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Master of Science in Communication


The M.S. program  in Communication requires 45 credits of coursework and  a professional portfolio of three to five items developed by the student, as a final graduation requirement, each student must submit a professional exit portfolio. Based on coursework and professional assignments, the portfolio undergoes a rigorous process of review by faculty members and by a professional outside the university.

Core Courses- 6 credits
COM 500Reading & Res Communication3.00 credits
COM 610Theories of Communication & Persuasion3.00 credits

Technical Communication Concentration- 15 Credits
COM 510Technical Writing3.00 credits
COM 570Technical and Science Editing3.00 credits
COM 620Message Design and Evaluation3.00 credits
COM 630Software Documentation3.00 credits
COM 875Ethics in Technical & Science Communication3.00 credits

Public Communication Concentration-15 Credits
COM 635Electronic Publishing3.00 credits
COM 650Telecommunications Policy in the Information Age3.00 credits
COM 660Investigative Journalism3.00 credits
COM 680Public Relations Writing & Strategies3.00 credits
COM 880Seminar in Ethics for Public Communication3.00 credits

Electives-24 Credits

Course Descriptions

COM 500 Reading & Res Communication - 3.00 credits

Introduces graduate study in the communication program. Presents issues and concepts for this course and other graduate courses. Focuses on issues such as reading complex texts, both theoretical and research-oriented. Also introduces the range of fields in professional communication.

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COM 610 Theories of Communication & Persuasion - 3.00 credits

Examines the application of theories and models of communication and persuasion. Introduces theories underlying technical communication and issues informing the discipline. Draws readings from a number of disciplines, such as rhetoric, cognitive psychology, discourse analysis, linguistics, and communication.

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COM 510 Technical Writing - 3.00 credits

An intensive workshop course in writing technical abstracts, proposals, manuals and reports. Focuses on developing reader-centered documents for a variety of audiences and purposes through the use of a number of styles. Aids students in developing greater awareness of the varieties of rhetorical situations and styles found in their careers.

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COM 570 Technical and Science Editing - 3.00 credits

Covers techniques of formal editing, including project and copy editing. Requires students to read, discuss and edit numerous types of documents from professional, government and industry sources.

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COM 620 Message Design and Evaluation - 3.00 credits

Examines research and theory on the design of messages. Introduces research methodologies appropriate for the evaluation of scientific and technical communications. Examines research in document design and usability, testing and other strategies for collecting, analyzing and presenting data.

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COM 630 Software Documentation - 3.00 credits

Teaches the principles and goals involved in writing, revising, and testing computer documentation, both paper and on-line. The focus will be on the end user documentation, although the principles involved may also apply to systems documentation.

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COM 875 Ethics in Technical & Science Communication - 3.00 credits

Studies principles and concepts of ethics for technical and scientific writers, editors and publishers. Examines moral presuppositions of the profession as they pertain to technical and scientific communications, to the effects of computer technologies on ethical practices in the workplace, and to the responsibilities of editors for preventing fraud.

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COM 635 Electronic Publishing - 3.00 credits

Electronic Publishing gives students applied and theoretical knowledge of professional electronic publishing. Students will focus on issues relating to writing and integrating text and graphics to create websites and on-line publications. Students will also consider how issues in document design and usability analysis can be used to evaluate websites.

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COM 650 Telecommunications Policy in the Information Age - 3.00 credits

The historical, governmental, social, economic and political structures of telecommunications policies are examined. Special emphasis is placed on how assumptions concerning living in an information age affect policies, philosophies, structures and outcomes, especially at a global level.

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COM 660 Investigative Journalism - 3.00 credits

An intensive hands-on course in researching and writing investigative news stories. Students will select and cover beats and submit a series of in-depth articles on deadline.

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COM 680 Public Relations Writing & Strategies - 3.00 credits

An intensive, advanced public relations course covering public relations theory, strategies and writing. Students will apply theory and tactics in the development of crisis communication plans and issue management strategies.

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COM 880 Seminar in Ethics for Public Communication - 3.00 credits

This course is a seminar in journalism and public relations ethics. Topics discussed include: professional responsibilities of journalists with respect to truth-telling and objectivity in reporting the news; ethical issues surrounding morally offensive radio and television content; ethical issues concerning what is and is not covered by the news and manipulative advertising.

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