Communication Studies


Dale A. Herbeck, PhD
Professor and Chair

204 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 myNEU 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 as it occurs in sexual and romantic relationships, specifically on the positive and negative role of verbal and nonverbal communication in these relationships. Topics may include the role of communication in interpersonal attraction, attachment, affection, love, sex, and relational duration and outcomes. May also introduce communication in other types of relationships, such as family and/or friendship, as points of comparison. Encourages students to explore the central place of communication in all aspects of sexual and romantic relationships and how communication may help them derive maximum social rewards.

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 1310. Classical Foundations of Communication. 4 Hours.

Reviews the foundations of the field of speech and communication in ancient Greece and Rome. Topics include Aristotle’s ideas about persuasion, the sophistic tradition, the rhetorical theories of Cicero and Quintilian, and famous speeches of the golden age of Greece and Rome. Employs classical rhetorical theory as a mode of critical thinking and public involvement to study the processes of argumentation and persuasion in various interpersonal, political, academic, and pop culture settings.

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

Seeks to train students to become community leaders, provide students with the tools for effective participation in national and local politics, and prepare students for careers in which persuasive skills are critical to success. Offers 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 advocacy groups, movements, and organizations. Social movements considered may include immigration protests, AIDS activism, environmental advocacy, disability movements, and animal-rights “terrorism.”.

COMM 1414. Great Speakers and Speeches 1, 1630–1930. 4 Hours.

Reviews notable U.S. orations of the period between 1630 and 1930, with an emphasis on speeches that were given after the American Revolution. Topics covered include the nature of public address and its importance in U.S. history; the role of the critic in studying public address; and genres of oratory, including inaugural speeches, apologies, and political movement oratory.

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.

Explores the use of social network analysis theories and methods to understand the growing connectivity and complexity in the world around us on different scales, ranging from small groups to the World Wide Web. Offers students an opportunity to see the world in a new way: using a network perspective. Covers a wide range of topics and applications relating to social network analysis. Discusses how social networks concepts, theories, and visual-analytic methods are being used to map, measure, understand, and design a wide range of phenomena such as groups and organizations, friendships and romantic relationships, social networking sites (Facebook), recommender systems (Amazon), online games and virtual worlds (Second Life), and the World Wide Web.

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 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 2312. Voice and Articulation. 4 Hours.

Provides training in developing clear and articulate speech. Topics include the physiology of the vocal mechanism, voice projection and variety, articulation and pronunciation, and appropriate speech. Trains students through lectures, drills, and exercises.

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 2402. Presentation, Style, and Professional Communication. 4 Hours.

Develops students’ understanding and skills in presentation beyond public speaking. The integration of display technologies to accompany talks and presentations is expanded in this course. Comprises further conceptual and applied work on matching institutional objectives to presentation and presentation goals.

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 2451. Sports Broadcasting. 4 Hours.

Develops and refines skills in the art of sportscasting. Students are given an historical perspective and a state-of-the-art analysis. Emphasis is on practical development of skills and evaluation of talent and potential. Areas of study include play-by-play announcing, interviewing, reporting, writing, and anchoring.

COMM 2454. Broadcast Management and Programming. 4 Hours.

Examines television industry strategies for creating content, increasing revenue, and designing innovative distribution systems to reach increasingly elusive audiences. Studies what tactics and strategies networks are using to leverage the power of prime-time programs; the opportunities and challenges for networks in producing quality online content; and how TV programmers can engage audiences through “second screens” and social TV apps. Analyzes the external influences on programming, including the sway of advertisers, government regulations, self-regulation, and FCC rulings. Investigates economics, marketing, promotion, advertising, media research groups, and audience ratings across digital platforms. 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 television shows.

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 2531. Application of Organizational Communication. 4 Hours.

Examines the problems of sending and receiving information in complex organizations. Reviews technologies used to disseminate information, communication auditing processes, and methods to devise and assess communication programs for 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 2555. Games for Change. 4 Hours.

Offers students sound introduction to the psychological and behavioral theories of entertainment media with the goal of implementing these theories to the future design and evaluation of games for change. Focuses more on the psychological, behavioral, and social aspects of video games than on pure technical aspects. Organized around a collection of selected readings and real-world games and discussions. The final project is based on reflective thinking, critical evaluation, and creative application. COMM 2555 and GAME 2555 are cross-listed.

COMM 2650. The Business of Entertainment. 4 Hours.

Examines business issues associated with the entertainment industry. Through lectures, guest 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 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 theoretical and practical issues in the relationships between communication, social identity, and social inclusion. Focuses on how communication shapes perceptions and positions of salient social identity groups and how individuals and groups resist and transform identity and promote inclusion through communication. Specifically focuses on 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 3331. Argumentation and 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 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 3500. Environmental Issues, Communication, and the Media. 4 Hours.

Analyzes major debates over the environment, climate change, and related technologies such as nuclear energy, wind power, natural gas “fracking,” and food biotechnology. Studies the relevant scientific, political, and ethical dimensions of each case; the generalizable theories, frameworks, and methods that scholars use to analyze them; and the implications for effective public communication, policymaker engagement, and personal decision making. Offers students an opportunity to gain an integrated understanding of their different roles as professionals, advocates, and consumers and to improve their ability to find and use expert sources of information; assess competing media claims and narratives; write persuasive essays, analyses, and commentaries; and author evidence-based research papers.

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 3534. Group Communication. 4 Hours.

Instructs in small group decision-making processes, problem solving, and the interpersonal dynamics of groups. Develops 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 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 4131. Sex and Interpersonal Communication. 4 Hours.

Builds on health and interpersonal communication courses. Offers students an opportunity to explore interpersonal communication and its relation to sex and romance. Explores how overarching structures regarding sex influence the interpretation of modern social issues. Investigates major research on emerging contemporary topics as they relate to the study of sex and interpersonal communication. Focuses largely on topic areas including deception, divorce, political life of children, eugenics, and HIV/AIDS advancements.

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 4533. Consultation Skills. 4 Hours.

Introduces the theoretical frameworks necessary to engage in a broad range of consulting activities (management consulting or organizational training and development). By studying nonprofit organizations in the Boston area, offers students an opportunity to learn how to gather and analyze data, to use mathematical methods to perform critical analysis, and to evaluate and critique choices made in the presentation of data. Requires students to make a formal report to the organization and to write a paper reflecting on the organization and its mission in the context of broader social, political, and economic issues. Emphasizes ethical considerations involving security, privacy, and fairness.

COMM 4534. Organizational Communication Training and Development. 4 Hours.

Introduces both theoretical frameworks and practical strategies for developing organizational training and development (i.e., instructional communication skills). Specifically examines contemporary approaches to teaching and training activities. Uses a service-learning project to help in the application of both theoretical understandings as well as the development of practical skills.

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.

Studies theories for analyzing language, image, and sound and their relationship to culture. Methods covered range from traditional rhetorical theorists to modern philosophers of media and culture. Expects students to select an artifact and analyze it from a variety of theoretical perspectives.

COMM 4603. Advocacy Workshop. 4 Hours.

Designed to engage students in a project that directly benefits local nonprofit organizations. Using the service-learning model, offers students an opportunity to gain the skills needed to effectively advocate for a cause and then actively participate in public service. Students are expected to write public advocacy policies that are tailored to the organization’s needs, to meet with state legislators to advocate for the disadvantaged, and to create media plans and pitch news articles to publicize their efforts.

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 the question of whether or not online communities are “real.” Scholars conclude they are real, describing how people share enduring activities, identity, and relations online. Covers related issues of online communities, including formation, governance, conflict, and exit. Offers students an opportunity to obtain an understanding of community and how this relates to topics such as behavior, identity, and language online. Reviews contemporary issues and concerns. Engages the question and practice of what it means to develop and maintain a successful online community.

COMM 4630. Assessment Technique and Planning. 4 Hours.

Centers on creating and administering diagnostic tools used to assess the quality of communication in organizations. Students review measurement techniques, test organizational communication quality in simulated situations, and design programs intended to improve the quality of communication in organizations.

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 4750. Advanced Digital Editing for TV and Film. 4 Hours.

Introduces Media Composer effects and seeks to prepare students for real-world editing sessions. Covers intermediate audio and video-editing techniques, nesting effects, video layering, and features from the 3D-effect palette. Students should be comfortable working in a nonlinear editing environment and have a clear understanding of the basic features on Media Composer, as well as practical experience in audio mixing, nonlinear editing, and working with third-party graphics.

COMM 4901. Seminar in Communications. 4 Hours.

Integrates students’ experiences in cooperative education with classroom concepts and theories. Topics include integrative learning, the field of communication, pathways and careers in communication, and the professional communicator. Offers students the opportunity to demonstrate competency in communication skills such as oral reporting, conducting research in communication, and writing.

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 4916. Organizational Communication Practicum. 4 Hours.

Focuses on internal newsletters, department brochures, and electronic and conventional bulletin boards, some of the methods that organizations use to communicate with their internal audiences. This practicum requires that students serve as designers and creators of communication instruments to be used in the Department of Communication Studies. Interested students must complete an application in the department office. May be repeated without limit.

COMM 4918. Special Topics in Communication Studies. 4 Hours.

Examines communication issues that are not addressed in course length in any existing courses. Content varies from term to term. Topical issues, specific student interest, and faculty/visiting faculty expertise can determine the substance of any individual offering of this course. 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 4971. Junior/Senior Honors Project 2. 4 Hours.

Focuses on second semester of in-depth project in which a student conducts research or produces a product related to the student’s major field. 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 4991. Research. 4 Hours.

Offers an opportunity to conduct research under faculty supervision.

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.

COMM 4996. Experiential Education Directed Study. 4 Hours.

Draws upon the student’s approved experiential activity and integrates it with study in the academic major. Restricted to those students who are using the course to fulfill their experiential education requirement. May be repeated without limit.

COMM 5200. Theories and Practices in Communication, Media, and Cultural Studies. 3 Hours.

Examines the foundational concepts underlying cultural studies with an emphasis on critical theories of the media and communication practices. It is intended to provide an understanding of how cultural studies approaches developed and evolved, assessing the major theoretical interventions within historically specific conjunctions. Analyzes the means through which power and hegemony are established and maintained in contemporary society, the alignment of culture and ideology, representation and the role of the media in the construction of social identities, and issues of global media and transnational communication in the contexts of postcolonial politics and postmodern thought.

COMM 5225. Cultural Studies of Everyday Life. 3 Hours.

Examines key theories and approaches to popular culture and the intersection of media and culture formations. Encourages students to explore the textual construction of meaning and the negotiated processes of understanding “the everyday” as a contested site for political and social struggle. Aspects of the course offer innovative approaches to research methods and methodologies that include ethnographic and related analytical tools and strategies. Students have the opportunity to engage in an open-ended way with established and emerging academic approaches to the study of everyday life that are at the cutting edge of cultural and media studies.

COMM 5230. Representations of Race and Difference. 3 Hours.

Approaches race as central to our understanding of contemporary national, transnational, and global culture. Examines the construction and deployment of race and difference through a range of theoretical and methodological lenses that highlight the challenges of multicultural communications. In doing so, the course connects historical narratives and imagery of race to current representations, encouraging students to think critically about race and difference through a variety of media productions, including television, film, and music.

COMM 5235. Rhetorical Studies. 3 Hours.

Offers students the opportunity to examine contemporary trends in the study of rhetoric, with a focus on the emergence of critical approaches to the field.

COMM 5240. Global and Intercultural Media. 3 Hours.

Provides students with the opportunity to examine and review the variety of literature, theory, and practice associated with media in the global context. Offers students the chance to develop an understanding of the challenges involved in cultural production that crosses borders to redefine meaning and identity.

COMM 5252. Research Methods in Communications, Media, and Cultural Studies. 3 Hours.

Surveys the key research techniques in communication, media, and cultural studies. Emphasizes qualitative research techniques. Offers students an opportunity to identify key research methodologies that are relevant to their own research. The course also seeks to assist students to develop research questions and strategies in preparation for thesis writing.

COMM 5255. Visual Communication Culture. 3 Hours.

Examines theories of visuality and visual culture focusing on the analysis of images as texts. Explores some of the following issues to help students more fully understand images and the visual as a contested arena in which cultural meanings are constituted: the nature of representation, the construction of meaning, and the management of perception in and through image making; the organization of visual languages by institutions of meaning; the role of the viewer in the construction of image meanings and the rearticulation of these meanings into everyday lived culture.

COMM 5260. Media Production and Critical Theory. 3 Hours.

Blends theory and practice of media production. Examines the theoretical frameworks, production techniques, and aesthetic strategies of selected documentary films that explore social and/or political issues. Offers students an opportunity to complete a short documentary project of their own.

COMM 5262. Neo-Liberalism and Democracy. 3 Hours.

Examines the historical articulations of modern Euro-American democracy, its association with mercantilism and capitalism, and the rise of liberal governmental structures. Topics covered include Marxist and nationalist and fascist critiques of liberal capitalism, alternatives to democracy, economic liberalism, the Cold War, structured free market capitalism, and contrasting political and economic models.

COMM 5275. Cultural Industries. 3 Hours.

Examines the intersection of media studies and associated cultural formations within an interdisciplinary framework derived from political economy and institutional economics. Offers students the opportunity to develop a critical approach to analyzing how the prevailing structural arrangements associated with media production and culture in contemporary society play out and the alternative approaches that have been devised. It also seeks to provide students with a perspective on the development of cultural policy studies and its various typologies in national and global contexts.

COMM 5280. Audience Studies. 3 Hours.

Offers students the opportunity to examine contemporary trends in the study of audiences, with a focus on the emergence of critical approaches to the field drawn specifically from cultural studies theory.

COMM 5676. Media Production. 6 Hours.

Offers a final-year production option. Focuses on preparing a media production comparable to a master‘s thesis under supervision of a faculty committee.