Communication as a field of study develops answers to three main questions:
- why people communicate,
- what happens as a result of communicating, and
- how does communication itself get accomplished?
The University at Albany Department of Communication is unusual for giving primary emphasis to the third concern – we give close attention to what makes messages and strategies meaningful and effective. Our instructional programs focus on messages and strategies in these main social contexts, as well as why persons communicate and what the result is:
- political, with special attention to messages and strategies in which partisan agendas are formed and pursued in a democratic society;
- health, with particular interest in ways that health communication shapes, and is shaped by, people's health, and institutional aspects of health care;
- organizational, with special attention to the process of organizing – the formation and practice of organization among persons engaged in a shared effort to produce results;
- and interpersonal and intercultural, with special attention to the interactional and cultural foundations of what people in face-to-face encounters say and do, and how they say and do it, that influence what happens in professional, social, relational, and family contexts.
At the undergraduate level the B.A. program is designed to help students develop their competence to take part in communication activities and processes effectively, and to analyze and solve communication problems in interpersonal/intercultural, organizational, or political contexts. This is accomplished by exposing students to theories, research findings, and applied experiences in the classroom, and providing opportunities for internship experiences in professional settings.
At the graduate level the M.A. program is designed to further develop the professional competence of students to manage communication processes in the workplace, providing them with the expertise and experience that will equip them to take leadership roles. In addition, the program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree is designed to prepare qualified students for college and university teaching and for careers in communication research.