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Undergraduate Programs

Undergraduate Communication Courses

COMM-101 Human Communication
An introduction to the theoretical and conceptual underpinnings of oral, visual and written communication.  Introduces basic communication models, the role of language in communication, symbols and symbol making, issues of audience analysis and the development of different modes of discourse.  Also explores the history of communication and introduces students to basic principles and research in communication studies. Class 3, Credit 3 (Fall, Spring)

COMM-142 Introduction to Technical Communication
This course covers the history of technical communication—from medieval treatises to the explosion of technical communication following WWII—and its development as a profession and academic discipline.  Also, the course introduces students to current best practices in written and visual technical communication, including software applications, as well as principles and practices of ethical technical communication. Class 3, Credit 3 (Fall)

COMM-201 Public Speaking
The Public Speaking course is designed to equip the student with knowledge of the theories and principles necessary for formal public speaking.  Informative and persuasive speeches are the focus with emphasis on organization, evidence, language use, strategy, delivery, and effective use of media aids.   Public speaking is generally offered each quarter. Class 3, Credit 3 (Fall, Spring)

COMM-202 Mass Communications
The history and development of U.S. media, theoretical aspects of mass communications, the composition of media audiences, law and regulation of mass communications and how the media affect and are affected by society are presented.  Class 3, Credit 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer)

COMM-203 Effective Technical Communication
This course provides knowledge and practice of written and oral communication skills generally required in technical professions. Focus is on individual and group writing and speaking tasks. This is a service course to various RIT programs and is NOT open to School of Communication students.  Class 3, Credit 3 (Fall, Spring)

COMM-211 Principles of Advertising
An introduction to principles and practices of advertising. Topics include advertising theories, ethics, regulation, consumer research, media planning, message strategy and campaign planning strategy. Class 3, Credit 3 (Fall and Spring)

COMM-212 Public Relations
An introduction to the practice of public relations (PR).  Topics include history, research areas, laws, ethics, and social responsibilities as they relate to the theory and practice of PR. Class 3, Credit 3 (Fall and Spring)

COMM-221 Public Relations Writing
This course covers a variety of forms of writing for public relations, including news releases, newsletters, backgrounders, public service announcements, magazine queries, interviews, coverage memos, media alerts, features, trade press releases, and public presentations.  Students will write for a variety of media including print, broadcast, and the Web. Class 3, Credit 3 (Fall and Spring)

COMM-223 Digital Design in Communication
An opportunity for undergraduates to learn principles of message design through the use of digital technology. A wide variety of computer software applications are available to support the research, writing, visualization, and design of messages. Students with a wide range of computer skills will be accommodated. Class 3, Credit 3 (Fall and Spring)

COMM-253 Communication
An introduction to communication contexts and processes emphasizing both conceptual and practical dimensions. Participants engage in public speaking, small group problem solving and leadership, and writing exercises while acquiring theoretical background appropriate to understanding these skills.  This is a service course to various RIT programs and is NOT open to School of Communication students.  Class 3, Credit 3 (Fall, Spring) 

COMM-261 History of Journalism
This course presents the history of American journalism from colonial times to the present, including the advance of press freedom under the First Amendment and how it has affected the development of American media. The influences of Europe, colonial politics in America, national expansion, urbanization, war, and technology are further developed. Journalism’s relationship to politics, institutions and culture will be investigated. Newspaper, magazine, and broadcast industries will be examined for ideas that have changed American journalism.  Class 3, Credit 3 (Spring)

COMM-262 News Editing
This course introduces students to the principles and practices of editing hard news and feature articles, including news judgment, story selection, headline writing, copy editing, and picture editing. The course emphasizes reader interest, readability, clarity, verification, and style, as well as legality, ethics, and propriety.  Class 3, Credits 3, (Fall)

COMM-263 Computer-Assisted Reporting
How to report on, illustrate, find and analyze records and databases, with emphasis on investigative reporting.    Class 3, Credit 3 (Spring)

COMM-271 Introduction to Journalism
The course covers the impact/effect of journalism on American society, with an introduction to the history, freedom, technologies, ethics and functions of the news media. Students will learn how to assess news value, develop news judgment and analyze news stories.  Class 3, Credit 3 (Fall) 

COMM-272 Reporting & Writing I
This course introduces students to the principles and practices of gathering evaluating, investigating, and presenting information to general audiences. Rights and responsibilities of the press will be analyzed. Although special emphasis will be given to writing and reporting for print publications, other media will be addressed. Special attention will be given to the qualities of writing, especially organization, accuracy, completeness, brevity, and readability. Assignments must conform to Associated Press style. Class 3, Credit 3 (Fall)

COMM-273 Reporting & Writing II
Practicum in advanced techniques of news gathering, reporting and writing, with an emphasis on reportorial principles and practices. This class expands upon the processes of gathering, evaluating, investigating and presenting information to news media audiences, previously introduced in Newswriting. (COMM-272 Reporting & Writing I) Class 3, Credit 3 (Spring)

COMM-301 Theories of Communication
An introduction to human communication theory, including a history of the field and major theories from the intrapersonal, language, interpersonal, small group, public, organizational, mass, visual, and computer-mediated communication contexts. Theories based both in the humanities and the social sciences are covered.  Class 3, Credits 3 (Fall, Spring)

COMM-302 Interpersonal Communication
Interpersonal Communication provides analysis and application of the major theories of interpersonal communication in various situations. The course focuses on perception of self and others, language use, nonverbal communication and symbolic interaction in the communication of shared meanings in face-to-face and mediated interpersonal relationships. There is a strong focus on both conflict management and intercultural interactions. Class 3, Credit 3 (Spring)

COMM-303 Small Group Communication
This course provides students with opportunities to engage in small group decision making and problem solving. Students will analyze and evaluate their own experiences and relate them to theories and research from the field of small group communication. Class 3, Credits 3 (Fall, Spring, and Summer)

COMM-304 Intercultural Communication
Intercultural Communication provides an examination of the role of culture in face-to-face interaction.  Students may find a basic background in communication, anthropology, or psychology useful.  Intercultural Communication serves as a required course for Communication and Advertising & Public Relations majors.  The course is also an option for concentrators in Arabic and French foreign language culture concentrations and for the communication minor.  Class 3, Credit 3, (Fall and Spring)

COMM-305 Persuasion
An in-depth study of the theories, practices, effects, and ethics of persuasion. Persuasion is defined as human communication designed to influence one’s beliefs, values, attitudes, and actions. This course examines persuasion from a receiver-oriented perspective with interpersonal, small group, organizational, and mediated perspectives. Class 3, Credit 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer)

COMM-306 Rhetoric of Race Relations
Rhetoric of Race Relations examines the history of the struggle for freedom and equality for blacks in American society.  This course traces the history and rhetoric of key spokespersons from the pre-Civil War period to the 20th century as evidenced in texts of selected public speeches and reactions to them. Class 3, Credit 3, (every other Spring)

COMM-321 Copywriting and Visualization
An opportunity for undergraduates to learn the verbal and visual skills utilized in the creation of advertising messages. To create an effective strategy for an advertising campaign, the advertising copywriter/art director team needs to combine linguistic and visual metaphors into a persuasive message.  Students will develop creative advertising messages by researching and writing a creative brief and then implementing the plan by transforming concepts into actual advertising messages and campaigns. Class 3, Credit 3 (Fall and Spring)

COMM- 322 Campaign Management & Planning
This course introduces students to the managing and planning of advertising and public relations campaigns.  It takes a team project approach thereby helping students learn how to work together in class as well as in a competitive agency.  Service-learning will be used to expose students to community causes. Class 3, Credit 3 (Spring)

COMM-341 Visual Communication
This course is an introduction to the study of visual communication.  The iconic and symbolic demonstration of visual images used in a variety of media is stressed. The major goal of the course is to examine visual messages as a form of intentional communication that seeks to inform, persuade, and entertain specific target audiences.  Class 3, Credit 3 (Fall)

COMM-342 Communication Law & Ethics
This course examines major principles and trends in communication law. The course analyzes a broad range of issues related to the First Amendment, intellectual property, and media regulation. Special attention is paid to discussing the major ethical perspectives and issues surrounding contemporary communication behavior. Class 3, Credit 3 (Spring)

COMM-343 Technology-Mediated Communication
Technology-mediated communication (TMC) was originally defined as a form of electronic written communication.  As networking tools advanced, TMC expanded to include new software developments, such as instant messenger and the Web.  Today, the term technology-mediated communication is used to refer to a wide range of technologies that facilitate both human communication and the interactive sharing of information through computer networks. Through readings, discussions, and observations of online behavior, students will be introduced to TMC terms and theories to further develop their TMC communication and critical thinking skills. Class 3, Credit 3 (Spring)

COMM-344 Health Communication
An introduction to the subject of communication in health care delivery and in public health campaigns, with an emphasis on interpersonal, organizational, and mass communication approaches.  Also covered is the interrelationship of health behavior and communication.  Class 3, Credit 3. (Spring)

COMM-345 Ethics in Technical Communication
Ethics is the study of morals, of what is right and good, especially regarding specific moral choices. In a given situation, a system of ethics helps us answer the question: What should I do? “Ethics in Technical Communication” explores the ways in which ethical conduct is important in the communication of technical information, particularly among professional technical communicators; establishes principles, based on the history of ethical studies, for making ethical choices as technical communicators; and provides opportunities to apply ethical principles to case studies, in order to better understand the often problematical nature of ethical choices in technical—or any—communication.  Class 3, Credit 3 (Fall)

COMM-356 Critical Practice in Social Media
With the advent of virtual communities, smart mobs, and online social networks, questions about the meaning of human communication and how we construct our online and offline personal and professional identities need to be reevaluated. This course explores the relationship between social media and the construction of both individual and social identities as well as best practices for constructing the desired community or identity. Although the course is grounded in theory, it is equally committed to practice, and much of the class discussion and activity takes place in various online spaces. As a practicum, those who complete this course will know how to engage productively in practices such as tweeting, blogging, tagging, etc. and will develop an understanding of how these practices affect their construction of identity and community both personally and on behalf of an organization. Class 3, Credit 3 (every other year)

COMM-357 Communication, Gender, and Media
This course examines the relationship between gender and media communication with specific attention to how gender affects choices in mass media and social media practices. Students explore how gender, sexual orientation, sexuality and social roles, affect media coverage, portrayals, production and reception. They consider issues of authorship, spectatorship, (audience) and the ways in which various media content (film, television, print journalism, advertising, social media) enables, facilitates, and challenges these social constructions in society. The course covers communication theories and scholarship as it applies to gender and media, methods of media analysis, and topics of current interest. Class 3, Credit 3 (every other year)

COMM-361 Reporting in Specialized Fields
An in-depth study, analysis, and practicum of a selected advanced and focused subject in professional journalism. Specific subject matter of the course varies according to faculty assigned and is published when the course is offered; students may enroll in this class no more than twice as long as the specific subject matter is different. Examples include Education Journalism, Health Journalism, Business Journalism, Reporting Public Affairs, Sports Journalism, Editorial (or Opinion) Writing, and Reporting for Alternative Media.  Class 3, Credit 3 (Fall)

COMM-362 Law & Ethics of the Press
This course examines major principles and trends in communication law. The course analyzes a broad range of issues related to the First Amendment, intellectual property, and media regulation. Special attention is paid to discussing the major ethical perspectives and issues surrounding contemporary communication behavior. Class 3, Credit 3 (Spring)

COMM-401 Quantitative Research Methods
An introduction to the methods and ethics of scientific, scholarly communication research including methods of locating, analyzing, critiquing and conducting communication research. The course focuses on empirical research methods and leads to the development of a research project proposal suitable for implementation in senior thesis in communication. Class 3, Credit3 (Fall, Spring)

COMM-402  Qualitative Research Methods
Introduction to the methods and ethics of qualitative and critical research. Students are introduced to interviewing, participant observation, naturalistic study, and ethnography. They also develop a disciplined ability for the critical appraisal of public discourse, cultural phenomenon and designed objects. Both qualitative and critical research methods rely on the researcher's observational, analytic and critical skills, and seek to understand the behaviors, beliefs, values, attitudes, assumptions, rituals, and symbol systems that characterize relationships between the source, message, media, and audience of specific communication acts. Students will also investigate the processes of rhetorical action. By the end of the course, students will have developed a research proposal suitable for implementation as the senior thesis in communication.  Class 3, Credit 3 (Fall, Spring)

COMM-421 Media Planning
An introduction to developing, executing, and managing media plans for advertising and public relations. This course covers the characteristics and uses of advertising media, media terms and calculations, media strategies and tactics, and media plan development and implementation.  Class 3, Credit 3 (Spring)

COMM-440 Visual Communication of Technical Information
This course introduces students to the principles, conventions, and ethics of communicating technical information in graphs, tables, and illustrations.  A secondary focus is on writing text to complement graphs and illustrations in technical documents. Class 3, Credit 3 (Fall)

COMM-441 Writing the Technical Manual
Develops in students those skills necessary for designing, writing, and editing long technical manuals. Special emphasis is given to graphics and page layout. Students enrolling should have command of concise English prose. (ENGL-361 Technical Writing) Class 3, Credit 3 (Fall)

COMM-442 Professional Writing
Students develop writing, research, and interviewing skills necessary to the composition of articles for magazines, newsletters, and other similar publications. In addition students learn how to investigate the market for and “sell” their writing, and how to write query letters. Much of the course is conducted as a workshop, during which students appraise each other’s work, and make suggestions for revision. Class 3, Credit 3 (Spring)

COMM-461 Multiplatform Journalism
The Internet is an important source of news information, rivaling print, radio, and television news.  This course introduces students to the principles and practices of online news reporting, including writing for mainstream news sites, journalistic blogs (Web logs), share and discussion sites, and other evolving online news outlets.  The course familiarizes students with the tools of the online reporter:  for example, vetting sources on the Web, conducting e-mail interviews, and writing for Web pages.  Also, students explore the cultural and ethical terrain unique to the wired environment. Class 3, Credit 3 (Fall)

COMM-489 Special Topics in Communication
An in-depth examination of a selected aspect of the communication discipline (e.g. strategic communication, technical communication, visual communication, computer mediated communication, advertising, public relations, journalism).  Special Topics in Communication may be taken multiple times, provided the topic being studies has changed. (Prerequisite: varies by topic) Class 3, Credit 3 (offered bi-annually)

COMM-497 Communication Portfolio
Communication and advertising and public relations majors create a portfolio comprised of projects, papers, and related professional materials; Journalism majors complete a senior project. Near the end of every semester, the department hosts a portfolio review day when department of communication seniors present their portfolio or project work in a public space for review and comment by faculty, staff, and peers. The presentation constitutes completion of the course. (Fourth-year status) Class 0, Credit 0 (F, S, Su)

COMM-499 Communication Co-Op
One semester of paid work experience in a professional setting related to the communication major. (At least third-year and department approval required.) Class 0, Credit 0 (F, S, Su)

COMM-501 Senior Thesis in Communication
A guided research seminar culminating in a major project that brings together the Professional & Technical Communication student’s communication studies and substantive work in his or her Professional Core. Focuses on designing, conducting and completing an independent research project. The progress of each project is shared with the class for discussion and critiques. (COMM-401 Research Methods) Class 3 Credit 3 (offered regularly)

COMM-503 Advanced Public Speaking
Further development of knowledge and skills learned in public speaking. This course emphasizes language, delivery, and speech organization, requiring students to develop and deliver speeches for various occasions, using a variety of delivery methods. Students will present out-of-the-classroom speeches as well as practice ghostwriting. (COMM-201 Public Speaking) Class 3, Credit 3 (S)

COMM-561 Senior Project
Senior capstone course culminating in the production of a long-form piece of journalism, a Web site and a digital portfolio of select works.  The course brings together each participant’s work in journalism and the Professional Core. Class 3, Credit 3 (Spring)