Communication Arts and Sciences, B.S.

Program Code: CASBS_BS

Entrance to Major

In order to be eligible for entrance to this major, a student must:

  1. attain at least a C (2.00) cumulative grade-point average for all courses taken at the University; and
  2. have third-semester classification.


Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Science in Communication Arts and Sciences, a minimum of 123 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 24
Requirements for the Major 54

 Per Senate Policy 83-80.5, the college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. For more information, check the Recommended Academic Plan for your intended program.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

Requirements for the Major

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major. To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn at least a C grade in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
CAS 101NIntroduction to Human Communication Keystone/General Education Course3
CAS 301Rhetorical Theory Keystone/General Education Course3
CAS 303Communication Theory Keystone/General Education Course3
CAS 304Quantitative Methods for Communication Research Keystone/General Education Course3
CAS 311Methods of Rhetorical Criticism Keystone/General Education Course3
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select 9 credits from the following 200-level foundational course options:9
Interpersonal Communication Keystone/General Education Course
Landmark Speeches on Democracy and Dissent Keystone/General Education Course
Argumentation Keystone/General Education Course
Persuasion Keystone/General Education Course
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 15 credits of other CAS courses. At least 12 credits must be at the 400 level. A maximum of 3 credits from CAS 494, CAS 495, CAS 496, and CAS 499 may satisfy this requirement. CAS 126 and CAS 195 may not be counted as part of the major.15
Select 12 credits in quantification from department list. Department list includes courses in MATH (MATH 18, MATH 110, MATH 111, MATH 140, MATH 141, MATH 211, MATH 318, MATH 319) and Statistics (STAT 100, STAT 200, STAT 301, STAT 318, STAT 319, STAT 401, STAT 414, STAT 415, STAT 416, STAT 418, STAT 440, STAT 460, STAT 461, STAT 462, STAT 464, STAT 466, STAT 470, STAT 480, STAT 482, STAT 483).12
Select 3 credits in related disciplines from departmental list of approved courses3

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee’s unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.


University Park

Liberal Arts Academic Advising
Use the Liberal Arts Majors and Minors web page to see the contact information for the specific adviser(s) of this program

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2020-21 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

Communication Arts and Sciences, B.S. at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
ENGL 15 (or honors equivalent (GWS))*3CAS 100 (or honors equivalent (GWS))*3
CAS 101N*3CAS Additional course (work with adviser)*3
Quantification (GQ)*3Humanities (GH) + (US)3
Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS) (FYS)3Natural Sciences (GN) 3
Elective3Supporting Course (work with adviser)*3
 15 15
Second Year
CAS Additional course (work with adviser)*3CAS Additional course (work with adviser)*3
Quantification (GQ)*3Natural Sciences (GN)3
Arts (GA) + (IL)3Humanities (GH)3
Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS)3Supporting Course (work with adviser)*3
Elective3Arts (GA)3
 15 15
Third Year
CAS 301*3CAS 303*3
CAS 4XX-level course (work with adviser)*3CAS 311*3
Natural Sciences (GN)3Supporting Course (work with adviser)*3
Supporting Course (work with adviser)3ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, or 202D*3
 15 15
Fourth Year
CAS 304*3CAS 4XX-level course (work with adviser)*3
CAS 4XX-level course (work with adviser)*3CAS 4XX-level course (work with adviser)*3
Supporting CAS course (work with adviser)*3Supporting Course (work with adviser)*3
Health and Wellness (GHW)1.5Health and Wellness (GHW)1.5
 16.5 16.5
Total Credits 123

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Advising Notes

This document is only for planning purposes and cannot replace working with an academic adviser. Each student is unique, and some campuses may not offer many CAS courses. Most students are "off the plan" after one semester.

Students need at least 24 credits in CAS courses completed at UP due to competency requirements. Campus advisers may work with the UP CAS adviser if they have questions about what their current students might take.

Two general education courses (GQ, GN, GA, GH, GS) must be integrative studies courses - Inter-Domain or Linked.

Supporting courses include four Methodology courses and one related disciplines course.

Students are required to take one Writing across the Curriculum course. There are three CAS 4XX-level courses that will fulfill this requirement, but any W course will work.

Career Paths

CAS graduates are change makers: analysts, strategists, persuaders, facilitators, collaborators, connectors, and scholars. The CAS program equips students for success in the work force, graduate school, and civic life. CAS courses provide students the theories, methods, practical tools, and experiences to understand the roots of social conflict and the sources of well-being. CAS majors can make a positive difference in our society.


A Bachelor of Science degree in CAS prepares students for success in careers that value a scientific perspective on communication practices and the ability to analyze data accordingly. Such careers include business, behavioral science, health and human services, human development, law, public relations, public policy, sales, digital technology, and more. CAS graduates may work as analysts, strategists, facilitators, collaborators, or negotiators.


Opportunities for Graduate Studies

A Bachelor of Science degree in CAS also provides excellent preparation for graduate study in communication science as well as fields such as business, behavioral science, health and human services, human development, public policy, and more.


Professional Resources


University Park

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University Park, PA 16802