Communication Certificate

Effective communication is crucial to any industry or workplace. No matter what your career goals are, knowing how to convey your ideas clearly can greatly impact your success.

This 24 credit Communication certificate program from the College of General Studies will help you develop your communication skills, whether you’re looking to enhance your persuasive speaking and presentation ability, improve your writing, or gain an understanding of how mass media affects society.

The CGS Difference

This certificate can be completed as a standalone program or in conjunction with the completion of another degree at Pitt.

Who Should Participate

  • Business people and professionals 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 communication skills

Program Expectations

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  • Understand the makeup of a persuasive presentation
  • Polish and refine their written and oral communication skills
  • Apply knowledge of specialized communications topics

Credit Requirements

  • The Communication certificate is composed of three basic communication courses (9 credits) and five communication elective courses (15 credits), for a total of 24 credits.
  • Students must achieve a minimum grade of C (2.0) or better for all courses required for the program.
  • Credits earned at other accredited educational institutions may be eligible for transfer. However, a minimum of nine credits must be completed at the University of Pittsburgh. 
  • English Composition 0200 Seminar in Composition or its equivalent course is required for all 1000-level Communication courses. 
  • Many upper-level courses have additional prerequisites; these are indicated in parenthesis after each course. Students are advised to plan their coursework accordingly

Flexible Format

Many CGS programs offer a blend of face-to-face and flexible online class formats, all designed to meet our students' needs and schedule constraints.

Online courses are marked with (Web) or (Hybrid). Courses offered in both face-to-face and online formats are marked with (F2F and Web) or (F2F and Hybrid). Courses with no indicator are offered face-to-face only.

Visit CGS Courses to learn more about our online formats and how to search for CGS classes in the course catalog.

Required Courses: (9 credits) 

Choose three (3) of the following courses.

Catalog Number Title Credits
COMMRC 0500 Argument 3
COMMRC 0520 Public Speaking (F2F and Hybrid) 3
COMMRC 0530 Interpersonal Communication (F2F and Web) 3
COMMRC 0540 Discussion 3
COMMRC 0550 Speech Composition 3

Electives: (15 credits)

Choose five (5) COMMRC courses. A sampling of courses that can be used to fulfill the certificate requirements include:

Catalog Number Title Credits
COMMRC 0300 Communication Process (F2F and Web) 3
COMMRC 0310 Rhetorical Process 3
COMMRC 0320 Mass Communication Process (F2F and Web) 3
COMMRC 1101 Evidence 3
COMMRC 1102 Organizational Communication (F2F and Web) (PREQ:COMMRC 0300) 3
COMMRC 1103 Rhetoric and Culture (PREQ:COMMRC 0310 or 0320) 3
COMMRC 1104 Political Communication (PREQ:COMMRC 0310 or 0320) 3
COMMRC 1105 Television and Society (PREQ:COMMRC 0320) 3
COMMRC 1106 Small Group Communication (F2F and Web) (PREQ:COMMRC 0300) 3
COMMRC 1109 Nonverbal Communication (F2F and Web) (PREQ:COMMRC 0300) 3
COMMRC 1110 Theories of Interpersonal Communication (PREQ:COMMRC 0300) 3
COMMRC 1111 Theories of Persuasion (F2F and Web) (PREQ:COMMRC 0520 and 0310 or 0320) 3
COMMRC 1112 Theories of Rhetoric (PREQ:COMMRC 0310 and 0520) 3
COMMRC 1114 Freedom of Speech and Press (PREQ:COMMRC 0310 or 0320) 3
COMMRC 1117 21st Century Public Argument (PREQ:COMMRC 0310 or 0320) 3
COMMRC 1119 Presidential Rhetoric 2 (PREQ:COMMRC 0310 or 0320) 3
COMMRC 1121 History of Mass Media (F2F and Web) (PREQ:COMMRC 0320) 3
COMMRC 1122 Media Criticism (F2F and Web) (PREQ:COMMRC 0320) 3
COMMRC 1730 Special Topics in Communication (PREQ:COMMRC 0320) 3
COMMRC or CGS 1900  Communication Internship or CGS Choosing Your Path: Internship Seminar (Hybrid) 3


As you plan your certificate coursework, please make sure to review the CGS Course Overlap policy for information on how many courses can be double-counted if a student elects to pursue a CGS certificate in combination with other CGS and non-CGS majors, minors, and certificates. If you have questions, please contact your CGS advisor or CGS Advising at

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