Communication

Requirements & Courses

  • Major Requirements

    Thirty-six credits which must include:

    1. Core: COM-101 and 111
    2. Context: Twenty credits in COM, 16 of which must be upper-level.
    3. Capstone: COM-350, 450, and an internship (385) or applied learning experience approved by the department. 

    Notes: In addition to the requirements listed above, an ethics course in the Philosophy Department is strongly encouraged. No more than 4 credits of COM-385 may be counted toward the COM major.

  • Departmental Honors

    Completion of all COM major requirements, 3.5 GPA in the major, and completion of a senior thesis of honors caliber (COM-500).

  • Minor Requirements

    Twenty-four credits which must include:

    1. COM-101, 111, 450
    2. Eight additional credits at the upper level
  • Four credits from COM, with the exception of practicum or independent study courses, count towards the Distributive Requirements in the Humanities.

Courses

  • COM
    101
    .
    Human Communication
    4 credits
    Beginning study of the nature, problems and theories of human communication. Examines issues of meaning, relationship and community within interpersonal, group and media contexts. Surveys rhetorical, pragmatic and interpretive perspectives on the communication process.
  • COM
    102
    .
    Group and Team Communication
    4 credits
    This class helps students understand, apply, and embody principles of effective group and team communication. In a semester-long team project, students apply the principles of effective team communication to both teams observed in organizations and to their own teams through ethnographic research methods.
  • COM
    111
    .
    Fundamentals of Speech Communication
    4 credits
    Elements of oral communication in public contexts. Emphasis on diagnosing rhetorical situations, inventing and delivering informative and persuasive presentations, and facilitating public discussion.
  • COM
    123
    .
    Performing Advocacy
    4 credits
    Explores the relationships among identity, power and culture. Students learn how to become advocates through the use of Everyday Life Performance and other performance techniques, engaging in perspective taking and service learning with marginalized groups.
  • COM
    192
    .
    Introduction to Public Relations
    2 credits
    Introduction to the principles of public relations and strategic corporate communication practices. Topics include message design, campaign planning, audience analysis, issue management, and case studies of ethical issues.
  • COM
    201
    .
    Relational Communication
    4 credits
    Examination of messages, roles, rules and strategies through which interpersonal relationships are initiated, maintained and changed. Emphasis on analysis of interaction and communication processes in a variety of interpersonal contexts.
  • COM
    202
    .
    Group Communication and Teamwork
    2 credits
    Uses academic literature, case discussions, illustrative exercises, and group projects to foster the development of skills needed to participate in and lead groups and teams. The course focuses on how to recognize and diagnose group communication difficulties, and to develop strategies for improving teamwork and group performance.
  • COM
    211
    .
    Political Communication
    4 credits
    Explores the influence of political messages and discourse in civic life. Topics include the relationship of free speech and a free press to democracy, historical and contemporary foundations for understanding the social influence of political messages the political uses and effects of traditional and new media, and contemporary challenges to free speech, deliberative public discourse, and participatory democracy.
  • COM
    212
    .
    Sports Communication
    4 credits
    Explores the function of sports communication and its impact on players, organizations, fans and professionals. Issues examined include decision making, crisis communication, gender dynamics, community relations and social media presence.
  • COM
    220
    .
    Intercultural Communication
    4 credits
    Study of interdependent relationship between communication and culture. Examines conceptual and experiential problems of communication across cultural boundaries. Focuses on perceiving, interpreting, and evaluating different cultural values, world views and patterns of communication. Course fee.
  • COM
    221
    .
    Intimacy and Technology
    4 credits
    Explore the way communication technologies impact and influence our relational lives. Focus on both old and new media, examining the way specific communication channels shape our romantic, platonic, familial and professional relationships. Through readings, discussion, film and scrutiny of their own technology usage, students will investigate the relationship between intimacy and technology.
  • COM
    223
    .
    Humor, Culture and Communication
    4 credits
    Explores humor as an important means of communicating cultural messages by considering issues such as power, identity and marginality. Focusing on a variety of media - from stand-up comedy performance to literary parody, this course examines humor as social critique and potentially subversive rhetoric. Through analysis and performance of stand-up comedy, students gain an understanding of the relationship between humor and power, and the importance of this relationship in rhetorical and cultural contexts. Course fee.
  • COM
    227
    .
    Argument and Public Advocacy
    4 credits
    Investigates the nature and practice of argument in a democratic society. Focuses on speeches, debates, conversations, and other contexts of public argument. Emphasis on the analysis of evidence, reasoning, assumptions, and values in current policy debates.
  • COM
    243
    .
    Health Communication
    4 credits
    Examines communication practices in health care relationships and organizations. Topics include effective provider-patient interaction, communication relationships in health organizations, rhetorical and media strategies for managing health issues, and the uses of new communication technologies to promote health and manage health information.
  • COM
    253
    .
    Environmental Communication
    4 credits
    Examines issues and controversies in conservation, ecology and environmentalism from a communication perspective. Emphasizes critical analysis of the role of mass media and public discourse in the definition, deliberation and resolution of environmental issues.
  • COM
    281
    .
    Topics in Relational Communication
    4 credits
    Exploration of specific topics in relational communication, which may include nonverbal communication, conflict communication, intimacy and technology, family communication, communicating loss and other areas.
  • COM
    282
    .
    Topics in Strategic Communication
    4 credits
    In-depth exploration of specific topics in strategic communication, which may include political campaign communication, corporate image management, public policy and advocacy, presidential rhetoric, the rhetoric of social movements, organizational change, non-profit leadership, strategic health campaigns, environmental advocacy, and other areas. May be taken more than once for credit as topics vary.
  • COM
    302
    .
    Strategic Organizational Communication
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: COM-202 or 4 credits in COM or Permission
    Study of strategic communication goals, messages, networks, and systems in organizations. Examines internal organizational processes of socialization, coordination, leadership, and change as well as external communication processes of issue management, corporate citizenship, and public relations.
  • COM
    320
    .
    Gender and Communication
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: Four credits COM and Sophomore Standing, or Permission
    Explores the rhetorical construction of gendered identities, focusing on cultural messages about femininity and masculinity in social, political, institutional and relational contexts. Through readings, discussions, films and presentations, the course examines the way gendered identities are created, contested and performed, emphasizing the relevance of this process to our daily lives.
  • COM
    327
    .
    Propaganda and Persuasion
    4 credits
    Examines the mediated and rhetorical processes of social influence and the elements of propaganda. Emphasis on analysis of institutional persuasive strategies in film, television, print and oral media.
  • COM
    350
    .
    Seminar in Communication Inquiry
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: Twelve credits in COM, including COM-101 or Permission; Junior Standing
    Examination of systematic methodological approaches to the formal analysis of communication processes, messages and problems. Focus on evaluation of research literature and creation of a research proposal. Requires Junior standing.
  • COM
    353
    .
    Risk and Crisis Communication
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: COM-243 or 253 or Permission
    This course examines the communication practices and resources through which individuals, groups, agencies, media organizations, and communities recognize and respond to natural and socially created risks and crises. Topics include the nature and types of risks and crises, the functional requirements for effective risk and crisis communication, the organizational and procedural elements of risk and crisis communication systems, and the communication skills needed to design and disseminate the verbal, visual, and multi-media messages to reduce risks and manage crises.
  • COM
    381
    .
    Adv Seminar in Relational Com
    4 credits
    Through substantive reading, discussion and presentation, students focus on a particular area of relational communication (topics vary) in order to gain in-depth understanding and become familiar with recent scholarship in that area. Using a seminar format, each student plays a significant role in sharing scholarly findings.
  • COM
    382
    .
    Adv Seminar Strategic Commun
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: Junior Standing and 4 upper level credits in COM or Permission
    Topics vary. Students engage in advanced reading, lead substantive discussions, and develop research-based presentations to demonstrate in-depth understanding of specific and timely topics and issues in strategic public discourse and advocacy.
  • COM
    385
    .
    Communication Internship
    2-4 credits
    Prerequisite: Twelve credits in COM and Junior Standing or Permission
    Application of communication concepts and skills through participation in communities, institutions, agencies, schools and businesses. Supervision by faculty and sponsoring organizations. Includes interpretive journal and substantive analytic paper.
  • COM
    450
    .
    Communication Theory
    4 credits
    Prerequisite: COM Major or Minor; Senior Standing and COM-385 or Permission
    Synthesis, integration and elaboration of theoretical perspectives on communication issues, problems and practices developed through previous coursework, projects and internships. Coursework includes completion of individual senior project and compilation of portfolio.
  • COM
    500
    .
    Senior Thesis
    2-4 credits
    Development and completion of original research. May be interpretive, critical, empirical, or theoretical. Required for departmental honors. Requires senior standing and permission.