Communication Studies Courses
An interesting introduction to a topic in the field of Communication Studies.
This course focuses on the history and theory of rhetoric as an art central to public life, exploring the ways that language affects how we construct knowledge, create communities, delimit social space, promote our collective interests, and critique the laws and norms that bind us together. Offered every semester. Prerequisite: Core A2; Co-requisite RHET 250 or RHET 295 (see instructor for permission).
This course examines how the communication experiences in daily life - interactions with friends, family, significant others, peers, and coworkers - are illuminated by interpersonal communication theory. Throughout this course, students engage with a variety of materials designed to enhance both their analytic and experiential knowledge about everyday communication. Offered every semester. Prerequisite: Core A2; Co-requisite RHET 250 or RHET 295 (see instructor for permission).
This introduction to the field of communication examines how cultures and sub-cultures differ in their language use, and how their communicative practices shape the production, interpretation, and reproduction of social meanings.Students will learn how to conduct fieldwork to study everyday cultural communication. Offered every semester. Prerequisite: Core A2; Co-requisite RHET 250 or RHET 295 (see instructor for permission).
This course explores methods for close textual reading and analysis. Students study a number of theoretical approaches to rhetorical criticism and apply those theories in analyzing speeches, essays, images, public spaces, and other texts. Offered every semester. Prerequisite: COMS 202 or permission from instructor.
This course explores methods for understanding and conducting experimental and survey research. Students study a number of approaches encompassed in empirical research methods and apply those data analysis techniques in reading, designing, and analyzing quantitative research. Offered every semester. Prerequisite: COMS 203 or permission from instructor.
This course explores methods for understanding and conducting qualitative research. Students will learn and practice a number of approaches to qualitative data collection such as interviewing, focus group, participant-observation, and audio/video recording and inductive data analysis techniques that analyze meaning and understanding in communication. Students will practice the skills of reading, designing and analyzing qualitative research. Prerequistite: COMS 204 or permission from instructor.
This introduction to the social scientific study of holistic health care examines the role of communication in complementary and alternative medicine settings in the U.S. Students will have the opportunity to try holistic health practices in class. This class does not count toward the COMS major/minor.
This course focuses on the inherent link between communication and relationships. Specifically the course examines the role of communication in three phases of personal relationships: development, maintenance, and dissolution. Prerequisites: COMS 203 and (COMS 205, 253, or 254).
This course sets out to explore research and theory that illuminates the dark side of interpersonal and family communication and provides an orientation for understanding the dark side as inseparable from the brighter side in understanding human communication. Prerequisites: COMS 203 and COMS 205, 253, or 254 or permission from instructor.
This course will focus on the central role that communication plays in family life. Some topics covered include: family forms, family systems and communication patterns, family rituals and stories, conflict, and family stress. Prerequisites: COMS 203 and COMS 205, 253, or 254 or permission from instructor.
Analysis of major variables affecting interpersonal communication between persons of different cultural and subcultural backgrounds.Prerequisite: COMS/ANTH 204 or permission from instructor.
This course explores the communication patterns of Asian Pacific Americans. Students will examine cultural practices, language, and discourse and how these construct shared and contested individual and collective identities. Prerequisite: Core A2 or permission from instructor.
An introduction to the theory and practice of public relations as an applied social science. Provides an overview of historical approaches, discussion of current trends, analysis of legal and ethical issues, and application of strategic communication theories in the field of public relations. Offered every Fall. Prerequisites: Core A1 and A2.
An investigation of legal and ethical concerns in public relations. Using actual public relations cases, students assess the ethical dilemmas presented and devise ethical, theoretically sound solutions. Offered every Spring. Prerequisite: Core A1 and A2.
Public relations writing employs a variety of styles, formats, message structures, and technologies in the design, implementation, and evaluation of communication programs. Students apply advanced persuasive strategies across a variety of print and electronic media. Offered every Fall. Prerequisites: Core A2 and COMS 320.
Using a combination of case-study and experiential approaches, students learn to create communication programs for nonprofit organizations. Topics covered include planning, strategic and ethical message construction, risk assessment, and crisis management. Offered every Spring. Prerequisite: COMS 320.
This service-learning course examines how social movements employ rhetoric to bring about social change. We will study the foundations of social movement theory while examining various historical movements in order to understand how rhetorical strategies and techniques move various audiences to action. Prerequisite: COMS 202.
This course offers students both a theoretical understanding of the relationship between rhetoric and law, as well as the practical knowledge of how to read, engage and critique legal texts addressing a specific social problem or legal question.
This course investigates how discourses structure and critique our experiences of sex, gender, and sexuality. Students will be introduced to a variety of theories about gender and sexuality that will help them analyze and evaluate everyday discourses and objects. Prerequisite: COMS 202 or permission of instructor.
Theoretical approaches and methods to study nonverbal communication. Focus on individual and cultural differences; functions by stage and type of social relationships. Offered every Fall. Prerequisite: COMS 203 and COMS 205, 253 or 254 or permission from instructor.
This class examines communication's role in maintaining, creating, and promoting health. Some topics covered include: practitioner-patient communication, ethnicity and health, social support, gender and health, health campaigns, media and health, and health beliefs. Prerequisite: COMS 205 or COMS 253 or COMS 254 or permission from instructor.
An analysis of the communication theories used to explore the complex structures and processes within organizational settings. Prerequisite: COMS 205 or 253 or 254.
The study of behavior, attitude formation and change, and the principles of persuasion. Offered every Fall. Prerequisite: COMS 205 or 253.
This class explores language in use including how people use language to accomplish tasks, create meaning, and interact with one another. Students will learn language components such as phonetics, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics in relation to the communication process. Examines sociolinguistics, roles in prejudice, differences in language use in functional communication skills. Prerequisite: COMS/ANTH 204 or permission from instructor.
This seminar service-learning looks cross-culturally at the issue of justice and social change in various communicative environments - from courtrooms to non-governmental organizations, to the media and international assemblies. The course will explore the communicative practices involved in legal proceedings, human rights, conflict resolution, and the struggle for social justice and change. Using a format that combines lectures, discussions, and student's service-learning projects, we will tackle issues such as the communicative nature of conflict; the unequal access to justice and other social resources; the debate over universal vs. relativistic human rights; the cultural and communicative practices involved in conflict and its resolution; the link between power and communication. Prerequisite: Core A2 or permission from instructor.
This course explores how our experience of communication is shaped by the physical realities of communication media: transportation routes, cable lines, switchboards, relay stations, GPS and communication satellites, computer networks, cellular towers, and the fiber optic layout of the postmetropolis. Such media generate a communicative environment, or infosphere, that empowers a growing number of people with the electronic capabilities to produce and disseminate communication all over the world. In this class we will use contemporary communicative theories to study how geography and communication interact. Prerequisite: Core A2 or permission from instructor.
Students in this service-learning seminar will explore the communicative practices of various organizations concerned with social justice through ethnographic participant-observation in a community non-profit organization. Readings from cultural and communication theory will provide the conceptual background for their fieldwork. Prerequisite: COMS/ANTH 204.
Communication and Aging examines the construction of what it means to age and be "old", specifically, the communication processes inherent in this phenomenon, the impact of aging on human relationship/communication, and communication in contexts involving and impacting older adults. Prerequisite: COMS - 203 or permission from instructor.
An advanced course designed to provide an understanding of the communication processes in health-related interaction. Specifically, the curriculum addresses the types of health-related messages produced, their pragmatic goal, the known effectiveness of these messages, and the theoretical and methodological concerns when examining messages used in health-related interaction in a medical context. Prerequisite: COMS 205 or 253 or permission from instructor.
An advanced service-learning course designed to examine the attitudes and perceptions of and toward persons with disabilities, how communication creates and perpetuates an inaccurate and unjust depiction of disabled persons, the communicative behaviors of persons who are disabled and the nondisabled during their interaction, and how theories of communication and social justice can illuminate how this socially interactive inequity may be remedied. Prerequisite: COMS 205 or 253 or permission from instructor.
This course explores the history of the United States from the perspective of the rhetoric that shaped historical events. It examines how history has been made and re-made rhetorically. The course analyzes radical social movements and rhetorics of dissent; struggles to expand the public sphere and citizenship rights; the uses of cultural memory; and symbolic constructions of 'America'. Prerequisite: COMS 202 or permission from instructor.
A faculty supervised program of reading and study in communication. May be repeated for credit. Requires written permission of instructor, chair, and dean. See COMS webiste for full guidelines. Offered every semester.
A faculty supervised project (such as internship or research experience) for credit. Does not count toward the COMS major. Students can accumulate a maximum of 8 units.
Advanced topics not examined in regular course offerings. May be repeated for credit. This class counts toward the COMS major/minor.
Field experience in a setting that relates communication study to the student's professional goals. Students may count no more than four (4) credits of Internship credit toward the major. Offered Fall, Spring and Summer. Prerequisite: Junior/Senior standing.