Communication, by its very nature, is interdisciplinary, requiring a broad understanding of human behavior; an awareness of the vast diversity, as well as the strong similarities, among humans and human cultures; the global nature of how humans are connected to each other; and the critical need to communicate accurately and ethically.
The goal of the USAO communication program is to teach students how to increase shared understanding, whether interpersonally, in small groups, in a public forum, or among millions through the mass media. Rather than the narrow view of a specialist, today’s communication graduate must develop a broad perspective that allows him or her to create effective messages in oral, written, and visual form. This is the focus of the USAO program as students learn how, why, and with what effects humans communicate.
The curriculum is based on journalistic principles grounded in research and ethical application of theory in real-world situations. Courses in news reporting, public relations, public speaking, small group dynamics, mass media, graphic design, and photography prepare students for careers in virtually any arena or further study on the graduate level. In addition to the core communication courses that are required of all communication majors, the department also offers special topics and workshops that are generated by the interests of both students and instructor, such as broadcast production, television programming, and humor in communication.
Bachelor of Arts in Communication
Required Communication Core (45 hours):
CourseTitle Hours Required
COMM 1003 Foundations of Communication Theory (3)
COMM 1113 Mass Communication (3)
COMM 2100 Communication Colloquium (required 6 times) (0)
COMM 2203 Persuasion (3)
COMM 2313 News Reporting I (3)
COMM 2323 News Reporting II (3)
COMM 3203 Group Communication (3)
COMM 3513 Public Relations (3)
COMM 4313 Ethical and Legal Issues in Communication (3)
COMM 4403 Professional Speaking (3)
COMM 4513 Communication Internships (3)
COMM 4523 Communication Research (3)
COMM 4533 Communication Senior Project (3)
Mass Media Elective (upper-level)* (3)
PHOT 1023 Black and White Photography I (3)
ART 3113 Graphic Design (3)
A minimum grade of "C" is required for all required courses in the communication major. At least 12 hours of non-communication electives are required for all communication majors. Forty hours of upper-level credit (3000- and 4000-level courses) are required to comply with state requirements. These courses may be taken in communication, electives, or IDS.
* Must be chosen from COMM 3333, 4513, 4900, 4990, or ART 3313, 3323, 3353 (if chosen from ART, must be different from required graphic design course); must be approved in advance by communication advisor.
Minor in Communication
18 hours to be selected in consultation with minor advisor.
COURSE LISTINGS IN COMMUNICATION (COMM)
1003 FOUNDATIONS OF COMMUNICATION THEORY
Basic course for communication majors but open to all students. Provides overview of how communication works within individuals, interpersonally, in small and large groups in various formats. Assignments typically include classroom speeches and team projects. 3 hours.
1113 MASS COMMUNICATION
Basic course for communication majors but open to all students. Provides overview of print and electronic media, Internet, public relations, advertising, music and film industry, including career possibilities and necessary skills. 3 hours.
2100 COMMUNICATION COLLOQUIUM
Non-credit course required six times during student's tenure at USAO. Students are required to attend six presentations of Senior Communication Projects, prepare formal reviews of their communication career goals by the end of their sophomore years, and attend seminars on various aspects of the communication profession, as scheduled. Pass/Fail. 0 hours.
Study and practice of persuasive principles that influence the belief and action of an audience. Assignments typically include classroom speeches of varying lengths. Prerequisite: COMM 1003 or permission of instructor. 3 hours.
2330 NEWSPAPER WORKSHOP
Practicum reporting for the student newspaper. Assignments typically include gathering and writing stories, layout of pages, photography, advertising sales. May be repeated for a total of 6 hours. 1-3 hours.
2313 NEWS REPORTING I
Basic theories of journalistic news gathering and writing, including inverted pyramid, leads, interviewing, quotations and attribution, journalistic research, press law and ethics, beat reporting, writing to deadlines, basic editing. AP Stylebook. Assignments typically include writing for the student newspaper. Prerequisites: Grade of "C" or better in Writing I and II (or permission of instructor) and computer literacy. Course is Macintosh-based. 3 hours.
2323 NEWS REPORTING II
Advanced reporting, special forms of journalistic writing, photojournalism, writing to deadlines. Students will be required to write and shoot photographs for student newspaper. Introduction to basics of newspaper layout. Prerequisites: COMM 2313, PHOT 1023. 3 hours.
2880 SPECIAL TOPICS IN COMMUNICATION
Special topics in communication. May be repeated for a total of 6 hours with change in title and content. 1-3 hours.
2900 COMMUNICATION WORKSHOP
Guided practicum in communication activity under faculty supervision. Assignments may vary. May be repeated for a total of 6 hours with change in title and content. 1-3 hours.
Independent study in communication under faculty supervision. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. May be repeated for a total of 6 hours with change in title and content. 1-3 hours.
3203 GROUP COMMUNICATION
Theory of small group dynamics, including rules and norms, roles, and leadership styles. Assignments typically include several group projects and written analysis of each project. 3 hours.
3333 PRACTICUM IN PRINT MEDIA
Practicum in advanced reporting, editing, layout, photography, advertising, and business management, print production, circulation. Practicum prepares student for role as newspaper editor. Prerequisites: COMM 2313, COMM 2323, and PHOT 1023. May be repeated for a total of 6 hours with change in duties. 3 hours.
3513 PUBLIC RELATIONS
Study of evolution of public relations as a profession and basic theories about public opinion, public relations research and writing, developing and maintaining effective relationships with various publics, types of public relations communication, ethical and legal issues, and crisis management. Emphasis on applying theory to practice. Assignments typically include creation of public relations materials for major class project, analysis of case studies, and paper on legal/ethical issues. Prerequisite: COMM 2313 or permission of instructor. 3 hours.
4313 ETHICAL AND LEGAL ISSUES IN COMMUNICATION
Study and discussion of ethics and laws that affect contemporary communication issues, especially those that support and/or limit American free speech principles. Prerequisite: Junior standing and major in communication or permission of instructor. 3 hours.
4403 PROFESSIONAL SPEAKING
Oral presentations in variety of formats and purposes. Emphasis on written and vocal expression. Prerequisite: COMM 2203 and major in communication or permission of instructor. 3 hours.
4513 COMMUNICATION INTERNSHIP
Practicum in professional communication. Student must work in "real-world" setting approved by academic advisor and internship supervisor. Prerequisite: Junior standing, communication GPA of at least 3.0, and approval of communication advisor. May be repeated with change in work responsibilities. 1-3 hours.
4523 COMMUNICATION RESEARCH
Readings in communication theory as discussed in scholarly and professional literature; analysis of arguments; oral and written responses to arguments, including organization of material and use of evidence, reasoning, language, and recognition of fallacies. Prerequisite: Junior standing and major in communication or permission of instructor. 3 hours.
4533 COMMUNICATION SENIOR PROJECT
Individual project developed and presented with written, visual, and oral elements. Course requirements include public presentation of project plus professional portfolio of (1) communication materials that reflect mastery of principles in communication courses, (2) master resume, and (3) statement of preparation for career goal(s). Prerequisite: Senior standing and major in communication. 3 hours.
4880 ADVANCED SPECIAL TOPICS IN COMMUNICATION
Special topics in communication taught at advanced levels. May be repeated for a total of 6 hours with change in title and content. 1-3 hours.
4900 ADVANCED WORKSHOP FOR GROUPS
Guided practicum in advanced communication activity under faculty supervision. Assignments may vary. May be repeated for a total of 6 hours with change in title and content. 1-3 hours.
4990 ADVANCED TUTORIAL
Advanced independent study in communication under faculty supervision. Prerequisite: Permission of
instructor. May be repeated for a total of 6 hours with change in title and content. 1-3 hours.