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Descriptions of Majors

Mass Communication

Missouri Southern's Department of Communication offers students the opportunity to gain the necessary abilities in planning, preparing and producing programs in the electronic media and/or designing and writing for journalism. The programs emphasize the technical skills, creativity and demand for understanding target audiences in the mass media, and our activities are numerous!

Missouri Southern's Department of Communication offers students the opportunity to experience "hands-on" learning guided by highly professional faculty and staff. Specified programs introduce and emphasize technical skills in the electronic media or journalism while encouraging creative energies in demand for understanding target audiences in those markets. In these programs, you will be able to learn at a pace that suits your abilities with our award-winning broadcasting stations and publications. Under the tutelage of our department faculty and staff, you can enhance your craft and path towards the occupation of your dreams.

With The Chart , Missouri Southern's award-winning newspaper, students become part of the news team from the first day of enrollment in the practicum. The staff functions as actual working members of a weekly newspaper. Editors, writers and photographers write and produce the 8-to-12-page broadsheet newspaper. The newsroom contains some of the area's most up-to-date hardware and software to help prepare students for the professional arena. Students advance quickly through the ranks of The Chart. Editors qualify for Performing Aid Awards and Student Help funding as well as other scholarships designed to encourage students to pursue careers in print journalism.

The Chart primarily focuses on campus news, sports, events, people and issues, but coverage also branches out to community, state, national and international stories. They consistently remain one of the top non-daily college and university publications in the state and nation. Written, edited and produced by students, The Chart is considered a professional publication in terms of the stories it tackles, the attitude of the staff, and the overall quality.

KGCS-TV, the television station at Missouri Southern State University, offers many opportunities for students. The station broadcasts on Digital channel 21 in the Joplin region. It also appears on local cable television systems, including Cable One, Mediacom, and Suddenlink.

Programming serves the Joplin community as well as MSSU. It includes network programming from the YouToo America network. The station produces a variety of local programming, including community service programs, news programs, sports, entertainment, and governmental coverage.

KGCS prepares students for work in broadcasting and video production through valuable hands-on experience. Students may get involved at KGCS-TV beginning with their freshman year. Students are able to learn all aspects of television, including production work in the studio and in the field. They also have an opportunity to learn about station management and operations.

KGCS offers students many opportunities. Students may work on studio productions as a director, producer, camera operator, graphics operator or audio operator. They may also use field cameras for creating video projects, and use non-linear editing equipment to complete their productions. Students who wish to work on-camera have opportunities to host programs, including news and sports play-by-play.

88.7KXMS/Fine Arts Radio International, the classical/fine arts radio station at Missouri Southern State University, provides students with paid employment or for-credit work experience within a professional broadcast environment. KXMS is the only all-classical radio station in the Joplin, Missouri, market and is streamed world-wide via the Internet from its homepage,

Opportunities are available from the first semester of the freshman year through the student's four-years at Southern.

Public Relations

The world could not function without people working in Public Relations. Public Relations has evolved into an important business field that assists organizations as they communicate with each other and the public. Public Relations is also the science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organizational leaders and implementing planned programs of action which will serve both the organization's interests and that of the public.

As a result, Public Relations practitioners are needed everywhere, such as businesses, trade unions, government agencies, voluntary associations, foundations, hospitals, schools, colleges and religious institutions. Each of these institutions must develop effective relationships with many different audiences, including employees, members, customers, local communities, shareholders and other institutions, and with society at large.

Obviously, a Public Relations practitioner must have a variety of skills.  The Mass Communications emphasis in Public Relations at Missouri Southern was designed to prepare students to meet the needs of society by teaching skills and making available opportunities for practical experience in the Public Relations field.

The Public Relations curriculum (124 hours) was designed toward fulfilling the recommendations set forth by the Public Relations Society of America, a professional organization that also accredits university programs in Public Relations and has a student society, The Public Relations Student Society of America.

The required courses represent a well-rounded experience in Mass Communication, including courses in public speaking, interpersonal communication, print and broadcast newswriting, audio and video production and a core of courses specifically designed for the public relations practitioner. The curriculum also gives each student an opportunity to design a personalized course of study by taking courses in International Communication, Modern Language, Business and Marketing, Professional Writing, Photography or Forensics as electives.


In 2003, Missouri Southern was granted a charter in PRSSA with the sponsorship of the Greater Kansas City Chapter of PRSA. Public Relations majors are encouraged to join PRSSA and take advantage of Southern's involvement with this preeminent pre-professional organization for students of public relations. Southern Public Relations majors work with more than 8,100 members at 234 colleges and universities. PRSSA members explore their leadership potential at the local, regional and national level, at conferences held in the region and nationally. These events - organized entirely by students - involve not only educational advancement, leadership development and networking opportunities, but also travel around the nation to the country's most exciting cities.

Additionally, students of all ages have direct access to scholarship and award programs, national programming and professional development opportunities. Older students on the threshold of graduation take full advantage of the online PRSSA JobCenter for job opportunities while younger students use it for internship leads. For more information on PRSSA, you may visit the organization's website,


Public Relations Firms Conducts programming, research and evaluation, writing and editing, handling information, production and speaking.

Nonprofit Organizations Involves training volunteers, promotional activities, fundraising and grant seeking and designing public relations campaigns. Practitioners often have a lot of freedom in writing campaigns and creating publicity. May include working in museums, social service and health care groups, hospitals and different types of professional organizations.

Corporate Public Relations Performs trends analysis, issues management and public opinion evaluation. Often is responsible for reporting to the CEO and top executives on media.

Speech/Theatre Education

Speech Communication and Theatre are two disciplines combined from a long tradition at the secondary level in Missouri. The curriculum gives equal balance to prepare prospective teachers to instruct, coach, direct and administer curricular and co-curricular drama, speech communication, media, debate and forensic classes and activities. Most elementary and secondary teaching positions require all three skills; the ability to direct, coach, administer all forensic activities in a school district. College students selecting this program often participate in collegiate activities to develop skills which prepare them to teach and direct all forensics in a school setting.

With a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and a Speech-Theatre major, a qualified teacher has the certification to teach either or both speech communication and theatre 7 - 12. In most schools, the teacher usually teaches both areas, has a competitive debate, drama and forensics program and directs plays and musicals. Most directors receive additional compensation for directing programs.

Speech-Theatre teachers usually have many opportunities to work together and contribute to the work of running competitive events. They form collegial associations and do much coordination of schedules and events. They have richness in their professional life because of so many opportunities to model the skills and competencies that they teach. A good mentoring relationship is key to first year survival.

Speech-Theatre educators from the Missouri Southern program have a sterling reputation throughout the state and nation. Southwest Missouri is one of the most recognized areas of the country for its highly successful competitive programs. This translates into many teaching opportunities for graduates of the program. The median age for educators in this field in Missouri is 57; job outlook is good in a 100-mile radius

There are three areas of study and focus for a student seeking a degree in Speech-Theatre. In the Speech Communication area, students begin with a basic overview of the discipline in Introduction to Human Communication. The theory relates to communication as a human behavioral science and beyond communication as a presentational skill only. Everyday life and relationships are the focus of study in many of the required classes such as Interpersonal and Organizational Communication. All students in this program in Missouri are required to take Argumentation and Debate, since teaching debate and directing the activity is expected. Students also learn computer tournament administration and are encouraged to try out with the forensics squad.

Next, the Theatre program has requirements prospective teachers need because of the variety of skills to master and develop. Prospective teachers must learn acting, directing, costuming, building sets, lighting and much more from novice to advanced levels. In addition they study some history of drama and oral interpretation. Participation in the main stage productions is encouraged.

Third, in the Education curriculum, teacher candidates are introduced to professional education courses and psychology. They develop competencies in such things as use of computer programs and micro teaching. The culmination of the program is methods of teaching in the content areas and student teaching. The Education Department places teacher candidates in area schools and supervises and evaluates them. The specialty areas, such as the Speech-Theatre program, also supervise, observe and assess the teacher candidates. All certification areas must meet standards and are evaluated by NCATE. The Speech-Theatre area was ranked excellent in the latest visit by the certification team. The Teacher Education program at Missouri Southern is noted for outstanding ratings on the certification visits in the past. This adds to a high level of employability.