the instructor. Our waitlist and permission policies can be found at I need a Senior Audit. Go to to set up an appointment on-line with the Undergraduate Program Coordinator. Click on Make an Advising Appointment, then choose Major Release Form as the type of appointment. Every student must have a Major Release Form appointment to begin the senior audit process. You should schedule this appointment during the semester BEFORE you plan to graduate. 34. What is a Major Release Form? You must complete a Major Release Form before graduation. It is part of the senior audit process. The Major Release Form requires an appointment with the Undergraduate Program Coordinator. Appointments must be made online through the department s website: The Undergraduate Program Coordinator will only complete Major Release Forms for declared majors. The purpose of the Major Release 4

5 Form is to inform you and notify the academic auditor which courses are still required for successful completion of the major. You must also apply for graduation online through Wolverine Access. The LSA Auditors will conduct an academic audit regarding all academic rules, and a copy to you. In general, you should apply for graduation and complete the Major Release Form the semester prior to the final term. For example, if you are expecting to graduate in April complete the steps for graduation by the previous December. You may complete the steps within the same term as graduation however your name may not appear in the graduation commencement brochure. 35. Does the department offer undergraduate awards. Award information and applications can be found on the Communication Studies undergraduate CTools site and in the department offices. Only declared Communication Studies majors are eligible to apply for departmental awards. 36. Does the Department offer courses in public relations, marketing, journalism and advertising? The curriculum does not include courses that teach vocational skills or offer pre-professional training in any of these fields. The curriculum involves the study of topics such as basic information and persuasion processes (in advertising and public relations contexts), journalistic performance, media economics, and a host of other topics that are clearly germane to work in media-related professions. According to people working at the highest levels in industry, the best preparation for work in the media is a broad-based liberal arts education, not narrow vocational training. The curriculum continues to value and involve writing, critical thinking, information analysis and problem solving skills. There will be ample writing work in substantive courses, plus courses designed to satisfy the upper level writing requirement. 37. How do I find an internship? Internships can be an ideal way to gain valuable hands-on skills and define an area of interest within the field of communication. The department encourages and supports majors in internships that supplement academic training. The department does not place students in internships. You must research and find your own internships. You may begin searching for internships as early as your first year at college. Information can be found through department s to declared majors, on-line resources, U of M s Career Center and the undergraduate student group, MACS. 38. Is financial assistance available for summer internships? Each year the department offers a limited number of summer internship stipends and awards to declared Communication Studies majors participating in unpaid, summer internships. You may find more information through the department s undergraduate C-Tools site or on the website at What about the senior year honors program? For students with strong academic records and a desire to pursue individual scholarly research, the honors program in Communication Studies offers a special opportunity. Honors students design and conduct an individual research project during their senior year and write a senior thesis on the results of their research. Students admitted into the honors concentration take a year-long seminar during their senior year (Communication Studies 491 and 492) while they are conducting their research and writing their theses. To be eligible you must have an overall grade point of > 3.40 and a grade point in Communication Studies of > Additional information and application can be found on the Communication Studies undergraduate C-Tools site, and on our website Will the Communication Studies program prepare me for graduate school? The Communication Studies degree is designed to provide preliminary training for those interested in pursuing graduate study in such areas as the social sciences or the humanities or professional degrees in law, business, or journalism. 41. What should I do if I want more information or need help with academic planning? For information regarding the Communication Studies major schedule an appointment online at the department s website: 5

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