University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences

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University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences
Three story red brick building with domed rotunda behind a central monumental portico
Reese Phifer Hall, home of the College of Communication and Information Sciences
Established1973 as UA's "School of Public Communications"
1997 as CIS
DeanMark Nelson
Ua communicationlogo.png

The College of Communication and Information Sciences (C&IS) is the University of Alabama's division for mass media and information studies. It enrolls nearly 2,700 students, including 400 graduate students. Tracks of study include an undergraduate bachelor of arts, as well as multiple master's degrees and a PH.D. in communication and information sciences.[1]


The college was founded in 1973 as UA's School of Public Communications, becoming the School of Communication in 1977.[2] In 1988, it was renamed the "College of Communication". When it merged with the School of Library and Information Studies in 1997, it adopted its current name, the "College of Communication and Information Sciences." Its faculty offices and classrooms are in Reese Phifer Hall and Gorgas Library. Phifer Hall, the former student union building, was renamed in 1991 to honor Tuscaloosa businessman and University benefactor J. Reese Phifer.[3]

Areas of Study[edit]

CIS focuses on six undergraduate programs, six graduate programs, and one doctorate program, with five academic departments and one doctorate department.[4]

  • Advertising and Public Relations: Degrees in both majors are offered. Degrees in Advertising focus on sales and design techniques for print, online, and broadcast media. Public Relations majors learn skills to help organizations and people communicate with the general public and to build relationships.
  • Communication Studies: Focuses on human interaction and communicating in real world environments in a broad range of public, interpersonal, and cultural contexts.
  • Journalism: Two tracks in this department are offered for undergrads, General track and Visual track. General focuses on print media, including newspaper and magazine writing, reporting, and international journalism. Visual track incorporates elements of both traditional and emerging media, including photojournalism, digital and social media, and advanced editing. It is to be noted that students interested in TV or radio broadcasting including TV news reporting usually major in Telecommunication and Film rather than Journalism.
  • Library and Information Studies: only a minor in Information Sciences is offered by this department for undergraduates. Graduate programs include two Master's Degrees, one in Book Arts and one in Library and Information Studies.
  • Telecommunication and Film: An undergraduate degree in TCF includes a "sequence" or area of concentration along with an emphasis. These include: Electronic News sequence with an emphasis in News, Sports or Entertainment; Media Production sequence with general emphasis; Production Management sequence with general emphasis; Media Management sequence with general emphasis; Critical Media Studies sequence with general emphasis, and Documentary sequence with general emphasis.

Media organizations housed within the college[edit]

Phifer Hall contains several media outlets owned and operated by the University. This allows students in all of the College's programs opportunities for on-campus media experience.

  • WVUA-CD, a commercial television station with a full news operation
  • Alabama Public Radio, a National Public Radio affiliate with four transmitters throughout Alabama
  • The Center for Public Television and Radio (CPT&R), a producer of documentaries and specials for public radio and television
  • WVUA-FM, UA's student-run rock radio station

In spring 2014, these outlets will move out of Phifer Hall. WVUA-FM will relocate to a new student-media building while WVUA-CD, Alabama Public Radio and CPT&R will find a new home in the University's Digital Media Center within nearby Bryant–Denny Stadium. All but WVUA-FM will continue to be operated by the College.


  1. ^ "1". College of Communication and Information Sciences. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  2. ^ Bruce Roche, "The College of Communication and Information Sciences: A History," .
  3. ^ "2". CIS Homepage. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  4. ^ "3". University of Alabama Catalog.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°12′34″N 87°32′56″W / 33.2095°N 87.5489°W / 33.2095; -87.5489