Department of Communication

The Department of Communication highlights the role of communication, media, and technology in creating relationships within human societies. Courses range from the personal through the international level and build responsible citizenship.

A degree in communication focuses on social science research, leading to several career paths, including market research, corporate relations, human resources, event planning, advertising, media writing, teaching, and government.

The core courses introduce fundamental concepts, theories, issues, and statistical methods in a variety of settings and build skills in reasoned argument, research, and critical thinking.

Subsequent courses integrate analysis and research, emphasizing observation, production, and consumption as critical processes in which students continually engage, while also emphasizing systematic inquiry that involves students in research activities. The courses foster critical understanding of the ways that individuals, groups, and societies create meanings about their worlds through communication.

Admission to the Major

Students may declare a major in Communication at any time. The first courses students should complete are the following, which are prerequisites for enrollment in many upper-level communication courses.

Courses
COMM 101Introduction to Communication3
COMM 102Introduction to Interpersonal Communication3
COMM 103Introduction to Media3

Distinction

For Distinction, the requirements are a cumulative GPA of 3.25/4.00 and a departmental GPA of 3.50/4.00. For High Distinction, the requirements are a cumulative GPA of 3.25/4.00, a departmental grade point average of 3.50/4.00, and satisfactory completion of an advanced original research paper under the supervision of a faculty member of the student’s choosing. Questions regarding graduation with distinction may be directed to the department.

Courses

COMM 100. Fundamentals of Human Communication. 3 hours.

Emphasis on strategies for public speaking, public presentations, and conducting meetings. Effective approaches to audience analysis, speaker/presenter credibility, using evidence, argument development, delivery, and planning meetings. Course Information: No credit given toward the Major in Communication. Individual and Society course.

COMM 101. Introduction to Communication. 3 hours.

Introduction to central concepts in communication, including key terms and theories, specific contexts and key debates. Individual and Society course.

COMM 102. Introduction to Interpersonal Communication. 3 hours.

Effective communication in human relationships; verbal and nonverbal messages; reflective listening, disclosure, showing affection, empathy, assertiveness; handling interpersonal conflict; cultural and gender differences. Individual and Society course.

COMM 103. Introduction to Media. 3 hours.

Conceptualizing mass communication. Internal and external controls. Media and minorities. Individual and societal functions of the media. Individual and societal effects of the media. Individual and Society course.

COMM 105. African Americans in Film, 1900 - Present: Images, Individuals and Ideas on Screen. 3 hours.

Examination of the history of African Americans in film from the silent era to the present. The careers of African American filmmakers and actors and the evolution of images, themes, and ideas in films by and about African Americans. Course Information: Same as AAST 105 and MOVI 105. Creative Arts course, and US Society course.

COMM 140. Fundamentals of Media Communication. 3 hours.

Instruction and practice in the composition, analysis and dissemination of messages that employ media in professional contexts. Individual and Society course.

COMM 200. Communication Technologies. 3 hours.

History, development, and social impact of communication technology: print, broadcast, cable, satellite, computer, internet. Issues related to infrastructure, regulation, access, globalization, conveyance, and change. Course Information: Same as MOVI 200. This is a blended-online and classroom course. Use of computer and internet access is required. A high speed connection, while not required, is strongly suggested. Prerequisite(s): COMM 101, COMM 102, COMM 103. Moving Image Arts minors must obtain approval of the Department of Communication.

COMM 201. Statistics in Communication Research. 3 hours.

Processes of communication research as a social science; variables, hypotheses, and theories; conceptual and operational definition; sampling; research design; statistics; use of computers for research. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): COMM 101, COMM 102, COMM 103; and MATH 090 or MATH 118 or any other advanced math course with a minimum grade of C; or math placement above MATH 090 or MATH 118.

COMM 204. Gender and Popular Culture. 3 hours.

Analysis of representations of gender and sexuality in popular and material culture, using contemporary theories. Focus is on US popular culture. Course Information: Same as GWS 204. Prerequisite(s): Sophomore standing or above; or consent of the instructor. Recommended background: Credit or concurrent registration in GWS 101 or Credit or concurrent registration in COMM 102 or Credit or concurrent registration in GWS 102 or Credit or concurrent registration in COMM 103. Individual and Society course, and US Society course.

COMM 206. Public Relations and Digital Media. 3 hours.

The basics of public relations strategy applied to a contemporary digital media environment. The ethics and practice of public relations. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): ENGL 160 and ENGL 161.

COMM 207. The Mass Media and Politics. 3 hours.

Impact of mass media coverage on political attitudes and the conduct of American politics. Communication policies and media institutions in times of rapid technological change. Course Information: Same as POLS 207. Prerequisite(s): One course in political science, sociology or contemporary history.

COMM 216. Digital Journalism. 3 hours.

Basics, best practices, and ethics of digital journalism. Assembling, producing, and publicizing news content for the contemporary digital news environment. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): ENGL 160 and ENGL 161.

COMM 220. Social Media and Marketing. 3 hours.

The basics of marketing in the social media age. Theoretical and practical strategies used by corporations and non-profits to leverage digital communication and enhance brand identity, loyalty, and consumer engagement. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): ENGL 160 and ENGL 161.

COMM 234. History of Television. 3 hours.

A critical history of television. Course Information: Same as ENGL 234 and MOVI 234. One additional hour each week for required screenings.

COMM 301. Communication Research. 3 hours.

Designs and measurements for conducting empirical analyses of communication activities in both laboratory and business settings. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): COMM 200 and COMM 201.

COMM 303. Communication and Culture. 3 hours.

Examination of the relationship between communication and culture through an exploration of the general theoretical principles linking cultural influences and communicative acts. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): COMM 200 and COMM 201.

COMM 304. Gender and Communication. 3 hours.

Speech differences and universals across genders. Talk in male-female interaction. Communication in romantic relationships. Gender issues in work settings. Course Information: Same as GWS 304. Prerequisite(s): COMM 200 and COMM 201.

COMM 306. Organizational Communication. 3 hours.

Examination of communication issues in organizational settings. Exposure to topics such as rules, networks, leadership, and decision making as well as methods of analyzing communication problems. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): COMM 200 and COMM 201.

COMM 309. Environmental Communication. 3 hours.

Description and analysis of communication practices about environmental issues with attention to conflict resolution, media coverage, advocacy initiatives and marketing campaigns. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): COMM 200 and COMM 201.

COMM 311. Interviewing and Communication. 3 hours.

Study of the forms and principles of information-seeking interviews, with special attention to fact-finding and data gathering missions. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): COMM 200 and COMM 201.

COMM 315. Group Communication. 3 hours.

Study and practice in the theories and techniques of group communication; the nature of small group decision-making; observation and analysis of established work groups. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): COMM 200 and COMM 201.

COMM 316. Writing for the Electronic Media. 3 hours.

Principles of writing applied to the presentation of information in electronic media. Practical applications and analysis of relations between form and content. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): COMM 200 and COMM 201.

COMM 323. Argument and Persuasion. 3 hours.

Analysis and application of historical and contemporary theories of argument and persuasion as they function to form or change opinions and beliefs. Course Information: Prerequisite(s): COMM 200 and COMM 201.

COMM 330. Mass Media and Popular Culture. 3 hours.

A theoretical and analytical examination of the media and popular arts as cultural artifacts. Focus on form, content, design, and effects of cultural commodities. Course Information: Prerequisite(s):COMM 200 and COMM 201.

COMM 394. Special Topics in Communication. 3 hours.

Analysis of contemporary or historical issues in media and communication. Course Information: May be repeated to a maximum of 9 hours if topic is different for each registration. Prerequisite(s): COMM 200 and COMM 201.

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.