Communications

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The Master of Science program in communication is designed to provide graduate-level expertise for solving problems in modern organizations and social systems from a communication perspective. The curriculum addresses issues concerned with interpersonal, relational and technologically mediated communication systems essential to modern, networked organizations and societies. Its graduates will acquire advanced-level expertise in communication theory, research, and applications that will improve processes and enhance outcomes within and across diverse social systems.  The degree prepares students for higher-level positions in communication professions and for advanced degree programs (e.g., Ph.D. programs).

Admission Requirements

Applicants should have a minimum 3.0 GPA in the undergraduate major and a minimum of 3.0 over the last 60 hours of undergraduate work.

Master's Degree Requirements

The degree requires 36 credit hours with a minimum of 27 credit hours taken in communication. Students will be required to complete 9 hours of core requirements, and 27 hours of electives, 9 of which can be taken outside of the department with the approval of the graduate advisor.  Students can also take up to 6 internship or independent study credit hours.  Students on the thesis track can take up to 6 thesis credit hours.

Faculty

Full Professors

  • Deanna P. Dannels
  • Adriana Araujo de Souza e Silva
  • Victoria J. Gallagher
  • Jessica Katz Jameson
  • Melissa A. Johnson
  • Joann Keyton
  • William J. Kinsella
  • Robert Laurence Schrag
  • Kenneth S. Zagacki

Associate Professors

  • Andrew Ray Binder
  • Elizabeth Ann Craig
  • James Kiwanuka-Tondo
  • Kama A. Kosenko
  • Sarah R. Stein
  • Stephen B. Wiley

Assistant Professors

  • Yang Cheng
  • Fernanda Duarte
  • Nicole Marie Lee

Emeritus Faculty

  • Daniel A. DeJoy
  • Edward T. Funkhouser
  • William J. Jordan
  • Rebecca Leonard
  • Burton Lester Russell
  • Robert Laurence Schrag
  • Craig Allen Smith
  • Sarah R Stein

Courses

COM 506/ENG 506  Verbal Data Analysis  (3 credit hours)  

Research strategies for understanding how spoken and written language shapes activities (e.g., design, instruction, counseling, gaming interactions, e-commerce, etc.). Tracking patterned uses of language as verbal data (e.g., grammatically topically, thematically), formulating research questions, and designing studies to answer those questions through quantitative descriptive means. Sampling, collecting and managing data, developing coding schemes, achieving reliability, using descriptive statistical measures, and reporting the results.

Typically offered in Fall only

COM 508/GES 508  Emerging Technologies and Society  (3 credit hours)  

Provides frameworks for understanding emerging technologies and their social, political, and cultural contexts. Presents historical case studies, ethnographic accounts, and theoretical perspectives that introduce students to ways of thinking about science and technology, nature and culture, and democracy and expertise. Graduate standing is required.

Typically offered in Spring only

COM 514/ENG 514  History Of Rhetoric  (3 credit hours)  

Historical development of rhetorical theory with attention to contemporaneous rhetorical practice and philosophical trends. Major focus on the classical period with briefer coverage of medieval, Renaissance, 18th-century, and 19th-century developments. Implications for contemporary theory and practice, including pedagogical practice.

Typically offered in Fall only

COM 516/ENG 516  Rhetorical Criticism: Theory and Practice  (3 credit hours)  

Development, achievements, limitation of major critical methods in the 20th century, including neo-Aristotelian, generic, metaphoric, dramatistic, feminist, social-movement, fantasy-theme and postmodern approaches. Criticism of political discourse,institutional discourse, discourses of law, medicine, religion, education, science, the media. Relations between rhetorical and literary criticism and other forms of cultural analysis.

Prerequisite: Graduate Standing or the equivalent of COM/ENG 321 or COM/ENG 411

Typically offered in Spring only

COM 521  Communication and Globalization  (3 credit hours)  

Economic, political, cultural dimensions of globalization. Role of information and communication technologies, networks, institutions, and practices in human social organization.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing

Typically offered in Summer only

COM 522  Critical Approaches to Organizational Communication  (3 credit hours)  

Overview of critical and interpretive organizational communication research studies. Application of insights to enriching and transforming working lives.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing

Typically offered in Spring only

COM 523  International and Intercultural Communication  (3 credit hours)  

Survey of intercultural, cross-cultural, and international communication theories and issues.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing

Typically offered in Spring only

COM 525  Group/Team Communication  (3 credit hours)  

Comprehensive review of principles, theory, research, and practices involving group/team communication; associated with decision making, conflict management, relationship building, and evaluation of group/team effectiveness. Emphasis on guidelines for effective communication in groups and teams. Graduate standing required.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing

Typically offered in Fall only

COM 526  Media Economics  (3 credit hours)  

This course provides an overview of economic perspectives on media and communication, particularly examining cases, topics, and controversies that stem from the many linkages between media and the economy. It reviews a range of perspectives on the economy of media, including the critical political economic approaches commonly employed in the field of communication, but also emerging neoclassical, behavioral, institutional, and heterodox approaches to economics, as applied to a range of possible topics. These may include: media ownership and the economics of journalism; labor and social media; data and surveillance economies; copyright and intellectual property; piracy, sharing, and collaboration; digital gift economies; social media celebrity and influencers; bitcoin and other virtual currencies; debt, credit, and algorithmic calculation; microfinance apps; "on-demand" platforms such as Uber and Lyft; automation and the future of employment; global supply chains in the manufacture of technology; the disposal of waste; consumerism and unsustainable energy use.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing

Typically offered in Spring only

COM 527  Seminar in Organizational Conflict Management  (3 credit hours)  

Examination of conflict antecedents, interventions, outcomes through multiple texts, journal articles. Emphasis on workplace conflict, organizational outcomes, dispute system design. Evaluation through participation in class discussion, independent papers, research project, presentation.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing

Typically offered in Summer only

COM 528  Communication Culture and Technology  (3 credit hours)  

Examine Communication technology via historical examples. Inquiry into the development of early sound and screen technologies. Analysis of computer-mediated Communication genres.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing

Typically offered in Spring only

COM 529  Communication Campaigns  (3 credit hours)  

Prepares students to design, implement, monitor, and evaluate a successful communication campaign for a health, public relations, or political organization that is grounded in sound theoretical approaches. The students conduct focus groups for audience research and professionally present a campaign plan to a real client for any of the mentioned types of organizations. The course emphasizes theoretical and hands on practical skills to developing successful communication campaigns.

Typically offered in Spring only

COM 530  Interpersonal Communication in Science and Technology Organizations  (3 credit hours)  

Blends theory and research to understand and analyze interpersonal communication practices and issues within organizations, including managing impressions and conversations, engaging in active listening, managing conflict, influencing others, and communicating in teams. Focus on developing and maintaining effective interpersonal at work and improving student's communication competence.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing

Typically offered in Summer only

COM 532  Communication Consulting  (3 credit hours)  

This course provides an introduction to the art and methods of consulting particularly as applied to communication problems in organizational settings. It also provides students the opportunity to develop and/or refine training and facilitation skills and to link communication theory and research to organizational practice. Graduate standing required.

Typically offered in Fall only

COM 536  Seminar in Environmental Communication  (3 credit hours)  

Critical analysis of environmental discourse in organizational, mass media, political, cultural, and international contexts. Investigates public participation in environmental advocacy and deliberation; environmental conflict management; rhetorical constructions of nature and human relationships with nature; environmental justice; environmental risk communication; and competing ecological paradigms. Must hold graduate standing.

P: Graduate Standing

Typically offered in Spring only

COM 537  Gaming and Social Networks  (3 credit hours)  

Exploration of inter-relations among mobile technologies (cell phones, PDAs), location-based activities, and playful/social spaces. Investigates: (1) the definition of basic gaming concepts (community, narrative, play, and space); (2) the history of games as social environments, with particular emphasis on multi-user domains (MUDs); and (3) the definition of games, which use the physical space as the game environment, such as pervasive games, location-based games, and hybrid reality games. Discussion of inter-connections among games, education, and art. By permission of department.

COM 538  Risk Communication  (3 credit hours)  

Comprehensive review of principles, theory, research, and practices involving consensus building; associated with environmental, health and safety; enabling analysis and management of risks. Emphasis on risks associated with emerging science and technology. No quantitative experience necessary. Graduate standing required.

Typically offered in Fall only

COM 539/PA 539  Fund Development  (3 credit hours)  

Identifies and assesses techniques and best practices of fund development, annual giving, capital campaigns, endowments. Topics include setting achievable goals, organizing and staffing a fund development campaing, and identifying donors. Discusses links between fund development and organization mission and governance, ethical issues, and government regulations. PBS status or Graduate standing.

COM 540  Critical and Interpretive Inquiry in Communication  (3 credit hours)  

Theoretical foundations and analytical techniques in critical and interpretive communication research. Analysis of culture and power in communicative practices, texts, technologies, production, and reception. Historical, political economic, archival, contextual, interpretive, rhetorical, and cultural modes of analysis and critique are highlighted. Graduate standing required.

Typically offered in Fall and Spring

COM 541  Quantitative Research Methods in Applied Communication  (3 credit hours)  

Introduction to research methods in applied communication. Knowledge of design, implementation, and analysis of various quantitiative research methods.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing

Typically offered in Spring only

COM 542  Qualitative Research Methods in Applied Communication  (3 credit hours)  

Theoretical and practical dimensions of conducting qualitative research. Issues include asking good questions, field observation, ethics, focus groups, interviews, representation of data, analyzing texts and discourse, writing qualitative reports.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing

Typically offered in Spring only

COM 543  Visual Content Analysis  (3 credit hours)  

Research methods class in social science-orientated quantitative or qualitative analysis. Students will advance visual research by developing and/or testing theoretical concepts for visual media. Readings will focus on analytic techniques and concepts for still or moving images in digital or traditional media. Contexts include social media, organizational websites, blogs, online news sites, films, games, mobile media, and more. Students use qualitative and quantitative analysis software. Graduate standing required

Typically offered in Fall only

COM 546  Nonprofit Marketing and Public Relations  (3 credit hours)  

Survey of the marketing and public relations principles and practices applicable to nonprofit organizations.

COM 547  Mobile Media and Communication  (3 credit hours)  

Mobile communication technologies and their influence on communication patterns and social behavior. Conceptualization of cell phones beyond mobile telephones, as Internet access points and gaming devices. History, current uses and future perspectives for the social use of mobile interfaces. The creation of new mobile communities. The influence of mobile images on communication and the creation of mobile networks. Use of mobile phones across cultures and places, such as Asia, Scandinavia, Africa, and Latin America. Permission of department.

COM 554/ENG 554  Contemporary Rhetorical Theory  (3 credit hours)  

Contemporary rhetorical theory covering the 20th and 21st centuries. Conceptual connections with and disruptions of the classical tradition and its, successors; relationship between rhetorical theory and philosophical trends, institutional histories, socioeconomic circumstances, and pedagogical needs. Attention to current issues such as the revival of invention, rhetorical agency, and ethics.

Typically offered in Spring only

COM 556  Seminar In Organizational Communication  (3 credit hours)  

Theoretic and applied approaches for studying communication perspectives of organizational behavior. Topics relate communication with organizational theories, research methods, leadership, power, attraction, conflict and theory development.

Prerequisite: Advanced Undergraduate standing or Graduate standing

Typically offered in Spring only

COM 561  Human Communication Theory  (3 credit hours)  

The role of theory in study of human communication. General social scientific theories as well as context-based theories including interpersonal, public, group, organizational and mass communication contexts.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing or PBS status

Typically offered in Fall only

COM 562  Communication and Social Change  (3 credit hours)  

Examine persuasive theories and methods including compliance gaining techniques. Evaluate effectiveness of public communication campaigns directed at social change.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing

Typically offered in Fall only

COM 563  Public Relations Theory  (3 credit hours)  

Study the theoretical body of knowledge in public relations and its application to practice. Graduate Standing required.

Typically offered in Spring only

COM 566  Seminar In Crisis Communication  (3 credit hours)  

Working within theoretical perspectives of communication, conflict management and organizational designs, a theoretical understanding for crisis communication, including thorough guidelines for strategic communication planning for, managing and evaluating crises.

Typically offered in Spring only

COM 579/COM 479  Climate Change Communication  (3 credit hours)  

An exploration of the communication successes and failures surrounding climate change and public opinion. Topics addressed include: agenda setting, media effects, framing, data visualizations, fear responses, naming, risk communication and theory, argumentation and refutation, and persuasion as well as issues and current events related to the challenges associated with communicating climate change to multiple stakeholders.

Typically offered in Fall only

COM 581/ENG 581  Visual Rhetoric: Theory and Criticism  (3 credit hours)  

Application of visual theory to rhetoric and of rhetorical theory to visual forms of communication. Discussion and analysis may include advertising, photography, news and informational media, political communication, instructional material, scientific visualization, visual arts, public commemorative artifacts, internet and other digital media.

R: Graduate Students Only

Typically offered in Spring only

COM 585  Teaching College Communication  (3 credit hours)  

Introduction to communication education theory and research. Course divided into primary parts: 1)education theory and philosphy and 2)instructional design theory and practice.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing

Typically offered in Fall only

COM 587  Internet & Society  (3 credit hours)  

Overview of the development of the internet and its social uses, including the historical context that led to the development of the ARPANET and the World Wide Web. Analysis of the transition from mainframes to personal computers, to the internet of things. Treatment of principal social and communication issues related to the use of the internet, such as digital privacy, digital divide, net neutrality, and civic engagement. Development of mobile internet, social networking sites and location-based social networks.

Typically offered in Fall only

COM 598  Special Topics In Communication  (1-6 credit hours)  

Detailed investigation of a special topic in communication. No more than 6 hrs. may be used as credit toward graduation with master's degree.

Typically offered in Fall, Spring, and Summer

COM 630  Independent Study in Communication  (1-3 credit hours)  

Special projects course to be utilized for guided research at graduate level. Topic determined by instructor. No more than 6 hrs. may be used as credit toward graduation with master's degree.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing

Typically offered in Fall, Spring, and Summer

COM 650  Communication Internship  (1-6 credit hours)  

The internship experience provides the students the opportunity to practice professional communication skills in a workplace setting under the supervision of a communication practitioner. Restricted to MS in Communication students.

Prerequisite: Acceptance into MS in Communication Program

Typically offered in Fall, Spring, and Summer

COM 685  Master's Supervised Teaching  (1-3 credit hours)  

Teaching experience under the mentorship of faculty who assist the student in planning for the teaching assignment, observe and provide feedback to the student during the teaching assignment, and evaluate the student upon completion of the assignment.

Prerequisite: Master's student

Typically offered in Fall and Summer

COM 688  Non-Thesis Masters Continuous Registration - Half Time Registration  (1 credit hours)  

For students in non-thesis master's programs who have completed all credit hour requirements for their degree but need to maintain half-time continuous registration to complete incomplete grades, projects, final master's exam, etc.

Prerequisite: Master's student

Typically offered in Fall and Spring

COM 689  Non-Thesis Master Continuous Registration - Full Time Registration  (3 credit hours)  

For students in non-thesis master's programs who have completed all credit hour requirements for their degree but need to maintain full-time continuous registration to complete incomplete grades, projects, final master's exam, etc. Students may register for this course a maximum of one semester.

Prerequisite: Master's student

Typically offered in Fall and Spring

COM 695  MR Thesis Research  (1-9 credit hours)  

Thesis Research

Prerequisite: Master's student

Typically offered in Fall, Spring, and Summer

COM 696  Summer Thesis Res  (1 credit hours)  

Typically offered in Summer only

COM 798  Special Topics in Communication  (3-6 credit hours)  

Intensive exploration of specialized or emerging topics in an area of communication theory, rhetoric, media, or other aspect of Communication studies. Emphasis on student research and writing. May be used to test and develop new courses. May be repeated for credit. Doctoral students only.

Typically offered in Fall and Spring

COM 810  Directed Readings in Communication  (1-6 credit hours)  

Intensive study of a specific topic from various specializations of the Communication faculty. Negotiation between the student and the director for variable credit and approved by Director of Graduate Studies. May be repeated for credit. Doctoralstudents only.

Typically offered in Fall, Spring, and Summer

COM 896  Summer Dissert Res  (1 credit hours)