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Undergraduate Catalog

2012 - 2013

BA in Communications: Communications Studies Emphasis
(43 hours*)



This is a limited-enrollment program requiring departmental admissions approval. Please see the college advisement center for information regarding requirements for admission to this emphasis.

The Discipline

The communications studies emphasis is designed for the student who plans to pursue advanced academic degrees and/or employment in fields requiring an understanding of theory, research, and the uses and effects of communications media in business and society.

Career Opportunities

The emphasis in this program on critical thinking, theory, research, and society is excellent preparation for those who plan to pursue a wide variety of graduate degrees, or to enter professional fields such as media, research, business, social media, marketing, nonprofits, teaching, government, and military.

Program Requirements    |    View MAP

  1. Complete one course from the following:
      WRTG 150 : Writing and Rhetoric. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WRTG 150 : Writing and Rhetoric. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      OFFERED: Honors also.
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer
      DESCRIPTION: Processes of writing, reading, and research with an emphasis on argumentation and rhetorical analysis.
      NOTE: Fulfills General Education First-Year Writing requirement.

      Course Outcomes


      PHIL 150 : Reasoning and Writing. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      PHIL 150 : Reasoning and Writing. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      OFFERED: Honors also.
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer
      RECOMMENDED: Recommended for philosophy majors and minors.
      DESCRIPTION: Informal grammar, logic, and rhetoric as tools for reading and writing. Library research.
      NOTE: Fulfills GE First-Year Writing requirement. No course challenges accepted.

      Course Outcomes


      Note: Students must receive a B grade or better to be eligible to apply for admission to the program.

  2. Complete the following core courses:
      COMMS 101 : Mass Communication and Society. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 101 : Mass Communication and Society. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      OFFERED: Independent Study also.
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer
      DESCRIPTION: Historical and modern roles of mass media in society, emphasizing media effects on individuals and institutions.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 211 : Media Writing. (3:2:2)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer
      PREREQUISITE: Pre-communications status; a B grade or better in one of the following: Engl 150, Phil 150, or Honrs 150.
      DESCRIPTION: Principles and practices of researching and writing mass communication messages in journalism, public relations, and advertising.
      NOTE: Lab required.

      Course Outcomes


      COMMS 238 : Introduction to Communications Studies. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 238 : Introduction to Communications Studies. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      PREREQUISITE: Pre-communications status.
      DESCRIPTION: Survey of mass communication theory and research; historical and philosophical development of communication theory.

      Course Outcomes


      Note: Students must receive a B grade or better in each course to be eligible to apply for admission.

  3. Apply to the major
  4. Complete the following:
      COMMS 300 : Media Ethics, Law and Responsibility. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 300 : Media Ethics, Law and Responsibility. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring; Summer Contact Department
      PREREQUISITE: Major status.
      DESCRIPTION: Introduction to First Amendment history and press freedom, law, and theory; media regulation and policy; relationship between law and ethics; key ethical issues in professional communications.

      Course Outcomes


  5. Complete one course from the following:
      COMMS 319 : Research in Communication. (3:2:1)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      COMMS 319 : Research in Communication. (3:2:1)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
      PREREQUISITE: Major status.
      DESCRIPTION: Procedures and design considerations for studying media messages, audiences, and effects. Emphasizes survey and focus group approaches to data collection and analysis.

      Course Outcomes


      SOC 300 : Methods of Research in Sociology. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      SOC 300 : Methods of Research in Sociology. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
      WHEN TAUGHT:Fall; Winter; Spring
      PREREQUISITE: Soc 111 or 112 or 113 or instructor's consent.
      DESCRIPTION: Tools of social research; survey, experimentation, content analysis, secondary analysis, qualitative research, evaluation research, data processing and analysis, and report writing.

      Course Outcomes


  6. Complete the following:
  7. Complete 1 hour from the following practicum course:
  8. Complete 18 hours (six courses) from the following departmental electives. Students must complete at least one course from each cluster. The remainder may be selected from within one cluster (specialized approach) or from any of the other clusters (general approach). Students in communications studies can take more than one course in each cluster at the same time:
    • Cluster 1: Media, Family, and Society:
        COMMS 302 : Popular Culture and Media. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
        COMMS 302 : Popular Culture and Media. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
        WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
        PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
        DESCRIPTION: Impact of new and traditional media on popular culture. Approaches may include media criticism and cultural theories on the artifacts and drivers of cultural values.

        Course Outcomes


        COMMS 351 : Media and Their Audiences. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
        COMMS 351 : Media and Their Audiences. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
        WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
        PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
        DESCRIPTION: Understanding media content and channels empowering and improving media consumption and interpretation. Approaches may include new technology, social media, consumer behavior, media criticism, and media literacy.

        Course Outcomes


        COMMS 416 : Media Advocacy and Social Change. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
        COMMS 416 : Media Advocacy and Social Change. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
        WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
        PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
        DESCRIPTION: Communication principles, theories, and approaches applied to effect social change. Approaches may include public policy, grass roots advocacy, social marketing, and social movements.

        Course Outcomes


    • Cluster 2: Principles and Philosophy:
        COMMS 301 : Mass Media History and Philosophy. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
        COMMS 301 : Mass Media History and Philosophy. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
        WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
        PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
        DESCRIPTION: Historical and philosophical development of today's media. Approaches may include theories of media change, social responsibility, economic factors, and influential pioneers.

        Course Outcomes


        COMMS 360 : Communication Management Principles and Theory. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
        COMMS 360 : Communication Management Principles and Theory. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
        WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
        PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
        DESCRIPTION: Management principles and theory, emphasizing responsible management benefiting organizations and their stakeholders. Approaches may include crisis communication, media or agency management, and programming.

        Course Outcomes


        COMMS 406 : Media and the First Amendment. (3:3.0:0.0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
        COMMS 406 : Media and the First Amendment. (3:3.0:0.0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
        WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
        PREREQUISITE: COMMS 300; Major status.
        DESCRIPTION: Advanced understanding of media law, policy, and regulation of free speech and press. Approaches may include Freedom of Information, rights of press, government control, and legal precedents regarding the First Amendment.

        Course Outcomes


        COMMS 480 : Media Ethics and Moral Reasoning. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
        COMMS 480 : Media Ethics and Moral Reasoning. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
        WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
        PREREQUISITE: Comms 300 or instructor's consent.
        DESCRIPTION: Advanced application of moral reasoning and understanding of ethical issues in mass communication. Approaches may include current cases and issues, professional practices, and philosophical foundations of ethics.

        Course Outcomes


    • Cluster 3: Global Communication and Diversity:
        COMMS 381 : International Media Systems. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
        COMMS 381 : International Media Systems. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
        WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
        PREREQUISITE: Communications or international relations major or minor status.
        DESCRIPTION: Comparison of media systems in countries and regions outside the United States. Approaches may include media systems analysis, normative theories of the media, and cultural values and norms.

        Course Outcomes


        COMMS 382 : Issues in Global Communication. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
        COMMS 382 : Issues in Global Communication. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
        WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
        PREREQUISITE: Communications or international relations major or minor status.
        DESCRIPTION: Issues relating to communicating in a global village. Approaches may include global information and policy, cultural imperialism, intercultural interaction, and multinational communication strategies.

        Course Outcomes


        COMMS 481 : Gender, Race, and Class in the Media. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
        COMMS 481 : Gender, Race, and Class in the Media. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
        WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
        PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
        DESCRIPTION: Applying critical theory to the interaction between media and underrepresented groups in society. Approaches may include stereotypes and portrayals, access to media, participation, and media ownership.

        Course Outcomes


        COMMS 482 : Media and World Religions. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
        COMMS 482 : Media and World Religions. (3:3:0)(Credit Hours:Lecture Hours:Lab Hours)
        WHEN TAUGHT:Contact Department.
        PREREQUISITE: Major or minor status.
        DESCRIPTION: The interaction of media, world religions, and beliefs. Approaches may include media coverage and portrayal of religion, religions' use of media, conflict between the two, and communicating across religious cultures.

        Course Outcomes


*Hours include courses that may fulfill university core requirements.



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