Faculty instructing students who are sitting at a large conference-style table

Communication Studies

Explore the meanings people share through verbal and nonverbal messages in relationships, organizations and societies. 

Why Study Communication Studies?

As a communication studies major at USD, you will develop your speaking, listening, critical thinking, problem solving, research and technology-guided communication skills that will benefit every part of your life – personal relationships, professional opportunities and public leadership. This program encourages you to follow your curiosity and find answers to questions like, "How does social media shape our communication?" and, "How can I improve my relational skills and become a more effective communicator?" 

At USD you'll take dynamic classes, get involved in internships or undergraduate research, and join a community of lifelong learners. Whether you want to pursue a career in government, education, sales, marketing, human resources, politics or another field, our program can set you up for success.

Follow your curiosity, become a dynamic and persuasive leader, and develop skills employers are looking for as a communication studies major.

Degrees & Offerings

Communication Studies (B.A., B.S.)

  Vermillion Main Campus

Through the communication studies major, you'll explore how humans communicate and behave. With exciting and topical classes covering everything from persuasion to science communication, this program will help you learn about relationships, organizations and societies as you gain a variety of marketable skills. You can tailor the program toward a humanistic perspective with the B.A. or take a social-scientific, research-based approach through the B.S.

Communication Studies (B.A., B.S.) with Secondary Education Certification

  Vermillion Main Campus

If you are passionate about communication studies and also want to teach, you can complete the communication studies degree along with the appropriate teaching certification courses. There is also an option to major in secondary education with a specialization in communication studies.

Communication Studies

  Vermillion Main Campus

Communication studies is a strong complement to a variety of other academic disciplines, including business, education, contemporary media and journalism, political science, health sciences, anthropology, psychology and sociology. Employers are looking for strong communication skills, and this minor equips you with those marketable skills.

Program Details






Known for Excellence

With qualities like small class sizes, specialized programs and incredible student opportunities, USD is not your typical university. What makes us unique is what makes your education exceptional.


As a communication studies student at USD, the opportunities available to you extend beyond the classroom. Explore your interests, find your community and experience your education to the fullest extent through the following opportunities.

Lambda Pi Eta is the National Communication Association's official honor society. The USD chapter of this student organization travels to visit professionals around the region and do philanthropic work, provides tutoring and study skills sessions and sponsors "free listening" events, movies, trivia contests, conversations and debates. This is a great way to get involved, meet new people and develop lifelong skills outside the classroom.
Students standing in a circle in a classroom, most are reaching their hands in for what looks like a hand-stack

At USD, you can pursue research opportunities as an undergraduate student. Our communication studies students are actively researching and presenting at local and national conferences exploring innovative areas of interest to them. Some of our recent graduates have crafted their degree plans around research areas like:
  • Gender stereotypes in the media
  • Persuasive techniques in political advertising campaigns
  • Provider-patient interaction in health care
  • Sports and community identity
  • Organizational behavior in successful corporations

Departments & Facilities

Explore the departments, facilities and centers that contribute to your education in the Department of Communication Studies.
Instructor students discussion table video screen

Communication Studies

Communication is at the center of everything we do. Explore the role communication plays in our personal relationships, professional experiences and public leadership through the Department of Communication Studies.

Faculty & Staff

Get to know faculty and staff in the Departments of Communication Studies. Our faculty provide a well-rounded education for students, offering courses in  health, interpersonal, family, organizational and nonverbal communication, as well as other topics and various research methods.
Bio Image for Faculty Member Leah Seurer

Leah Seurer

Chair, Communication Studies/Associate Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Nicole Ackman

Nicole Ackman

Bio Image for Faculty Member Jennifer Hough

Jennifer Hough

Basic Course Director/Instructor
Bio Image for Faculty Member April Lovrien

April Lovrien

Bio Image for Faculty Member Dominic Manthey

Dominic Manthey

Assistant Professor


Political Communication and Rhetorical Studies
Faculty and students in a class discussing a communication topic

Make a Difference with Your Research

Are you interested in politics, health, gender, organizations, culture or technology? Ask questions that spark your curiosity and find the answers at USD. As a communication studies student at USD, you will have opportunities to explore your interests and conduct innovative research with the support of professors who care about your success.


Undergraduate Research
Student on stage speaking passionately.

Set Yourself Up for Success

Develop your communication and leadership skills in and beyond the classroom as you prepare for a successful career or graduate studies. In the last few years, USD communication studies students have gained valuable experience while interning for Disney World, Sanford Health Systems, Pioneer Hi-Bred, Mall of America, Premier Real Estate, Children's Miracle Network and the U.S. Senate.


Tuition & Costs

USD offers low tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students, as well as scholarships, financial aid and employment opportunities to help make your education even more affordable.
SD Residents, SD Advantage* & Child of Alumni
MN Residents
Tuition (30 cr.)
Fees (30 cr.)
Books (estimate)
Food Service

* SD Advantage: The in-state rate is available to new undergraduate students who are residents of South Dakota, Colorado, Illinois (starting Summer 2023), Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Wisconsin (starting Summer 2023), Wyoming and children of alumni of USD.

More About Tuition & Costs

This is an estimated annual cost. Other factors may change the cost of tuition.

Undergraduate Tuition & Costs

Learn more about tuition and fees for undergraduate students and see how your out-of-pocket costs at USD compare to those at other colleges and universities.

Financial Aid

Navigating options for how to pay for college can be challenging, but you are not alone. The Office of Financial Aid will work with you and your family to explore how you can make your college education even more affordable.


USD awards nearly $9.5 million in scholarships each year. View our scholarships to see which ones you may qualify for and how you can apply.


Alum Success Story

Success story Pheonix Choal smiling.
The communication studies professors truly care about your success here at USD, and in my opinion, that is the best part about being a communication studies major!

Phoenix Choal

Communication Studies '20
Counseling & Psychology in Education M.A. Candidate 
University of South Dakota

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