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Students can find the answers to all of the questions listed below, and many others, by utilizing the various information resources provided by this College of Communications Web site, as well as via the eLion System. It is strongly recommended that students consult with a College of Communications academic adviser when using these sources of academic information in their educational planning.
What is the Natural Science requirement for students in the College of Communications?
All students in the College must complete 9 credits of Natural Sciences (GN) as part of their General Education requirements. Any 9 credits of courses designated as GN qualify. Students ARE NOT REQUIRED to complete a laboratory course, although they can choose to do so.
What is the foreign language requirement and course placement policy for students in the College of Communications?
All students at Penn State who are pursuing a Bachelor Arts degree, including College of Communications students, are required to reach the "12th credit level of proficiency" in one foreign language in order to graduate. Students reach the "12th credit level of proficiency" by completing a level 003 foreign language course at Penn State ( SPAN 003, FR 003, GER 003, etc.).
Students' placement in foreign language courses is based on the number of high school Carnegie Units (years) completed in the same foreign language. For example, students who completed 0-1 years of a foreign language in high school are expected to begin study in that foreign language at the 001 level at Penn State, and would eventually need to also complete levels 002 and 003 of that same foreign language to reach the "12th credit level of proficiency" for graduation.
Likewise, students who completed 2-3 years of the same foreign language in high school are expected to begin study of that foreign language at the 002 level at Penn State, and would need only to complete the 003 level of that same foreign language to reach the "12th credit level of proficiency" for graduation.
Finally, students who had 4 or more years of the same foreign language in high school would be expected to begin study of that foreign language at level 003 at Penn State, which by itself would satisfy the "12th credit level of proficiency" for graduation.
Are there any courses that students in the College of Communications can "double-count" for major and General Education and/or Bachelor of Arts requirements?
PSYCH 100, ECON 102, and STAT 200 are requirements for the Advertising/Public Relations major that are permitted to "double-count" in this way. With careful planning, students can use PSYCH 100 and ECON 102 to satisfy 6 credits of Social and Behavioral Sciences (6 credits in General Education); and STAT 200 can be used to satisfy 4 credits of Quantification (GQ) in General Education. In telecommunications, ECON 102 can satisfy 3 credits of Social and Behavioral Sciences in general education or bachelor of arts areas. "Double counting" does not mean 6 credits are received for one 3-credit course. It means two requirements are satisfied by one 3-credit course.
Can College of Communications students take extra COMM courses outside their majors to satisfy elective requirements?
In all College of Communications majors, students must carefully utilize their elective credits because 80 credits of non-COMM courses (65 of those 80 credits must come from courses in the Liberal Arts and Sciences) are required to graduate. This requirement is mandated by the Accrediting Council on Education in Mass Communications (ACEJMC), and is one of the measures used by the ACEJMC to evaluate the College for national accreditation purposes. Students should meet with their Academic Advisor on a regular basis to determine their progress toward the" 80 credit rule" to see if they have room in the electives area to take a few extra credits of COMM courses.
What is the "Other Cultures" requirement? How is it different from the "Cultural Diversity" (also known as the "Intercultural and International Competency") requirement? Can students in the College of Communications use the same course to satisfy the Other Cultures and Cultural Diversity?
The Other Cultures requirement is a 3-credit requirement in the Bachelor of Arts area. It is designed to help students learn about cultures that are non-Western (non-European) in origin. In addition to the Other Cultures Bachelor of Arts requirement, students also must fulfill General Education's United States Cultures (US) and International Cultures (IL) requirements. Students ARE NOT PERMITTED to use the same course to satisfy multiple Other Cultures, US, or IL requirements .
What is the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) requirement?
The WAC requirement is a graduation requirement for all Penn State students. Its intent is to ensure that students complete a 3 credit writing intensive course selected from "W" courses offered by their major or college. All College of Communications majors offer "W" courses.
When should I start planning for an Education Abroad experience?
Generally speaking, students should begin planning an Education Abroad program at least one year prior to the semester in which they plan to study abroad. Students can visit the Office of Global Programs (410 Boucke Building) to begin exploring programs that match their interests. Most programs have prerequisites and require a recommendation from the student's advisor. Students should schedule an appointment with an advisor to discuss their Education Abroad plans as soon as they become interested.
When and how can students declare a major in the College of Communications?
All College of Communications and Division of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) students can apply for the College of Communications major of their choice during their second year (fourth semester) via the Sophomore Entrance to Major application process. At that time, students declare their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd major preferences. After a review of their qualifications to enter their preferred majors, students are notified by the Registrar's Office in mid-March or early April if they qualified for any of their three choices.
Are College of Communications students required to choose a minor in addition to their majors?
The Journalism major and the Media Studies ( International Communications option) majors are the only majors in which students MUST choose a University approved minor. Students in any other College of Communications major can pursue a minor if they choose to do so.
Can College of Communications students minor in an area of Communications?
College of Communications students can minor in any of more than 100 University-approved minors. However, College of Communications students CANNOT complete a minor within their own college.
Can College of Communications students "double-major" within the College (i. e., major in Journalism and Telecommunications)?
College of Communications students CANNOT "double-major" within the College. If they wish to do a concurrent or Multiple Major program, the second major must be chosen from outside the College.
What is an internship, when should College of Communications students do an internship, and how much credit can they receive for it?
It is important for students to gain practical experience related to their program of study (which is often times referred to as an "internship") whenever the opportunity presents itself (as early as the summer between their first and second years, or as late as their last semester of enrollment). Internships can be done as paid or unpaid experiences, depending on the rules of the site offering the internship. With the approval of the College's internship coordinator, internships can also be done for credit. The College of Communications limits the total number of credits earned for internship experiences to 3 credits.
In addition to internships and major courses, what other ways can College of Communications students get a better understanding of their majors and future careers?
Students in the College of Communications can join various student clubs and organizations (the Advertising Club, The Public Relations Student Society of America, etc.) to get a better sense of what their majors and future career fields are about. Volunteering at local organizations during the school year, or at organizations near home during the summer, also give students opportunities to gain insight into and practical experience within their area of interest.
In addition, the Office of External Relations sponsors a number of programs for students each semester that allow them to make connections with College alumni.