School of Humanities and Sciences

Department of Speech Communication

Bachelor of Arts

Laurie Arliss, Professor and Chair

Speech communication focuses on how, why, and with what effects people communicate through spoken language and associated nonverbal messages. Just as politics majors are concerned with political behavior and economics majors with economic behavior, the student of speech communication is concerned with communicative behavior. A major in speech communication develops competence in theoretical analysis and practical implementation of communication. He or she develops skills in small group, public, and interpersonal communication, and probes such varied topics as leadership, argument, cultural variations, and social change.

Requirements for Honors in Speech Communication

Departmental honors are awarded based on a senior project done under the sponsorship of a faculty member and its successful defense in an oral examination conducted by a faculty committee. A cumulative GPA of 3.50 is required. Students must propose the project by the end of the penultimate semester before graduation and must complete it by the middle of the semester they plan to graduate.

Forensics Program

The forensics program and its organization, the Forensics Association, enable students to gain experience in all forensics activities. The association strives to promote the highest standards of oral argument and other communication skills. It sponsors events on campus and represents the College at intercollegiate events. Ithaca College is home to the New York State Alpha chapter of Pi Kappa Delta, the national honorary forensics society. Contact the director of forensics for more information.

Requirements for the Major in Speech Communication -- B.A.
Credits in the major

SPCM 11000

Public Communication


SPCM 12000

Communication, Culture, and Rhetoric


SPCM 14000

Small Group Communication


SPCM 14900

Fundamentals of Interpersonal Communication


SPCM 21500

Argumentation and Debate


SPCM 23000

Analysis and Performance of Literature


Total, credits in the major


Select 12 credits in applications in speech communication

SPCM 22500

Health Communication (3)

SPCM 24300

Interviewing (3)

SPCM 31100

Advanced Public Communication (3)

SPCM 32400

Rhetoric and Social Order (3)

SPCM 33200

Folklore and Cultural Performances (3)

SPCM 33300

Analysis and Performance of Prose (3)

SPCM 33400

Group Performance of Literature (3)

SPCM 33500

Analysis and Performance of Poetry (3)

SPCM 34600

Gender and Interpersonal Communication (3)

SPCM 34700

Intercultural Communication (3)

SPCM 34800

Family Communication (3)

SPCM 38900

Selected Topics (3)

SPCM 39700

Directed Readings (3)

SPCM 42900

Seminar in Public Communication (3)

SPCM 43900

Seminar in Literary and Cultural Performance (3)

SPCM 44900

Seminar in Interpersonal Communication (3)

SPCM 45100

Communication and Social Influence (3)

SPCM 49500

Internship (3)

Total, applications in speech communication


Select 6 credits in theories of speech communication

SPCM 32600

Classical Theories of Rhetoric (3)

SPCM 32700

Modern and Contemporary Theories of Rhetoric (3)

SPCM 35300

Language and Social Interaction (3)

SPCM 45900

Seminar in Communication Theory (3)

Total, theories of speech communication


Select 3 credits in research methods in speech communication

SPCM 32800

Uses and Methods of Communication Criticism (3)

SPCM 34100

Communication Research Methods (3)

Total, research methods in speech communication


Select 6 credits of electives in speech communication

At least 3 credits must be at level 3 or 4, and 1 credit must be taken at level 4.

Total, electives in speech communication


Unrestricted electives



Total, B.A. in speech communication


Speech communication majors have 75 elective credits, but they are encouraged to elect at least one 18- to 27-credit sequence outside the department as a minor concentration or cognate area. No more than two grades below a C (2.00) will be accepted in courses toward fulfilling requirements of the major.

Minor in Speech Communication

A minor concentration in speech communication is offered to provide opportunities for students to develop a systematic knowledge of the discipline. Minors must be declared through consultation with the departmental chair. Minor advisers will guide students in course selection.

Requirements for the minor in speech communication

Levels 1 and 2 electives


Levels 3 and 4 electives


Total, minor in speech communication