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Master of Science in Communication

Curriculum

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
COM 500Reading & Res Communication3.00 credits
COM 610Theories of Communication & Persuasion3.00 credits

Concentrations
Technical Communication
COM 510Technical Writing3.00 credits
COM 570Technical and Science Editing3.00 credits
COM 612Ethics for Science and Technical Communication3.00 credits
COM 620Message Design and Evaluation3.00 credits
COM 630Software Documentation3.00 credits
Science Communication
COM 520Science Writing3.00 credits
COM 570Technical and Science Editing3.00 credits
COM 612Ethics for Science and Technical Communication3.00 credits
COM 620Message Design and Evaluation3.00 credits
COM 670Medical Writing3.00 credits
Public Communication
COM 613Ethics for Public Communication3.00 credits
COM 635Electronic Publishing3.00 credits
COM 650Telecommunications Policy in the Information Age3.00 credits
COM 663Event Planning3.00 credits
COM 680Public Relations Writing & Strategies3.00 credits
Communication, Culture, and Media
COM 710Mass Communication and American Social Thought3.00 credits
COM 715Media, Advocacy and Public Spaces3.00 credits
COM 725Politcal Communication3.00 credits
and two of the following:
COM 720Critical Theory3.00 credits
COM 801Seminar in Contemporary Theory3.00 credits
COM 802Seminar in Discourse & Semiotics3.00 credits
COM 803Seminar in Structural & Cultural Dynamics3.00 credits
COM 804Seminar in Research Methodology3.00 credits
COM 805Seminar in Communication Ethics3.00 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 612 Ethics for Science and Technical 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 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 520 Science Writing - 3.00 credits

An intensive workshop course in communicating scientific information to the public, including reading and discussion of science journalism. Focus is placed on how to translate and reinterpret technical and scientific information for a general readership.

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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 612 Ethics for Science and Technical 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 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 670 Medical Writing - 3.00 credits

Students learn about the major branches of medical writing and editing, for both medical and pharmaceutical contexts. The course includes the following topics: writing for professional, commercial and popular audiences, preparing FDA submissions, reading and researching medical literature, using medical statistics, interviewing subjects and writing ethically.

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COM 613 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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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 663 Event Planning - 3.00 credits

This course will provide the student with the theoretical and practical fundamentals in understanding the complexities of producing special events across all major industries.

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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 710 Mass Communication and American Social Thought - 3.00 credits

Mass communication was at the center of most of the hopes and anxieties of the 20th Century. Would mass communication promote democracy or totalitarianism, support the powers-that-be or challenge them, make us more or less intelligent, enhance real life or distort it, etc.? In the end, what do we want mass communication to be and do in the 21st Century?

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COM 715 Media, Advocacy and Public Spaces - 3.00 credits

Half of the world’s population lives in cities. With this increase, notions of public space, rights of access, land use and development become highly contested. Students will conduct their own ethnographic fieldwork in urban environments that address issues of conflict that take place in or engage with urban public spaces.

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COM 725 Politcal Communication - 3.00 credits

This course introduces students to the background concepts and literature in multiple areas of political communication. Material ranges from rhetoric and public relations to mass communication theory. The course objective is to equip students with the skills so that they can go on to pursue scholarly research in these areas on their own. Among other things, students will learn how to write and analyze speeches; evaluate more and less adroit responses to questions; assess media coverage of political affairs.

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COM 720 Critical Theory - 3.00 credits

This course provides an overview of critical theory. It starts with the creation of the critical Frankfurt School, and reviews the works of Gramsci, Adorno, Horkheimer and Marcuse. It then focuses on the expansion of critical theory by Jurgen Habermas through consideration of his Theory of Communicative Action.

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COM 801 Seminar in Contemporary Theory - 3.00 credits

This is a special topics seminar course that will introduce students to different currents in contemporary social theory, especially through in-depth reading and discussion of a single major theorist or theoretical school. Course may be repeated for credit.

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COM 802 Seminar in Discourse & Semiotics - 3.00 credits

This is a special topics seminar course that will explore in-depth a particular theoretical or research approach to the study of language and signs. Students will work with major theoretical approaches as well as research in the area. Course may be repeated for credit.

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COM 803 Seminar in Structural & Cultural Dynamics - 3.00 credits

Through in-depth exploration of a specific research topic, this seminar course will introduce students to what is called the sociological imagination. The course examines special topics that will illuminate such broad sociological approaches as political economy, cultural analysis, neo-institutionalism or post-modernism. Course may be repeated for credit.

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COM 804 Seminar in Research Methodology - 3.00 credits

This course focuses on a single research method. The course takes students through the inception of research ideas, research design, implementation and data-analysis/write up as the mean to understanding the limitations and possibilities of the research process according to methodology. Course paper involves student research design practicum. Course may be repeated for credit.

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COM 805 Seminar in Communication Ethics - 3.00 credits

By in-depth examination of a single issue in research ethics, this course develops student awareness of ethical issues in processes like peer review, human subjects research evaluation, and public consumption of knowledge generated by scholarly investigation. Course may be repeated for credit.

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