Human Communication

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Academic Unit: 
Hugh Downs School of Human Communication

The Hugh Downs School of Human Communication (HDSHC) welcomes all Barrett students. Whether you are a communication major, minor, or taking our classes as electives, we would like to help you chart your pathway of excellence in our program. 

Participating in the Human Communication Honors Program provides students with a variety of useful academic opportunities. Connecting with communication faculty and professionals can open doors to networking, research experiences, and skills development. Students will benefit from the diverse perspectives and experiences that faculty provide to study and improve communication in global, organizational, and relational contexts.

Advantages of simultaneous enrollment in the Barrett Honors College and the Human Communication Honors Program include:

Priority registration for classes
Specially-designed honors courses taught by award-winning faculty
The ability to work directly with professors and honors advisors
Participation in research collaboratives 
Summer study abroad
Career skills development
Eligibility for communication scholarships and endowed awards 
Opportunities to attend and present at professional conferences
Create a unique honors thesis and/or exhibition
Develop qualifications for prestigious graduate programs

Any Barrett student who is considering majoring or minoring in Communication should contact
Dr. Alaina Zanin at or Dr. Pauline Hope Cheong at

Download Guidelines: PDF icon honors_enrichment_contracts_faculty2019-2020_0.pdf

Faculty Honors Advisors

Pauline Cheong

Alaina Zanin

Thesis/Creative Projects: 

Completing an Honors thesis in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication (HDSHC) allows for a broad range of possible topics and methodologies, which include both quantitative and qualitative research. Completing an honors thesis in the HDSHC provides the first step towards establishing your expertise formally and more publicly, while it provides you with valuable research and/or creative experience. The thesis process will help you hone your investigative and critical thinking skills, as well as your oral and written communication skills, which all COM majors recognize as vitally important in today’s competitive work environment.

Honors Thesis Directors: 
All full time faculty (i.e., core faculty and full time instructors) with Ph.D. degrees in the HDSHC can serve as Honors Thesis Directors. The second reader can be any faculty listed on our website and/or other qualified faculty with terminal degrees (e.g., Ed.D, JD, MFA). A third reader is OPTIONAL. A third reader can be determined by the student and faculty director and is anyone with expertise or experience relevant to the thesis. This can include graduate students.

Visit the HDSHC website for more information about the Honors Thesis.

Academic Preparation: 

Thesis contracts are created on a case-by-case basis, so student should communicate with their advisors and potential thesis advisor on their academic preparation. It is recommended that students complete the core theory and methods courses (i.e., COM207 and 308), including the appropriate capstone (COM407 or 408). Coursework in the students’ specific interests would be helpful as well.

Other Honors Opportunities: 

Honors enrichment contracts are created on a case-by-case basis, to provide students with learning experiences beyond the general course requirements. Students and faculty should feel free to design an agreement in addition to general course expectations that is tailored to the specifics of their interaction, the expected work, and the course. Honors enrichment contract guidelines can be found online.

Honors students are welcome to join our research collaboratives to work with both faculty and graduate students on innovative projects. View faculty contact information regarding the research collaboratives online.

The Hugh Downs School also welcomes Barrett Honors Fellow applications, please contact the FHA for more information.