Communication Studies

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Curriculum emphasizes ethical and philosophical relationships of the individual to society.

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SMU's award-winning debate program provides solid preparation for developing the student's voice.

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Access to outstanding hands-on experiences includes working the Republican and Democratic national conventions, consulting with boards of nonprofit organizations and participating in international travel programs.

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Students can network with executives from Dallas-area companies through SMU’s PRSSA chapter.

Classes

Communication Studies covers a wide range of subjects, including Communication Theory, Free Speech and the First Amendment, Crisis Management, Financial Communication and much more.

Please note that not all courses are offered every semester. This listing is not considered authoritative. Please visit Access.SMU for authoritative course offerings including meeting times, professor, and more.

Undergraduate Classes

COMM 2300: Public Speaking in Context
This course introduces students to the theory and practice of public speaking. Students learn important rhetorical principals for studying an audience and a situation to create and perform an effective public presentation. Students learn important abilities for public presentation regarding evidence, nonverbal communication, visual aids, and more.

COMM 2308: Strategic Communication
This course introduces basic media writing skills used to produce materials commonly used by communication professionals to communicate messages to the mass media. Students develop research, interviewing, writing and speaking skills by writing and presenting news stories, feature stories and press releases.

COMM 2310: Rhetoric, Community and Public Deliberation
This course examines the role of rhetoric and public deliberation in the production and maintenance of communities and the larger public sphere, and includes such topics as the formation and rhetoric of the Civil Rights movement, the structural factors impacting the modern public sphere, and the skills necessary to be an informed citizen.

COMM 2327: Communication Theory
This course introduces the foundational concepts, theories and approaches to the study and practice of human communication. It includes a historical overview as well as discussions of contemporary ethical questions.

COMM 2328: Communication Ethics: Whose Ethics? Church, State and the Law
Using current U.S. Supreme Court case law that examines the distinctions between universal moral claims and specific religious doctrine, students reflect on the ways morals are communicated in a nation that separates church from state.

COMM 2375: Communication Research and Metrics
Students learn how to conduct professional research, identifying an organization or individual with an emerging communication need and then analyzing secondary sources in order to create an original research project that addresses that need. Prerequisites: C or better in COMM 2310, 2327.

COMM 3101: Pre-Law Scholars Seminar
Introduces pre-law scholars to various legal topics, including an overview of legal subjects and careers in law. It also provides information relating to the law school admissions process. Restricted to Pre-Law Scholars who have completed their first two full-time academic terms.

COMM 3300: Free Speech and the First Amendment
Examines the philosophy, cases, and issues relevant to the First Amendment right to free expression, with a focus on issues relevant to internal security, obscenity, pornography, slander, and the regulation of communication. Foundations of legal argumentation are also discussed.

COMM 3302/CFB 3350/WL 3302/SOCI 3350: Ethno-Violence: Interdisciplinary Perspectives
An introduction to ethnoviolence – violence or the threat of violence based on one’s race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation – from a comparative, global and critical framework that synthesizes sociology, colonial studies, communications, and ethnic, religious, historical, and gender studies.

COMM 3310: Crisis Management
This course examines different strategies and tactics organizations use after a crisis to respond to internal and external audiences. Theoretical models including apologia, attribution theory, and organizational identification theory are applied to specific types of organizational crises. Special emphasis is placed on the role emerging communication technologies play in the organizations crisis response.

COMM 3321: Communication in Global Contexts
This course provides an international perspective to the study of corporate communication and public affairs. Emphasis on experiential study allows students' exposure to professional practitioners in both political and corporate arenas. Students explore opportunities and challenges involved in working in corporation communication in an international forum.

COMM 3327: Argumentation and Advocacy
Explores concepts characterizing rational discourse with a concern for examining validity and fallacy. Students consider traditional and contemporary models for analyzing argument, including an examination of the philosophy of argument and practical inquiry into the uses of debates on contemporary social issues. Reserved for communication studies majors or minors.

COMM 3335: Social Media and Online Communication
The game-changing nature of social media and its impact on traditional communication. The course is grounded in practice, and students are required to participate in social networks, forums, blogs, wikis, micro-blogs, and virtual worlds. Prerequisite: Major or minor standing.

COMM 3341/CFB 3341: Ethnicity, Culture, and Gender: Introduction to Critical Studies in Communication
Explores the impact of culture on the understanding and practice of human communication in interpersonal, organizational, and mass media contexts. Strong emphasis is placed on the role of globalization, race, and socio-economic dynamics as impediments and conduits of crosscultural collaboration and interaction. Prerequisites: C or better in COMM 2308, 2310, 2327, and 2375 or 3375.

COMM 3342/CFB 3342: Race and Identity Construction in Global Contexts
Explores what impact communication practices in organizational, interpersonal, and mass media contexts have on the construction of ethnicity, gender, and sexuality in U.S. and post-Colonial settings.

COMM 3345: Persuasion Theory and Practice
This course provides a survey of major theories that explain how to influence attitudes and behaviors. Applications to persuasion within a variety of contexts, including relationships, organizations, legal campaigns, and the mass culture.

COMM 3347: Political Communication
This course examines political communication as it evolves throughout a political campaign, and includes such topics as political communication theory and research, communication strategies, the influence of the mass media, television advertising, candidate debates, news management, polling, and the use of new technologies in political campaigns.

COMM 3350: Integrated Marketing Communication
This course examines political communication as it evolves throughout a political campaign, and includes such topics as political communication theory and research, communication strategies, the influence of the mass media, television advertising, candidate debates, news management, polling, and the use of new technologies in political campaigns.

COMM 3355: Introduction to Public Relations
Introduces basic theories, concepts, and approaches to public relations, and includes a historical overview as well as discussions of the professional and ethical demands on practitioners.

COMM 3360: Business and Management Communication
Emphasizes the role that communication plays in recruiting and selecting project team members, motivating employees, and understanding how to make a project team productive.
Prerequisites: C or better in COMM 2308, 2310, 2327, and 2375 or 3375.

COMM 3365: Organizational Communication
Explores the role of communication in key organizational processes in corporate and nonprofit settings. Students examine the multiple approaches to organizing and their implications for human communication. Prerequisites: C or better in COMM 2308, 2310, COMM 2327, and 2375 or 3375.

COMM 3380: Introduction to Nonprofit Communication
Explores the unique discursive context of not-for-profit organizations. Students examine the role of communication in the various stages of nonprofit organizational life, including founding and incorporation, recruitment and retention of staff volunteers, and external funding and philanthropic development. Prerequisites: C or better in COMM 2308, 2310, 2327, and 2375 or 3375.

COMM 3382: Advanced Strategic Communication and Public Relations
This experiential course teaches students to strategize, develop, research, and write in-depth articles, newsletters, speeches, press releases, and position papers. Reserved for communication studies majors or minors.

COMM 3387: Advanced Nonprofit Communication: Donor and Philanthropic
Introduces the fundamentals of philanthropy in a nonprofit’s organizational processes and reviews historical, economic, and political forces that formed and continue to influence the development and funding of nonprofit organizations. Building on persuasion, interpersonal, and organizational communication theory, students explore the unique communication of philanthropy, grant writing, and donor relations. Prerequisites: C or better in COMM 2308, 2310, 2327, 2375 or 3375, 3365, and 3380.

COMM 3390: Employee Communication
Introduces the theories, ethics, and methods of creating and measuring communication to employees and work groups. Topics include employee campaigns, communication with unionized work groups, and use of social media for employee and leadership interaction and collaboration. Students explore how employee discourse can shape perceptions of organizational culture and trust, employee retention and satisfaction, and external branding. Prerequisites: C or better in COMM 2308, 2310, 2327, and 2375 or 3375.

COMM 3393: Rhetoric, Politics and Mass Media
Examines the dynamic and interpersonal relationship between the news media and politics: the media’s influence on the political process, the relationship between reporters and public officials, the impact of media-based campaigns, and the ethical impact of media manipulation by political strategists. Prerequisite: Reserved for communication studies majors or minors.

COMM 3395: Public Opinion, the Press, and Public Policy
Examines the interdependent relationships among media coverage, public opinion, and public policy. Students consider the influence of press coverage on electoral and policy-making processes in which public voice is presumed to affect democratic outcomes. Reserved for communication studies majors and minors.

COMM 4025: Organizational Internship
Students in approved positions gain career-related experience and establish professional contacts. At the conclusion of the internship, students prepare a report that allows for academic reflection on their experience. Offered as pass/fail only. Prerequisites: Major standing, 90 or more hours of coursework, 2.750 overall GPA, 3.000 GPA in COMM coursework, and permission of faculty adviser.

COMM 4125, 4225, 4320: Public relations in Local Contexts
Provides students with 50 hours of experience working with public relations professionals. Offered on a pass/fail basis only. Prerequisites: 90 or more hours of coursework, 2.750 overall GPA, 3.000 GPA in COMM coursework, and permission of faculty adviser. Reserved for public relations majors

COMM 4130: Professional Seminar
Prepares a student to meet the expectations and demands of working as a strategic communications professional in various organizational contexts, including corporate, agency, nonprofit, government, and public affairs. Topics addressed by instructors and industry professionals include ethics, issues in professional development, interviewing and resume construction, and power and politics for the new employee. Prerequisites: C or better in COMM 2308 (or 3355), 2310 or 3300, 2327, 2375 and junior standing.

COMM 4300: Seminar in Political Communication
This course is offered only as appropriate occasions arise. It provides advanced study of the role of communication within specific public affairs settings such as political summits, party conventions, or other major venues. Prerequisite: COMM Major or Minor standing.

COMM 4302, 4303, 4304: Washington Term Studies
This course offers students an opportunity to study and work in Washington, D.C., as part of American University’s Washington semester. Prerequisites: C or better in COMM 2308 or COMM 3381, COMM 2310 or COMM 3382, COMM 2327, COMM 3375, junior standing, 90 or more hours of coursework, 2.75 overall GPA, 3.00 GPA in COMM coursework, and permission of faculty advisor. May be taken earlier with advisor approval.

COMM 4305: Washington Term Directed Studies
This is an independent study with the goal of producing original research while students are enrolled in American University’s Washington semester. Prerequisites: C or better in COMM 2308 or COMM 3381, COMM 2310 or COMM 3382, COMM 2327, COMM 3375, and junior standing.

COMM 4310: History and Philosophy of Free Speech
Examines the philosophical debates on the existence, extent, and effect of free speech on society, including the rights of the individual versus the rights of the collective body politic.

COMM 4323: Forensics Workshop
Explores the pedagogy of competitive forensics. Students will examine methods, theories and techniques of competitive debate and individual events, tournament administration, and professional responsibilities of the forensic educator, and gain practical experience in forensics and debate competition. Instructor approval required. Prerequisite: Major or minor standing.

COMM 4324: Competitive Mock Trial
This course provides students the opportunity to investigate and explore principles of legal advocacy within a competitive environment. Students are trained to represent SMU as members of the SMU Mock Trial Team before invitational, regional and national trial competitions. Instructor approval is required. Prerequisite: Major or minor standing.

COMM 4325: Organizational Internship
Students in approved positions gain career-related experience and establish professional contacts. At the conclusion of the internship, students prepare a report that allows for academic reflection on that experience. Offered on a Pass/Fail basis only. Prerequisites: COMM Major standing, C or better in COMM 2308 or COMM 3381, COMM 2310 or COMM 3382, COMM 2327, COMM 3375, 90 or more hours of coursework, 2.75 overall G.P.A., 3.00 G.P.A. in COMM coursework, and permission of faculty adviser. May be taken earlier with adviser permission.

COMM 4326: Washington Term Internship
This course is offered in conjunction with courses taken in Washington, D.C. This internship provides students with experience working in public affairs in the nation’s capitol, supervised by a faculty member there. Prerequisites: C or better in COMM 2308 or COMM 3381, COMM 2310 or COMM 3382, COMM 2327, COMM 3375, 90+ hours of coursework, 2.75 overall GPA, 3.00 GPA in COMM coursework, and permission of faculty advisor.

COMM 4340: Public Relations Account Management
Covers the business practices necessary for the operation and maintenance of a strategic communication organization, including client management and relations, financial communication and accounting basics, marketing and client presentations, strategic planning, requests for proposals, and professional ethics. Prerequisites: C or better in COMM 2310, 2308, 2327, and 2375 or 3375.

COMM 4375: Honors Thesis in Communication
This course provides advanced students with the opportunity to do original research on a topic related to communication. Students learn how to write research questions, conduct a literature review, engage in qualitative or quantitative methodologies, and present findings. Prerequisite: COMM Major or Minor and Honors standing.

COMM 4385: Communication, Technology, and Globalization
This course examines how various communication technologies are used within a strategic communication context. Historical, ethical, and legal issues surrounding the use of these technologies are addressed. Reserved for COMM Majors or Minors.

COMM 4386: Financial Communication
This course familiarizes students with terms, principles, theories, and practices in financial communications. Students examine techniques used in investor relations and consider the legal and ethical responsibilities.

COMM 4390: Globalization, Economics, and Communication
The globalization of economic and communicative activity entails a new type of organizing structure as well as an understanding of self and one’s connection (interdependence) to the global marketplace. Examines the rise of globalization and the social, political, and economic activity that has significance for every individual and community across the globe.

COMM 4392: MustangConsulting I: Introduction to Communication Consulting
Provides a hands-on opportunity to learn and implement the theories and skills necessary to engage in the task of communication consulting. Unlike other models of consulting, the art of communication consultation emphasizes the centrality of organizational communication as a means of assisting clients in addressing their organizational concerns and opportunities. Covers applying communication theory and research to the practice of communication consultation; distinguishing the difference between academic research and communication consulting; and proposing, planning, and implementing a consulting project. Instructor consent only.

COMM 4393: MustangConsulting II: Capstone
This advanced communication consulting course provides the opportunity for students to manage their own communication consulting clients under the supervision of the faculty principal. Students are responsible for all client contact, presentations, and resolutions and are required to implement an entire strategic communication solution on behalf of the client, from planning through evaluation. Instructor consent only.

COMM 4395: Public Relations Campaigns
This course demonstrates how strategic communication contributes to problem-solving in corporate and public relations settings. Students apply their skills toward practical challenges as they prepare and present complete plans for a corporate client.

COMM 4396: Public Relations Campaigns in Nonprofit Settings
This capstone course must be taken in conjunction with an internship at an approved nonprofit organization to complete the required 150 hours in a service learning environment. Students utilize their classroom experience to create a comprehensive strategic communication campaign for a nonprofit, with materials directed at the organization’s specific public (e.g., the media, donors, volunteers, client base, board, foundations, and corporations). Prerequisite: COMM 3382. Reserved for communication studies majors and minors.

COMM 5110, 5210, 5310: Directed Study
A directed study is a close collaboration between the professor and an advanced student who conducts a rigorous project that goes beyond the experience available in course offerings. The student must secure written permission from the instructor and return a completed directed studies form to the Corporate Communications and Public Affairs office before the start of the term during which the study is to be undertaken. Prerequisites: COMM Major or Minor standing, Junior standing, and permission of instructor.

COMM 5301, 5302, 5303, 5304, 5305: Topics in Communications
These courses encourage students to examine the role of communication within contemporary issues and social problems. Topics vary by instructor. Reserved for COMM Majors or Minors.

COMM 3321: Communication in Global Contexts
This course provides an international perspective to the study of corporate communication and public affairs. Emphasis on experiential study allows students’ exposure to professional practitioners in both political and corporate arenas. Students explore opportunities and challenges involved in working in corporate communication in an international forum.

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