Communication Arts and Sciences, B.A. (University College)

Program Code: CASUC_BA

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.

READ SENATE POLICY 37-30: ENTRANCE TO AND CHANGES IN MAJOR PROGRAMS OF STUDY

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts and Sciences, Communication Studies Option, a minimum of 120 credits is required; For the Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts and Sciences, Foundations, Scholarship, and Practice Option, a minimum of 123 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 15
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements 24
Requirements for the Major 36-39

3 of the 24 credits for Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements are included in the Requirements for the Major, General Education, or Electives and 0-12 credits are included in Electives if foreign language proficiency is demonstrated by examination.

Per Senate Policy 83-80.5, the college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of coursework 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.

B.A. Degree Requirements

Foreign Language (0-12 credits): Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language. See the Placement Policy for Penn State Foreign Language Courses.

B.A. Fields (9 credits): Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (may not be taken in the area of the student's primary major; foreign language credits in this category must be in a second foreign language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language)

Other Cultures (0-3 credits): Select 3 credits from approved list. Students may count courses in this category in order to meet other major, minor, elective, or General Education requirements, except for the General Education US/IL requirement.​

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.

Common Requirements for the Major (All Options)

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
CAS 301Rhetorical Theory Keystone/General Education Course3
CAS 303Communication Theory Keystone/General Education Course3
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
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
Requirements for the Option
Requirements for the Option: Require a grade of C or better
Select an Option15-18

Requirements for the Option

Communication Studies Option (15 Credits)

Available at the following campuses: Berks, Brandywine

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
CAS 204Communication Research Methods3
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select 3 credits from the following list:3
Interpersonal Communication Keystone/General Education Course
Persuasive Speaking
Speech Writing Keystone/General Education Course
Practical Parliamentary Procedure
Small Group Communication Keystone/General Education Course
Business and Professional Communication Keystone/General Education Course
Intercultural Communication Keystone/General Education Course
Storytelling and Speaking
Communication and Information Technology I Keystone/General Education Course
Select 3 credits from the following list:3
Social Influence
Methods of Rhetorical Criticism Keystone/General Education Course
Rhetoric and Law Keystone/General Education Course
Organizational Communication Keystone/General Education Course
The Rhetorics of War and Peace Keystone/General Education Course
Rhetoric and Public Controversy Keystone/General Education Course
Culture and Technology Keystone/General Education Course
Special Topics
Foreign Studies
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 6 credits from CAS courses, 3 credits maximum from:6
Research Topics
Internship
Independent Studies
Foreign Studies
Foundations, Scholarship, and Practice Option (18 Credits)

Available at the following campuses: University Park

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
CAS 101NIntroduction to Human Communication 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 list: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

Program Learning Objectives

York Campus

  1. Appreciation for the significance of communication in everyday experience and as a distinctive intellectual paradigm.
  2. Ability to understand, apply, critique, and extend communication concepts, principles, theories, and perspectives.
  3. Skill at communication inquiry, including humanistic and social scientific approaches.
  4. Logical, critical, creative, and ethical thinking about communication for decision-making and problem-solving.
  5. Competency at generating and performing messages appropriate to their audience, purpose and context.
  6. Facility with locating, synthesizing, and assimilating new information from a variety of sources and using it to inform communication analysis and practice.
  7. Interest, understanding, and capacity to engage diverse communities, both local and global, and to function as a member of a deliberative society.

Brandywine Campus

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of how humans strategically use symbols to influence people and the world around them.
    1. Students will be able to apply a communication perspective to critique oral presentations given in a variety of contexts outside the classroom.
    2. Students will be able to apply a communication perspective to perform close textual analyses of persuasive oratory or media-sourced appeals aimed at persuading an audience, reader, viewer, etc.
    3. Through an eclectic, critical approach, students will learn new ways to think about language and communication that will challenge students to revise their own language/communication processes.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of their CAS coursework, and be able to critically, analytically and practically apply the major in personal, community, work, and global situations by identifying social inequities and advocating problem-solving actions.
    1. Students will be able to demonstrate skills in reading, evaluating and summarizing journal articles and other textual materials from a critical perspective.
    2. Students will be able to demonstrate skills in qualitative analyses, including the use of ethnographic observation methods to identify more deeply-rooted social processes.
    3. Students will be able to identify and develop significant problem statements about local, national and international social issues, and then conduct causal analyses and advocate practical solutions.
    4. Students will learn to invoke their abilities to reason, reflect, emote, perceive, and intuit social messages, and develop skills which, to paraphrase Bertrand Russell, empower us to “guard against the seductions of eloquence.”
  3. Demonstrate the ability to develop and perform appropriate and effective presentations and adapt to a variety of speaking contexts
    1. Students will be able to perform well-structured, strategically prepared presentations that are both informative and persuasive.
    2. Students will be able to work in teams to develop and perform effective group presentations.
    3. Students will gain skills to communicate effectively in professional situations involving both a global and a service-learning component.
    4. Students will be able to identify perceptions of character and public virtues, and the role they play in how a speaker must present him/herself in ways that are admired and respected.
  4. Students will be able to conduct and present substantive research using traditional and electronic resources, as well as qualitative analytical methods.
    1. Students will be able to produce a research proposal, conduct a literature search, and design a research project.
    2. Students will demonstrate analytical writing proficiency, including the ability to describe, analyze, and interpret the critical ideas, values, and forms that appear in various media formats.

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.

READ SENATE POLICY 32-00: ADVISING POLICY

Brandywine

Joshua Phillips
Assistant Teaching Professor Communication Arts and Sciences
25 Yearsley Mill Road
Media, PA 19063
610-892-1426
jdp5595@psu.edu

Berks

Jill Burk
Program Coordinator, Assistant Professor
Franco 148
Reading, PA 19610
610-396-6094
jkb20@psu.edu

University Park

Liberal Arts Academic Advising
814-865-2545
http://starfish.psu.edu
http://www.la.psu.edu/current-students/undergraduate-students/education/majors-and-minors

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).

Brandywine 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
FallCreditsSpringCredits
ENGL 15 or ENGL 303CAS 1003
World Language course4World Language course4
General Education course (GHW)1.5General Education course6
General Education course6General Education course (GHW)1.5
 14.5 14.5
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CAS 301*3ENGL 2023
General Education course9CAS Selection (200 Level Skills Course)*3
General Education course or World Language course3-4CAS 2043
 CAS 3033
 BA Requirement3
 General Education course3
 15-16 18
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CAS 204*3CAS Selection (300 level)*3
CAS Selection (400 Level)*3CAS Selection (400 level)*3
CAS Selection (200, 300, or 400 Level)*3BA Requirement6
Elective*3General Education course3
General Education course3 
 15 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
CAS Selection (400 level)*3CAS Selection (400 level)*3
Elective*9Elective*12
Other Cultures3 
 15 15
Total Credits 122-123

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.

Bachelor of Arts Requirements:

Bachelor of Arts students must take 9 credits in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Fields (Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts; World Languages [2nd language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the 1st]; Natural Sciences; Quantification). The B.A. Fields courses may not be taken in the area of the student’s primary major. See your adviser and the Degree Requirements section of this Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts students must take 3 credits in Other Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as Other Cultures courses.

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.

Careers

A Bachelor of Arts degree in CAS prepares students for success in careers that value a rigorous and diverse understanding of communication practices. Such careers include business, behavioral science, government, health and human services, human development, law, public relations, public policy, sales, and more. CAS graduates may work as analysts, strategists, facilitators, collaborators, or negotiators.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT POTENTIAL CAREER OPTIONS FOR GRADUATES OF THE COMMUNICATIONS ARTS AND SCIENCES PROGRAM

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

A Bachelor of Arts in CAS also provides excellent preparation for graduate study in either communication science or rhetoric, as well as fields such as business, behavioral science, health and human services, human development, public policy, social work, and more.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRADUATE STUDIES

Professional Resources

Contact

Brandywine

25 Yearsley Mill Road
Media, PA 19063
610-892-1426
jdp5595@psu.edu

http://brandywine.psu.edu/communication-arts-and-sciences

Berks

DIVISION OF HUMANITIES, ARTS AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
Franco Building
Reading, PA 19610
610-396-6094
jkb20@psu.edu

http://berks.psu.edu/ba-communication-arts-sciences

University Park

DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATION ARTS AND SCIENCES
234 Sparks Building
University Park, PA 16802
814-865-3461
sas519@psu.edu

https://cas.la.psu.edu/