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Communication Courses

A complete list courses appears below.  To download a PDF of Spring 2015 offerings, click here.

COMM 025. Introduction to Communication (2) This course is designed to introduce students to areas of human discourse: interpersonal communication, group and organizational communication, mediated communication, and public speaking. Students will experience both theoretical and practical aspects of this through a combination of lectures, demonstrations, and exercises of the subject.  Students will see an exhibition of various styles, techniques and real-life applications of the subject matter.  Additionally, students will hone their critical thinking skills.  This course will also introduce students to the careers and skills people may pursue with a degree in communication.

COMM 027. Public Speaking (3) A study of the basic principles of public speaking. This course is one of the four lower core courses for the communication major.

COMM 031. Media and Society (3) A survey of the growth and development of mass communications in America (newspaper, radio, television, magazines, public relations) from a historical and descriptive perspective. Principles of the mass communication process. This course is one of the four lower core courses for the communication major.

COMM 043. Introduction to Interpersonal Communication (3) Introduction to the study of human interaction that occurs in relatively informal, everyday social contexts. Using models, theories, and skills of communication as takeoff points, the course introduces students to dimensions related to trust, openness, listening, perception, language, nonverbal communication, conflict, social influence, and communication competence. Focus is to develop an increasing student awareness of the complexities of interpersonal relationships. This course is one of the four lower core courses for the communication major.

COMM 050. Introduction to Communication Technologies (3) This course provides an introduction to the nature, design, and use of communication technologies, including networks, email, web pages, presentation tools, and groupware. Social impacts and diffusion of new technologies is discussed. Students learn production skills that will be useful in upper division communication courses, and that will facilitate the department’s portfolio assessment program. This course is one of the four lower core courses for the communication major.

COMM 087, 187. Internship (2-4) Experiences in a work setting, to be contracted on an individual basis. Internships are awarded on a competitive basis and are limited to the number of placements available. COMM 187 represents advanced internship work involving increased independence and responsibility; a corresponding COMM 087 course or equivalent is a prerequisite. Students may not accumulate for credit more than eight units in any specific internship (a total of four in a COMM 087 course and a total of four in a COMM 187 course and a total of four in a COMM 187 course). Pass/no credit grading only.

COMM 089, 189. Practicum (1-4) Non-classroom experience in activities related to the curriculum under conditions determined by the appropriate faculty member. Students will register for one of the courses listed below. Courses numbered 189 are similar contexts with a more advanced level of performance and learning expectations compared to courses numbered 089. COMM 089 is the prerequisite for COMM 189.

COMM 114. Argumentation and Advocacy (4) This course introduces students to the theory and practice of argumentation, which is a method of decision-making emphasizing reason giving and evidence. The course includes instruction in debating, research, and critical writing, as well as advanced topics in the study of public deliberation. Prerequisites: COMM 027, 031, 043, or 050 with a grade of C or higher.

COMM 116. Rhetorical Theory and Criticism (4) This course strives to help students derive insight into how symbolic processes affect human awareness, beliefs, values, and actions. The course treats criticism and analysis as methods of inquiry into the nature, character, and effects of human communication. It addresses various methods of rhetorical criticism in terms of their central units of analysis and typical intellectual concerns. Prerequisite: COMM 160 or permission of the instructor.

COMM 117. Political Advocacy (4) Principles of persuasion in political contexts in the U.S. (types and characteristics of political audiences, official and unofficial advocacy campaigns, media framing of political news & commentary) from historical and theoretical perspectives. Focus is to make students aware of the constraints and opportunities in policy arguments and their public dissemination.

COMM 131. Media Production (4) This course covers practical and theoretical application of audio and video production techniques. Emphasis on aesthetic qualities of sight and sound productions. Some work in student media facilities involved. Prerequisite: COMM 031 or permission of the instructor. Lab fee required.

COMM 132. Writing for Media (4) Examination and production of electronic and print writing techniques. Emphasis on writing news, information, and entertainment messages for the electronic and print industries. Some work in student media facilities involved. Prerequisite: COMM 031. Lab fee required.

COMM 133. Documentary Film as Persuasive Communication (4) This is a survey course of documentary film, beginning at the turn of the century and continuing through contemporary productions. The class explores documentary film's origins and traces its development and use as persuasive communication. Various critical approaches are studied in order to interpret the films as representations of historic actuality and analyze their influence on society. Through screenings, lectures, written assignments, and exams, students become familiar with the history of documentary film, the evolution of the form, its rhetorical construction and its cultural influences. Prerequisite: COMM 031 or permission of instructor.

COMM 134. Documentary Film Production (4)  

COMM 135. Principles of Public Relations (4) Principles and methods of public relations will be discussed and analyzed. Study of the mass media as publicity channels will acquaint the students with the nature of the media, its limitations, and uses. Case studies involve students in practical application of public relations activities. Prerequisite: COMM 031.

COMM 137. Public Relations Case Studies and Problems (4) Advanced course in public relations. The course will engage students in case study research and application of public relations principles. Written and oral presentations; adherence to professional standards of excellence. Prerequisite: COMM 135.

COMM 139. Theory of Mass Communication (4) An overview of major theories and research in mass communication. Application of theories that explain and predict communication effects of political campaigns, advertising, entertainment, and information. Theoretical areas to be covered include socialization, information, diffusion, advertising, persuasion, and uses and gratification’s research. The state, function, and form of theory in mass communication will be discussed. Prerequisite: COMM 160 or permission of the instructor.

COMM 140. Writing for Public Relations (4) Theory and practice in public relations writing in the context of publicity. Students will learn to write news releases, backgrounds, business letters and feature stories. Prerequisite: COMM 135.

COMM 143. Intercultural Communication (4) Analysis of the major variables affecting interpersonal communication between persons of differing cultural backgrounds.

COMM 145. Human Communication Theory (4) A study of contemporary understandings of human interaction. Beginning with epistemological issues as a framework, the course examines theory building, foundation theories of our discipline, and contextual theories. .

COMM 147. Nonverbal Communication (4) The course examines major dimensions of nonverbal behavior exhibited by human beings in social interactional contexts. Special emphasis is given to such areas as human , proxemics, kinesics and vocalics, haptics, and artifactual codes. Prerequisite: COMM 043 or permission of the instructor.

COMM 149. Introduction to Organizational Communication (4) This course takes both a theoretical and an applied approach in introducing the student to the role of communication in various aspects of organizational functioning, such as motivation, leadership, decision-making, conflict management, message management, etc. Prerequisite: COMM 027, 043, or permission of the instructor.

COMM 150. Ethical Issues in Communication (4) This course is a senior-level seminar devoted to situating what students have learned in the Communication Major within a broader social and ethical context, and preparing students to move forward with confidence into a world where valuing and learning never stop. Topics include the role of communication in sustaining community, standards for ethical communication, communication’s role in moral decision making, and other topics of interest to the students and the instructor. Prerequisites: Senior standing.

COMM 151. Community Based Learning (2) This senior-level capstone course provides students with a supervised learning experience in an off-campus, community-based organization. Students will apply their knowledge of communication theories and skills to the needs of local organizations, allowing them to contribute to the public good. Prerequisite: Senior standing.

COMM 152. Public Relations Administration (4) Theoretically grounded, the course focuses on how public relations managers can effect change. Communication strategies for effective leadership and motivation of public relations professionals are emphasized. The course will enhance critical skills of management for the understanding of public relations research, action/planning, communication and evaluation. Prerequisites: COMM 135, 137 (may be taken concurrently), and senior standing.

COMM 155. Persuasion (4) This course is a survey of social psychological and communication approaches to social influence. Both past and contemporary theorizing will be explored, and the methods of empirical research will be discussed. Prerequisite: COMM 027 or permission of the instructor.

COMM 160. Communication Research Methods (4) A study of research methods appropriate for examining communication related problems. Topics for the course include historical-critical methods, descriptive methods, experimental methods, statistical models for data analysis and research reporting and writing. Prerequisites: COMM 027, 031, and 043 with a C+ or better.

COMM 191. Independent Study (2-4)
COMM 193. Special Topics (4)
COMM 197. Independent Research (2-4)

Graduate Courses

COMM 261. Critical and Qualitative Research Methods (4)
COMM 262. Quantitative Research Methods
COMM 271. Graduate Seminar in Rhetorical Thought (4)
COMM 272. Graduate Seminar in Interpersonal Communication (4)
COMM 273. Graduate Seminar in mass Communication Theory (4)
COMM 275. Graduate Seminar in Public Relations (4)
COMM 276. Communication in Learning Settings (4)
COMM 277. Media Relations (4)
COMM 278. Political Communication (4)
COMM 287. Graduate Internship (2 or 4)
COMM 289. Graduate Practicum (2 or 4)
COMM 291. Independent Graduate Study (2-4)
COMM 293. Special Topics (2-4)
COMM 297. Graduate Research (1-4)
COMM 299. Thesis