Communication Studies


Dale A. Herbeck, PhD
Professor and Chair

212A Lake Hall
617.373.8533 (fax)
Angela Chin, Administrative Officer,

The Department of Communication Studies is committed to providing students with both the communication skills and the understanding of the communication process required to thrive in a complex and changing society. Majors are required to demonstrate a mastery of the fundamentals of effective communication, to learn the fundamentals of communication theory and practice, and to develop a distinct area of emphasis. Some of the more popular areas include argumentation and advocacy, organizational and health communication, international and intercultural communication, digital communication and social media, and media production. The curriculum is designed to enhance the understanding of human communication in a variety of contexts, to empower students to become informed and engaged citizens, and to provide the knowledge and skills required to live a rich personal and professional life.

Academic Progression Standards

Departmental probation will result from a cumulative grade-point average below 2.000. No more than two grades below a C in communication studies courses can be used to fulfill degree requirements. Dismissal from the major may occur as a result of two consecutive semesters on departmental probation.

Preapproved Template Program in Communication Studies

The Department of Communication Studies offers a preapproved template program that may be paired with another preapproved template program to create a combined major; to see a list of current preapproved template programs, visit the combined majors webpage.

Students may request admission to such a combined major via the Combined Major Approval form, which requires approval by both disciplines/colleges together with an approved curriculum. For additional information on preapproved template programs, see “Student-Requested Combined Major.” For template program requirements, visit the myNortheastern web portal, click on the “Self-Service” tab, then on “My Degree Audit.”

Media and Screen Studies


Dale A. Herbeck, PhD
Professor and Chair

212A Lake Hall
617.373.8533 (fax)

Media and screen studies (MSCR) educates students in the analysis and production of media. Taught from a liberal arts perspective, a media and screen studies degree seeks to give students the ability to think critically about the continually changing media industry and the complex world in which it exists and to apply that knowledge to media production. MSCR is a challenging degree that is not limited to what is traditionally offered at a film school or in a visual and performing arts degree. It gives students the tools to become engaged citizens equipped to meet the challenges of living in a global culture defined by technological and social change.

The BA in media and screen studies offers courses in analysis and practice. Required courses offer students an opportunity to obtain the critical thinking skills necessary to better understand media content, media technology, and media production. Students then decide how many production and analysis courses they want to take. Choosing from a broad range of electives, students can take more than half their major in media and film production courses, can take a majority of courses that critically examine media content and technology, or can combine courses in other ways.

Students may also enroll in one of the preexistent MSCR combined majors. Media and screen studies has combined majors with communication studies, English, journalism, political science, sociology, and theatre. Students may also petition for new combinations, making use of the half-major template in media and screen studies.

Academic Progression Standards

For media and screen studies, majors must maintain at least a 2.500 grade-point average (GPA) in their overall program of studies and a minimum of 3.000 in the following two required courses:

MSCR 1220Media, Culture, and Society4
MSCR 2220Understanding Media and Film4

Preapproved Template Program in Media and Screen Studies

Media and screen studies offers a preapproved template program that may be paired with another preapproved template program to create a combined major; to see a list of current preapproved template programs, visit the combined majors webpage.

Students may request admission to such a combined major via the Combined Major Approval form, which requires approval by both disciplines/colleges together with an approved curriculum. For additional information on preapproved template programs, see “Student-Requested Combined Major.” For template program requirements, visit the myNortheastern web portal, click on the “Self-Service” tab, then on “My Degree Audit.”

Communication Studies courses

COMM 1000. Communication Studies at Northeastern. 1 Hour.

Designed to provide a unique opportunity to engage faculty, professional staff, and peer mentors in small group discussions. Introduces students to the College of Arts, Media and Design. Offers students an opportunity to learn about the communication studies major and to explore the different areas of emphasis offered by the department. As part of the course, students are expected to prepare a detailed plan of study and are introduced to the co-op program and meet their academic co-op advisor.

COMM 1101. Introduction to Communication Studies. 4 Hours.

Surveys the field of communication studies. Covers major theories and methodological approaches in communication studies and situates communication within larger social, political, and economic institutions. Exposes students to ways of ethical reasoning across communication contexts, including organizational communication, social media, intercultural communication, mass media, and interpersonal communication.

COMM 1112. Public Speaking. 4 Hours.

Develops skills in public communication. Topics include choosing and researching a topic, organizing and delivering a speech, handling speech anxiety, listening critically, and adapting language to an audience. Offers the opportunity for students to present a series of speeches and receive advice and criticism from an audience.

COMM 1113. Business and Professional Speaking. 4 Hours.

Designed to assist students in developing advanced public speaking and presentational skills for professional and leadership positions. Covers fundamentals such as audience, speech objectives and structure, and effective delivery. Emphasizes the production and successful interaction with electronic and traditional supportive media. Offers students an opportunity to develop their presentational skills in a variety of settings and realistic business tasks.

COMM 1120. Principles of Argumentation. 4 Hours.

Considers how the theories and techniques of argumentation can be used to understand and promote differing points of view, explore ideas and alternatives, and convince others of the need to change or act. Starts with the principles of formal logic and introduces students to truth tables and diagramming techniques. Continues to discuss informal logic and modern argumentation theory, including argumentative reconstruction, argument structures, argument schemes and critical questions, as well as informal fallacies. Concludes with a discussion of the effective use of reasoning in society from a logical, dialectical, and rhetorical point of view.

COMM 1125. Science, Communication, and Society. 4 Hours.

Introduces the major areas of research analyzing the role of communication and the media in shaping debates over science, technology, and the environment. Focuses on what U.S. National Academies calls the “science of science communication” to offer students an opportunity to acquire the knowledge necessary to assess the interplay between science, engineering, and society, including the implications for strategic communication, public engagement, personal decisions, and career choices. Examines the scientific, social, and communication dimensions of debates over climate change, evolution, human genetic engineering, childhood vaccination, food biotechnology, and other case studies. Covers how to find, discuss, evaluate, and use expert sources of information; to formulate research questions and expectations; to think effectively about professional situations and choices; and to write evidence-based, persuasive papers and essays.

COMM 1131. Sex, Relationships, and Communication. 4 Hours.

Focuses on communication within the context of close relationships. Topics covered include the role of communication in interpersonal attraction, relationship development, relationship maintenance, and relationship dissolution. Examines how communication impacts relationship quality and commitment. Offers students an opportunity to apply what they learn in the course to their personal and professional lives.

COMM 1210. Persuasion and Rhetoric. 4 Hours.

Seeks to teach students to be more astute receivers and producers of persuasive messages by learning how to dissect them. Examines both classical and contemporary theories of persuasion, after which students consider “persuasion in action”—how persuasion is used in everyday language, nonverbal communication, sales techniques, politics, and propaganda. Ethical issues in persuasion are addressed throughout the course.

COMM 1225. Communication Theory. 4 Hours.

Explores communicative and cultural practice from a wide variety of theoretical perspectives. Considers a wide range of cultural practices, texts, and artifacts, including popular culture (television shows, movies, and video games); social media and online content; as well as organizational communication (press releases) and interpersonal interactions (conversations between romantic partners). Communication theory is based on two premises: Our cultural assumptions inform and shape our ability to communicate; and communication is the process through which culture is created, modified, and challenged.

COMM 1231. Principles of Organizational Communication. 4 Hours.

Surveys the communication process in complex organizations. Topics include the evolution of organizational communication, communication networks, information management, and communication climate. Analyzes case studies and teaches how to improve the quality of communication in an organization.

COMM 1255. Communication in a Digital Age. 4 Hours.

Covers digital communication’s history, technical basis (“protocol” and the “Web” ), communicative effects, commercial applications, culture, and societal interactions. Digital communication is central to contemporary life and is (consequently) often taken for granted, which this course seeks to remedy. Applies practical skills relative to theories about collaboration and cultural production and engagement with and analyses of online cultures. Offers students an opportunity to become effective online communicators—using practical exercises such as email filtering, online collaboration, and writing in a Web markup format—and to make use of critical thinking to understand and engage with issues such as online privacy, gender and racial bias, and marketplace credibility and fraud.

COMM 1331. Legal Argumentation, Advocacy, and Citizenship. 4 Hours.

Seeks to train students in effective civic engagement by studying legal argumentation, while preparing students for careers in which persuasive skills are critical to success. Offers students an opportunity to study historical documents to understand the processes of argumentation and to develop arguments by performing detailed research about contemporary issues.

COMM 1412. Social Movement Communication. 4 Hours.

Examines the communication strategies (including rhetorical messaging, public advocacy, grassroots organizing, fund-raising, and media outreach) of historical and contemporary social movement and activist organizations. Social movements considered may include immigration protests, AIDS activism, environmental advocacy, disability movements, racial justice, and feminism.

COMM 1511. Communication and Storytelling. 4 Hours.

Engages students in the discovery of varied and culturally diverse texts in the literary genres of poetry, prose, and drama. Students focus on analyzing an author’s meaning and communicating that meaning to an audience through interpretive performance.

COMM 1600. Communication Ethics. 4 Hours.

Focuses on ethical principles, issues, and dilemmas in communication. Covers professional codes as well as personal, interpersonal, small group, organizational, and societal factors affecting ethical mediated communication. Designed to stimulate the moral imagination, reveal ethical issues inherent in communication, and provide resources for making and defending choices on ethical grounds.

COMM 1990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

COMM 2100. Elements of Debate. 4 Hours.

Introduces the principles and skills of effective argument. Topics include the process of advocacy, how to develop an argument through reasoning, the psychology of argument, and motivational techniques of argumentation. Combines theory and practice in argument through individual presentations and team debates.

COMM 2105. Social Networks. 4 Hours.

Applies network science theories and methods to understand the connectivity and complexity in the world around us on different scales, ranging from small groups to whole societies. Applies network theories, data collection methods, and visual-analytic analyses to map, measure, understand, and influence a wide range of online and offline social phenomena, including friendships and romantic relationships, professional networks, social media, social influence and marketing, diffusion and viral media, recommender systems, and collective action. Offers students an opportunity to learn to use computational tools to gather and analyze network data, derive data-supported insights, and develop effective network interventions.

COMM 2110. Sports, Media, and Communication. 4 Hours.

Addresses the interdependent links between sports and communication. Sports communication is an emerging area within communication studies and journalism programs. Examines the symbiotic relationship between sports and media, as well as how communication affects team culture, player-coach dynamics, crises in sport, race and gender issues, international relationships, and fandom. Requires students to analyze cases and address both pragmatic and ethical factors related to these cases.

COMM 2131. Dark Side of Interpersonal Communication. 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity to learn about some of the communicative challenges people face in starting, maintaining, and terminating close relationships. The “dark side” is a metaphor used to describe areas of interpersonal and relational communication that are underexplored or “lying in the shadows”; destructive or dysfunctional; and/or poorly understood or often misinterpreted. The dark side perspective acknowledges that while relationships are often a source of joy and satisfaction, they can also elicit feelings of uncertainty, frustration, and pain. Studies the ways in which communication can influence (and possibly resolve) turmoil in close relationships.

COMM 2135. Sex and Interpersonal Communication. 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity to understand and articulate individual values, assumptions, and paradigms regarding sexuality and how these fit into current research and theory (as demonstrated through in-class discussions, activities, and the opinion paper assignment). Considers how competing communication perspectives can be contrasted, compared, and/or synthesized for a stronger literacy related to sex, sexuality, and sexual identities in an effort to understand how communication research and theory can be utilized in academic, personal, and professional settings. Sexual health is also a focus of the course.

COMM 2200. Visual Communication. 4 Hours.

Examines visual communication—in print, photography, video, digital imagery, and more, and thus in things like posters, pictures, advertisements, films, television shows, and online content—in order to understand how visuality contributes to images and ideas of public life. Examines visual communication as it shares connections with, participates in, and ultimately discloses visual culture, which means images maintain a sense of community and represent shared beliefs as much as they impart information or extend messages into public spaces.

COMM 2300. Risk Communication. 4 Hours.

Offers a broad overview of the psychological, social, and communication processes involved in risk perception to better understand how communication influences the way we think about and respond to risk. Cigarette pack warnings, weather advisories, nutrition labels, and town hall meetings are among the many examples of risk communication in daily life. We live in a modern "risk society"—preoccupied with assessing, debating, preventing, and managing potential hazards to our health and safety. Offers students an opportunity to learn how these processes inform the development of effective risk-communication strategies, including institutional risk assessment, stakeholder participation, and formal messaging. Designed to help students both construct and critique risk-communication techniques in the context of contemporary social issues (e.g., texting and driving, pollution, terrorism). .

COMM 2301. Communication Research Methods. 4 Hours.

Offers an overview of the concepts, methods, tools, and ethics of communication research. Introduces students to the basic statistical concepts used by communication researchers. Designed to help students become knowledgeable consumers and limited producers of communication research. Offers students an opportunity to learn to read, interpret, and critically evaluate research reports. Exposes students to basic social science concepts and research designs and the fundamentals of conducting and analyzing research using surveys, experiments, and content analyses. Students conduct their own empirical research study as a final project, which entails research design, data collection, data analysis, and a written presentation.

COMM 2303. Global and Intercultural Communication. 4 Hours.

Focuses on theories of and approaches to the study of intercultural communication. Emphasizes the importance of being able to negotiate cultural differences and of understanding intercultural contact in societies and institutions. Stresses the benefits and complexities of cultural diversity in global, local, and organizational contexts.

COMM 2304. Communication and Gender. 4 Hours.

Presents a theoretical and practical examination of the ways in which communication is gendered in a variety of contexts. Integrates into this analysis how different institutions and interpersonal situations affect our understanding of gender roles. COMM 2304 and WMNS 2304 are cross-listed.

COMM 2350. Producing for the Entertainment Industry. 4 Hours.

Investigates the role of the producer in the production of content for traditional and new media venues. Explores a variety of distribution systems, including online channels, mobile video, terrestrial/satellite radio, documentary film, and independent films, among other platforms. Examines the producer’s role in story conceptualization, budget planning, preproduction, and marketing. Through a series of discussions, screenings, homework writing assignments, and in-class writing workshops, offers students an opportunity to gain the skills to produce commercially viable content.

COMM 2450. Sound Production for Digital Media. 4 Hours.

Designed to prepare students to work with audio in modern media settings. Introduces the process of planning, preparing, producing, and evaluating audio production styles and techniques. Through a series of discussions, screenings, homework, and in-class exercises, offers students an opportunity to gain the skills needed to produce successful audio recordings. Exposes students to the elements and terminology of audio production as they record, mix, and produce their own original projects.

COMM 2500. Analyzing Conversations in Everyday Life. 4 Hours.

Considers aspects of talk, such as turn taking, sequence organization, and repair for handling breakdowns, in speaking or understanding. Studies the full range of things people do, such as making requests, blaming others, apologizing, complaining, etc. Having conversations with others is among the things that humans do most. Since talk is a locus of sociality and a site for examining language in use, offers students an opportunity to learn how to make discoveries about the orderliness of social life. By the end of the course, successful students recognize what people are doing with their talk, how to identify communication breakdowns, and learn methods for increasing communication efficiency in everyday and organizational encounters.

COMM 2501. Communication Law. 4 Hours.

Introduces the fundamental principles of communication law and ethics. Explores the complex interplay between law (the First Amendment) and ethics (personal and professional responsibilities). Topics covered include blasphemy, commercial speech, copyright, defamation, fighting words, free press/fair trial, hate speech, heresy, incitement, obscenity, political speech, pornography, prior restraint, public forums, special settings (such as schools, prisons, and the military), symbolic speech, threats, and time-place-manner restrictions. Emphasizes ethical issues involving privacy, accuracy, property, and accessibility. The transcendent question in communication law and ethics is whether it is right to exercise the rights granted communication professionals under the First Amendment.

COMM 2525. Communication and Privacy. 4 Hours.

Explores the ongoing evolution of legal protections for personal data. Maps how new digital technologies offer both the prospect of enhanced privacy protections and radical new forms of surveillance that infringe on privacy. Traces how much of our contemporary economy thrives on the witting and unwitting exchange of personal data. Sketches changing popular attitudes toward privacy. Examines contemporary controversies, historical examples, and theoretical texts to analyze the collision of privacy and other important values, including free speech, transparency and accountability, efficiency, and security. Explores the history, foundations, and significance of privacy. Considers why privacy matters and how new technologies, cultural practices, business strategies, and legal upheavals are redefining privacy.

COMM 2534. Group Communication. 4 Hours.

Aims to study and increase your level of proficiency in group interaction. Studies small group decision-making processes, problem solving, and the interpersonal dynamics of groups. Offers students an opportunity to develop skills in working with and in a variety of small groups. Topics include communication dynamics, systems thinking, dialogue, conflict management, leadership, power, teams, and learning organizations.

COMM 2551. Free Speech in Cyberspace. 4 Hours.

Examines the extension of communication law to the Internet, assesses a range of pending proposals designed to regulate free speech in cyberspace, and discusses a variety of national and international schemes intended to govern the developing global information infrastructure. Considers free speech (political speech, sexually explicit expression, and defamation); intellectual property (trademark and copyright); and emerging issues (privacy, unsolicited commercial email or spam, schools, and international law). Does not cover issues related to electronic commerce or contracts, gambling, personal jurisdiction, or Internet taxation.

COMM 2650. The Business of Entertainment. 4 Hours.

Examines business issues associated with the entertainment industry. One dozen award-winning media industry guest speakers deliver lectures on the vital topics reshaping the entertainment landscape. Through lectures and case studies, introduces students to financing contracts, intellectual property issues, licensing, product placement, marketing and publicity, ratings, the impact of piracy, understanding and leveraging new technologies, and distribution. Offers students an opportunity to master these concepts by organizing into teams and developing an original entertainment industry business product or services. Requires each team to develop a formal business plan that includes a market analysis, a budget, and a marketing plan.

COMM 2700. Sports Promotion in the 21st Century. 4 Hours.

Develops frameworks and conceptual tools for understanding the world of sports marketing and promotion in an increasingly global and interconnected world. Drawing on examples from domestic and international sports promotional campaigns and academic literature, explores the promotion of sports at the professional, collegiate, and special event level. Focuses on the role marketing plays in attracting fans and sponsors and communicating effectively with the public. Emphasizes quantitative and qualitative approaches to research as part of a comprehensive approach to the development of an on-campus sports promotional campaign. Covers brand marketing and positioning, sports marketing research, event sponsorship and promotion, social media, public relations and community outreach, and controversial issues in sports.

COMM 2750. Beyond Television. 4 Hours.

Designed to teach students how to conceive, pitch, write an outline, and complete a script for a cutting-edge half-hour comedy pilot or drama that might appear on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and other emerging, nonlinear networks. Emphasizes the differences and similarities between writing content for streaming vs. broadcasting. Culminates in a final project, in which small groups of students complete an episodic show that will be judged by a panel of professional television writers. Course objectives are achieved through reading professional scripts, critically viewing television content, and participating in group writing assignments and “table reads.” .

COMM 2990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

COMM 3200. Mobile Communication. 4 Hours.

Introduces students to the landscape of mobile communication technologies. Takes a broad view of what “mobile,” “communication,” and “technology” mean in the past, present, and future, encompassing a range of digital and nondigital objects as well as technological and communicative practices. Covers core concepts and theories in mobile communication, focusing on the impact that mobile hardware and software have on society, culture, and politics.

COMM 3201. Health Communication. 4 Hours.

Explores various topics as they relate to health communication including interpersonal aspects, cultural issues, and political complexities of health. Subject matter includes patient-provider communication, organizational systems, advertising in the health industry, and the role of media in the formation of expectations about health and the use of media to promote social change.

COMM 3230. Interpersonal Communication. 4 Hours.

Offers an overview of the theory and practice of interpersonal communication with the goal of developing the knowledge and skills to create dialogue in conversation, work through conflict, adapt to change, and establish/maintain relationships. Topics include definitions of the communication process, identity, self-disclosure, verbal and nonverbal language, listening, management of interpersonal conflict, and relational and dialogic communication.

COMM 3304. Communication and Inclusion. 4 Hours.

Explores the relationships between communication, social identity, and social inclusion. Focuses on how communication shapes perceptions and positions of social identity categories and how individuals and groups resist and transform identity and promote inclusion through communication. Examines communication and inclusion in the contexts of gender, race, sexual identity, social class, ability, and age. Course topics cover a range of theoretical and practical issues, including diversity in organizational settings and the social construction of identity. COMM 3304 and WMNS 3304 are cross-listed.

COMM 3306. International Communication Abroad. 4 Hours.

Applies communication theory and practice to a wide range of documents, artifacts, museums, and landmarks. Available to students participating in a Dialogue of Civilizations sponsored by the Department of Communication Studies. Content is adapted by the faculty depending on the location of the class. For example, students may study the classical foundations of communication and contemporary political discourse in Athens or British history and documentary film production in London. Often includes meetings with foreign professors, government officials, community organizers, and local artists that have shaped their own country in unique and innovative ways. May be repeated without limit.

COMM 3307. Production Practicum Abroad. 4 Hours.

Combines the process of filmmaking with exploring Britain’s multicultural society, offering students an opportunity to obtain firsthand experience to develop a deeper, more complex understanding of the culture, particularly as it is evident in London. Covers all aspects of field production from the preproduction process of intensive research and development of story ideas to the technical aspects of filming, lighting, sound recording, digital editing, and graphics. Students work with remote video equipment that includes HD cameras, audio, and remote editing equipment. Taught in London.

COMM 3320. Political Communication. 4 Hours.

Reviews the construction and influence of rhetoric in political campaigns, particularly contemporary presidential campaigns. Also studies the impact of mass communication on the outcome of elections. Offers students an opportunity to analyze artifacts from recent political campaigns such as stump speeches, campaign debates, campaign advertising, and formal campaign speeches such as nomination acceptance addresses, concession and victory speeches, and inaugural addresses.

COMM 3330. Argumentation Theory. 4 Hours.

Studies the conditions of successful and valid human reasoning as manifested in its products (arguments) and procedures (debates and critical discussions). The first half of the course explores the ethical and structural fundamentals of argumentation, including its main theorems regarding argument schemes and critical questions, argument structures and reconstruction, and fallacies and felicity conditions of valid reasoning. The second half engages contemporary trends in argumentation studies, including the formalization of arguments and its diagramming for artificial intelligence, the contextualization in different societal domains (politics, health, private and public discourse), and the translation of argument theory into pedagogical practice.

COMM 3400. Rhetoric of Science. 4 Hours.

Explores the “rhetoric of science,” which since the 1980s has organized intellectual energies and managed disciplinary anxieties. The animating insight of rhetoric of science work is that the discourses, methods, boundaries, and genres of science do not just feature hallmarks of persuasive activity but are thoroughly rhetorically constituted.

COMM 3409. Advocacy Writing. 4 Hours.

Offers an Advanced Writing in the Disciplines (AWD) course. Dedicated to teaching students to write scholarly arguments in the discipline of public advocacy and rhetoric and to translate that work for a general audience. Features both an academic approach to writing in the field of rhetoric and a practical approach to writing persuasively for general audiences.

COMM 3414. Great Speakers and Speeches 2, 1930–Present. 4 Hours.

Reviews significant moments of oratory from 1930 to the present, assessing them in the historical context in which they occurred. Offers students an opportunity not only to understand the way that history prompts public discourse and how that discourse shapes history but to learn critical approaches to better understand the rhetoric of this period. Emphasizes the analysis of rhetorical texts but adds to it the contemporary dimensions of sound and images.

COMM 3415. Communication Criticism. 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity to deepen their abilities to think critically about texts in a variety of forms such as orations, advertisements, music, and art. Studies methods that may range from close textual analysis to deconstruction to theories of performance. Students are required to write a lengthy research paper that carefully analyzes a rhetorical object.

COMM 3445. Public Relations Principles. 4 Hours.

Presents the principles, history, and methods of public relations; processes of influencing public opinion; responsibilities of the public relations practitioner; and analyses of public relations programs. Through case studies and class discussions, offers students an opportunity to confront real-life ethical dilemmas and learn to apply ethical frameworks to evaluate and resolve them. COMM 3445 and JRNL 3425 are cross-listed.

COMM 3450. Voice-Over Artist. 4 Hours.

Introduces voice-over acting techniques for TV commercials, radio, multimedia, and various styles of presentation for both audio and video projects. Offers students an opportunity to uncover and develop their vocal range as narrator, announcer, character, and spokesperson with effectiveness and emotional authenticity. Covers both the “business” and the technical aspects of being a voice talent. Includes the use of microphones, headphones, and recording equipment while in our audio lab. Studies the essentials of vocal techniques, studio etiquette, and working with direction during a studio session.

COMM 3451. Advertising Practices. 4 Hours.

Examines the development, procedures, economic functions, and responsibilities of advertising. Explores planning, research, production, and other elements that go into successful advertising. Covers the preparation of advertising for print and broadcast media, including campaign planning, space and time buying, and scheduling.

COMM 3501. Free Speech: Law and Practice. 4 Hours.

Provides students with an opportunity to better understand freedom and limits to freedom, particularly in the realm of speech and expression. Materials covered range from the philosophy of freedom to historical legal cases about free speech and the press to political correctness and the repression of dissent.

COMM 3530. Communication and Sexualities. 4 Hours.

Analyzes the ways in which sexualities intersect with issues relating to interpersonal communication, mediated communication, popular culture, identity, and social movements. Discusses outing, media representations, queer identity development, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Covers theoretical perspectives from communication and other social science disciplines, gender and sexuality studies, and cultural studies. Students work with a variety of materials, contemporary and historical, theoretical and empirical, fiction and nonfiction. Offers students an opportunity to design, conduct, and write their own original empirical research paper relating to sexualities and communication using class content as a theoretical framework. COMM 3530 and WMNS 3530 are cross-listed.

COMM 3532. Theories of Conflict and Negotiation. 4 Hours.

Explores both theories of conflict and potential strategies for more effectively managing conflict in a variety of contexts, that is, interpersonal relationships, organizational settings, and broader societal contexts. Offers students the opportunity to participate in the process of conflict assessment and to explore various negotiation strategies as well as discuss the role of forgiveness in conflict situations.

COMM 3550. Television Field Production. 4 Hours.

Offers advanced training in video production techniques, emphasizing remote location shooting. Includes location scouting, production budgets, writing techniques, equipment location, postproduction editing, and content analysis. Covers the fundamentals of single-camera field production and the nonlinear editing process. Offers students an opportunity to work in teams to produce and direct television using remote video equipment.

COMM 3610. Communication, Politics, and Social Change. 4 Hours.

Examines the place of race, gender, and sexual identity in American politics and public discourse. Emphasizes the role of communication in public attitudes toward identity, the role that identity plays in electoral politics, and how public policy and social change are made. Explores how public debate on issues related to identity influences how Americans think about the rights and place of minorities in society. Public discourse is defined broadly here—it encompasses different types of communication, from news stories and presidential speeches to sermons by clergy, television sitcoms, and film. COMM 3610 and WMNS 3610 are cross-listed.

COMM 3625. Public Relations Practice. 4 Hours.

Demonstrates practices and techniques employed in the field including organization of events and functions. Studies campaign planning, research, and media relationships. COMM 3625 and JRNL 3625 are cross-listed.

COMM 3627. Critical Thinking about Public Relations Strategies. 4 Hours.

Designed to bring together upper-level students from multiple disciplines who are interested in taking a microscopic view of how issues are purposefully driven by professionals interested in promoting causes, political candidates, public policy, and corporate image. Examines how corporations and others make decisions and which theories of institutional behavior best explain those choices. Are companies motivated solely by economics as Marx would argue, or do they approach their image in a more functional way? Are the messages of politicians determined by race and class, or do they respond to a different framework? Requires students to follow current issues and dissect significant past campaigns. Knowledge of public relations tactics is helpful but not necessary. COMM 3627 and JRNL 3627 are cross-listed.

COMM 3650. Television Studio Production. 4 Hours.

Introduces the process of planning, preparing, producing, and evaluating studio productions. Exposes students to the elements and terminology of studio production using multiple cameras, live switching, audio mixing, and studio lighting. Through a series of discussions, screenings, homework, and in-class exercises, offers students an opportunity to obtain skills in the basics of directing creative and technical talent and the skills needed to produce successful television studio productions.

COMM 3750. Special Effects and Postproduction for Television. 4 Hours.

Explores a variety of approaches to making special effects for film, video, and the World Wide Web. Offers students an opportunity to utilize cutting-edge technology and to apply state-of-the-art techniques to design and produce innovative special effects. Explores historical, technical, and theoretical aspects of special effects. Topics covered include compositing, matte painting, multiplane animation, explosions, smoke, three-dimensional lighting, particle emitters, chroma keying, motion graphics, video tracking, and more.

COMM 3990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

COMM 4102. Health Communication Campaigns. 4 Hours.

Offers an in-depth look at how persuasive health campaigns are designed and executed. Discusses how campaigns are designed to intentionally influence awareness, knowledge gain, and attitude/behavior change. Offers students an opportunity to obtain skills to design and evaluate campaigns through the completion of their own campaign projects and to learn about visual and verbal arguments and the unique ethical and other considerations of health campaigns.

COMM 4530. Communication and Quality of Life. 4 Hours.

Seeks to further develop an understanding of the function of communication in life and how that relates to quality of life. Examines the communicative experiences of organizations and relationships using both theoretical approaches and practical experience. Students participate in activities designed to develop knowledge and skills necessary to successfully analyze and address ethical and interpersonal communication issues. Offers students an opportunity to be able to reflect on and assess one’s own competence in communication and how one’s communication affects one’s quality of life and to respectfully consider the ethical complexities of quality-of-life issues in both organizational and interpersonal settings.

COMM 4535. Nonverbal Social Interaction. 4 Hours.

Offers analytic insight on methods people use to communicate different types of social action through body language. Much of our communication is nonverbal, as it is through our body language that we initiate new relationships (both personal and professional) and communicate anger, frustration, happiness, and grief. Offers students an opportunity to develop an understanding of the tools needed to examine the role nonverbal behaviors (body orientation, gaze direction, gesture, laughter, etc.) have in conveying meaning and constructing and negotiating interpersonal relationships. This course incorporates materials from communication, psychology, anthropology, and sociology.

COMM 4602. Contemporary Rhetorical Theory. 4 Hours.

Exposes students to contemporary perspectives on rhetorical theory and its use in society. "Contemporary" refers to the models and theorists from the second halves of the 20th and the 21st centuries. "Rhetoric" refers to strategic communication employed to reach the persuasive goal of an agent. "Theory" is used in the holistic sense as the interested observation and careful scrutiny of an object. As a capstone course, the course also provides a transition for students from the role of receptive learners to independent researchers who can identify, answer, and defend research questions at the intersection of rhetorical theory and its neighbors (theories of argumentation, humor, style, politeness, courtship, and the like).

COMM 4605. Youth and Communication Technology. 4 Hours.

Examines how meanings of “youth” and “communication technology” shift in relation to one another and to broader changes in society, culture, politics, and the economy over time. Analyzes how communication technologies (and the content they deliver) positively and negatively affect the social, emotional, and cognitive development of young people and how these changes are influenced by the particular family, school, community, and institutional contexts in which children grow up. Examines how young people differ individually across the life span as well as collectively by class, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexuality, and disability. Requires a final paper at the end of the term in which students articulate and defend positions about youth and communication technology.

COMM 4608. Strategic Communication Capstone. 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity to complete a semester-long, intensive research and writing capstone project related to the field of strategic communication. Research topics can span business, politics, advocacy, entertainment, public health, the environment, and other societal sectors. Building on previous course work, students have an opportunity to gain a deeper scholarly and professional understanding of strategic communication; cultivate professional and academic contacts; and demonstrate mastery of relevant theoretical concepts, professional principles, research methods, and writing approaches. Encourages students to share and translate their findings for relevant academic and professional communities.

COMM 4625. Online Communities. 4 Hours.

Considers online community dynamics, including formation, governance, conflict, and exit. Offers students an opportunity to understand and engage with online community and how this relates to topics such as human behavior, identity, and communication online. Reviews contemporary issues and concerns. Engages the question and practice of what it means to develop and maintain a successful online community.

COMM 4631. Crisis Communication and Image Management. 4 Hours.

Examines theories, models, and strategies related to crisis communication and establishes ethical principles regarding what, how, and when essential elements must be employed for effective and ethical crisis communication. Offers students an opportunity to learn how to distinguish between an incident and crisis; to analyze communication practices and methods applied during a crisis; to apply social scientific theory to explain how and why a crisis occurred; and to draw upon theory to develop effective crisis communication plans. Assesses responses to crises using ethical principles such as transparency, two-way symmetrical communication, and timing. Designed to prepare communication professionals who appreciate the need for responsible advocacy when responding to crises.

COMM 4650. Digital Editing for TV. 4 Hours.

Addresses the changes in editing practices through digitization and offers students advanced training in nonlinear editing utilizing Avid Media Composer. Introduces the terms and concepts of nonlinear editing as well as the technical/creative aspects of postproduction. Students are expected to have a working knowledge of digital video equipment and Macintosh computer skills.

COMM 4755. Production Capstone. 4 Hours.

Offers advanced training in video production techniques, allowing students an opportunity to develop a deeper theoretical understanding of cohesive marketing strategies. Through case study assessments and hands-on exercises, explores the process of marketing video techniques from designing, building, and executing marketing ideas to evaluating effectiveness and exploring online corporate identities. Offers students an opportunity to hone their skills in all aspects of the production process by incorporating the knowledge they have acquired from previous production courses—from the preproduction process of intensive research and development of story ideas and scriptwriting; producing; to the technical aspects of filming, lighting, green screen, sound recording, digital editing, and graphics. .

COMM 4912. Special Topics in Communication Studies. 4 Hours.

Offers a special topics course in communication studies. Course content may vary from term to term. May be repeated up to four times.

COMM 4940. Special Topics in Media Production. 4 Hours.

Addresses the emerging developments in the production of television, film, and video. Course content may vary from term to term. May be repeated up to four times.

COMM 4970. Junior/Senior Honors Project 1. 4 Hours.

Focuses on in-depth project in which a student conducts research or produces a product related to the student’s major field. Combined with Junior/Senior Project 2 or college-defined equivalent for 8 credit honors project. May be repeated without limit.

COMM 4990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

COMM 4992. Directed Study. 1-4 Hours.

Offers independent work under the direction of members of the department on a chosen topic. Course content depends on instructor. May be repeated without limit.

COMM 4993. Independent Study. 1-4 Hours.

Offers independent work under the direction of members of the department on a chosen topic. Course content depends on instructor. May be repeated without limit.

COMM 4994. Internship in Communication. 4 Hours.

Offers students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the communications industry. Further internship details are available in the department office. May be repeated without limit.