Communication Studies

College of Arts and Letters

Program Description

Communication Studies is a broad-based discipline concerned with the exchange of messages in interpersonal and mediated situations and with the impact of such exchanges on society. Courses focus on understanding the communication process and developing skills to communicate effectively. The Department offers a wide range of courses in interpersonal, group, and organizational communication, rhetorical theory and criticism, public relations, mass communication and research methodologies.

Concentrations

General Communication: for students who focus on International and Intercultural; Interpersonal Communication; Mass Communication; New Media; Organizational Communication; Rhetoric and Social Influence or Small Group Communication.

Public Relations: for students who wish to prepare for a professional career in public relations.

Special Features

  • Communication Studies faculty possess professional expertise and academic excellence. Faculty maintain a high level of scholarly publication, creative activity, consulting, and outstanding teaching.
  • The Sacramento State Debate Program is highly ranked nationwide with opportunities for both experienced and beginning debaters.
  • The Department's Internship Program serves over 100 students each semester with internships in government agencies, private industry, TV stations, and public service organizations.
  • The Department sponsors Epsilon Phi, a chapter of the National Communication honors society Lambda Pi Eta. Students eligible for membership participate in a variety of activities and are recognized at the university's graduation ceremony.
  • The Department also sponsors PRSA, our student chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America.

Career Possibilities

Community Relations Director · Organizational Trainer · Organizational Newsletter Editor · Public Information Specialist · Media Technician · Organizational Consultant · Organizational Trainer and Developer · Personnel Staff · Public Service Agency Staff · Corporate Media Director · Communication Consultant · Public Relations Professional · Video Editor · Video Producer or Director · Health Educator · Fund Raiser · Media Sales and Promotion Staff · Multimedia Project Manager · Community College Instructor · Lobbyist · Speech Writer · Minister · Lawyer · Politician · Consumer Market Researcher · Staff Analyst · Focus Group Leader · Political Campaign Staff · Public Affairs Director · Advertising Account Executive

Contact Information

Gerri Smith, Department Chair
Katrina Roose, Administrative Support Coordinator II
Mendocino Hall 5014
(916) 278-6688
www.asn.csus.edu/coms

Faculty

AH YUN, KIMO

BONILLA, DIEGO

BUSS, STEVEN E.

CHASE, LAWRENCE J.

DUGAN, MOLLY A.

FOSS-SNOWDEN, MICHELE S.

GALE, ELAINE E.

HAMILTON TUDOR, KRISTEN A.

HOWARD, TIMOTHY L.

HUMPHREY, ROBERT E.

IRWIN, JACQUELINE "Jaccie"

JANOS, DAN

KOEGEL, RAYMOND P.

LeFEBVRE, EDITH E.

LUDWIG, MARK D.

MALVINI REDDEN, SHAWNA

MILLER, CHRISTINE

NEWSOME, CHEVELLE A.

SMITH, GERRI

SMITH, VAL R.

STARK, JENNY

STITT, CARMEN

TAYLOR, DONALD

TUDOR, KRISTEN

VanAIRSDALE, STU

WILLIAMS, JOHN L.

WILLIAMS, MARK A.E.

ZUCKERMAN, S. DAVID

 

Undergraduate Programs

 

Units required for Major: 39
Minimum total units required for the BA: 120

General Requirements

  • All Communication Studies majors except those in Mass Communication and Digital Media are required to complete at least one three-unit public speaking course such as COMS 4, COMS 104, or transfer equivalent. Public speaking courses taken to fulfill the GE oral communication requirement also fulfill this Department requirement.
  • Majors must complete each core course and each option core course with a grade of "C-" or better.
  • Not more than 6 units of debate, internship and/or individual study (see the following) can be applied to the major requirements.
COMS 110Advanced Debate Workshop1
COMS 111Debate Research Practicum3
COMS 194Communication Studies - Related Work Experience3 - 6
COMS 195Internship in Communication Studies1 - 6
COMS 199Special Problems1 - 3
  • Majors are urged to take COMS 2, Argumentation (or transfer equivalent) to fulfill their critical thinking requirement.
  • Communication Studies courses may only be repeated once for a grade change. Students who fail to achieve at least a "C-" in two attempts in a core course will be disqualified in majoring in Communication Studies.
  • One project or paper from each capstone course will be reviewed by selected faculty for the purpose of departmental assessment.

Pre-Major Requirements

Prior to acceptance as a Communication Studies major, students must complete a pre-major consisting of all required lower division courses plus the upper division survey course (COMS 100A). Students must successfully complete each pre-major course with a grade of "C-" or better. Students with a Sacramento State grade point average of 2.3 or better may request early admission to the major.

BA - Concentration in General Communication

Units Required: 39

This concentration is designed to:

  • improve student awareness, understanding, and practice of communication in professional and social interactions;
  • enhance the traditional citizenship role in the democratic process; and
  • train students in communication skills in preparation for professions within the public or private sectors of the economy.
Required Lower Division Core Courses (9 Units)
COMS 2Argumentation3
COMS 8Interpersonal Communication Skills3
COMS/JOUR 55Media Communication and Society3
Required Upper Division Core Courses (9 Units)
COMS 100ASurvey of Communication Studies3
COMS 100BCritical Analysis of Messages 3
COMS 100CIntroduction to Scientific Methods in Communication Research3
Research Methods (3 Units)
Select one of the following:3
Visual Communication
Communication and Religion
Approaches to Rhetorical Criticism
Data Analysis in Communication Research
Survey Methods in Communication Research
Content Analysis
Theory and Seminar Pair (6 Units)
Select one of the following pairs:6
Intercultural Communication
Intercultural Communication
Senior Seminar in Intercultural Communication
Interpersonal Communication
Theories of Interpersonal Communication
Senior Seminar in Interpersonal Communication
Mass Communication
Mass Communication Theories and Effects
Senior Seminar in Media Issues and Ethics
New Media
Mass Communication Theories and Effects
New Media and Society
Organizational Communication
Organizational Communication
Senior Seminar in Organizational Communication
Rhetoric and Social Influence
Systems and Theories of Rhetoric
Television Criticism
Small Group Communication
Communication in Small Groups
Senior Seminar in Small Group Communication
Upper Division Electives (12 Units)
Select four approved courses 112
Total Units39
1

Select any four COMS and/or Jour upper division courses numbered 100 or above in consultation with your major advisor.

BA - Concentration in Public Relations

Units required: 48

This concentration, developed from the Commission on Public Relations Education recommendations, is designed to:

  • prepare students to assume professional entry level roles in the practice of public relations;
  • help students understand the integration of public relations and marketing;
  • prepare students to compose, develop, and analyze print and broadcast messages;
  • help students to develop demonstrable competencies in writing, analyzing, problem-solving, and critical thinking;
  • provide opportunities for testing public relations theory and practice, not only in the classroom, but in the field as well; and
  • develop relationships with local public relations professionals as well as with community organizations.
Required Lower Division Core Courses (12 Units)
COMS 2Argumentation3
COMS 8Interpersonal Communication Skills3
COMS/JOUR 55Media Communication and Society3
JOUR 30News Writing3
Required Upper Division Core Courses (9 Units)
COMS 100ASurvey of Communication Studies3
COMS 100BCritical Analysis of Messages 3
COMS 100CIntroduction to Scientific Methods in Communication Research3
Concentration Requirements (21 Units)
COMS 118Survey of Public Relations3
COMS/JOUR 123Writing For Public Information3
COMS/JOUR 158Public Relations Planning and Management3
COMS 170Data Analysis in Communication Research3
or COMS 171 Survey Methods in Communication Research
COMS 187Issue Management and Case Studies in Public Relations3
MKTG 101Principles Of Marketing3
MKTG 125Advertising3
Electives (6 Units)
Select 6 units of upper division Communication Studies courses 16
Total Units48
1

Six units of upper division Communication Studies courses selected in consultation with major advisor.

Notes:

  • Students in the Public Relations Concentration would be encouraged to minor in the social sciences or business.
  • Not more than 3 units of Internship (COMS 195) can be applied to the Public Relations Concentration.

Minor

Total units required for Minor: 18 Communication Studies units, 12 of which must be upper division. Minor programs must be approved by a Department advisor. A specific course requirement is the following with a grade of "C-" or better:

COMS 100ASurvey of Communication Studies3

Note: No more than a total of 3 units of the following can be applied to the Minor.

COMS 110Advanced Debate Workshop1
COMS 111Debate Research Practicum3
COMS 195Internship in Communication Studies1 - 6
COMS 199Special Problems1 - 3

Minor - Digital Communication and Information

Total units required for Minor: 18

Required Upper Division Core Courses (18 Units)
COMS 101Information Management and Privacy3
COMS 106Digital Media Creation - An Introduction3
COMS 117Multimedia Communication3
COMS 140Online Collaboration3
COMS 190Human Communication on the Internet3
COMS 191New Media and Society3
Total Units18

Graduate Program

A Master's degree can lead to doctoral or other professional education, or to advanced positions in business, public service, or government. The graduate program in Communication Studies is guided by two interrelated goals. First, that each student has the opportunity to study and conduct original communication research consistent with individual interests and abilities. Second, that each student develop and follow a coherent, rigorous plan of study within the field of communication. Accordingly, a structured advising procedure has been established in the Department to help accomplish these two goals (see "The Graduate Document," available from the Department, for details). As an integral part of a plan of study, each student will designate a series of courses to be completed for their degree with the assistance of their advisor and the approval of the Graduate Committee. A statement outlining the logic of the chosen courses will be required and will be reviewed by the Graduate Committee. Areas of faculty expertise include (but are not limited to):

  • Mediated Communication
  • Organizational Communication
  • Instructional Communication
  • Rhetoric and Criticism
  • Political Communication
  • Intercultural/International Communication
  • Social Interaction

As mentioned above, this program, culminating in the Master of Arts in Communication Studies, is designed for the student who subsequently will pursue a doctoral degree or a professional career. The program is NOT designed for students who wish to train in production or presentational skills which are taught at the undergraduate level in the Sacramento State Communication Studies Department.

Admission Requirements

Admission as a classified graduate student in Communication Studies is based on the assessment of individual credentials by the Graduate Committee, but requires at least:

  • a 3.0 overall GPA or 3.25 GPA in the last 60 undergraduate units;
  • a grade "B-" or better in the following (or equivalent courses):
    COMS 167Systems and Theories of Rhetoric3
    COMS 168Approaches to Rhetorical Criticism3
    COMS 169Television Criticism3
    COMS 170Data Analysis in Communication Research3
    COMS 171Survey Methods in Communication Research3
    COMS 172Content Analysis3
  • a clearly written statement of purpose for pursuing this particular MA degree. This statement is part of the application to the graduate program and should explain the applicant's career and academic goals, specifying how the program will help to accomplish these goals, and explain the applicant's motivation for pursuing those goals;
  • three letters of recommendation indicating the applicant's abilities and potential for completing graduate work successfully. These letters should assess at least the student's abilities to perform well in academic courses; to conduct research independently; to express ideas well in writing and orally; and to think critically, analytically, and creatively;
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) verbal, quantitative, and analytical scores;
  • an earned baccalaureate degree, and
  • two examples of writing that indicate research, analytical, and/or creative abilities.

Admission Procedures

Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply several months prior to the semester first enrollment is sought. All application materials must be received before any evaluation begins. Applicants must complete a separate university application by the posted application deadline date for the term applying. For more admissions information and application deadlines, please visit http://www.csus.edu/gradstudies/:

  • an online application for admission; and
  • two sets of official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, other than Sacramento State.

A decision regarding admission will be mailed to the applicant.

Advancement to Candidacy

Near the completion of coursework each student must submit an Advancement to Candidacy form, with his or her major advisor and graduate coordinator's approval, to the Office of Graduate Studies. This procedure may begin upon satisfactory completion of the following:

  • all deficiencies in admission requirements removed;
  • all undergraduate course deficiencies, as noted as conditions on application response;
  • the following with a grade "B-" or better;
    COMS 200Qualitative Research Methods in Communication Studies3
    COMS 201Communication Theory3
    COMS 202Research Methods in Communication Studies3
  • at least 50 percent of coursework toward the degree; and
  • taken the Writing Placement for Graduate Students (WPG) or taken a Graduate Writing Intensive (GWI) course in their discipline within the first two semesters of coursework at California State University, Sacramento or secured approval for a WPG waiver.

Master of Arts Degree

Units required: 30, with a grade "B-" or better in each course
Minimum GPA: 3.0

At least 18 units must be 200-level courses and no more than 6 units of courses numbered 150-198 (excluding 195) may count toward the minimum 30-unit requirement. By University policy, courses completed to satisfy deficiencies or admission requirements are not counted toward the MA degree. An outline of degree requirements follows.

Required Courses (12 Units)
COMS 200Qualitative Research Methods in Communication Studies3
COMS 201Communication Theory3
COMS 202Research Methods in Communication Studies3
COMS 213Seminar In Criticism3
Major Courses (17-18 Units)
Select 12-18 units of graduate courses 112 - 18
Culminating Requirement (1-6 Units)
Select one of the following:1 - 6
Culminating Experience (Plan A: Thesis, Plan B: Projects) 2
Directed Study and Comprehensive Examination (Plan C: Exam) 2
Total Units30-36
1

Select between 12 and 18 units of graduate courses with the assistance of your advisor. Be certain these Major Courses contain a specific focus or area of concentration that can be described and explained to the Graduate Committee. Courses may be grouped into a Major and Minor area of concentration if desired. Up to six units may be taken in a related department and still be counted toward the degree.

2

For students completing Plan A or B, no more than a total of 3 units of COMS 295 or COMS 299 may be applied to the 30-unit MA requirement. For students completing Plan C, this limit is increased to 6 units. Graduate Committee approval is required in the semester prior to enrollment for these units.

COMS 2.     Argumentation. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Critical Thinking (A3)


Practice in argumentation, critical evaluation, evidence, and reasoning. Basic principles are applied in a variety of formal and informal advocacy situations. Concepts of argument structure and context are discussed and applied.

Note: Majors must complete with a grade of "C-" or better.

COMS 4.     Introduction to Public Speaking. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Oral Communication (A1)


Theory and technique of public speaking. Emphasis on organizing, supporting, and clearly stating ideas. Practice in informative and persuasive speaking.

COMS 4H.     Honors Public Speaking. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Open only to Honors students.

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Oral Communication (A1)


Provides both theoretical and practical training in the art of public discourse. Students learn both to recognize and to demonstrate the strategic processes of organizing and delivering speeches, especially within the context of global citizenship issues. Students are also introduced to the basic idea of forming reasonable challenges to speech in the public square.

COMS 5.     The Communication Experience. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Oral Communication (A1)


Basic skills and introductory concepts necessary for effective communication in a variety of settings. Special emphasis on practical experiences within groups, facilitation of interpersonal relationships, and methods of conflict resolution.

Note: Not recommended for COMS majors in General, Organizational or Public Relations concentrations.

COMS 8.     Interpersonal Communication Skills. 3 Units


Basic skills and introductory concepts for examining and altering interpersonal communication. In addition to lectures and discussions, students engage in structured interpersonal exercises and simulations to practice interpersonal communication skills such as listening, paraphrasing, describing feelings and intentions, and giving and receiving criticism.

Note: Majors must complete with a grade "C-" or better.

COMS 20A.     Audio Production. 2 Units

Corequisite(s): COMS 20B.


Introduction to the theory and practice of audio production in radio, television, film and recording applications.

Cross listed: FILM 20A.

COMS 20B.     Audio Production Laboratory. 1 Unit

Corequisite(s): COMS 20A.


Experience in audio console operation, microphone selection and use, and audio recording in radio, television, film and recording applications.

Cross listed: FILM 20B.

COMS 21.     First Year Seminar: Becoming an Educated Person. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: E


Introduction to the nature and possible meanings of higher education, and the functions and resources of the University. Helps students to develop and exercise fundamental academic success strategies and to improve their basic learning skills. Students interact with fellow students and the seminar leader to build a community of academic and personal support.

COMS 26.     Introduction to Capturing and Editing Digital Media. 3 Units


Developing skills in producing photographic, graphic and animated materials used for the World Wide Web and multimedia.

COMS 27A.     Digital Film/Video Production. 2 Units

Corequisite(s): COMS 27B.


Addresses the theory and practice of film/video production. Students will be expected to understand: camera operation, audio control, basic directing, lighting, and editing. Students will also be expected to learn the terminology of video production/post-production and use this terminology competently. Students enrolled in COMS 27A must be concurrently enrolled in COMS 27B. There are no exceptions to this requirement.

Cross-listed: FILM 27A

COMS 27B.     Digital Film/Video Production Laboratory. 1 Unit

Corequisite(s): COMS 27A.


Provides practical, hands-on experience in video production. Students will be expected to become proficient in all production roles: camera operation, audio control, basic directing, lighting, and editing. Students enrolled in COMS 27B must be concurrently enrolled in COMS 27A.

Cross listed: FILM 27B.

COMS 55.     Media Communication and Society. 3 Units


Introduction to the basic concepts of mass communication, including the effects, uses, and functions associated with the goods and services of mass media. Examination of the ways mass media combine with other institutions to affect the organization, design, and comprehension of messages, as well as political thought, cultural beliefs, and economic behavior.

Note: Majors must complete with a grade of "C-" or better. Cross Listed: JOUR 55; only one may be counted for credit.

COMS 100A.     Survey of Communication Studies. 3 Units


Survey of various theories of communication. Attention given to such topics as verbal and nonverbal coding, information processing, interpersonal and small group communication, organizational communication, the structure and effects of mediated communication, rhetorical criticism, and research in communication.

Note: Majors and minors must complete with a grade of "C-" or better.

COMS 100B.     Critical Analysis of Messages. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 2, and COMS 4, (COMS 5 is accepted for COMS 4 for MCOM majors) or transfer equivalents (COMS 100A may be taken concurrently), and (GWAR Certification before Fall 09, or WPJ score of 80+, or at least a C- in ENGL 109M/W).

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Writing Intensive Graduation Requirement (WI)


Classical and contemporary models for analyzing messages. Discussion of techniques applicable to a variety of basic message types. Practice in written analysis.

Note: Majors must complete with a grade of "C-" or better; Writing Intensive.

COMS 100C.     Introduction to Scientific Methods in Communication Research. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 100A; may be taken concurrently.


Empirical methods commonly applied during communication research. An introduction to the concepts fundamental to the scientific study of communication, including conceptual and operational definitions, sampling, measurement, experimental design, independent and dependent variables, and quantitative data analysis.

Note: Majors must complete with a grade of "C-" or better.

COMS 101.     Information Management and Privacy. 3 Units


Students develop skills to use information proficiently in digital environments. In order to cope with information overload, students learn how to define and limit informational needs, how to access and evaluate information critically, and how to analyze and integrate information purposefully. The course teaches students evolving strategies and techniques for maintaining personal information spaces and security.

COMS 103.     Presentational Speaking in the Organization. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): A general education oral communication course.


Contemporary communication techniques for use in business and industry. Principles and practice of oral reporting, persuasive speaking, conference participation, and interpersonal interaction.

Note: COMS majors are urged to take COMS 104 instead of COMS 103.

COMS 104.     Persuasive Public Speaking. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 2, COMS 4, or instructor permission.


Advanced public speaking focusing upon persuasive strategies, principles and techniques.

COMS 105.     Communication in Small Groups. 3 Units


Theory and practice in small group communication. Topics include leadership, meeting management, evolution of group norms, phases of group development, communication networks, good communication techniques, conflict management, and problem solving in a variety of contexts.

COMS 106.     Digital Media Creation - An Introduction. 3 Units


Students learn multimedia authoring through the manipulation of digital media download legally from online repositories. Students learn how to digitally edit pixel-based images, vector images, audio, video and 3D models, while learning the principles that govern all digital media. The course uses Open Source and specialized software.

COMS 107.     Children And Television. 3 Units


Cognitive, affective, and behavioral effects of television on children. Explores in detail issues such as televised violence, stereotyping, advertising and cognitive development. Discusses relationship between television and education.

COMS 108.     Family Communication. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 8 or FACS 50 or SOC 166, or instructor permission.


Family as a small group with emphasis on understanding and interpreting the dynamics of family communication and socio-psychological theories.

Cross Listed: FACS 108; only one may be counted for credit.

COMS 110.     Advanced Debate Workshop. 1 Unit


Participation in intercollegiate debate competition.

Credit/No Credit

COMS 111.     Debate Research Practicum. 3 Units


Directed research in the current intercollegiate debate topic; identification of issues, compilation of evidence, and case building.

Note: May be taken four times for credit with instructor permission.

COMS 114.     Communication and American Culture. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: E


Critical analysis of the ways modern American media interact with the conduct of American life; emphasizes the role of commercialism and other aspects of contemporary American capitalism; examines the problem of personal development and relationships in the context of a commercially dominated media system.

COMS 115.     Nonverbal Communication. 3 Units


Nonverbal communication will focus on the nonverbal aspects of human communication. Students will learn the vocabulary of nonverbal communication (NVC) as we examine the nature of NVC, NVC Codes, and the effects of NVC on messages we receive and send. In addition, we will consider nonverbal behaviors in interpersonal relationships, intercultural communication and research in nonverbal.

COMS 116.     Intercultural Communication. 3 Units


Analysis of factors which influence communication between individuals of different cultures and cocultures. Discussion and practical application.

COMS 117.     Multimedia Communication. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 106


Students create and integrate information and digital media with the purpose of informing or persuading an audience. By identifying communication needs, students learn to prepare multimedia presentational aids and standalone multimedia presentations for distribution in online environments. This course features topics in visual communication, story-boarding, presentation and delivery.

COMS 118.     Survey of Public Relations. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): At least one college writing course in ENGL or JOUR with a grade of "C-" or better.


Introduces the student to publics, organization-environment relationships, structures, practices, and processes from a communication theory and research perspective. Specifically, the student is introduced to the multi-phased approach to public relations, an approach that highlights the PR subprocesses of task identification, task analysis, and task performance.

COMS 119.     Conflict Resolution Through Communication. 3 Units


Ways to identify, clarify, and resolve conflicts in dyads, groups, and organizations. Conflict is contrasted with disagreement, aggression, incompatible values, etc. The costs and benefits of conflict are explored.

COMS 120.     History of the Media. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 55 or JOUR 55 or equivalent; may be taken concurrently.


Examination of development of major mass communication media in the U.S. and of how the economics, content, regulation and audience use of the media have been affected by the way the media have evolved. Current issues and trends are discussed, as well as possible future development.

Cross Listed: JOUR 120; only one may be counted for credit.

COMS 121.     Media Aesthetics. 3 Units


Overview and analysis of the primary aesthetic tools used to create messages in video and film. The basic properties of light, color, area, space, shape, sound, time and motion are defined and discussed as they relate to media production. Introduces students to the concepts and vocabulary necessary for effectively conceiving, producing or criticizing mediated messages. Designed primarily for students with interest in digital media. Provides a foundation for students working in media criticism.

Cross listed: FILM 121.

COMS 122.     Writing for Interactive Media. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): ENGL 1A and ENGL 20 or (GWAR Certification before Fall 09, or WPJ score of 70+, or at least a C- in ENGL 109M/W.)


Writing and editing for visual, audio, and interactive media. How to choose appropriate format and delivery mechanisms for news, web sites, kiosks, and CD/DVD. Topics include copyright law and information ethics.

COMS 123.     Writing For Public Information. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): GWAR certification before Fall 2009; or WPJ score of 80+; or 3-unit placement in ENGL 109M/W; or 4-unit placement in ENGL 109M/W + co-enrollment in ENGL 109X; or WPJ score 70/71 + co-enrollment in ENGL 109X


Organization and operation of communication media; practice in publicity and public relations techniques. Emphasis on clear writing and correct public relations formats such as releases, PSAs, articles, and speeches.

Cross Listed: JOUR 123; only one may be counted for credit.

COMS 124.     Writing Scripts for Film/Video. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): ENGL 1A and ENGL 20.


Developing narratives, documentaries, educational, promotional, and experimental short screenplays. Students are expected to develop a writing style and master screenwriting and audio/visual scripting formats. Scripts will be developed to be produced in advanced production courses: COMS/FILM 128 and COMS/FILM 185.

Cross listed: FILM 124.

COMS 126.     Motion Graphics in Film and Video. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 20A, COMS 20B and COMS 26 or both COMS 27A and COMS 27B each with a grade of "B-" or better or instructor permission.


Artistic and technical skills employed when capturing and editing photographic, audio, and video data files. Data files are prepared for export into multimedia authoring applications. Mastery of appropriate hardware and software.

COMS 127.     Producing and Directing for Television. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 20A, COMS 20B, COMS 27A, COMS 27B, each with a grade of "B-" or better.


Theory and practice of producing and directing television programs with emphasis on studio and control room techniques.

COMS 128.     Non-Studio Video Production. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 20A, COMS 20B, COMS 27A, COMS 27B each with a grade of "B-" or better.


Production of video materials using portable cameras and recorders. Application of electronic field production and post-production techniques.

Cross-listed: FILM 128.

COMS 129.     Film and Video Production Management. 3 Units


Management and administration of the preproduction and production process. Course to include script breakdown, budgeting, scheduling and other preproduction and production management skills needed for film or video production. Special attention on the history, development and current practices of the Production Manager.

Cross listed: FILM 129.

COMS 130.     Staging and Lighting Digital Video. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 20A, COMS 20B, COMS 27A, COMS 27B, each with a grade of B- or better.


Introduction to the aesthetics, concepts and techniques used to control lighting in digital video productions. Aspects of staging, blocking and composition in the context of studio and location lighting.

Note: Students enrolled are required to work on productions outside of scheduled class time (1-3 hours/week). Cross listed: FILM 130.

COMS 133.     The Documentary Film. 3 Units


Examines the historical, development, and present state of documentary film. Emphasis is on both understanding and critically analyzing the significance of various genres of the documentary and its uses as a tool for information, proselytizing, education, and propaganda.

COMS 136.     Introduction to Electronic Publishing. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 26 or instructor permission.


Design and production of information sites for the World Wide Web. Concepts covered include market analysis, cognitive design, layout, navigation, interactive strategies, site management, and multimedia components for electronic distribution systems. Introduction to object oriented programs and XHTML text editors.

COMS 140.     Online Collaboration. 3 Units


Students learn to communicate in virtual environments in real-time and asynchronously. Students survey current technologies for collaboration, explore psychological and cultural aspects of individuals working and communicating in teams across computer networks, and identify strategies to foster cooperatives in distributed work.

COMS 141.     Theory of Film and Video Editing. 3 Units


Study of history and theory of film and video editing. Many films are viewed and discussed, examining how editing theory is put into practice.

Cross listed: FILM 141.

COMS 142.     Film As Communication. 3 Units


Explores the uses of film as a tool of communication.

COMS 143.     Theories of Interpersonal Communication. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 8 or equivalent; COMS 100A may be taken concurrently.


One-to-one communication between individuals in both social and task settings. Theories of communication during the growth and decay of relationships, as well as research on the forces behind relational dynamics. Topics include nonverbal communication, self concept, communication of self, theories of conflict resolution, communication competence and the rhetoric of disconfirmation.

COMS 144.     Developing Rich Media Websites. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 27A, and COMS 27B.


An introduction to the creation of multimedia websites using current multimedia development software such as Flash. Emphasis will be placed on creating interactive video and formatting video programs for delivery over the WWW, extranets, or intranet.

COMS 145.     Organizational Communication. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 100A.


Basic concepts of interpersonal and inter-group communication within formal and informal social organizations. Current techniques of auditing and evaluating organizational communication.

COMS 149.     Multimedia Authoring. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 106, COMS 126.


Basic multimedia authoring theory and skills. Text, graphics, audio, and video are synchronized into interactive media. Topics include 2D animation, interface design, and fundamentals of scripting language.

COMS 150.     Mass Communication Theories and Effects. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 55 or JOUR 55 or equivalent; and COMS 100A which may be taken concurrently.


Survey of the major theories dealing with the relationship between the mass media and human communication behavior. Examination of research into the social, political, economic and cultural effects of mass communication.

COMS 152.     Freedom Of Speech. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: GE AREA D


Thorough introduction to issues related to freedom of speech and censorship, sections of the historical origins of free speech, seditious speech, libel and slander, pornography and obscenity, commercial speech and advertising, symbolic speech and hate speech. The class brings a communication focus to addressing issues related to the First Amendment.

COMS 153.     Mass Media Law and Regulation. 3 Units


Laws and regulations that govern print, broadcast, and the electronic mass media in the U.S. Discusses the process by which laws and regulations are enacted and interpreted as well as legal and regulatory issues concerned with the content, control, political role and responsibilities of media practitioners, regulators, Congress, and the public.

Cross Listed: JOUR 153; only one may be counted for credit.

COMS 154.     Instructional Design and Training. 3 Units


Communication theory and practice in organizational training. Surveys instructional communication theory and the instructional design process. Focus on effective communication in training contexts. Topics include needs assessment, training design, training evaluation and training delivery via electronic media.

COMS 155.     Survey of World Cinema. 3 Units


A historical review of the development of major international film styles and themes. Concepts derived from this study of international film are then used as a basis to analyze contemporary films of India, Asia, and Africa. Emphasis is on both the development of formal film technique and a comparison of the unique cultural values that shape the film narrative and style.

COMS 157.     Video Art. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): ART 97 or COMS 27A/Film 27A and COMS 27B/Film 27B.


The creation and analysis of video artwork; including techniques of video production, post-production manipulation and critique, within the context of art and communication. The techniques and theory of producing and editing video will serve as a foundation for the pursuit of individual, creative projects.

Cross-listed as ART 147; only one may be counted for credit.

COMS 158.     Public Relations Planning and Management. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 118 and COMS 123 or JOUR 123 with grade of "C-" or better.


Theoretical concepts to the solution of problems for pre-selected non-profit and campus clients by forming small group PR agencies; completing needs assessments; profiling target and secondary audiences; developing and implementing a strategic public relations plan; producing targeted messages for media kits and other uses; developing and evaluating formative and summative evaluation plans; and making formal in-class presentations to peers, clients and invited PR professionals. Students will also learn how to negotiate contracts, maintain client relations, track work on projects and develop timelines and budgets.

Cross Listed: JOUR 158; only one may be counted for credit.

COMS 160.     Political Communication. 3 Units


Analyzes the relationship between mass media and political decision-making, including a structural analysis of political and media institutions. Particular attention on the formation of public opinion through messages and strategies, and the impact of public opinion on public policy.

COMS 161.     Health Communication. 3 Units


Communication principles and techniques as they apply to the many facets of health care, health education and promotion, and research in health communication. Emphasis on understanding and improving communication among health professionals, and between health professionals and clients. Explores the rapidly emerging field of health communication. Selected concepts and theories of human communication are directly applied to communication problems and situations in health care settings through the use of case studies. In addition, pertinent research that helps explain human interaction in health care is incorporated through readings and discussions.

COMS 162.     Gender Ideology and Communication. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 100A


Scholarly, theoretical and critical writings on the production and circulation of gender roles, images, and gender-types attributes through communication, with a special focus on mass-mediated communication such as television, video, and film.

COMS 164.     Visual Communication. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 100A and 100B or equivalent, with a grade of C- or better.


Comprehensive overview of the theoretical concepts and communication methodologies appropriate for analysis of contemporary visual messages. Focuses on rhetorical analysis of visual messages. Significant research and critical writing required

COMS 165.     Communication and Religion. 3 Units


Examines the history, development and present state of religious communication. Discussion of the limits and challenges communication theories face when confronted with situations requiring them to describe the indescribable. Emphasis upon the communication methods in a religious context as well as the communication strategies, limits, and possibilities that are revealed in what is arguably the most extreme of communication situations: the intersection of religion and words.

COMS 166.     Theories of Persuasion and Attitude Change. 3 Units


Various theories of persuasion and attitude change, both classical and empirical, in terms of their effectiveness and social impact. Includes units on production and consumption of persuasive messages.

COMS 167.     Systems and Theories of Rhetoric. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 100B or equivalent with a grade of "C-" or better.


Historical survey of theories of rhetoric. Comparison/contrast of scope and value of rhetorical theories. Practice in critical writing.

COMS 168.     Approaches to Rhetorical Criticism. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 100B or equivalent with a grade of "C-" or better.


Analyzes rhetorical events, using a variety of critical perspectives. Current issues on criticism's function and the critic's role. Practice in critical writing.

COMS 169.     Television Criticism. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 100B with a grade of C- or better; completion of 12 units of upper division COMS courses; or unclassified graduate student status; or instructor permission.


Introduction to television criticism theory and to various critical methods with which television program texts may be analyzed. Current theoretical and critical issues in the function of criticism and the role of the critic are addressed through readings, writing assignments, screenings and discussion.

COMS 170.     Data Analysis in Communication Research. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 100C or equivalent with a grade of "C-" or better; or instructor permission.


Introduction to the application of data analysis to the study of communication processes.

COMS 171.     Survey Methods in Communication Research. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 100C or equivalent with a grade of "C-" or better; or instructor permission.


Techniques of survey research in communication, including sampling, questionnaire construction, interviewing, data analysis, and report writing. Each student designs and executes a research project.

COMS 172.     Content Analysis. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 100C or equivalent with a grade of "C-" or better; or instructor permission.


Content analysis as a research technique in communication. Emphasizes design and execution of content analysis studies in a wide range of communication situations. Each student completes several short studies and a major project.

COMS 173.     Communication, Language and Culture. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): ComS 100A.


Cross-cultural exploration of communication and social interaction; relationship between language and society; cross-cultural implications of values embedded in message production, transmission, and interpretation; studies of how language influences perception and organization of social reality; linguistics, information and message transmission.

Note: Restricted to junior and above or instructor permission.

COMS 174.     International Communication. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 100A.


Movement of mediated messages across and between national boundaries. Topics include news and entertainment flow, media systems and philosophies, cultural dependency and imperialism, the new world information order and communication development.

COMS 175.     Creative Problem Solving. 3 Units


Creative problem solving techniques for use by individuals and groups. Topics include the nature of creative problem solving, barriers to creativity, clear problem definition, idea generation, decision making, group dynamics in creative situations, implementation of changes, and overcoming resistance to change.

COMS 176.     Communication and Terrorism. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 100A or instructor permission


This course addresses the communication aspects of terrorism, including both the ways terrorism has been used to make political and religious statements worldwide; how the media cover those messages; and how we talk about those messages and the coverage they receive. The course draws on the cutting-edge communication research from international/intercultural, political, mass communication, and computer-mediated communication sources. This is a course in the communication of terrorism. It is neither a course in the political science of terrorism nor in the criminal justice enforcement of counter-terrorism.

COMS 178.     Virtual Communities on the Internet. 3 Units


The nature of communication in virtual communities on the Internet and the impact that these communities have on traditional communication media. Topics include: the interaction of real and cyber communities, self-publishing, educational uses of virtual communities, virtual self-governance, artificial intelligent agents, and the issues of security, privacy, and anonymity. Students will participate in structured on-line activities.

COMS 179.     Media, Sports, and Society. 3 Units


Examines and critiques the relationship between the mass media and sports. Reviews theoretical approaches for studying media and sports (including historical, sociological, psychological, political, and cultural studies perspectives), then examines how sport is mediated through literature, print journalism, radio, and television.

COMS 180.     Senior Seminar in Organizational Communication. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 145; completion of 12 units of upper division COMS courses including COMS 100A.


Seminar on communication theories, techniques and research methodologies in the field of social and governmental organizational systems.

COMS 181.     Senior Seminar in Small Group Communication. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 105; completion of 12 units of upper division COMS courses including COMS 100A.


Seminar on the ways theories of group communication are realized in actual social settings.

COMS 182.     Senior Seminar in Interpersonal Communication. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 8; completion of 12 units of upper division COMS courses including COMS100A.


Seminar on advanced theories of interpersonal communication. Sample topics include relational development, relational termination, communication and interpersonal attraction, and communication competence. Students present one in-class report and complete a major research paper.

COMS 183.     Senior Seminar in Media Issues and Ethics. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 55 or JOUR 55; completion of 12 units of upper division COMS courses including COMS 100A.


Seminar on the functions and roles of communication media in contemporary society. Includes issues and ethical considerations associated with freedom, responsibility and control examined from the points of view of the media, the government and the public. Specific topics will vary.

COMS 184B.     Multimedia Project Completion. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Instructor permission.

Corequisite(s): COMS 184A.


Second of a two-semester senior project sequence. Students complete the project designed in COMS 184A. Projects are completed with assistance and feedback from the instructor, client, and working professionals.

COMS 185.     Senior Practicum in Video Production. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 128 with a minimum grade of "C-" or better; and instructor permission.


Assignments in various phases of video production including creative use of camera, sound and lighting, editing production design, production planning and management, and directing and producing. Students in first semester function as crew members for productions.

Note: May be repeated once for credit. Repeating students are expected to produce and direct a major student project. Cross listed: FILM 185.

COMS 187.     Issue Management and Case Studies in Public Relations. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 118; completion of 12 units of upper division COMS courses.


Examines the management of issues in the public and private sectors including knowledge and skills in the communication activities and thinking processes that affect an issue's development. Uses case studies of organizations--governmental agencies, businesses, and not-for-profit entities to assess issue development and management by examining the fundamental questions confronting organizations: What should the particular organization do and how should it do it? Examines criteria for selecting among alternative options, and the relation of the organization to its environment. Explores the broader social, legal, and ethical implications of the organization's activities.

COMS 188.     Senior Seminar in Intercultural Communication. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 116; completion of 12 units of upper division COMS courses including COMS 100A.


Critically examines and analyzes complex dynamics and concepts in communication and culture in a pluralistic society. Also relates various perspectives on intercultural communication theories and methods to an analysis of social interaction processes among culturally diverse groups. An interactive dimension includes problem-solving strategies.

COMS 189.     Practicum in Communication Training. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 145 and COMS 154 or instructor permission.


Students work in groups to complete organizational training projects within community organizations. After assessing the organization's needs, students design, conduct and evaluate training. Advanced readings and professional competencies are emphasized.

COMS 190.     Human Communication on the Internet. 3 Units


Provides an in-depth study of communication models that summarize and explain the interaction of humans in electronic environments, especially the Internet. Students locate, organize, analyze, an synthesize the latest research in online communication and make connection between theoretical models and their own experiences.

COMS 191.     New Media and Society. 3 Units


The course examines contemporary social, cultural, political and economic topics regarding the adoption of digital media and the Internet. Students understand their role as citizens of a global knowledge-based society and the ethical dimensions brought by the new computer-enabled media environment.

COMS 192.     Senior Seminar in Film. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Completion of the Film Studies core, and (GWAR Certification before Fall 09, or WPJ score of 70+, or at least a C- in ENGL 109M/W).


Research seminar that provides an in-depth investigation of film as an art form, a medium of mass communication and a means of personal expression. Subject will vary according to instructor.

Cross listed: FILM 192.

COMS 194.     Communication Studies - Related Work Experience. 3 - 6 Units

Prerequisite(s): Open only to upper division or graduate students with appropriate course preparation. Units may not be used to meet COMS major, minor or graduate course work requirements. Consent of Communication Studies Department faculty advisor required. No more than 12 units may be counted toward the degree.


Supervised employment in a company or agency working on communication studies-related assignments, arranged through the Department of Communication Studies and the Cooperative Education Program office. Requires preparation of application packet, completion of a 6 month full-time or part-time work assignment, and a written report.

Credit/No Credit

COMS 195.     Internship in Communication Studies. 1 - 6 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 100A, minimum 2.3 overall GPA.

Corequisite(s): COMS 100A.


Directed work experience in the internship program. Supervision is provided by both instructional staff and the cooperating agency. Faculty approval required.

Credit/No Credit

COMS 196.     Critical Analysis of the Media. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Upper division standing for majors and non majors.


The course will introduce students to semiotics that will be employed to tease out "overt" and hidden meanings in news (print and video) and other mediated messages. In particular the course will focus on the various, powerful strands of American ideology, e.g., individualism, democracy, patriarchy, femininity, feminism, capitalism, the family, patriotism, environmentalism, and the First Amendment that shape an understanding of ourselves and of our society. It will examine the present state of American journalism and how it operates.

COMS 199.     Special Problems. 1 - 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 100A.


Individual projects or directed reading open to students who wish to attempt independent work. Faculty approval required.

Credit/No Credit

COMS 200.     Qualitative Research Methods in Communication Studies. 3 Units


Focuses on qualitative research methods as one methodological option to use in scholarly research. Critically review and analyze existing qualitative research projects; creation of qualitative research project; and response the research projects of peers. Consideration of ways to successfully integrate into the communication discipline through a variety of class discussions, readings, and activities.

Note: Graduate student status or instructor permission required

COMS 201.     Communication Theory. 3 Units


Approaches to the study of human communication. Emphasizes general theories of communication and specific theories of rhetoric, symbolic interaction, information processing, interpersonal communication, small group communication, persuasion, organizational communication, and mass communication. Must be taken within first two semesters of graduate enrollment.

Note: Graduate standing or instructor permission required.

COMS 202.     Research Methods in Communication Studies. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): COMS 167, COMS 168, or COMS 169; COMS 170, COMS 171, or COMS 172; may be taken concurrently.


Introduction to advanced quantitative and qualitative research methods. Students will demonstrate their ability to apply at least one research perspective to a significant topic of interest in the discipline. Students are expected to produce a well-crafted research proposal as part of a culminating experience.

COMS 206.     Organizational Communication. 3 Units


History, research, and theories in the social, psychological, and structural aspects of organizational communication. Students undertake field studies integrating various analytical approaches.

COMS 207.     Dyadic Communication. 3 Units


Various theoretical approaches to interpersonal or face-to-face communication.

COMS 208.     Communication and National Development. 3 Units


Role of communication in national development. Examines how communication (government policies, technologies and implementation strategies) can be used in the development of third world nations.

COMS 209.     Communication and Social Change. 3 Units


Relationship between movement rhetoric, mass media messages and major societal changes and paradigm shifts. Students examine the flow of communication from individual and group "change agents" to the larger population and write a paper which illuminates a contemporary social change in progress.

COMS 210.     Seminar in Mass Communication. 3 Units


Concentrated survey of mass media systems and an analysis of theories of media uses and effects. Students are required to conduct library research on a specific media-related topic and to present their findings orally.

COMS 211.     Electronic Media and American Culture. 3 Units


American thought and culture as reflected in and influenced by the content of electronic media.

COMS 212.     Seminar in Small Group Communication. 3 Units


Theory and research about task-oriented groups.

COMS 213.     Seminar In Criticism. 3 Units


Intensive examination of critical theory. A major critical paper is prepared by each student.

Note: Graduate Writing Intensive

COMS 215.     Communication and Public Opinion. 3 Units


Examines theoretical foundations of public opinion formation and change and explores current public opinion measurement methodologies.

COMS 216.     Seminar on Contemporary Issues in Intercultural Communication. 3 Units


Various theories, perspectives and approaches to the study of intercultural communication. Selected contemporary issues pertaining to race and culture and their impact on the communication process, especially the multicultural/multiracial consciousness in California in particular, and the U.S. in general.

COMS 217.     Assessment of Communication Behavior in Organizations. 3 Units


Review of measuring instruments commonly used to assess communication practices in large organizations. Students also critically review relevant research literature regarding important communication issues in large organizations.

COMS 219.     Conflict Resolution. 3 Units


Review of theory and research of the role of communication in conflict resolution.

COMS 221.     Instructional Communication Theory. 3 Units


Survey of dominant theories of instructional communication. Students read, study and critique prevailing bodies of literature which have a bearing on the study and practice of instructional communication. Theories are used to help students reflect on their own experiences as teachers and students and to generate new ideas for research in instructional communication.

COMS 222.     Instructional Communication Practicum. 3 Units


Examination of communication theory and research in instructional or training contexts. Designed for beginning teachers or organizational trainers. Centers on those communication principles which contribute to greater student/client learning and satisfaction. Emphasis on the development and implementation of instructional communication packages for adult learners.

COMS 228.     Corporate Advocacy and Public Policy. 3 Units


Explores "corporate advocacy" as a kind of rhetorical, persuasive transaction between Corporate America and those in its environment. Seeks to understand corporate America's role in the "policy process" (broadly defined), by analyzing the constituted authority for policy formation, the actual institutions involved in such formation, the interaction between/among these centers of power, the difference between authority and influence between/among these centers of power and influence, and how corporate America uses rhetorical messages to enhance various goals.

COMS 230.     Computer-Mediated Communication. 3 Units


Instruction and analysis of human and social Computer-Mediated Communications. Covers from how digital media affects representation and narrative to research on current uses of the Internet and the theoretical frameworks applied to summarize it. Includes a component of Computer Literacy that will help students understand Computer-Mediated Communication and use online collaborative tools efficiently. No previous computer knowledge is required.

COMS 285.     Practicum for Teaching Associates in Communication Studies. 1 Unit

Prerequisite(s): COMS 200, COMS 201.


Open to students appointed as teaching associates in Communication Studies. Designed to facilitate the development, refinement, and maintenance of effective teaching methods and strategies.

Note: May be repeated up to three times with permission of instructor.

Credit/No Credit

COMS 295.     Internship in Communication Studies. 1 - 6 Units


Directed work experience in the internship program. Supervision is provided by both the instructional staff and the cooperating agency. Faculty and Graduate Committee approval required the semester prior to enrollment.

Credit/No Credit

COMS 297.     Directed Study and Comprehensive Examination. 1 - 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Must be advanced to candidacy.


Structured and supervised reading program for MA candidates preparing for comprehensive examinations. Should be taken after completion of all other requirements for the degree. Credit given upon successful completion of comprehensive examinations. Examining committee determines the number of units to be credited.

Note: Open to students who have been advanced to candidacy and have secured permission of the chair of their examining committee and the Graduate Coordinator.

Credit/No Credit

COMS 298.     Colloquium In Communication. 3 Units


A seminar on a communication topic of contemporary concern. Topic may change from semester to semester. May be taken for credit more than once, provided topic is not repeated.

COMS 299.     Special Problems. 1 - 3 Units


Individual projects or directed reading open to students wishing to attempt independent work. Faculty and Graduate Committee approval required the semester prior to enrollment.

Credit/No Credit

COMS 500.     Culminating Experience. 3 - 6 Units

Prerequisite(s): Advanced to candidacy and chair permission of his/her thesis or project committee.


Completion of a thesis or project approved for the Master's degree. Thesis or project prospectus committees determine the number of units to be credited.