Emphasis – Communication

Strategic communication to achieve professional goals

Business Communication Header Image

Your emphasis in Business Communication will provide you with the skills deemed most desirable by employers across all industries and fields to drive individual success as an employee, colleague, and workplace leader.


The Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Communication provides specialized skill sets for students that can be leveraged for career success regardless of their chosen profession. Students will learn how to effectively engage, motivate, and persuade all organizational stakeholders in order to achieve professional goals in a rapidly evolving business landscape. The emphasis signals to potential employers that the graduate is ready to lead and motivate teams in-person and virtually, while successfully navigating complex communication situations among diverse groups and individuals across the globe to support the success of the organization.


This Emphasis is available only to current Marshall undergraduates who have attained sophomore standing and have completed at least one semester in residence at USC.

Students must complete BUAD 302 (Communication Strategy in Business) prior to declaring the Emphasis. The Emphasis requires completion of at least twelve (12) units of Business Communication (BUCO) upper division coursework. Upper division courses are numbered 300-499. Additional details are available in the catalogue.

Please note that students can only declare one Emphasis.

Apply Here

Emphasis Faculty Advisor

Professor Marion Philadelphia
Email Address: philadel@marshall.usc.edu

Recommended Coursework

View our recommended coursework here 

Emphasis Workshop Slide Deck

View the Spring 2024 emphasis workshop slide deck here 

FAQs related to the Emphasis in Communication

Which course can help students determine if this Emphasis is right for them?

The core communication course, BUAD 302: Communication Strategy in Business, is a requirement that must be completed before declaring this emphasis and is the best course to help students decide if this Emphasis is right for them. We encourage students interested in this emphasis to enroll in BUAD 302 as early as possible.

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What other resources/experiences can help students determine if this Emphasis is the right fit?

In addition to the Communication emphasis faculty advisor, students who enjoy interacting with and meeting others as well as believing in the importance of team synergy and group interaction can be a good fit for this Emphasis. Students who seek to get people excited about their new ideas and inspire collaboration among their peers may also find this Emphasis as a good fit. 

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What qualities/skills are good for students to have when going into this Emphasis?
  • Students with an interest in dealing with people, process, and product
  • Students who realize the essential importance of communication modes, methods, strategies, and emotional intelligence to support the success of any business operation
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What skills or knowledge will students gain from this Emphasis?

Students will know how to adapt their communication across diverse “audiences” (from colleagues to clients, to the C-suite) – this ability will strongly support their leadership abilities and help them move up the career ladder faster. Students will also  learn how to develop communication strategy, no matter if for internal or external business communication, or for concrete purposes such as marketing communication or crisis communication.

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For what careers or industries will this Emphasis prepare students?

This emphasis will benefit students pursuing careers across all industries and fields. Particularly, anyone persuing roles in consulting, marketing, sales, consumer products, media, entrepreneurship, healthcare, and human resources that rely heavily on communication strategy and persuasion will greatly benefit from this emphasis.

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Why would students choose this Emphasis?

Communication is the bedrock for society and business to function successfully. Being a skilled communicator allows students to develop necessary tools that can immediately be applied in their careers and build a professional network quickly to excel in their professional fields.

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Can students satisfy these requirements when they study abroad?

Students who participate in the Marshall International Exchange program (IEP) may fulfill up to 6 credits towards this emphasis while studying abroad. In order for the courses to be applied towards the emphasis, students must complete approved communication classes while abroad (a list of approved class for each exchange location can be found on the IEP outgoing website. Students will work with the International Programs office to ensure that the approved classes they take abroad will be applied towards their emphasis.

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For International Students

This emphasis is a STEM program

This emphasis has been approved by the university to be STEM-eligible. This allows students who have completed this degree to apply for the STEM OPT Extension. Please note that this extension is not guaranteed but is approved by federal departments beyond the university’s purview. We strongly advise students to carefully read the Office of International Services instructions (here and here) which explain the STEM OPT extension eligibility and proceed accordingly.

On my I-20, why does the degree say Management Science instead of Business Administration?

This emphasis has been approved by the university to be STEM-eligible under the Department of Education CIP code of 52.1301 designation of Management Science. The degree stated on the I-20 refers to this designation.

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