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.

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

Admission Requirements

Students must meet requirements for admission to the College of General Studies. A certificate application must be completed and returned to the College of General Studies via the CGS online portal.

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 requires 24 credits, including nine (9) credits of core classes and 15 elective 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 (9) credits must be earned at the University of Pittsburgh. 

Course 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 an (●). Courses offered in both face-to-face and online formats are marked with an (#). Courses with no indicator are offered face-to-face only.

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

Required Courses: (9 credits) 

Choose three of the following courses.

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

Electives: (15 credits)

Choose five (5) COMMRC courses. Prerequisite courses are in parentheses; English Composition 0200 is required for all 1000-level courses. A sampling of courses that can be used to fulfill the certificate requirements include:

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

Tip: Download our handy planning checklist to track your progress towards your CGS program requirements.

Important: 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.