The departmental curriculum is organized around two cognate areas that represent the two distinct, yet interrelated, areas of focus in the major: Rhetorical Studies and Critical Media Studies.

Each of these two areas is represented by one of the two COM Core Courses (75-204 and 604) as well as a group of courses that represent further interventions into the cognate areas. Rhetorical Studies Courses are located in the 75-200s and 75-300s (with the exception of 75-304, the general COM Special Topics course number). Critical Media Studies Courses are located in the 75-600s and 75-700s. Many students take an Academic Internship as one of their upper-level Communication Studies elective courses. Special Topics courses (75-004 and 75-304) and Independent Studies (75-95x) are also available.

Below you will find a list of our current or recent offerings.  See the course catalog for descriptions and updated information.

  • 75-134 Critical/Cultural Communication Studies
    This course introduces theoretical and critical perspectives central to the two cognate areas of the major: Rhetorical Studies and Critical Media Studies. A special focus on qualitative critical/interpretive research methods and theoretical frameworks enhances students' understanding of the role that communication plays in the construction and negotiation of culture and identity. This introductory class is required for both the major and minor in Communication Studies. (Fall, Spring) (H)
  • 75-204 Rhetorical Theory
    This class examines a range of rhetorical theories that are used as critical perspectives in conducting rhetorical analyses. The course begins with the classical rhetorical theories founded in Ancient Greece, and then concentrates on contemporary rhetorical theory. Outcome goals include demonstrating how different theories can be applied to rhetorical texts and the kind of insights that different theories can yield. This class is required for the major. Prerequisites: Communication Studies 75-134. (Spring) (H)
  • 75-234 Rhetorics of Resistance
    This course examines the ways in which rhetoric is used for social protest. It emphasizes historical and cultural contexts as it looks at how social movements use diverse rhetorical strategies to promote social justice. Contributes to Race and Ethnicity Studies. (H) (SJ)
  • 75-254 The Rhetoric of Civil Rights
    This course surveys the rhetorical strategies used by individuals and collectives during the African American civil rights movement (1954-1968) to maintain and change their worlds. The class critically examines visual and verbal rhetorical texts that work to protest discrimination and bring about a different social order, persuasive strategies used to oppose civil rights, and our contemporary practices of remembering civil rights. Key themes include the ways in which systems of racial oppression are challenged through rhetorical strategies. The class also examines ways in which class and gender intersect with racial difference to modulate systems and practices of power and resistance. Contributes to Race and Ethnicity Studies. (H) (SJ) (FY)
  • 75-264 The Rhetoric of Women's Rights
    The last 200 years have been a time of incredible change for women in the United States. This course examines the rhetoric that fosters and reflects this kind of social change, ranging from the women's suffrage movement, to the women's movements of the 60s and 70s, to contemporary feminism. Contributes to Feminist Studies. (H) (SJ)
  • 75-274 Rhetorics of Health
    This class examines the intersections of communication and health by exploring topics such as mass media representations of health issues, communication patterns in health contexts, and the construction of identity through discourses of health and illness. (H) (SJ)
  • 75-284 The Rhetoric of Surveillance
    This class examines surveillance discourse and how it targets particular bodies. It will explore how security discourse emerges at the intersections of race, gender and class to maintain structures of power that sustain national and economic interests. The course also addresses and how we might resist or ethically reclaim surveillance. Contributes to Race and Ethnicity Studies. (H) (SJ)
  • 75-404 Communicating Leadership
    This course examines current scholarship about how leadership is created and communicated in organizations and other aspects of our lives. Students will demonstrate an understanding of leadership, leadership styles, and the communication strategies of leadership. Discussion, reflective writing, critical thinking, and engagement will be used to assess these goals. Contributes to Business and Environmental Studies. (H) (FY)
  • 75-434 Communication, Culture and Social Justice
    This course introduces the foundational, historical and theoretical issues for the critical study of communication as social justice, examining critical race theories, feminist theories, queer theories and postcolonial theories in order to establish a foundation for understanding the ways difference is communicated to achieve social justice. This course integrates questions of identity with those of justice, and thus requires a strong commitment to understanding self and other. Contributes to Feminist Studies and Race and Ethnicity Studies. (H) (SJ)
  • 75-444 Communication and Memory
    This course examines the role of communication in producing, representing, reinforcing, and contesting individual and collective memory at a variety of scales: within individuals as well as in between individuals in interpersonal relationships, families, communities, nations, cultures, and across cultures. The main focus is on learning the central critical theory and methodologies used in the analysis and interpretation of acts, practices, texts, objects, and spaces engaged in communicating individual and collective memory. (H) (WA)
  • 75-454 Race, Ethnicity, and Communication
    This course introduces critical race theory as it applies to the study of communication. In particular, it explores the intersection of race/ethnicity, communication and media as it relates to issues of social justice and identity in America. These explorations shed light on the historical formation of racial and ethnic identities and their current social and personal relevance. The course integrates questions of identity with those of justice, economics and law, and will require a strong commitment to tolerance and self-reflection. Contributes to Race and Ethnicity Studies. (H) (SJ)
  • 75-464 Environmental Communication
    This course explores various environmental philosophies as they relate to communication contexts in the public sphere, including journalism, sustainability, consumerism, politics, environmental organizations, and ecotourism. We will also examine how environmental theories and policies are play out in local, national, and international arenas. Contributes to Environmental Studies. (H)
  • 75-474 Visual/Material Communication
    This course introduces students to theories and methodologies in visual culture and material culture studies that focus on the affective and performative dimensions of everyday visual and material communication, particularly the ways that material objects, images, and spaces function as communicative media that not only represent things but also do things and make things happen. (H)
  • 75-564 Gender and Communication
    This course critically explores the process of becoming gendered in contemporary culture. Drawing from a body of contemporary research and theories, including feminist, critical/cultural, queer, and psychoanalytic approaches, students will endeavor to discover the ways in which people communicate within a gendered culture. Contexts include interpersonal relationships, families, organizations, institutions, and mediated communication. Contributes to Feminist Studies. (H) (SJ)
  • 75-594 Public Speaking
    This course emphasizes speaking in public from a narrative paradigm. The guiding assumption will be that every public speech act implies a story, and that every image (metaphor, picture, nonverbal embodied communication form) concretizes and is explained by a narrative. Students will learn to be more reflexive, strategic, and skillful as public communicators by creating and performing several speeches that foreground the creation of a public self (ethos) created by articulating a relationship between self and audience through the use of narrative and image. (Fall, Spring)
  • 75-604 Media and Culture
    This course examines the diverse functions that media serve in the performance of individual, social, national, and transnational cultures and identities. Students will analyze how the interdependent relations among media production, media texts, and media audiences are embedded in cultural discourses and dynamics of ideology, power, and agency, and will develop an ability to use theories and methodologies prevalent in cultural studies and critical media studies to research, analyze, interpret, and build effective arguments about the interrelationships between media and culture. This class is required for the major. Prerequisites: Communication Studies 75-134. (Fall) (H)
  • 75-614 Identity and Media
    This course examines the ways in which individual and collective identities are constituted, shaped, and challenged through media, including entertainment media, social media, and new media. This course examines the ways that media affect (and are affected by) race, gender, class, age, sexuality, nationality, and other dimensions of identity. Contributes to Race and Ethnicity Studies, and Feminist Studies. (H)
  • 75-624 Journalism
    This writing-intensive course considers the character, purposes and subject matter of documentary nonfiction narrative, with a special emphasis on the processes of writing, critiquing and revising student-produced feature articles for newspapers and magazines. (H) (WA)
  • 75-654 Muslims in the Media
    This class examines the representations of Muslims in Western media. This includes exploring how popular discourse constructs Muslims, and how Muslims themselves participate in media discourse. This class also emphasizes identifying how the rhetorical strategies used to marginalize Muslims overlap with the strategies used to diminish other groups in the United States, thus establishing how power reproduces itself. Contributes to Race and Ethnicity Studies. (H) (SJ)
  • 75-674 Film Studies
    This course introduces students to critical, analytical and theoretical approaches to the study of film. To explore the complex role that cinema has played in American mass society since the early 20th century, special emphasis is placed on the study of institutional practices at all levels of the production, distribution and exhibition of films as well as the ways of seeing and the ways of doing that guide both filmmakers and audiences who use film as a communication medium. (H)
  • 75-684 Road Movies
    This course explores the road movie as a contemporary film genre but also a site of cultural work where representations, histories, futures, identities, bodies and ideas converge and collide. The course unfolds chronologically, situating case study films within their historically specific cultural discourses while over time also developing a detailed analysis of the development of the road movie as a genre and cultural form. (H)
  • 75-804 Critical/Cultural Methods
    This writing intensive course explores some of the critical methods used to analyze diverse forms of communication. As a collaborative community of scholars, students will conduct an analysis using critical/cultural methods. Students will demonstrate proficiency in all of the basic practices required for communication studies research in preparation for Capstone. This class is required for the major. Prerequisites: Communication Studies 75-134, 75-204, and 75-604. (Fall, Spring) (H) (WA)
  • 75-964 Capstone Research Seminar
    This course requires students to integrate and extend work done throughout the Communication Studies major by producing a significant, original research project that is situated both within Communication Studies as a discipline and within the two cognate areas of the major: Rhetorical Studies, and Critical Media Studies. Topics and instructors vary. This class is required for the major, and Capstone applications must be submitted in the spring prior to the capstone year. Prerequisites: Communication Studies 75-134, 75-204, 75-604, and 75-804. (Fall, Spring) (WA)