Communication

The Department of Communication offers work leading to degrees at the master’s and doctoral levels and participates in the interdepartmental concentrations in Gender and Women’s Studies, Latin American and Latino Studies, and Survey Research Methodology.

The department goal is to produce scholars and researchers who will be critical consumers and producers of research about communication, whether in academic or applied settings, and who will contribute to the growth of knowledge in those settings.

At the master’s level, study and research are available in two general areas, media studies and cultural diversity. Because the areas intertwine, program emphasis is on breadth and integration. Inquiry in media studies ranges, for example, from journalism ethics to electronic media and computer-mediated communication. Cultural inquiry includes language and symbolic representation, critical theory, social inequality and racism, and cross-cultural differences.

At the doctoral level, the program focuses on communication and technology. Students develop thorough understanding of the field, expertise in its theories, skills needed to conduct effective research, and experience teaching in a university setting. They also acquire a specialty from among those recognized in scholarly societies and reflected in current research emphases among department faculty.

A signature feature of department programs is their flexibility. Students pursue individual and professional aims with guidance from an advisor, designing a course of study to reach their own educational goals. Because the department strongly encourages interdisciplinary work, students may study with scholars in allied disciplines.

Admission and Degree Requirements

Courses

COMM 416. Conflict and Communication. 3 or 4 hours.

Students learn to manage and resolve conflict in business, governmental, and community settings. Practical analysis of interpersonal and group conflict cases. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): COMM 301.

COMM 423. Discourse and Rhetoric. 3 or 4 hours.

Exploration of interconnections between language and social practices with attention to multiple components of discursive situations: senders, receivers, context, code, media, and content. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): COMM 301.

COMM 430. Media, Information and Society. 3 or 4 hours.

Dissemination of information via mass media involving social functions and significant questions about facts, truth, knowledge and values. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): COMM 301.

COMM 434. Global Communication Systems. 3 or 4 hours.

Structure and flow of international communication. Media organization systems. International impact of new media and information technology. Impact of U.S. media reporting on foreign affairs. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): COMM 301.

COMM 454. Cognitive Psychology of Language. 3 hours.

Provides students with a survey of methods, theory and research in language and discourse processing. Course Information: Same as LING 474, and PSCH 454. Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing or consent of the instructor.

COMM 456. Topics in the History of Communications. 3 or 4 hours.

This course introduces students to major developments in the history of communications, with a focus on the political and cultural dimension of technologies. Course Information: Same as HIST 456. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): Consent of the instructor. Recommended background: At least one history course at the 100 level.

COMM 458. Minorities and Communication. 3 or 4 hours.

Description and analysis of the processes through which ethnic and racial perceptions shape public discourse. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): COMM 301.

COMM 460. Visual Communication. 3 or 4 hours.

Exploration of processes through which meaning is derived from visible signs, and the role of media images in the cultural context. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): COMM 301.

COMM 467. Public Opinion and Political Communication. 3 or 4 hours.

Nature of public opinion and political communication systems. Patterns of opinion distribution and its measurement. Forces shaping public opinion and its impact on public policy. Course Information: Same as POLS 467. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite(s): POLS 200 or the equivalent or consent of the instructor.

COMM 474. Internship. 1-8 hours.

Students work in an approved professional setting. Individual projects developed through conferences with a faculty member and a field supervisor. Course Information: May be repeated to a maximum of 8 hours. No more than 3 credit hours of COMM 474 may be applied toward the major. May not be counted toward the minimum Master of Arts degree requirements. Prerequisite(s): Approval of the Department.

COMM 490. Seminar in Culture and Communication. 3 hours.

Analysis of contrastive cultural paradigms (interethnic, gender, class) to develop student's awareness of own socialization and cultural orientation. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): COMM 301.

COMM 491. Seminar in Media and Communication. 3 hours.

Analysis of contemporary or historical issues in mediated communication. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): COMM 301.

COMM 494. Special Topics in Communication. 3 or 4 hours.

Contemporary trends in the field of communication. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. May be repeated up to 2 time(s). Prerequisite(s): COMM 301.

COMM 498. Independent Study. 1-4 hours.

Individual investigation of special problems (student-initiated or related to faculty research). May be used for special projects, such as interdisciplinary seminars. Course Information: May be repeated to a maximum of 8 hours. No more than 3 credit hours of COMM 498 may be applied toward the major. Credit earned may not be applied toward the minimum Master of Arts in Communication degree requirements. Prerequisite(s): Approval of the Department and Junior or Senior standing.

COMM 500. Introduction to Communication Research. 4 hours.

History of the field, research traditions, communication viewed as social science; forming research questions, reviewing and critiquing literature, formulating hypotheses and rationale, conceptually defining variables. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): Consent of the instructor or graduate standing in communication.

COMM 501. Operationalizing Communication Research. 4 hours.

Levels of measurement; operational definitions; sampling qualitative and quantitative designs; coding and analysis of data; statistics; pilot testing and instrument/design revision; writing research reports. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): COMM 500.

COMM 502. Seminar in Media Studies. 4 hours.

In-depth, intensive examination of theories, perspectives, and approaches to media studies. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): COMM 500; or consent of the instructor.

COMM 503. Seminar in Intercultural Communication. 4 hours.

Introduction to basic theoretical concepts and important issues in intercultural communication. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): COMM 500; or consent of the instructor.

COMM 504. Communication, Technology, and Society Proseminar. 4 hours.

Introduction to philosophy and history of communication technologies. The social impact of communication technology.

COMM 505. Organizational Communication. 4 hours.

Classic and current research. Models that examine organizational communication; assessment of organizational problems and conduct of problem-solving research. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): COMM 306 and COMM 500; or consent of the instructor.

COMM 506. Cross-Cultural Communication. 4 hours.

Analysis of different theoretical approaches to cross-cultural communication (sociolinguistic, attributional); contrastive analysis of Western and non-Western cultural systems (interactional etiquette, discourse rules). Course Information: Same as LING 506.

COMM 508. New Media of Communication. 4 hours.

Theories, history and philosophy of the new media of communication. Social diffusion and consequences of new media technologies. Assessment and evaluation of the social impact of new media. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): COMM 504.

COMM 525. Approaches to Rhetorical Criticism. 4 hours.

Contemporary approaches to rhetorical criticism. Each offering focuses upon the distinctive contributions of specified rhetoricians to the theory and practice of rhetorical criticism. Course Information: May be repeated to a maximum of 12 hours. Prerequisite(s): COMM 410.

COMM 534. Mass Communication Theory. 4 hours.

Introduction to major theories of mass communication: their social history and substantive claims; distinction between mass mediated and other forms of communication, implications of distinction.

COMM 554. Cognitive Psychology of Language. 3 hours.

Provides students with a survey of methods, theory and research in language and discourse processing. Course Information: Same as PSCH 554, and LING 574. Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing or consent of the instructor.

COMM 567. Topics in Political Communication. 4 hours.

Intensive study of selected aspects; organizational communication in public institutions, urban political communication patterns, communication elites. Independent research using a variety of community research techniques. Course Information: Same as PA 567 and POLS 567. Prerequisite(s): Consent of the instructor.

COMM 570. Seminar in Philosophy of Technology. 4 hours.

Conceptual approaches to technology, with special emphasis on communication technologies. Emphasis on the application of values, beliefs, and thoughts related to the interplay of technology and society. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): COMM 504.

COMM 580. Qualitative Methods in Communication. 4 hours.

Qualitative methods course analyzing language and culture patterns. Course Information: Same as LING 582. Prerequisite(s): COMM 501 or consent of the instructor.

COMM 591. Health Communication. 4 hours.

Focusing on interpersonal, organizational and public contexts, seminar participants will review current literature in health communication, and apply selected communication concepts to healthrelated situations. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing in communication, or enrollment in a health professions school or college, or consent of the instructor.

COMM 594. Advanced Special Topics in Communication. 1-4 hours.

Student may register for more than one section per term. Advanced topics in communication theory and research. Subject matter varies. Course Information: May be repeated. Students may register in more than one section per term. Prerequisite(s): Consent of the instructor.

COMM 596. Independent Research. 1-4 hours.

Department approved research projects not included in thesis research. Course Information: May be repeated to a maximum of 6 hours. Students may register in more than one section per term. Prerequisite(s): Consent of the head of the department.

COMM 598. Thesis Research. 0-16 hours.

Under guidance of an advisor and committee the student develops and conducts a research project addressing a communication problem of a basic or applied nature. Course Information: Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading only. May be repeated. Students may register in more than one section per term. Prerequisite(s): COMM 501.

COMM 599. Dissertation Research. 0-16 hours.

Under guidance of an advisor and committee, the student conducts research on the topic of the doctoral dissertation. Course Information: Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading only. May be repeated. Students may register for more than one section per term. Prerequisite(s): Consent of the instructor.