Department of Communications Studies
512 Main Hall
Timothy J. Brown, Chairperson
PROFESSORS: Brown, Dean, Foeman, Jenks, Levasseur, Lordan, Remland, Thompsen
ASSOCIATE PROFESSORS: Boyle, Braz, Lawton, Millhous, Pearson, Polk, Sawyer
ASSISTANT PROFESSORS: Castle Bell, Hickman, Kopacz, Mahoney, Munz
The B.A. in COMMUNICATION STUDIES provides students with a comprehensive examination of the theory and practice of communication as it is spoken, written, and created for mediated audiences. At the heart of the program is the focus on oral communication as the core of a liberal arts education that can be applied to a number of career professions. This program also will prepare students for postgraduate study.
Students can study communication as a generalized degree, or they can choose to take courses in one of three areas of specialization: interpersonal and intercultural communication; mass media and public relations; or rhetoric and public communication.
Majors are expected to meet with their advisers to plan a course of study, to select courses prior to scheduling, to discuss career opportunities, and to keep abreast of departmental co-curricular activities. Students are provided with handbooks to inform them of requirements for each program in the department. Students who wish to transfer into the communication studies program must meet “Program Admission Requirements” below.
Departmental Student Activities
The Forensic Team (speech and debate), the radio station, the TV Club, Students in Communication, Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), and Lambda Pi Eta are student organizations that involve department faculty and resources. The activities of these organizations are open to all students. For more information see the "Student Affairs" section.
Internships are available for academic credit for highly motivated and academically successful students who meet the department’s requirements. The department encourages students to take internships to enhance their academic studies with work experience in a professional organization. Students have been placed in offices of congressmen, radio and television stations, and local industries. Students and their placements are screened to assure mutual satisfaction for all parties involved. For details, students should check with the department's internship coordinator and/or the department's website: communication.wcupa.edu/.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE BACHELOR OF ARTS – COMMUNICATION STUDIES
120 semester hours
General education requirements, see pages 38-44 (48 semester hours)
- Required lower-division courses (18 semester hours)
COM 204, 212, 216, 219, 224, and SPK 208
Three of the required lower-division courses (COM 219, 224, and SPK 208) are prerequisites for all upper-division communication studies courses. In addition, COM 216 is a prerequisite for COM 304. Also, SPK 208 must be taken to satisfy the general education communication requirement.
- Upper-division courses (18 semester hours)
Students will work with their advisers to select six appropriate courses at the 300 and/or 400 level from the listing of department courses. Students can choose to take upper-division courses in one of the following three areas of specialization: interpersonal and intercultural communication; mass media and public relations; and rhetoric and public communications. COM 400 may not be used to satisfy the upper-division course requirements.
- Capstone course (3 semester hours)
Select one of the following: COM 490, 491, 492, or 493
- Language/culture requirements (0-15 semester hours)
See page 43-44.
- Applied area (21-24 semester hours)
Course selected in consultation with adviser to meet career objectives (can include a selected minor)
- A grade of C or better must be earned in a COM or SPK course in order for it to meet a department requirement. Also, a 2.5 average or better must be earned in the aggregate of lower- and upper-division courses before graduation will be recommended.
- To encourage B.A. communication studies majors to develop communication competence that extends beyond oral communication, a grade of C or better is required in WRT 120 and the 200-level composition course (WRT 200, 204, 205, 206, 208, or 220), and a grade of C- or better is required in the 202-level course in another language. If a major employs the culture cluster option to fulfill his/her language requirement, a C- or better is required in the 102 level of the language course and in each of the culture cluster courses.
- Students who exhaust their course repeat options and have not earned a grade of C or better in all the prerequisite communication courses will be advised that they will not be able to complete the requirements for a B.A. in communication studies. The department chair will offer an exit interview and help them to identify available alternatives.
Program Admission Requirements (B.A. and Minor Programs)
Applicants who have completed the prerequisite core (COM 219, 224, and SPK 208) will be ranked by grade point average in the core. Selection for admission will be based on these rankings at the conclusion of each semester, after grades are posted. Students who do not gain admission may reapply, but they must compete with the group of applicants in that semester.
Minor in Communication Studies (18 semester hours)
This minor may be taken as one of the minors in the bachelor of arts or bachelor of science in the liberal studies general degree program. Students who wish to minor in communication studies must first gain admission to the minor as indicated in "Program Admission Requirements" above. Once students are admitted, they must complete three courses (nine semester hours) selected from 300- and 400-level regular course offerings in communication studies. Students can choose to take upper-division courses in one of the following three areas of specialization: interpersonal and intercultural communiction; mass media and public relations; and rhetoric and public communication. (COM 400, Internship, may not be selected to meet the program requirements.) A C grade or better must be earned in each of the courses used to meet the minor requirements. Students are also required to earn a grade of C or better in WRT 120 and the 200-level composition course (WRT 200, 204, 205, 206, 208, or 220). A 2.5 GPA must be achieved in the aggregate of minor courses before clearance for graduation with a minor will be granted.
100 Internship in Computerized Communication (1-3) Internship for high school seniors to engage in a structured and supervised learning experience in computerized communication.
112 Communication Media Practicum (1-3) This course provides students with an opportunity to gain knowledge and skill as they work at WCU media outlets. This course may be taken again for credit.
200 Communication Careers Planning I (1) This course is designed to introduce the first of a two-phase, career-planning process. Self-assessment and exploration are provided through assigned readings, mini-lectures, reflective exercises, and small group activities.
201 Fundamentals of Communication Technology (3) Examination of the use of computers and other technologies to create, organize, store, visualize, and present messages.
202 Writing for Broadcast and Public Relations (3) Students are required to analyze, evaluate, and produce scripts for a variety of mass media formats. The course will focus on writing for radio and TV and will also emphasize public relations writing within those media. The primary course objective is to develop effective writing, critical analysis, and communication skills. COM 202 is designed to help students improve their research and writing skills for each of these media and is geared toward students with a genuine interest in a media career.
203 The Philadelphia Media Experience (3) This course introduces students to the history of media professions in the Philadelphia area, exposes them to media opportunities and helps them to improve the skill set needed to obtain jobs in emerging media organizations.
204 Interpersonal Communication (3) This course focuses on one-on-one (or dyadic) communication to give the student a fundamental understanding of the processes and experiences of the most basic type of human communication.
212 Mass Communication (3) A survey course designed to identify, analyze, and evaluate the pragmatic, persuasive, creative, and technical dimensions of mass media.
216 Small Group Communication (3) Introduction to and practice in the structured small group. Emphasis on preparation for, analysis of, and participation in problem-solving oriented groups.
217 Introduction to Video Production and Editing (3) Planning and producing the nondramatic television production.
219 Communication Theory (3) A study of human communication that includes a historical view of the field, examinations of definitions of communication, analyses of the nature of theory and the process of theorizing, assessment of perspectives of communication, and construction of models of communication.
224 Communication Research (3) An examination of the nature of inquiry and research in communication. Emphasis on understanding and appreciating the strengths and weaknesses of various methods of research in communication.
250 Intercultural Communication (3) A study of factors that contribute to communication breakdowns between diverse cultures and between fragmented segments within the same society.
Diverse communities course
275 Media in Ireland (3) This course introduces students to the past, present, and future of media in Ireland by examining the culture, history, law, and economic conditions of the nation. It includes visits to the major historic sites and media centers in Dublin.
276 Media in London (3) This course explores the past, present, and future of British media. Students will study England from a variety of perspectives (cultural, economic, legal, technological) as a way of understanding the evolution of British media, including both print and broadcast. Course includes three weeks in London visiting various media institutions.
292 Living in the Digital Age (3) An examination of the many effects of computer-mediated communication
295 Communication and Disability (3) This course explores how individuals communicate through and about disability. Topics covered include the place of perceptions, identity, language, nonverbal behavior, and assistive technology in interpersonal communicative interactions among and about individuals with disabilities in family, friendship, and professional relationships.
Culture cluster course.
304 Organizational Communication (3) An indepth analysis of the dynamic process of communication as it occurs in organizational networks. PREREQ: COM 216, 219, 224; and SPK 208.
307 Nonverbal Communication (3) A study of the verbal and sensory messages we are constantly receiving. Body language and the uses of space, time, touch, objects, and color inherent in the sensory messages we receive. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.
309 Advanced Public Speaking (3) Designing personal strategies, adapting delivery to large audiences, developing oral use of language, and speaking to live or simulated community groups. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.
311 Communication Professions in Sports (3) Course focuses on the communication businesses related to sports in America, including marketing, public relations, journalism, and emerging media, among others. Includes sections on media history, communication ethics, race relations, and gender issues in sports media. Guest speakers from major media and local professional teams provide insight into communications-related professions in sports.
317 Advanced Video Production (3) Planning the program. Preparing the shooting script. Practice in rehearsing with actors and cameras. PREREQ: COM 217, 219, 224; and SPK 208.
318 Forensics (3) Study in the philosophy and practice of forensics. Initiating, developing, and administrating a forensic program. Coaching and judging debate and individual events. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.
320 Communicating on Television and Radio (3) For the student who, by career or circumstance, will be required to be on radio and television. The focus of the course will be on three major areas: interviewer/interviewee techniques; acting for television, including working in commercials; and news reporting, including studio and remote locations. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.
325 Strategic Social Media (3) This course explores the historical landscape, best marketing practices, and mobilization through social media in the 21st first century. Topics covered include media literacy, personal identity, community, globalization, and the convergence culture. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.
340 Political Communication (3) This course examines the functions and effects of political messages in policymaking and in campaigns. Particular attention is paid to the flow of messages between politicians, the media, and the electorate. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.
345 Communication and Gender (3) This course explores communication between and about females and males. Topics covered include interpersonal interaction between men and women in romantic, friendship, family, work, and professional relationships, as well as societal assumptions and popular culture messages about communication and gender. PREREQ: COM 219, 224, and SPK 208.
355 Introduction to Public Relations (3) Introduces students to the theory and practice of public relations, including research, writing, and evaluation. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.
360 African American Culture and Communication (3) This course explores the cultural perspective and practices that form the basis of African American communication. Topics covered include the characterisitics of African American verbal and nonverbal communication as well as the communication strategies that improve intercultural communication competence. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.
399 Directed Studies in Communication Studies (1-3) Research, creative projects, reports, and readings in communication studies. Students must apply to advisers one semester in advance of registration. Open to juniors and seniors only. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; SPK 208; and approval of department chairperson.
This course may be taken again for credit.
400 Internship in Communication Studies (3-12) This course provides a structured and supervised work experience in communication. Credits earned are based on the amount of quality time spent on the job. Students must apply to the department internship coordinator and receive approval to be admitted. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; SPK 208; and approval of department internship coordinator.
This course may be taken again for credit.
403 Persuasion (3) Current theories of attitude and attitude change. Practice in speaking to modify behavior through appeals to the drives and motives of the listener. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.
404 Rhetorical Theory and Criticism (3) Offers an overview of rhetorical theory from classical to contemporary times. Theory is used to analyze and assess a variety of texts such as advertisements and speeches. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208. Writing emphasis course.
405 Argumentation and Debate (3) This course explores the functions and principles of argumentation and debate, including analysis, evidence, reasoning, and refutation. Class debates on vital issues. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208. Writing emphasis course.
410 Conflict Resolution (3) This course explores the means of resolving conflict through argument, negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.
415 (also LIN 415) Language, Thought, and Behavior (3) This course is designed to help students understand the way language functions in the communication process. To accomplish this purpose, various language systems will be examined, and one will be selected for in-depth analysis. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208. Writing emphasis course.
440 Friendship Communication (3) This course explores communication in friendship relationships. Topics covered include a dialectical perspective of creating and maintaining meaning between friends in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, as well as how friendship communication is affected by gender, culture, school, work, romance, and family. PREREQ: COM 204, 219, 224; and SPK 208. Writing emphasis course.
445 Family Communication (3) This course explores communication in family relationships. Topics covered include interpersonal interaction between family members, societal influences on the family as a whole, and the place of family narratives in these communicative behaviors. PREREQ: COM 204, 219, 224; and SPK 208. Writing emphasis course.
450 Health Communication (3) This course explores communication in health care settings. Topics covered include the changing perceptions of medical encounters, the language of illness and health, the roles of patients and caregivers, and health communication in historical, cultural, organizational, technological, and medical contexts. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.
455 Public Relations Campaigns (3) This course explores the strategic planning and implementation of public relations programs. Topics include the application of management theory to real public relations cases to solve communication problems as well as identifying audience values and working with the media to develop and distribute messages. PREREQ: COM 212, 219, 224, 355; and SPK 208.
460 Communication and Advertising (3) This course explores the relationship between communication and advertising. Topics covered include the interconnection among advertising, media, and a range of publics, as well as the process and history of advertising, message strategies, media planning, campaign evaluation, and ethical and regulatory issues. PREREQ: COM 212, 219, 224; and SPK 208.
470 Intercultural Communication Training (3) This course explores intercultural communication training in organizations. Topics covered include the effects of cultural differences on communication within and between organizations, training strategies for managing cultural differences in communication, and the relationship between intercultural communication training and the power structures in organizations. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.
480 Communication and Leadership (3) This course explores the relationship between leadership and communication. Topics covered include the definition of "leadership challenge," the major approaches to leadership training, and the study of leadership as a metaphor for self-development. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.
490 Capstone Course in Communication Theory (3) This senior-level seminar explores leading communication theories at an advanced level. Students will be expected to read, synthesize, and apply original communication research related to key theories across the communication studies field. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; SPK 208; and any two 300- or 400-level COM courses other than COM 400.
491 Capstone Course in Rhetoric and Public Communication (3) This senior-level seminar explores leading theories of rhetoric and social influence at an advanced level. Students will be expected to read, synthesize, and apply original communication research related to theories in these particular areas of emphasis in the communication studies field. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; SPK 208; and any two of the following courses: COM 309, 340, 403, 404, or 405.
492 Capstone Course in Intercultural and Interpersonal Communication (3) This senior-level seminar explores leading theories of intercultural and interpersonal communication at an advanced level. Students will be expected to read, synthesize, and apply original communication research related to theories in these particular areas of emphasis in the communication studies field. PREREQ: COM 204, 219, 224; SPK 208; and any two of the following courses: COM 307, 360, 410, 440, 445, 450, or 470.
493 Capstone Course in Media and Public Relations (3) This senior-level seminar explores leading media and public relations theories at an advanced level. Students will be expected to read, synthesize, and apply original communication research related to theories in these particular areas of emphasis in the communication studies field. PREREQ: COM 212, 219, 224; SPK 208; and any two of the following courses: COM 317, 320, 325, 355, 455, or 460.
499 Communication Seminar (3) Intensive examination of a selected area of study in the field of communication studies. Topics will be announced in advance. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208. This course may be taken again for credit
208 Public Speaking (3) Development of skills necessary to understand the theory of communication as a problem-solving tool in the community. Special emphasis is on the student's performance as a sender and receiver of messages directed at social action.
230 Business and Professional Speech Communication (3) Practice in effective speaking and listening. Interpersonal communication in the business and professional setting, including reports and sales presentations, policy speeches, conference leadership techniques, group dynamics, and speaking. Lecture and lab sections.