Areas of Interest for Communication Studies

From the National Communication Association

Areas of emphasis differ from one school to another, but listed below are some of the most common fields of study:

Applied Communication – The study of process used to analyze communication needs of organizations and social interaction, including the design of training to improve communication between supervisors and employees. Learn more: NCA’s Journal of Applied Communication Research

Communication Education – The study of communication in the classroom and other pedagogical contexts. Learn more: NCA’s Communication Education and Communication Teacher

Communication Theory – The study of principles that account for the impact of communication in human social interaction.

Electronic Media – The study of radio, television, media technology, and web design with streaming audio and video. Learn more: NCA’s Critical Studies in Media Communication

Health Communication – The study of communication as it relates to health professionals and health education, including the study of provider-client interaction as well as the diffusion of health information through public health campaigns.

International and Intercultural Communication – The study of communication among individuals of different cultural backgrounds, including the study of similarities and differences across cultures.

Interpersonal Communication – The study of communication behaviors in dyads (pairs) and their impact on personal relationships.

Language and Social Interaction – The study of the structure of verbal and nonverbal behaviors occurring in social interaction.

Legal Communication – The study of the role of communication as it relates to the legal system.

Mass Communication and Media Literacy – The study of the structure of verbal and nonverbal behaviors occurring in social interaction. Learn more: NCA’s Critical Studies in Media Communication

Mediation and Dispute Resolution – The study of understanding, management, and resolution of conflict within intrapersonal, interpersonal, and intergroup situations.

Organizational Communication – The study of processes used to analyze communication needs of organizations and social interaction, including how to improve communication between supervisors and employees.

Performance Studies – The study of components, such as performer(s), text, audience, and context within the communication discipline. Learn more: NCA’s Text & Performance Quarterly

Political Communication – The study of the role that communication plays in political systems.

Public Address – The study of speakers and speeches, including the historical and social context of platforms, campaigns, and movements.

Public Relations – The study of the management of communication between an organization and its audiences.

Rhetorical Criticism – The study of principles that account for the impact of human communication between speaker and audience.

Semiotics – The use of verbal and nonverbal symbols and signs in human communication

Small Group Communication – The study of communication systems among three or more individuals who interact around a common purpose and who influence one another.

Speech Communication – The study of the nature, processes, and effects of human symbolic interaction. While speech is the most obvious mode of communication, human symbolic interaction includes a variety of verbal and nonverbal codes.

Theatre and Drama – The study and production of dramatic literature. Learn more: NCA’s Text & Performance Quarterly

Visual Communication – The study of visual data, such as architecture, photography, visual art, advertising, film, and television as it relates to communication.