With a history that dates back almost 100 years, the Department of Communication Studies is one of the oldest programs at KU. Although much has changed in that century, one core belief has never waivered—ethical, effective communication is at the heart of every human community and the foundation of all human discoveries. Whether you are interested in starting your own business, leading a community movement, striving to strengthen relationships, or working with other cultures, the study of how humans communicate with one another will be central to your success.
Today, our award-winning faculty research and teach in two major areas of communication studies:
- Relationships & Social Interaction: Faculty in this area study interpersonal, intercultural, and organizational communication using quantitative and qualitative methods. Theories of relationships (e.g., family, romantic, friend, professional) and social identities (e.g., cultural, race, social class, age, gender) guide their research.
- Rhetoric & Political Communication: Faculty in this area focus on rhetorical and argumentation studies, and both quantitative and humanistic approaches to political communication. Their work engages, among other things, issues related to democratic inclusion, digital media, political institutions, and public memory, with particular concern for matters related to gender, race, nationality, and other cultural indices.
In addition to this work, our department is home to the Introductory Course Program, which oversees the teaching of several courses that fulfill KU’s Oral Communication requirement (KU Core Goal 2.2). We also support students through Lamda Pi Eta, an accredited member of the Association of College Honors Societies (ACHS) and the official honor society of the National Communication Association. Finally, we are also proud to house the KU Debate team, which is the most successful debate program at a public institution in the nation.