College of General Studies


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The Certificate in Communication is a 24-credit program designed to train students to be more effective communicators. Courses, taught by faculty of the Department of Communication, include a range of specialized communication topics. Participants may elect to concentrate their studies in such areas as nonverbal, small group, interpersonal, organizational, or mass communication; persuasion in political settings; or the construction, analysis, and delivery of public speech.

Admission requirements

Students must meet requirements for admission to the College of General Studies. A certificate application form must becompletedand returned to the College of General Studies.

Who should participate:

  • Business and professional people whose success may be enhanced by improved communication skills and further understanding of the communication process
  • Those who wish to increase their personal knowledge of communication for use in their careers
  • Citizens involved in community and public positions in which persuasive delivery and analysis are vital
  • Persons seeking a better understanding of the impact of interpersonal, organizational, public, and mass communication in the contemporary world
  • Students already enrolled in the College of General Studies or other University programs who want to concentrate on communications skills

Upon completion of this certificate, participants will be able to: 

  • Understand what makes one presentation more persuasive than another
  • Polish and refine their communication skills
  • Apply concentrated knowledge of a specialized communication topic

This certificate is applicable to fields such as education, writing, broadcasting, public relations, sales, communication training, personnel, promotions, advertising, market research, lobbying, politics, communications, and related fields.

Curriculum: 24 credits

The certificate is composed of three basic communication courses (9 credits) and five communication elective courses (15 credits).

  • A minimum of five of the required eight courses must be completed at the University of Pittsburgh
  • No course with a grade below C will be accepted for certificate credit

Required courses: 9 credits 

Choose three of the following courses. All courses are 3 credits, unless otherwise noted.

COMMRC 0500 Argument

COMMRC 0520 Public Speaking

COMMRC 0530 Interpersonal Communication

COMMRC 0540 Discussion

COMMRC 0550 Speech Composition

Electives: 15 credits 

Choose five of the following courses. All courses are 3 credits, unless otherwise noted. Prerequisite courses are in parentheses; English Composition 0200 is required for all 1000-level courses.

COMMRC 0300 Communication Process

COMMRC 0310 Rhetorical Process

COMMRC 0320 Mass Communication Process

COMMRC 1101 Evidence

COMMRC 1102 Organizational Communication (0300)

COMMRC 1103 Rhetoric and Culture (0310 or 0320)

COMMRC 1104 Political Communication (0310 or 0320)

COMMRC 1105 Television and Society (0320)

COMMRC 1106 Small Group Communication (0300)

COMMRC 1109 Nonverbal Communication (0300)

COMMRC 1110 Theories of Interpersonal Communication (0300)

COMMRC 1111 Theories of Persuasion (0520 and 0310 or 0320)

COMMRC 1112 Theories of Rhetoric (0310 and 0520)

COMMRC 1114 Freedom of Speech and Press (0310 or 0320)

COMMRC 1117 21st Century Public Argument (0310 or 0320)

COMMRC 1119 Presidential Rhetoric 2 (0310 or 0320)

COMMRC 1121 History of Mass Media (0320)

COMMRC 1122 Media Criticism (0320)

COMMRC 1900 Communication Internship or CGS 1900 Choosing Your Path: Internship Seminar

Requirements subject to change. Check with an academic advisor before registering.