Communication Studies

Changes effective Fall Term 2018

Angell Bommelje Cavenaugh
Gournelos Hammonds Mesbah Morrison
Painter Parrish Parsloe Stone


We develop dynamic communicators who think critically, as well as speak, listen, and write effectively.

We strive to embody this mission in several ways. We encourage freedom of expression, diversity of perspective, and tolerance of dissent to achieve the informed and responsible decision-making skills fundamental to a civil society and a global community. We cultivate the communication skills necessary to fulfill human potential and contribute to the public well-being. Finally, we promote ethical communication that enhances human worth and dignity by fostering fairness, responsibility, and respect for self and others.


Our unique and innovative curriculum in Communication Studies offers students an introduction to the field via required courses in topics, theories, and research methods central to Communication. Our majors select a concentration in one of three critical areas: Organizational Communication and Leadership, Public Relations, and Health Communication.

Ten (10) courses are required: Seven (7) core courses and three (3) courses within a specific concentration.


  • COM 100 Introduction to Communication Studies
  • COM 295 Research Methods in Communication
  • COM 397 Internship or COM 400 Advanced Project in Communication Studies
  • COM 480 Senior Seminar in Communication Studies

Select three (3) 200-level courses. Possible courses are listed below.

  • COM 210 Public Speaking
  • COM 220 Interpersonal Communication
  • COM 230 Listening
  • COM 240 Intercultural Communication

Select any three (3) courses within the specific concentration you choose. Possible courses for each concentration are listed below:


  • COM 301 Designing Effective Organizations
  • COM 319 Leadership and Effective Communication
  • COM 321 Organizational Communication
  • COM 324 Self-Leadership and Communication
  • COM 345 Leadership, Film, and Communication


  • COM 212 Persuasion
  • COM 302 New Media and Public Relations
  • COM 313 Mass Media and Society
  • COM 318 Contemporary Public Relations
  • COM 325 Communication Campaigns
  • COM 351 Writing for Public Relations
  • COM 418 Advanced Public Relations


  • COM 310 Family Communication
  • COM 325 Communication Campaigns
  • COM 330 Health Communication
  • COM 336 Communication Across the Lifespan
  • COM 340 Health Policy and Advocacy Communication
  • COM 355 Global Health Communication


Five (5) courses are required: four (4) core courses and one (1) concentration course.


  • COM 100 Introduction to Communication Studies
  • COM 295 Research Methods in Communication

Select two (2) of the following 200-level courses

  • COM 210 Public Speaking
  • COM 220 Interpersonal Communication
  • COM 230 Listening
  • COM 240 Intercultural Communication

One (1) course may be selected from the list of any of the Concentration courses.

Course of Study

COM 100 Introduction to Communication Studies: Provides an overview of the history, practices, and key areas of research that inform the discipline of communication studies. Students will be introduced to the applied concentrations within the major and will develop an understanding of various research methods and theories relevant to the discipline of communication.

COM 130 Event Planning and Communication: Provides a comprehensive overview of elements and factors involved in the planning, production, and assessment of special events as well as the communication factors that dominate each phase of the process. Through a review of the literature, interaction with guest presenters, interviews with professionals including site visits, and a class produced half-day conference; students will learn both the components of a successful event and the required communication skills. Prerequisite: COM 100

COM 203 Communication Ethics: Develops the cognitive flexibility required to appreciate, explore, dissect, and defend ethical arguments and behaviors within communication-related contexts. Students with credit for COM 303 may not receive credit for COM 203.

COM 210 Public Speaking: Explores research, organization, writing, delivery, and critical analysis of oral presentations.

COM 212 Persuasion Theory: Examines persuasion at the intrapersonal, interpersonal, small group, organizational, and mass media levels. Based on an understanding and application of classical and contemporary empirical research, students design practical persuasive media. Students with credit for COM 312 may not receive credit for COM 212.

COM 215 Topics in Communication: Provides an introduction to selected areas of communication studies. Topics for consideration are at the discretion of the instructor and will change with each course offering.

COM 220 Interpersonal Communication: Explores dyadic communication with significant others in personal and career situations.

COM 230 Listening: Explores the art of listening and its importance in our personal and professional lives. Students learn to analyze, assess, and improve their own listening abilities.

COM 240 Intercultural Communication: Examines concepts, constructs, theories, and empirical research pertinent to communication within and between cultures, with primary foci on contexts and relationships.

COM 295 Research Methods in Communication: Introduces the fundamentals of communication research. Topics include the scientific method, quantitative and qualitative approaches, research ethics, hypothesis testing, measurement issues, survey design, data analysis, and more.

COM 301 Designing Effective Organizations: Explores strategic planning, management, organizational effectiveness, and organizational culture relevant to the design of effective organizations.

COM 302 New Media and Public Relations: Explores new media communication practices in Public Relations to deconstruct the communication and business impact of these techniques.

COM 310 Family Communication: Explores communication within the family unit, specific family relationships, and elements inherent in relationships. Content is designed to improve specific communication skills and positively guide family communication behavior.

COM 311 Conflict and Communication: Studies human behavior with particular attention to the role of conflict across various contexts (interpersonal relationships, group/team, organizational settings, and multi-cultural settings). Students with credit for COM 412 may not receive credit for COM 311.

COM 313 Mass Media and Society: Studies the impact of the media on the habits, customs, and thinking of our times. Students explore topics that include the relationships between mass media and society, social and ethical issues, and the media's role in the nation's history.

COM 315 Topics in Communication Studies: Provides intensive study with selected areas of communication studies. Topics for consideration are at the discretion of the instructor and will change with each course offering.

COM 316 Training and Development: Focuses on the role of communication in the training and development of human resources with a leadership and organizational focus.

COM 318 Contemporary Public Relations: Explores the study of public relations principles applied to organizations. This course examines the ways in which public relations theories and principles are applied to specific business situations.

COM 319 Leadership and Effective Communication: Studies leadership, leadership styles, and leadership effectiveness in organizations. Students explore the connection between leadership and organizational communication.

COM 321 Organizational Communication: Analyzes the role and importance of communication in organizations with special emphasis on corporations, not-for-profit institutions, government agencies, and other structures in which people work. Students with credit for COM 421 may not receive credit for COM 321.

COM 322 Computer Mediated Communication: Addresses the study of the communication processes affected by our interactions with technologies. Students analyze the benefits and challenges that modern technology creates for effective human communication.

COM 324 Self-Leadership and Communication: Explores the many ways that self-leadership skills may be enhanced through effective communication principles, strategies, and techniques. Offered on a credit/no-credit basis only.

COM 325 Communication Campaigns: Introduces the planning, organizing, implementation, and evaluation of various educational, health, political, religious, and commercial campaigns. Communication campaigns are focused, large-scale efforts to exert social influence.

COM 326 Small Group Communication and Leadership: Examines communication, leadership, participation, and decision-making within groups and teams.

COM 327 Servant-Leadership: Designed to introduce students to the study and application of servant-leadership, including concepts and tools that allow the serving leader to empower and equip all stakeholders of the organization.

COM 330 Health Communication: Introduces theory and research on communication in health and illness contexts, focusing on how messages from interpersonal, organizational, and media sources affect health belief and behavior.

COM 331 Communication and Social Change: This course approaches the study of communication and social change through direct community engagement activities. It uses communication theories and practices to demonstrate how communication strategy can help individuals and organizations advocate for social change.

COM 336 Communication Across the Lifespan: This course adopts a communication perspective of development over the lifespan. We examine what it means to age, the impact of aging on relationships and organizations, and communication patterns in contexts impacting and involving older adults.

COM 340 Health Policy and Advocacy Communication: Introduces concepts, and strategies for policy changes to improve health, based on current health issues. Course will include situational analysis, communication strategies, and messaging to advocate for policies affecting health.

COM 345 Leadership, Film, and Communication: Initiates a thoughtful consideration of the nature of leadership as depicted in film. Film provides unique insights to investigate culture, character, and motive, to access meaning and significance through theoretical, analytic, and dialogic inquiry.

COM 351 Writing for Public Relations: Teaches students the basic principles of writing public relations materials for a diverse audience using diverse media. Students will practice gathering, organizing, and checking information to write a variety of PR documents.

COM 355 Global Health Communication: Introduces important issues and key concepts of communication in global health. Focus will be placed on determinants of health, the burden of disease, health disparities, risk factors, and communication strategies.

COM 397 Internship: Provides on-the-job experience. Students may choose internships from approved list provided by Career Services, or they may make own arrangements within established guidelines by Career Services.

COM 398 Independent Project: Offers an opportunity for specialized study and to encourage intellectual curiosity, initiative, and sustained effort. Independent Studies must be sponsored by a faculty member, and approved by an academic department. Proposal forms for Independent Studies are available (in electronic form suitable for download) on the Student Records web site (

COM 400 Advanced Project in Communication Studies: This course will give students an opportunity to develop advanced research skills necessary to design, execute, write, and present communication research in a particular area of interest identified by individual students. Prerequisite: COM 295 or consent of the instructor.

COM 418 Advanced Public Relations: Addresses the advanced study of the discipline of public relations. Students develop skills in written and oral communication, critical thinking, problem solving, research, and strategic planning. Prerequisite: COM 318 or consent of the instructor.

COM 480 Senior Seminar in Communication: Provides an end-of-the-program opportunity for the advanced study of communication in multiple contexts. This capstone course is taken in the senior year by students majoring in Communication Studies/Organizational Communication.  Prerequisites: COM Majors Only; Senior Standing.