Concentrations in the Department of Communication

Communication Science Concentration

Communication science seeks to understand the production, processing, and effects of verbal and nonverbal code systems on myriad facets of human communication, within a multiplicity of interaction contexts, by developing testable theories, containing lawful generalizations that facilitate an increased knowledge and understanding about the dynamics of human communication.

Research in Communication science reveals several critical processes that affect how we define our relationships and influence relational outcomes. It can suggest ways to help people achieve personal goals, and help us to help one another in many kinds of day-to-day interactions. The goal of communication science is therefore four-fold:

1) to describe human communication

2) to predict human communication

3) to explain human communication

4) to effectuate increased control/management of human communicative events.

To this end Communication research focuses on how people use messages to inform, persuade, manage, relate, and influence each other in various contexts and cultures, using a variety of channels and media.

Courses in communication science provide an overview of the methods, concepts, and tools by which communication research is designed, conducted, interpreted, and critically evaluated.  A primary goal of communication science courses is to help individuals become knowledgeable consumers and limited producers of communication theory and research as they explore the patterns of human interaction that govern our daily lives.

Students seeking the Communication Science concentration must choose at least five (5) courses from the
following:

COM 113 Relational Communication
COM 114 Group Communication
COM 245 Introduction to Mass Communication
COM 270 Special Seminar
COM 286 Individual Study
COM 287 Research Practicum I
COM 288 Research Practicum II
COM 305 Communication Ethics
COM 314 Mass Communication Theory
COM 330 Communication and Conflict
COM 331 Communication, Terrorism and Hostage Negotiation
COM 335 Survey of Organizational Communication
COM 342 Political Communication
COM 350 Intercultural Communication
COM 351 Comparative Communication
COM 352 Interpersonal Communication
COM 353 Persuasion
COM 354 International Communication
COM 355 Health Communication
COM 370 Special Topics
COM 380 Great Teachers

Media Studies Concentration

The Media Studies concentration considers the production, interpretation, and theoretical analysis of communication that is (1) disseminated to a broad and largely anonymous audience and (2) mediated by the various technological devices that make such broad dissemination of the message possible.

The crafting of the message is addressed in the concentration’s production courses. These courses derive from the philosophy that one cannot fully comprehend mediated messages without understanding how they are created.  As mass media messages are intrinsically technologically oriented, it follows that a portion of the curriculum must be devoted to acquiring a familiarity with the tools that are used to produce the messages. The production courses therefore combine technical instruction in the use of the relevant tools with aesthetic instruction in how to use those tools most effectively.

Relevant theoretical underpinnings and the history and criticism of the message are addressed in such courses as Introduction to Mass Communication and Mass Communication Theory. As mass communication commonly occurs in an institutional context, owing to the costs associated with the requisite technology, survey courses in this area commonly focus, in part, on the industries that have grown up around the various mass media and how this capitalistic industrial context shapes the messages transmitted through these media. Since mass communication by its nature tends to reach large audiences, the concentration’s courses also focus on social contexts, especially the ongoing relationship between the mass media and mass culture.

The study of the interpretation, criticism, and production of the moving image receives a special emphasis in our curriculum in a core of film studies courses. Courses that reflect this special emphasis include Introduction to Film, Film Theory and Criticism, Film History to 1945, and Film History since 1945.

Students seeking the Media Studies Concentration must take at least five courses from the following:

COM 116 On-Camera Performance
COM 117 Writing for Public Relations and Advertising (JOU 286)
COM 140 Information and Disinformation on the Internet
COM 212 Introduction to Production and Theory
COM 213 Media Production: Documentary (P—COM 212)
COM 214 Media Production: Narrative (P—COM 212)
COM 215 Broadcast Journalism (P—COM 212)
COM 216 Media Production: Studio (P—COM 212)
COM 245 Introduction to Mass Communication
COM 246 Introduction to Film
COM 270 Special Seminar
COM 284 Production Practicum I
COM 285 Production Practicum II
COM 286 Individual Study I
COM 287 Research Practicum I
COM 288 Research Practicum II
COM 304 Freedom of Speech
COM 305 Communication Ethics
COM 310 Advanced Media Production (P—COM 212)
COM 311 Film Theory and Criticism (P—COM 246)
COM 312 Film History to 1945
COM 313 Film History since 1945
COM 314 Mass Communication Theory
COM 315 Communication and Technology
COM 316 Screenwriting
COM 317 Communication and Popular Culture
COM 342 Political Communication
COM 351 Comparative Communication
COM 354 International Communication
COM 370 Special Topics
COM 380 Great Teachers

Rhetorical Studies Concentration

Students interested in a concentration in Rhetorical Studies in the Department of Communication will explore in coursework the critical, historical and theoretical study of public discourse. A concentration in Rhetorical Studies involves cultivating an appreciation of how speakers locate and use modes of persuasion in the interests of their communities, constituents, organizations, and institutions. “Rhetoric” is understood as the art of public speech in both theory and practice. Accordingly, the Rhetorical Studies concentration will link theory to practice throughout the curriculum.

Rhetorical practice encompasses such diverse forms of speech as public address, newspaper editorials, organizational handbooks, television programs, music, and film. Thus, a concentration in rhetorical studies explores a range of potential questions regarding the effects of public discourse: How can speech be assessed in terms of communication ethics? How does speech influence public opinion? How does speech manage public controversy? How does speech make space for (or close off) diversity of opinion? How can institutions or organizations alter their public images through public speech? How are cultural values and beliefs about race, class, gender, and religion shaped by public discourse? And what can rhetorical studies teach us about the basic character of our humanity? Students who concentrate in Rhetorical Studies must take at least five (5) courses from the following:

COM 117 Writing for PR
COM 270 Special Seminar
COM 282 Debate I
COM 283 Debate II
COM 286 Individual Study I
COM 287 Research Practicum I
COM 288 Research Practicum II
COM 300 Classical Rhetoric
COM 301 Semantics & Language Behavior
COM 302 Argumentation Theory
COM 304 Freedom of Speech
COM 305 Communication Ethics
COM 306 Burke & Bakhtin
COM 335 Survey of Organizational Communication
COM 336 Organizational Rhetoric
COM 337 Rhetoric of Institutions
COM 338 African American Rhetoric
COM 340 American Rhetorical Movements to 1900
COM 341 American Rhetorical Movements since 1900
COM 342 Political Communication
COM 343 Presidential Rhetoric
COM 351 Comparative Communication
COM 354 International Communication
COM 370 Special Seminar
COM 380 Great Teachers