COM (Communication Studies)

COM 101 Theories of Communication and Rhetoric (4 hours)

This gateway course to the major is designed to establish a broad understanding of various theories used in communication and rhetoric studies. Students will learn theories about messages themselves as well as the various contexts in which they occur, including interpersonal communication, public communication, mass communication, intercultural and gendered communication. The ethical implications of these theories will also be considered. Offered fall semesters.

COM 105 Introduction to Communication Research (4 hours)

The primary goal of this course is to develop an understanding of the different communication research techniques used by communication professionals – what they are, how they are used, what they mean – as well as the major theoretical concepts of the discipline. The course is designed to provide students with the critical skills needed to become better informed and effective researchers and consumers.

COM 110 Public Speaking (4 hours)
This course is designed to develop and enhance students’ ability to communicate effectively to any audience. Students will deliver both prepared and impromptu speeches. They will give humorous and inspirational speeches as well as informational speeches focusing on organization and the use of visual aids. Students develop all the tools necessary to effectively communicate – their voice, their gestures, their body language and their eye contact. They will receive timely written and oral feedback from the instructor. Speeches will be videotaped and critiqued. The goal is to become a more polished and confident speaker. Prerequisite: Students who speak English as a second language must have permission of the instructor. Offered every semester.

COM 120 Introduction to Media Studies (4 hours)

In this course students will study the historical development of the media and interrelationships between them in order to understand the impact of these cultural industries on our lives and our culture. Through their examination of the products and processes of the media, students will learn will develop critical media literacy.  Offered every semester.


COM 200 Independent Study in Communication Studies (1-4 hours)

This course provides the opportunity for an intense study of diverse topics under the direct supervision of the instructor. The student and instructor will collaborate to develop the content of the course, which must be approved as outlined by the Independent Study Policy.  (Sec. 6.15.)

COM 220 Intercultural Communication (4 hours)

This course will help students learn how to communicate more effectively in a multicultural world by exploring the ways people from different cultural backgrounds think, communicate, and behave based on the value systems, worldviews, and narratives that shape them. Students will develop an understanding of the factors that shape culture, examine key theoretical frameworks that explain cultural differences, and apply this knowledge to real world situations.


COM 240 Introduction to Newswriting (4 hours)

This course teaches the fundamentals of journalistic news writing and reporting. Using a range of techniques from interviews to internet research, students will learn how to gather information from a variety of sources and write stories using different types of leads, endings and structures. They will also engage in a critique of today’s journalistic practices. Offered Fall semesters.

COM 250 Digital Storytelling (4 hours)

This class will introduce students to basic digital storytelling techniques. Students will explore the interactivity and narrative abilities of digital media through the creation of audio and video projects by analyzing various forms of transmedia storytelling, looking at how “texts” exist within specific cultural contexts, and engaging in social critique.


COM 260 Writing for Business and the Professions (4 hours)

This course is for students who have mastered the basic skills and insights of writing and who wish to improve their ability to write clear, concise, persuasive prose designed for audiences in business and the professions. Students are required to write a variety of texts, such as letters, proposals, progress reports and recommendation reports. Other elements of the course may include oral presentations. Prerequisites: COR 101 and COR 102. Offered alternate spring semesters.

COM 270 Principles of Public Relations (4 hours)

This course provides students with an introduction to Public Relations.  Students will learn what Public Relations is, what a Public Relations job entails, and explore trends in Public Relations through a critical lens.  It is the foundation course in public relations and a supplemental course for students majoring in other fields. Prerequisites:  COM 120 and one writing course (as defined in the COM Public Relations track, Section 2).

COM 280 Gender, Culture, and Communication (4 hours)

This course investigates the relationships among gender, culture, and communication. Students will explore theoretical approaches to gender; the cultural histories of women’s, men’s and transgender movements; cultural views of gendered interaction, including discourse and relational styles as well as other performances; and the practices of gendered communication and identity in a variety of cultural and institutional contexts. Offered every spring semester. Cross-listed as WGS 280.


COM 290 Special Topics in Communication Studies (1-4 hours)

Courses of selected topics will be offered periodically as determined by the needs of the curriculum. Prerequisites can vary based on the topic selected. See individual course listings for each semester for the specific topic and any prerequisites.


COM 310 Public Relations Writing (4 hours)

Public Relations Writing is designed to teach students the fundamentals of public relations writing and media techniques. The course will provide students with opportunities to develop effective writing skills for the public relations profession with an emphasis on different approaches required to communicate with audiences and media. Students will focus on the practical application of tools and techniques used by public relations practitioners, while gaining an understanding of how specific public relations tactics fit into the broader context of a public relations communications program. Prerequisites: COM 101 and COM 240, or permission of the instructor. Offered alternate spring semesters.


COM 320 Persuasive Writing (4 hours)

This course is designed to develop sophisticated strategies of persuasion for analyzing and generating arguments responsive to targeted audiences in a variety of contexts, including civic, professional and academic. Students will learn both classical and contemporary strategies of persuasion. Emphasis will be on presenting clear, coherent and logical arguments. Students will be asked to define their own projects within assigned contexts. Students will evaluate their own and others’ writing to enable the revision process. This course is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors only. Prerequisites: COR 101 and COR 102. Offered alternate spring semesters.

COM 330 Social Media Theories and Impact

This class is designed to enable students to analyze the role of social media in society. We will look at the social consequences and political implications of social media, as well as its/their role in the broader media landscape. The overarching goal is to develop the theoretical tools and critical perspective to interrogate the social media that saturate our lives.  Sophomore status or permission of instructor.

COM 350 Just Food? The Cultural Rhetorics and Politics of Consumption (4 hours)

This course investigates how we constitute and communicate our identities through the food we consume and importantly the food we do not consume. As critical consumers and citizens, students learn to analyze and assess the public issues on the table: food choices and health, food labeling and safety, food insecurity and hunger, unequal access to healthy food, and food as a human right. Prerequisites COM 101 and sophomore status or permission of instructor.

COM 360 Social Media Strategy and Analytics (4 hours)

In this course students will learn the science behind social sharing, and the technical aspects of how to use and analyze social media.  Using real campaigns as an example, this course will help you understand how to be successful on social media whether branding yourself or an organization.  Sophomore status or permission of instructor.

COM 380 Feminist Media Studies (4 hours)

This course examines the portrayal of gender in the media, focusing specifically on radio, television, and film, and aims to encourage an understanding of the diversity of groups in society in relationship to identity and selfhood. Class will be conducted in lecture format with some in-class screenings and class discussion.  Prerequisite COM120 or WGS 101. Cross-listed as WGS 380.


COM 400 Advanced Independent Study in Communication Studies (1-4 hours)

This course provides the opportunity for an advanced, intense study of diverse topics under the direct supervision of the instructor. These offerings are generally suited for junior or senior students. The student and instructor will collaborate to develop the content of the course, which must be approved as outlined by the Independent Study Policy.  (Sec. 6.15.)

COM 410 Public Relations Theory and Research (4 hours)
In this class, students will be exposed to Public Relations (PR) theories and how they apply to practice.  The focus will be on understanding primary PR and persuasion theories and application of theory to research and practice.  Students will design a PR study using the theories explored in class. Prerequisites COM 105, COM 270.

COM 420 Media, Culture and Society (4 hours)

Using various approaches from cultural studies to political economy, students examine how meaning is created by the media. This course focuses on media texts, media institutions and media audiences and the way they intersect to shape culture. Topics covered include media representations of gender, race and class. Offered alternate fall semesters. Prerequisites: COM 101, COM 120, and junior standing (or permission of the instructor).

COM 430 Race and Representation in the Media (4 hours)

In this course students will examine the portrayal of race in the media, focusing specifically on radio, television, and film. At the end of the semester, students will be able to:  identify and critically examine the use and functions of racial images in the media; understand and analyze the uniqueness of each medium and the advantages and/or challenges that it poses to the representation of race; and recognize and explore the larger cultural and societal implications of these mediated representations. Prerequisites: COM 101, COM 120 and sophomore standing (or permission of the instructor).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

COM 440 Public Relations Campaigns (4 hours)

In this course, students will function as a Public Relations (PR) agency, creating a complete campaign for a client.  Students will create multiple deliverables including press releases, backgrounders, media kits, as well as strategically develop an entire PR campaign.   Prerequisites COM270 and 1 writing course (see list under COM Public Relations track, section 2).

COM 450 Crisis Communication (4 hours)

In this course, students will be exposed to strategies to avoid crises situations, as well as steps to take to effectively manage crises when they do occur. From planning to holding press conferences, to coaching CEOs and crafting copy, crisis communication tests the PR professional as it tries the organization.  Students will learn how to plan for, communicate during, and recover from organizational crisis situations.  Prerequisite COM 270.

COM 460 Rhetorical Theories of Emotion and Affect (4 hours)

This course explores the sociality of emotion and affect shaping public life and discourse. From the study of Aristotle’s pathos to recent cross-disciplinary theories of affect, students re-examine cultural assumptions that emotions are primarily private, individual, and irrational. Students investigate shame, fear, hate, and love through rhetoric and cultural studies. Prerequisite COM 101 and junior standing or permission of instructor.


COM 470 Globalization and the Media (4 hours)

The rapid evolution of communication technologies has increased the ability of global media corporations to reach audiences around the world. This course examines the political, economic and cultural dimensions of media globalization. Topics covered include cultural imperialism, global news, international trade organizations and regulatory bodies, global advertising and cultural protectionism. Offered alternate fall semesters. Prerequisites: COM 101, COM 120, and junior standing (or permission of the instructor).


COM 480 Rhetoric of Human Rights (4 hours)

This course investigates the theories and rhetorical strategies used to practice human rights as “universal” and the critical challenges of this universality. The rhetoric of universal human rights as it is actually used in texts by competing interests in an increasingly globalized and culturally diverse world communally will be evaluated. Prerequisites: CRS 101 and junior standing, or permission of the instructor.


COM 490 Advanced Special Topics in Communication Studies (1-4 hours)

Advanced courses of selected topics will be offered periodically as determined by the needs of the curriculum. These offerings are generally suited for junior or senior students. Prerequisites can vary based on the topic selected. See individual course listings for each semester for the specific topic and any prerequisites.

Specifically, this advanced course will examine topics in communication studies or rhetoric, such as civic literacy, global culture and rhetoric, or political rhetoric. This course may be taken more than once, provided the topic is different.


COM 495 Internship in Communication Studies (1-12 hours)

An internship designed to provide a formalized experiential learning opportunity to qualified students. The internship generally requires the student to have an application (which satisfies all internship requirements developed by the academic program that oversees the internship) and to obtain a faculty supervisor in the relevant field of study. All internships are graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis. Prerequisites are determined by the academic program overseeing the internship course.