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Bachelor fo Arts in Communications

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  • Course description
        
     Degree Requirements

    A major in communication requires thirty hours, at least twelve of which must be at the 300-level. All majors are required to take courses 100, 110 or 102, 220 and 225 and should begin their study of communication with these courses. An overall minimum grade point average of 2.0 in all communication courses attempted is required for graduation.

    The Department of Communication offers its majors the opportunity to concentrate in special areas of study. Communication majors may choose to concentrate in communication science, media studies, or rhetorical studies. Students may also opt to choose courses across the concentrations as a general communication major.

    In addition to the major course requirements, COM 100, 110 or 102, 220, and 225, students who want to declare a concentration must successfully complete five courses within a particular concentration. Students may declare two concentrations within the department. The major course requirements remain in effect for those students, and they must take a minimum of eighteen hours at the 300-level. Students may not count courses used to meet the required five courses within a particular concentration to fulfill requirements for a second concentration. A list of courses approved to fulfill the concentrations in communication science, media studies, and rhetorical studies is maintained by the communication department. Students declaring a concentration must do so prior to the beginning of their final semester.

    A minor in communication requires eighteen hours, at least three of which must be at the 300-level, and shall include courses 100, 110 or 102, and 220 or 225. An overall minimum grade point average of 2.0 in all communication courses attempted is required for graduation.

    Students may enroll in up to three hours of practicum in any semester. For three hours of internship credit, students need a minimum of 120 on-site contact hours; applications for three hours of practicum in one semester need to be approved by a faculty supervisor, the internship director, and/or the director of undergraduate studies. Students can earn a maximum of six hours practicum, only three hours of which may be counted toward a major in communication. Communication 280 and 281 are open to majors and minors only who satisfy departmental requirements.

    Highly qualified majors are invited by the department to apply for admission to the honors program in communication. To be graduated with the designation “Honors in Communication,” students must pass the departmental honors courses (398 and 399), complete a senior research project, and satisfactorily defend their work in an oral examination. For more details, consult faculty members in the department.

    Finally, no student may take more than a total of six hours in COM 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, and 285 combined, and only three hours may count toward a major in communication.

        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, and 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 Interpersonal 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 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
        COM 398 Honors I
        COM 399 Honors II

    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
        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 (P—COM 245)
        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
        COM 398 Honors in Communication I
        COM 399 Honors in Communication II

    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
        COM 398 Honors Seminar
        COM 399 Honors Seminar

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