Class discussion outside

About the Department

The Department of Communication Studies offers undergraduate degree programs in communication management, journalism, and public relations, and supports the university’s General Education program through both required and elective course offerings.

Additionally, as part of the journalism program, the department supports a converged student media experience, ZU Media: Student Voice of Azusa Pacific University, at The site offers students an opportunity to create journalistic content for the various media platforms of ZU News, ZU TV, ZU Radio and ZU Magazine, covering all campus news. The department also engages a nationally competitive forensics team and a national honors society (Lambda Pi Eta).

Throughout all programs, emphasis is placed on the application of Christian truth and values to the study of communication theories and processes, consideration of ethical issues, and the mastery of current scholarship in each field.

Programs Overview

The communication management major offers an in-depth study of communication in various contexts, including but not limited to classes in: rhetoric, argumentation, interpersonal, small group, organizational communication, conflict management, intercultural communication, and family communication.

The journalism major offers an in-depth study of journalism, cultivating practical experience in writing, reporting, editing, and publication production and management. Students can choose from three concentrations: News and Storytelling, Media Studies, and Sports Journalism.

The public relations major offers an in-depth study of the principles and practices of effective public relations across corporate and not-for-profit organizations, including the entertainment and sports industries.

The Online MA in Strategic Communication program equips professionals for purposeful, meaningful, and effective communication in both for-profit and nonprofit settings.

The department also offers minors in communication studies, journalism, and public relations.

Program Learning Goals

Communication Management Major

Students who successfully complete a communication management degree shall be able to, in a variety of relational, group, and organizational settings:

  1. Explain how communication creates, sustains, manages, and changes persons, groups, organizations, and society, and use that knowledge in an ethical manner.
  2. Articulate how their faith informs the study, evaluation, and practice of communication, and exemplify Christian values that affirm people’s inherent worth as they put principles into action.
  3. Identify their communication tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses.
  4. Express ideas clearly and accurately through oral and written communication using various media in academic and practitioner contexts.
  5. Utilize quantitative and qualitative research tools to explore communication worlds.
  6. Ethically apply communication theories and skills to various communicative situations (e.g., developing healthy, supportive relationships, participating in and leading teams, solving problems and making decisions, managing conflict, presenting strategic messages, cultivating healthy organizations, interacting with diverse populations, executing change strategies, and promoting the intellectual, spiritual, and emotional growth of those with whom they live and work).
  7. Identify a vocational direction where one’s communication skills can be utilized to make a positive difference.

Journalism Major

Students who successfully complete a journalism degree shall be able to, in a variety of settings:

  1. Generate excellent storytelling across a variety of media and platforms.
  2. Explain the history and theories of the media and the press which compel us to civic engagement as professional journalists, media practitioners and scholars of the field.
  3. Apply ethical principles in the gathering and production of stories based on industry standards and Christian values that affirm people’s inherent worth.
  4. Understand the fields of a variety of different media through interaction with journalists and media professionals, work experience, and various coursework.
    • News and Storytelling Concentration
      1. Demonstrate core journalistic competencies including interacting with sources, accuracy, proper grammar and spelling, research and interviewing skills.
      2. Practice skillful collaboration and interpersonal communication through editorial workshops as well as interaction with sources and publics.
    • Media Studies Concentration
      1. Demonstrate competency in traditional and new media literacy.
      2. Explain the relationship between communication technology and culture, as well as critique various schools of thought on technology and culture.
      3. Use communication and media skills to engage the culture and solve problems through digital storytelling, advocacy, and persuasion.
    • Sports Journalism Concentration
      1. Practice a variety of sports writing, broadcasting, and digital dissemination for audiences to consume.
      2. Identify key roles and opportunities within the sports industry at all levels of sport.

Public Relations Major

Students who successfully complete a public relations degree shall be able to, in a variety of settings:

  1. Identify major theories and development of the field of public relations.
  2. Understand how public relations techniques create relationships between organizations and its different publics.
  3. Apply Christian ethical principles to the practice of public relations.
  4. Select public relations strategies and techniques to solve communication problems.
  5. Utilize quantitative and qualitative tools to produce research in the field of public relations.
  6. Create professional public relations campaigns.
  7. Build a personal portfolio of public relations artifacts.

Department GPA Requirements

To graduate, communication management, journalism, and public relations students must maintain a cumulative grade-point average of 2.0 or higher in their major coursework. Any student participating in Department of Communication Studies cocurricular activities, forensics, or media production must maintain a 2.5 cumulative grade-point average.

Career Opportunities

To prepare for their career opportunities, all students are required to complete a 3-unit communication internship prior to graduation. Graduates of these majors go on to careers such as:

Communication Management Careers

  • Communication training and development specialists
  • Human resource officers
  • Corporate or personal event planners
  • Customer relations managers
  • Sales representatives
  • Higher education administrators
  • Corporate managers
  • Ministry leaders in churches and non-profits
  • Marriage and family counselors
  • High school guidance counselors
  • Entrepreneurs

Journalism Careers

  • News bloggers/columnists
  • Staff, beat, and freelance writers
  • Foreign news correspondents
  • TV news/newspaper/digital reporters and anchors
  • Managing editors
  • Videographers
  • News analysts
  • Photojournalists
  • Sports broadcasters/journalists
  • Podcast/radio hosts/reporters
  • Entertainment journalists

Public Relations Careers

  • Public relations managers
  • Media relations specialists
  • Public relations and public affairs staff
  • Strategic communication specialists
  • Public relations writers
  • Public relations account coordinators
  • Social media specialists
  • Event planners
  • Digital communication specialists
  • Online marketing specialists
  • Political communication specialists
Note: This information is current for the 2023-24 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.