Communication Studies

Testing 1, 2, 3. Testing 1, 2, 3.

In this exciting, highly interactive program (formerly Speech Communication), you’ll explore how our everyday forms of communication create meaning and shape our perspective of the world. This degree is unique within Canada for our experience-based study of verbal, non-verbal, visual, and digital communication practices.

You’ll learn to master interviewing skills, become adept at public speaking, and communicate effectively as a leader. You'll also study the dynamics of communication in your personal interactions, your classrooms, workspaces, in your use of online and digital spaces, and more broadly in media and public communication.

Over the course of your degree, you’ll hone your written and oral communication skills while developing expertise in teamwork, research, visual and digital literacy, and critical analysis — just the kind of skills that employers are hungry for. Enrolling in the co-op stream will provide insights into possible careers and paid work experience along the way.

Career-relevant workshops

Our professional development workshops give you a head start on careers in public relations, politics, marketing, teaching, or broadcasting.

Make lasting connections

Enjoy small classes that range from 15 to 35 students and have the chance to really connect with your classmates and professors.


Caleb, a speech communication major, standing in front of brown background and smiles into the camera

"The work never stops, but with startups, that’s part of the fun and part of the challenge,” says entrepreneur and Honours Arts and Business (Communication Studies) grad Caleb Polley. "My arts degree gives me a unique perspective from more traditional technical founders and I am confident that this perspective will become one of my greatest assets."

icon of the globeInternational exchanges in 25 countries

briefcaseAvailable as a co-op and regular program

icon of open bookAvailable as a major and minor



Apply to Honours Arts or Honours Arts and Business and choose Communication Studies as your major at the end of first year.

Get tips from Waterloo students

Sign up for insider advice that can help you now and in the future. Topics include

  • tips for a successful senior year of high school,
  • how to choose a university program,
  • differences between high school and university, and more.

First-year courses

September to December

  • SPCOM 100 - Interpersonal Communication
  • SPCOM 223 - Public Speaking
  • Arts First requirement 1*
  • Two additional courses

January to April

  • SPCOM 101 - Theories of Communication
  • Arts First requirement 2*
  • Three additional courses
*The Arts First requirement consists of two first-year courses that are capped at 25 students: ARTS 130 - Inquiry and Communication and ARTS 140 - Information and Analysis. Instead of listening to a lecture and trying to capture notes, Arts First courses will have you and your classmates working together to respond to a challenge posed by the instructor.

After first year

40% of the classes you’ll take will be Communication Studies (formerly Speech Communication) courses. With your remaining classes, you can choose electives from many of the 100 subject areas at Waterloo.

Sample upper-year courses

SPCOM 323 – Speech Writing
SPCOM 329 – Digital Presentations
SPCOM 431 – Crisis Communication
SPCOM 475 – Communication Ethics


icon of network of peopleOffered by the Faculty of Arts

Graduation capEarn a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies


Co-op = relevant paid work experience

By alternating school terms and paid co-op work terms throughout your degree, you can explore different career areas and types of employers as your career interests evolve.

Sample co-op job titles

  • Marketing communications associate
  • Media and publications associate
  • Research analyst
  • Business analyst
  • Human resources co-op
  • Media relations specialist
  • Logistics assistant

Sample co-op employers

  • Microsoft Canada
  • Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation
  • eHealth Ontario
  • PointClickCare
  • MappedIn
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada
  • Shoppers Drug Mart

Customize your degree

You can add additional areas of expertise by including one or more of the minors available to all Waterloo students. Popular choices for Communication Studies students include Theatre and Performance, Human Resource Management, French, and Political Science.

What can you do with a degree in Communication Studies?

Graduates often pursue careers in marketing, education, the media, human resources, management. They work for a variety of businesses, non-profit organizations, universities, technology companies, and financial institutions.

Recent graduates

  • Marketing Coordinator – Deloitte
  • Junior Integrated Marketing Communications Manager – Microsoft Canada
  • English Teacher – EF Education First
  • Strategic Planning Officer – Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)
  • Enterprise Account Executive – Shopify Plus
  • Customer Experience Specialist – Tesla Canada

Learn about the future of careers in the humanities, social sciences, languages, and creative arts.

Ready to learn more?