Why Communication?


COMe on over!


What is Communication and why should I study it?

Theatre major Nicole Cowans, left, gets some one-on-one coaching from Associate Professor Carrie Baker in the Salibury Theatre.

Communication impacts all aspects of our lives, from our classroom experiences to the work we do in our communities, and the personal relationships we value. Communication is defined as “how people use messages to generate meanings within and across various contexts, and is the discipline that studies all forms, modes, media, and consequences of communication through humanistic, social scientific, and aesthetic inquiry” (National Communication Association, n.d.).

Communication, as a study and practice, remains the most in-demand skill set by employers. Everything we do from internal monologues to interacting with our environment requires communication. The Department of Communication offers three distinct concentrations of communication inquiry to help you achieve your personal, professional, academic, and civic goals: social interaction, public relations, and science & environmental  communication.



The Department of Communication at UAF challenges students to focus on place-based communication. A degree in communication from UAF introduces students to a wide range of specialized areas of communication scholarship and practice, preparing our graduates to build their careers or continue in their academic journey.



What can you do with a Communication degree?

A degree in Communication prepares you to work in a variety of industries such as social media and digital relations, project management, political speech writing, human resources, publishing/editing, health communication/education, science communication, activism/organizing, and more!

Our graduates work in many different industries and fields. For example, our undergraduates have interned for Senator Murkowski, worked for the Alaska Court System, and started their own businesses in communities across the globe.

Our graduate students have earned PhDs from R1 institutions, worked for media corporations, and held director level and above positions in private, public, and nonprofit organizations.

Joshua Liebhober speaks to potential summer job opportunities at the Student Job and Internship Fair provided by UAF Career Services.

Some careers communication majors go on to pursue are...


... and more!


  Universal Skills
Some key skill sets in Communication include: conflict management, intercultural communication, public speaking, interpersonal communication, writing, group communication, leadership development, collaboration, persuasion, audience analysis, diversity, equity, and inclusion.



Communication faculty work closely in partnership with students at all levels during their degree programs to meet their personal and professional goals.



Communication at the University of Alaska Fairbanks




 Choose from three undergraduate concentrations...

Social Interaction

Students in the social interaction track focus on understanding the complex dynamics of how communication functions or dysfunctions within interpersonal relationships, organizations, and society.

Science & Environmental Communication

Students in the Science & Environmental communication track are innovators, joining one of the most rapidly growing sub-disciplines in communication.

Public Relations and Organizational Communication

Students in the PR & Org communication track will consider how to effectively manage relationships between organizations and publics.


Kisha Lee, majoring in rural human services at UAF's Kuskoskim Campus in Bethel, studies in the student lounge on campus.

Required courses for the online degree in communication explore topics such as media and culture, news writing, communication research methods and theory and intercultural communication. The program also includes a capstone seminar in communication.




  Your research, your curriculum
For undergraduate students, our program offers 2 unique minors and 3 unique BA concentrations. For graduate students, the professional communication degree provides the opportunity for each student to tailor and develop their own individualized research and curriculum.


All Communication degrees (minor, major, and Master’s) are available as in-person or fully asynchronous online degree programs. Students enrolled at UAF are able to transfer 6 elective credits from any other institution to count towards their undergraduate Communication degree at UAF.


How can I get involved?

Communication faculty host bimonthly research groups and provide opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to serve as research group leaders to submit to national and international conference, journals, and edited volumes. Communication Faculty members Dr. McDermott and Dr. May sponsor the Generation Action student club. The Department also hosts the farthest north chapter of the communication honor society, Lambda Pi Eta. Communication faculty maintain an active research agenda, partnering with URSA to encourage our majors to contribute original scholarship to the communication discipline. The Department of Communication also houses the Communication Center that provides public speaking assistance and other skills development to the UAF and local Fairbanks community


Communication Research & Personal Development

Communication faculty often have grants available to fund undergraduate and graduate student research. We often hire communication majors and students in related disciplines to work as a student assistant in our department, partnering with them to develop critical skills related to interpersonal communication, instructional design, and other personal/professional communication-related goals. 



Comm Class

The Department of Communication at UAF seeks to provide a rich, well-rounded scholarly experience for all undergraduate and graduate students. Enrolled students receive responsive one-on-one attention from faculty with a 1:15 faculty to student ratio.

Because of our unique location, we boost one of the few Communication programs specializing in Arctic, climate change, and environmental communication. As an institution committed to being a global leader in Alaska Native and Indigenous programs, our program is committed to challenging western communication norms and practices throughout our course offerings and research opportunities.