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Cornell University Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :02 Jan 
International :02 Jan 

BS Communication

 Course Level
Bachelors / UG
Full Time

4 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

50712 USD
33968 USD

Application fee

International 80 USD
National 80 USD
Department of Communication
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7
TOEFL-IBT (min)100
TOEFL-PBT (min)600
SAT (avg)1550
ACT (avg)33

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About this course

Through the study of science, media and technology, students in the Department of Communication are able to examine the rapidly changing communication landscape. Students in the program have a great deal of flexibility to design a program that fits their needs, and undergraduate students are encouraged, through faculty advising, to find courses that will fit their interests.

Degree Awarded: Bachelor of Science
Communication majors at Cornell learn how communication interacts with media, science, and technology, while developing skills to succeed in complex work environments. The communication curriculum offers students opportunities to experience the breadth of the field and to develop a depth of understanding in a chosen focus area.
Specific topics that Communication majors study are as diverse as the faculty and students who explore these areas in Communication research projects and courses.

The core curriculum provides majors with a foundation in fundamental communication theories and concepts, allows them to develop oral and written communication skills, and instructs them in common communication research methods. After completing the core curriculum, all majors must complete an additional eighteen credits in communication courses distributed among advanced writing and presentation courses, electives, and focus area requirements. Students must also complete three credits of introductory-level statistics outside of the department, as part of the major requirement.

Goals for undergraduate student learning

  • Develop familiarity with ideas fundamental to scholarship in the social sciences, with mastery of principles of key communication theories.
  • Demonstrate understanding of how processes of social influence operate in communication contexts including science, media and technology.
  • Apply systematic analytic skills to pressing social and policy issues.
  • Develop communication knowledge and skills to enter into and succeed in complex social organizations.
  • Recognize the foundations, assumptions, and methods of communication research, and be able to apply a wide range of empirical research methods to diverse intellectual questions.
  • Write and speak lucidly, logically, and intelligently.

Check further details on University website

Eligibility Criteria

Test Requirements
All international students must meet the same test requirements as our first-year or our transfer applicants.  SAT or ACT and SAT Subject Test requirements cannot be waived based on the completion or submission of IB, A-levels, or other international credentials.

TOEFL and IELTS Testing Requirements
International freshman and transfer applicants for whom English is not the first language must submit a TOEFL or IELTS score.

The recommended minimum scores are:

  • TOEFL - Score of 100 (Internet-based exam) and 600 (paper exam)
  • IELTS - Score of 7

TOEFL/IELTS testing policy exemptions:
The TOEFL and/or IELTS requirement for international applicants is waived for students achieving a score of at least 670 on the Critical Reading section of the SAT exam OR for students who have studied for at least four years in the U.S. or other nations where English is an official language. You can request a TOEFL waiver. Please note that Cornell does NOT waive the TOEFL/IELTS test requirement for students who have attended an English-speaking school in a non-English speaking country.

Check further details on University website

Course Modules

Communication Major Requirements

  • A. Core Courses (15 Credit)
  • B. Focus Area Introductory Courses (6 Credits)
  • C.  Focus Area Upper Level Courses (6 Credits)
  • D.  Upper-Level Electives (9 Credits)
  • E. Concentration (12 Credits)

A. Core Courses  (Courses listed in BOLD and Italic are scheduled to be offered in Fall 2016 - Subject to change)

The first year courses provide students with a basic understanding of communication phenomena and a broad view of what studying communication as a social science can offer. 

  • COMM 1101 - Cases in Communication (fall only)
  • COMM 1300 - Visual Communication (spring only)
  • COMM 2010 - Oral Communication (fall, spring summer)
  • COMM 2310 - Writing About Communication (fall & Spring)
  • COMM 2820 - Research Methods in Communication Studies (fall only)

In the second year, students take two of the four Focus Area introductory courses:

  • COMM 2200 - Media Communication (fall & summer)
  • COMM 2450 - Communication and Technology (fall & summer)
  • COMM 2760 - Persuasion and Social Influence (spring)
  • COMM 2850 - Communication, Environment, Science and Health (spring)

Also in the second year, students must take an introductory statistics class, such as PAM 2100, AEM 2100, ILRST 2100, etc.,. A 5 in AP statistics is also acceptable as credit for this requirement. Students should consult with CALS Student Services to ensure they have the appropriate credit for this requirement.

B. Focus Area 
In consultation with their faculty advisors, students formally choose one of the focus areas described by the end of their sophomore year. Students complete their chosen focus area with two additional courses from the following focus area lists.  Students can update their Focus Area online through Chatter/DUST by selecting Choose my Concentration under the Academic Advising column. Only one Focus Area can be declared officially.

C. Focus Area Upper Level Courses
Students must take six credits (two courses) of coursework within their declared Focus Area at the 3000-4000 level.

D. Upper-Level COMM Electives
Students must complete 9 additional credit hours at the 3100+ level. Electives can come from any of the focus area lists. A student may elect to fulfill 3 of these credit hours by taking a third focus area introductory course.  A maximum of 3 credits can be counted for 4970, 4990, or 4991. Refer to the Course and Time Roster for the most up-to-date offerings. 

  • COMM  3100  Communication and Decision Making in Groups - CSI            
  • COMM  3110  Educational Psychology - CSI                    
  • COMM  3150  Organizational Communication: Theory and Practice - CSI        
  • COMM  3189  Taking America’s Pulse - CSI
  • COMM  3200  New Media and Society - CAT, CMS
  • COMM  3210  Communication and the Environment - CESH, CMS
  • COMM  3300  Media and Human Development  - CESH, CAT, CMS, CSI
  • COMM  3400  Personal Relationships and Technology - CAT, CSI
  • COMM  3450  Human Computer Interaction Design - CAT
  • COMM  3460  Crowds, Communities, and Technology - CAT, CSI
  • COMM  3560  Computing Cultures - CSI
  • COMM  3760  Planning Communication Campaigns - CSI, CMS, CESH
  • COMM  4200  Public Opinion and Social Processes  - CMS, CSI, CESH
  • COMM  4201  Information Policy: Research, Analysis, and Design - CSI
  • COMM  4220  Psychology of Entertainment Media - CAT, CESH, CMS
  • COMM  4280  Communication Law - CMS, CSI
  • COMM  4300  Ethics in New Media, Technology and Communication - CESH, CAT, CMS, CSI
  • COMM  4360  Social Networks in the Emerge of Social Capitals - CAT, CMS
  • COMM  4400  Advanced Human-Computer Interaction Design - CAT
  • COMM  4410  Communicating Self in Social Media - CAT
  • COMM  4450  Seminar in Computer-Mediated Communication - CAT
  • COMM  4560  Community Involvement in Decision Making - CESH
  • COMM  4650  Mobile Communication in Public Life - CAT, CMS
  • COMM  4660  Public Communication of Science and Technology - CESH
  • COMM  4860  Risk Communication - CESH, CSI

Students may not use the following courses to complete this area:

  • COMM 2990 (Research)
  • Courses ranging from COMM 3000 thru 3099
  • COMM 4580 (The Science of Behavior)
  • COMM 4960 (Communication Internship - only 2 credits, one per internship, may count towards graduation)
  • COMM 4980 (TA  for a course - only 6 credits may count towards graduation)

** Additional Communication Upper Level Requirement (ONLY for students entering Cornell in Fall 2015 or after)
Students must complete at least one of the following courses. 

  • COMM 3010: Narrative for Digital Media (3 credits)
  • COMM 3020: Science Writing for the Media (3 credits)
  • COMM 3030: Organizational Writing (3 credits)
  • COMM 3040: Writing and Editing for the Media (3 credits)
  • COMM 3060: Creating a Personal Brand (3 credits)
  • COMM 3070: Communicating for Impact: Developing Strategic Messages (3 credits)

E. Concentration
In consultation with advisors, students will develop a concentration of 12 credits of related courses outside of the major requirements listed above. 

Option 1: 
Construct Your Own Concentration (12 credits)

This option allows for students, in consultation with their advisor, to develop a coherent set of related courses outside of the Department of Communication.  A formal minor or double major satisfies the outside concentration, but is not required; the concentration may be composed of courses from more than one major, or even college, as long as it maintains thematic or disciplinary consistency.

Option 2:
Professional Development Concentration (12 credits)

This option allows students to take additional courses that focus on Professional Development in Communication.  Students can choose from the approved list of Professional Development courses in Communication, as well as closely related courses across campus.  Students must work with their advisors to verify that they are choosing a satisfactory combination of courses.

  • COMM 3010: Narrative for Digital Media (3 credits)
  • COMM 3020: Science Writing for the Media (3 credits)
  • COMM 3030: Organizational Writing (3 credits)
  • COMM 3040: Writing and Editing for the Media (3 credits)
  • COMM 3060: Creating a Personal Brand (3 credits)
  • COMM 3070: Communicating for Impact: Developing Strategic Messages (3 credits)

Special Notes Regarding Credits

  • Only 1 Communication Course will be counted, if approved, from Study Abroad.
  • Only 12 credits of Communication coursework will be counted towards Cornell Communication Coursework, if approved, from transfer coursework (9 credits at the 1000/2000 level and 3 credits at the 3000/4000 level).
  • COMM 4940 (Special Topics) maybe be repeated for credits when the topics are different.

Check further details on University website

How to Apply

Application Tips:

  • We want to review at least 3 years of secondary school records that list subjects you studied and marks received for each subject. State or national tests or other external exams taken should be included also (GCSE, Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education, ICSE, etc.). If there is a provincial, national or other board exam you will take on completing school (A-Levels, Higher Secondary Certificate, I.B., German Abitur, etc.) please ask the school official who completes your secondary school report to include predicted marks.
  • All transcripts and certificates must be official and must be translated into English. If you have attended more than one school, you should request a separate transcript from each school.
  • Do not send supporting documents until you have sent your application.
  • Please do not send materials in plastic covers or multiple envelopes and do not bind application materials together in any way. Lengthy bound documents cannot be included with applications. If you have completed a special project, submit a one-page summary and letter of recommendation from the teacher or other person who supervised the project. Do not send copies of individual awards or distinctions. These personal accomplishments should be summarized on one page.
  • Although some colleges and universities require a statement or certification of finances as part of the application, Cornell University does not require this information during the application process. Please do not send this information with your application. If you are admitted to Cornell University, we will then request this information from you.

First-Year Applicants
any person...any study.
You are a first-year applicant if you'll complete high school during the 2015-16 academic year or if you've graduated from high school but have earned fewer than 12 credits at a college or university. Before you apply, be sure to review our checklist to make sure you have all the things you need for your application.

Application Checklist
If you are a first-year applicant, before you press “send,” make sure you have completed all the application items using the checklist below.

  • The Common Application (CA) or Universal College Application (UCA)
  • The School Report
  • Counselor Recommendation
  • Two Teacher Evaluations
  • The Midyear Report, when your mid-year grades are available
  • $80 application fee or fee waiver
  • Required standardized test scores (only scores sent directly to us from testing agencies are accepted)
  • Official secondary/high school transcript
  • Cornell University Questions and Writing Supplement (CA) or Cornell Supplement (UCA)
  • Items that are required by the Cornell undergraduate college or school to which you’ve applied: SAT Subject Test, interviews or portfolio and design submissions.

 International Students
At Cornell, we celebrate the great diversity and globalism of our university, its faculty, and students and we are excited that you are considering Cornell for your education. We invite you to explore what it is like learning at Cornell and living on our historic, beautiful campus in Ithaca, New York. 

Our applicants are an eclectic group, including international students who have moved among several countries or schools, U.S. citizens who have lived most of their lives abroad, or non-U.S. citizens completing school in the U.S. We read applications based on where you currently attend school, rather than by your citizenship status. Your application will be read with others from the school you attend and those from the same state (U.S.) or country.

Our international students follow the same application process as our first-year applicants or our transfer applicants.

Transfer Applicants
any person...any study.
You must apply to Cornell as a transfer student if you’ve graduated from high school and have earned 12 or more credits at another college or university since then. If you’ve enrolled as a full-time student at another institution, you’re also considered a transfer applicant.

Before you apply, be sure to review our checklist to make sure you have all the things you need for your transfer application.

Transfer Application Checklist
If you are a transfer applicant, before you press “send,” make sure you have completed all the application items using the checklist below. 

  • The Transfer Common Application (CA) or Universal College Application (UCA) including:
  • Academic Evaluation (CA) or Professor Recommendation (UCA)
  • College Report 
  • Mid-Term Report
  • Cornell University Transfer Questions and Writing Supplement (CA) or Transfer Supplement (UCA)
  • Standardized test scores (if taken)
  • Official secondary/high school and all college transcripts
  • $80 application fee or fee waiver
  • Items required by the Cornell undergraduate college or school to which you’ve applied:interviews, portfolio and design submissions, or course descriptions.


Check further details on University website

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