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Department of

Communication Studies

Course Descriptions

COMM 101 Introduction to Human Communication
COMM 130 Introduction to Media Studies
COMM 203 Public Speaking
COMM 220 Introduction to Media Writing
COMM 265 Introduction to Research
COMM 294 Introductory Special Topics
COMM 298 Field Experience
COMM 300 Communication Theory
COMM 325 Interpersonal Communication
COMM 326 Nonverbal Communication
COMM 330 or 330W Media Processes and Effects
COMM 336 or 336W Communication Criticism
COMM 338 Media and Conflict
COMM 350 Small Group Communication
COMM 353 Organizational Communication
COMM 365 or 365W Interpretative Research Methods
COMM 366W Interpretative Research Methods
COMM 370 or 370W Rhetorical Theory
COMM 380 International Media
COMM 403 Advanced Public Speaking
COMM 421 or 421W Advanced Journalism
COMM 422 or 422W Family Communication
COMM 432 or 432W Film and Cultural Politics
COMM 433 American Independent Cinema
COMM 435 Principles of Production
COMM 445 or 445W Gender Communication
COMM 455 Interviewing and Negotiating: Principles and Practices
COMM 460 Persuasion and Propaganda
COMM 462 Political Communication
COMM 463 Communication and Sport
COMM 475 or 475W Intercultural Communication
COMM 480 or 480W Advanced Topics in International Media
COMM 482 or 482W Children and Media
COMM 485 W Writing for Media
COMM 483 or 483W Teens and Popular Culture
COMM 488 Global / Virtual Team Development
COMM 493 USD Media Practicum
COMM 494 Special Topics in Communication Studies
COMM 495 Senior Project
COMM 496 Research Experience
COMM 498 Communication Studies Internship
COMM 499 Independent Study

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101 Introduction to Human Communication (3)
An examination of the principles and contexts of human communication. Some of the principles surveyed are perception, listening, nonverbal communication, and persuasion. The primary contexts examined include interpersonal, group, organizational, and public communication. This course is a prerequisite for all upper-division Communication Studies courses, and fulfills a core curriculum requirement in the social sciences.

130 Introduction to Media Studies (3)
This course offers an introduction to the examination of media and media literacy. Students learn about the origins, history, and development of mass media. Additionally, the present structure, characteristics, and challenges in the areas of radio, television, and cable are addressed. Fulfills a core curriculum requirement in the social sciences.

203 Public Speaking (3)
An introduction to several forms of public communication. Emphasis is placed on the development and practice of public speaking about salient political, cultural, and social issues. Students are taught an audience-sensitive approach to the invention, arrangement, and delivery of public messages. Fulfills a core curriculum requirement in the social sciences.

220 Introduction to Media Writing (3)
A general introduction to the skills and strategies associated with print and electronic journalism. Students are exposed to methods of news gathering, reporting, writing, and editing. The elements of the news story, interviewing, and the news conference are among the topics covered.

265 Introduction to Research (3)
An introduction to communication research methodologies. Students are exposed to the prevailing paradigms of qualitative and quantitative research. The interpretive, descriptive, and explanatory foundations of research methodologie will be examined. Ethical principles governing the process of research will also be explored.

294 Introductory Special Topics (3)
The course will introduce students to various topics within the field of communication. Course may be repeated as topics vary.

298 Field Experience (.5)
The course offers students credit for participating in a professional communication related field. It is appropriate for students who are interested in learning new skills and gaining professional experience to complement their coursework. To qualify, students must have completed at least one lower division communication course and be a Communication Studies major. This course is offered Pass/Fail.

300 Communication Theory (3)
This course provides a comprehensive survey of the various theories that comprise the communication studies discipline. Students are exposed to the dominant philosophical, conceptual, and critical perspectives germane to communication as a distinct academic pursuit. This class is intended as an overview of both speech communication and media studies traditions and is a recommended prerequisite to all upper-division courses in Communication Studies. Prerequisite: COMM 101.

325 Interpersonal Communication (3)
This course examines the dynamics of realtional communication. Humanistic and social scientific theories od interpersonal realtional development will be emphasized. Topics include impression management, attraction, love, conflict, and the dark side. Prerequisite: COMM 101.

326 Nonverbal Communication (3)
This course draws upon and scrutinizes the intersection of nonverbal and verbal communication channels, with an emphasis on the influence of nonverbal channels on communicator competence in interpersonal, media, organizational, intercultural, and group contexts. Examples of specific topics include scholarship on the theory and application of nonverbal codes (and subsequent functions), vocal variation, nonverbal channels, and context-specific communication style. Prerequisite: Communication Studies 101.

330 or 330W Media Processes and Effects (3)
This course examines the process of media production and the theories related to the effects media have on audiences. A historical approach is used to analyze and explain the development of the field of mass communnication. Other topics include the fucntions media perform for individuals and society. Analysis and application of media theory is emphasized. Prerequisite: COMM 130.

336 or 336W Communication Criticism (3)
This course introduces students to critical analytic methods used to understand the symbolic nature of communication messages. Students will be introduced to the nature of communication criticism, learn to distinguish between popular and scholarly criticism and employ criticism as a means of making ethical judgments. Prerequisites: COMM 101.

338 Media and Conflict (3)
This course examines the role media play in the progression and public perceptions of conflict. Relevant topics will include media and military intervention, portrayals of protest movements, and news and entertainment coverage of crime, rumors, domestic politics, violence, and ethnicity. It is recommended that students complete COMM 130 before enrolling in this course.

350 Small Group Communication (3)
An examination of theories and principles of group communication. Students study interactional and attitudinal variables which influence the nature of group dynamics. Topics include group norms and roles, leadership, motivation, coalition formation, communication networks, and decision making. Prerequisite: COMM 101.

353 Organizational Communication (3)
This course examines the form and function of messages within organizations, with special emphasis on business communication. The course will focus on the role of communication in developing productive work relationships, human-resource practices, and organizational cultures. Topics include past and current management practices, communication networks and technologies, interpersonal relationships in organizations, public communication, and organizational communication assessment. Prerequisite: COMM 101.

365 or 365W Communication Research Methods (3)
A survey of contemporary quantitative methods in communication research. This course will help students understand how to measure and explain communication behaviors and beliefs from a quantitative perspective. Students will be exposed to methods such as experimentation, structured observation, and survey design, including the analysis and interpretation of results. Prerequisite: COMM 265

366W Interpretative Research Methods (3)
A survey of contemporary interpretive methods in communication research. This course will help students understand bases of knowledge and value of communication from a qualitative perspective. Students will be exposed to methods such as field observation, ethnography, and content analysis. Prerequisite: COMM 265.

370 or 370W Rhetorical Theory (3)
An examination of rhetorical thinking from its birth in Athens to the present time covering basic rhetorical principals and tenets. Students explore issues such as rhetoric as a humane discipline, the place of rhetoric in democracies, and the worth of rhetoric as a means of inducing change. Prerequisite: COMM 101.

380 International Media (3)
This course examines media systems, uses, and social impact around the world, with an emphasis on trans-national comparisons of media development. Topics to be addressed include globalization of the media environment, media and national identity, communication for social change, and the influence of U.S. media on cultures around the world. It is recommended that students complete COMM 130 before enrolling in this course.

403 Advanced Public Speaking (3)
This course offers intensive training in the types of public speaking that are germane to social, political, and business communication.  Through instructor and peer critique, students will gain proficiency in extemporaneous and impromptu speaking, and debate. Special attention is given to the critique and engagement of public controversy. Prerequisite: COMM 203.

421 or 421W Advanced Journalism (3)
This course combines instruction in contemporary theories about press performance with advanced newsroom skills. The course advances students’ understanding of newsroom management, news gathering, press ethics, and the organizational norms that drive journalistic styles. Students develop advanced reporting and editing skills in completing various news assignments. Prerequisite: COMM 220.

422 or 422W Family Communication (3)
This course provides an examination of family communication theory as it applies to interaction and cognition within the rich context of our earliest group membership. Role formation, identity development and a range of family structures across the life span will be emphasized in both a modern and historical contexts. Students will apply theory to understand and analyze their own and others' familial communication experiences.

432 or 432W Film and Cultural Politics (3)
This course looks at the role of film in responding to and defining culture and politics. It focuses on mainstream, commercial, and narrative film, and includes a focus on historical and ideological approaches to film criticism. Students will be encouraged to appreciate historically significant movies, learn sophisticated methods of film criticism, and assess the contributions contemporary films make to students’ understanding of themselves and others. It is recommended that students complete COMM 336 before enrolling in this course.

433 American Independent Cinema (3)
This course is an examination of the history, forms, and functions of American independent cinema. The course will introduce students to important films and filmmakers instrumental in the independent genre while comparing and contrasting the aesthetic and content of independent cinema with the traditional practices of Hollywood studios. The course will also focus on independent cinema as a vehicle of social and political change including representations lacking in mainstream film production and inclusion of a wider spectrum of voices and experiences.

435 Principles of Production (3)
This course provides students an opportunity to learn production skills while incorporating discussions of aesthetics, film theory, and ethics. Students are introduced to three phases of broadcast production: writing and planning (storyboarding, scripting); audio (actualities, sound effects, music); and visual production (composition, lighting, editing). By the end of the course students will produce a short video and/or audio presentation. Prerequisite: COMM 130.

445 or 445W Gender Communication (3)
This course provides an overview of the relevant research on gender issues and the construction of gender through mediated forms. Communicator styles of women and men are discussed. Attitudes and beliefs concerning female and male cultural stereotypes as they are manifested through communication are investigated. It is recommended that students complete COMM 101 and 130 before enrolling in this course.

455 Interviewing and Negotiating: Principles and Practices (3)
This course is an examination of methods and techniques applicable to a variety of interviews and negotiations. Students prepare, participate in, and critique employment, journalistic, and appraisal interviews. Students also learn techniques and principles of negotiating, including alternative dispute resolution, distributive bargaining, and principled negotiations. Prerequisite: COMM 101.

460 Persuasion and Propaganda (3)
This course is an examination of various forms of persuasion and propaganda. Through understanding rhetorical, behavioral, and cognitive theories of persuasion students will learn to both create and ethically critique persuasive messages. Prerequisite: COMM 101

462 Political Communication (3)
A survey of the centrality of communication processes in substantive areas of political activity. Areas of study include political speeches, election campaigns, debates, government and media relations, advertising and propaganda, and political movements. Special emphasis is placed on the relationship between public opinion and the use of rhetorical strategies, imagery, and symbolism.

463 Communication and Sport (3)
This course examines the numerous aspects of communication and sports in the U.S., where many of the global trends and developments in sports communication have occurred. Drawing perspectives from popular criticism and scholarly research, the course surveys the development of sports media, the coverage and business of sports media, sports media audiences and fanship, and contemporary issues in sports media, the overage and business of sports communication, sports media audiences and fanship, and contemporary issues in sports communication.

475 or 475W Intercultural Communication (3)
This course allows students to explore intercultural communication theory and research within both broad and interpersonal contexts. Topics include similarities and differences in values, language, interethnic/intergroup communication, identity and adaptation. Students will enhance flexibility with such encounters. It is recommended that students complete COMM 300 before enrolling in this course.

480 OR 480W Advanced Topics in International Media (3)
This upper-division elective provides students an opportunity for an in-depth analysis and examination of media systems in a particular region of the world and/or transnational connections around a particular international cultural practice. Topics will vary according to the instructor and interest. General themes may include Latin American Media Systems, British Media Systems, Asian Cinema or Global Youth Culture. Course may be repeated as topics vary. It is recommended that students complete COMM 130 and COMM 380 before enrolling in this course.

482 or 482W Children and Media (3)
This course is an overview of the relevant research on the role of electronic media in the lives of children. Some topics include: sex role stereotypes; violence; advertising; relationships, body image; and materialism. Students will also explore the positive influence of electronic media including its use for pro-social and educational purposes. It is recommended that students complete COMM 130 and COMM 330 before enrolling in this course.

483 or 483W Teens and Popular Culture (3)
This course aims to examine the complex realtionship between teenagers and the popular media. Focusing primarily on American teens, various important issues will be considered, such as: how media portrays teens, how corporations target teens as a market, how teens make active choices about which media they attend to and how, and how teens themselves actively create their own media and culture. Our goal is resist simple speculation about media's effect on youth, and to instead engage with why media use is pleasureable and meaningful to young people, and how it operates in their lives. It is recommended that students complete COMM 130 and COMM 330 before enrolling in this course.

485W Writing for Media (3)
This course provides students an opportunity to learn skills and strategies associated with writing and production in various media forms. Course material surveys the industry standards media professionals bring to their work, as well as academic criticism of these practices. Students will learn how to create and criticize a variety of media texts, including news packages, television narratives, and advertisements. It is recommended that students complete COMM 130 before enrolling in this course.

488 Global / Virtual Team Development (3)
This course is designed to further students’ understanding of small group theory, development, and research and explore how groups develop into teams. Students will have the opportunity to work in multicultural and virtual teams by providing basic diversity training and development, and research. The course emphasizes a wide range and scope of topics related to teams and teamwork by addressing issues such as finding alternative solutions to problems, reaching decisions, making recommendations, and understanding the process of team and organizational development as a whole.

493 USD Media Practicum (1)
Student media participants can register to receive credit and work in a multi-media environment. The lab will facilitate collaboration between USD's media outlets as students learn to navigate the convergent media environment. The lab will emphasize industry best practices. Student may retake course for up to a total of 3 units.

494 Special Topics in Communication Studies (3)
Selected topics in Communication Studies will be examined. The course may be repeated as topics vary.

495 Senior Project (2-3)
This seminar is a capstone course in which seniors produce an original research or creative project. The course addresses research methods, critical thinking, and the writing process. Students will present the results of their work. Recommended for students planning on pursuing graduate studies.

496 Research Experience (1-3)
The goal of the Advanced Research Experience is to provide communication studies majors with an applied experience in the conduct of original academic research by assisting on a faculty-led scholarly project. The experience is designed to build expressly on the knowledge students gain in COMM 265 or a more advanced research methods course. Students will meet with a faculty member, with whom a research relationship is established, on an on-going basis to discuss the research project, assess the student’s role and responsibilities, and to discuss the process of conducting scholarly research. Students may participate in a range of research activities, including but not limited to: survey construction and design, project management, participant solicitation, experimental research, qualitative interviewing, focus group moderation, fieldwork, literature searches, data entry, data analysis, critical analysis, political economy inquiries, and writing of instruments and manuscripts. Students must register with a specific faculty member with whom they complete a contract outlining the roles and responsibilities of the student and faculty member. Prerequisite: COMM 265.

498 Communication Studies Internship (2-3)
An experiential education course in which students participate as interns in either radio or television, public relations, advertising, or some facet of organizational communication. Open only to communication studies majors or minors of second-semester junior status or higher. No more than 3 internship units may be applied toward the major or minor. Students should consult the communication studies Internship Director or go to www.sandiego.edu/commstudies/interns for details about enrollment and qualification. Prerequisite: Students must either have completed or be concurrently enrolled in COMM 300; second-semester junior status or higher.

499 Independent Study (1-3)
Students interested in completing a special project with guidance from a faculty member may consider independent study. Students should consult a faculty member who has expertise in their interest area and be prepared to explain their intended project or research question(s). The student and instructor agree upon specific requirements. Registration is by consent of instructor and requires the completion of the independent study form.