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Academic Programs

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Our Undergraduate Programs

The Communication major is designed to provide multiple levels of communication knowledge . Undergraduate students can pursue Communication Studies or select from one of the following specializations: Health and Science Communication, Media and Digital Communication, Political Communication and Public Advocacy or Public Relations.

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CHRC workshop at UMD's communication department

The Graduate Program

Graduate students in the department pursue and produce research that spans a wide range of the communication discipline, generally focused in three broad curriculum areas: Communication Science & Social Cognition, Public Relations & Strategic Communication and Rhetoric & Political Culture.

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Area Resources

The University of Maryland is located within the D.C.-Baltimore metro area, five miles from the District of Columbia line. The Metrorail commuter system services College Park with a near-campus stop. The university is a major public research institution offering varied degree programs including 94 doctoral programs and the wide variety of intellectual and artistic opportunities associated with major institutions of higher education. The department is located within the College of Arts and Humanities. 

Access to Washington, D.C.

In addition to being the seat of the national government, Washington, D.C., is a major world city with concentrated research, cultural and artistic resources. The Smithsonian Institution offers a wide collection of scientific and cultural interpretation at its many museums. Students and faculty in the department have participated in the Smithsonian Associates programs co-sponsored by the Smithsonian and the National Communication Association. The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History is an important resource in the department's historical programs.

Washington is also the monumental city with the nation's largest collection of monuments to our national life including shrines to Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, as well as non-governmental figures such as Frederick Douglass and Clara Barton. Living memorials include the Woodrow Wilson Center, the Kennedy Center for the Arts and the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center.

The cultural offerings of the city include numerous art museums including the National Gallery of Art, the National Museum of American Art, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Phillips Collection, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden and many others. Washington has a lively theater scene with many small theater companies, the Arena Stage, the National Theatre and the Kennedy Center for the Arts. Washington is also the seat of much national history. Mount Vernon, Arlington National Cemetery, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Fort Washington, the National Mall and many other sites provide a context for American history.

Finally, the major institutions of national government including the Capitol, the Great Reading Room of the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, the White House and the homes of the various government agencies provide the context for public communication activities. Washington is connected to the Maryland suburbs including the university by the Metrorail system that reaches downtown Washington in approximately 25 minutes from the campus.

Research and Teaching Resources
No location in the country provides the resources of the Washington area for those researching and teaching communication. Our rhetorical scholars have access to vast archives including governmental and nongovernmental collections. The National Archives' main research facility is located on the College Park campus. The Library of Congress provides access to the papers of many notable American speakers and a vast collection of secondary literature. Other archive facilities include the George Meany Labor Archives, the Folger Shakespeare Library and the special collections of the University of Maryland.

Our scholars in applied communication find themselves in the midst of both sites and major sources of funding for research. The National Institutes of Health are in Bethesda, Maryland; the National Science Foundation and many specific funding agencies are headquartered within the Washington area. The vast laboratory of the Washington political and advocacy structure is an outlet for our political communication research.

Our faculty and students work closely with these resources. Examples of activity include: work with the Commission on Presidential Debates on the planning, execution and assessment of the Presidential Debates; research grants from the National Institute of Mental Health; a research paper on Carrie Chapman Catt prepared using the archival collections of the Library of Congress; dissertation research on Italian immigrant activists using the collections of the George Meany Labor Archives. In addition, graduates of our program work for the Advocacy Institute, the National Institutes of Health and throughout the area's advocacy and research agencies.

The College Park Campus

The College Park campus of the University of Maryland provides a full complement of resources for a major research institution. The University Library System provides a research quality collection including an extensive archive with particular emphasis in broadcast communication. The Computer Science Center provides full access to electronic resources and mainframe computational services for quantitative social science research. The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center provides state-of-the-art facilities for student and professional performance. The Handel Music Festival, the Rossborough Festival and the International Piano Archives highlight the university's musical offerings. The University is home to over 25,000 undergraduate students and almost 10,000 graduate students in a full range of academic disciplines.

The College of Arts and Humanities

The College of Arts and Humanities is the largest college in the university, serving 4,400 undergraduate majors and over 1,100 graduate students in 15 academic departments. The college sponsors lectures and other research programs and is particularly known for its innovative special programs such as Africa and Africa in the Americas and the College Park Scholars program.

Other innovative and accessible programs in the College of Arts and Humanities include the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH).

The Department

The Department of Communication offers bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees in communication. We have approximately 50 graduate students working on degrees and pursuing research in a range of research areas, including feminist studies, health communication, intercultural communication, media studies, persuasion & social influence, public relations and rhetoric & political culture. We have approximately 900 undergraduate majors and provide courses in communication skills to approximately 2,000 students per year.

Our facilities are located in the Skinner Building just off the campus mall. We have offices and computer facilities for students within the department.