Speech Communication Requirements

What is the Speech Communication major?

The Speech Communication major is for students who are curious about communication, persuasion, and rhetoric. In this major, you will develop communication skills as a speaker, listener, reader, and writer while learning how to analyze and assess the messages you encounter in daily life.

In our small classroom settings, faculty get to know you, and you get to know your peers. Although you will prepare and deliver at least one presentation in most classes, the majority of time is devoted to working in small groups or as a class to discuss readings, untangle theories, and analyze real-world examples. Students in this major have a wide range of backgrounds and career goals, making for lively and insightful class discussions.

Our courses emphasize one of these four areas:

  • Analysis—You’ll learn concepts for examining various forms of communication, including propaganda, speeches, websites, music videos, comic books, and more, in Rhetorical Analysis (SP CM 310) and Analysis of Popular Culture Texts (SP CM 275).
  • Culture, politics, and power—You’ll explore communication in various sociopolitical contexts in Gender and Communication (SP CM 323), Campaign Rhetoric (SP CM 417), and Seminar in Argumentation (SP CM 418), a class that has recently focused on studying disputes over public memory and memorials.
  • History and theory—You’ll examine communication from historical and theoretical perspectives in America Speaks: Great Speakers and Speeches in US History (SP CM 216); Language, Thought, and Action (SP CM 305); Persuasion (SP CM 327); Rhetorical Traditions: Histories and Theories of Rhetoric (SP CM 350); and History of American Public Address (SP CM 416).
  • Practice—You’ll develop your ability to communicate effectively through a variety of modes (written, oral, visual, and electronic) and for a wide range of contexts in Listening (SP CM 110); Fundamentals of Public Speaking (SP CM 212); Business and Professional Speaking (SP CM 312); Argumentation, Debate, and Critical Thinking (SP CM 322); and Legal Communication (SP CM 324).

Why major in Speech Communication?

  1. Perhaps you have a clear career path in mind.
    • You can prepare for a career in fields like advocacy, business, event planning, management, marketing, politics, public service, sales, and speech writing.
    • You can prepare for graduate school or law school.
  1. Perhaps you want options.
    • You might not know what you want to do after college, and that’s fine! Our majors graduate with the knowledge and skills that employers desire most. For instance, Forbes magazine lists “The 10+ Most Important Job Skills Every Company Will Be Looking for in 2020”: data literacy, critical thinking, tech savviness, adaptability and flexibility, creativity, emotional intelligence, cultural intelligence and diversity, leadership skills, judgment and complex decision making, and collaboration.
    • Rapid changes in technology and the global economy will likely lead to an uncertain job market. Today’s lucrative jobs might not exist in five or ten years, so job seekers need knowledge and skills that help them adapt to changing circumstances. You can be sure that the communication skills we teach will remain important.
  2. Perhaps you want to stand out from your peers and future colleagues.
    • Speech Communication can be a useful second major or minor because clear and effective communication is important for almost any profession—whether you are majoring in STEM, Design, Business, Health, or any other discipline.
    • The perspective and skills that you’ll gain from majoring in Speech Communication will help set you apart.

Career preparation is important, but we also recognize that your college education is about more than finding a job. We want you to pick a major that fascinates you and helps you lead a fulfilling life.

How to Learn More?

  • See the course catalog for a sample four-year plan, general course descriptions, curriculum, and additional resources.
  • Learn about why our faculty are excited to research and teach.
  • Reach out to our academic advisor, Samantha Robinson-Adams, to see if the Speech Communication major is right for you: slr@iastate.edu
  • Watch Samantha describe our major: