Department of English, Communication, and Philosophy
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Madison, NJ 07940

The Bachelor of Arts in
Communication Studies

Course Descriptions




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Courses offered in the BA in Communication Studies:
  • provide students with a systematic grounding in theoretical, cultural, and historical issues
  • introduce students to major sub-divisions of the communication field
  • provide students with practical course work to develop written and oral skills.


COMM 2001
Introduction to Communication Studies

3 Credits
Offerings
The class is designed to give students a fundamental understanding of the assorted facets of the communication process as well as the different areas of communication study. The course addresses such topics as listening, verbal and nonverbal messages, and communication ethics, and such levels of the field as intrapersonal, interpersonal, group, organizational, intercultural, public and mass communication.

COMM 2002
Small Group Communication

3 Credits
Offerings

Prerequisite: COMM 2001
The study of the behavior of groups as it relates to group norms, rules, roles, leadership, decision-making, problem-solving and conflict management. Examination of the theoretical and practical aspects of small group communication with stress on small group exercises.

COMM 2003
Interpersonal Communication

3 Credits
Offerings

Prerequisite: COMM 2001
This course focuses on face-to face communication, taking as its primary interest the study of conversations involving two people. The course will explore both "inter-personal" processes (what goes on outside, between people) and "intra-personal" processes (what goes on inside, within people's heads) that occur when people communicate with each other.

COMM 2004
Public Relations Principles

3 Credits
Offerings

Prerequisite: COMM 2001
This course explores the field of professional public relations covering the role, origin, and trends affecting the future of the practice. Additionally, the course will cover topics such as effective writing skills, campaign development, and ethical and legal implications of the profession.

COMM 2020
Communication in the Electronic Medium

3 Credits
Offerings

Prerequisite: COMM 2001
This course will enable students to use contenporary models of communication to articulate and understand the nature of communication processes inherent in electronic media such as email, instant messaging, the internet, blogs, discussion boards, and distance learning.

COMM 2099
Professional Communication

3 Credits
Offerings

Prerequisite: ENGW 1102
Study of and practice in major oral and written communications techniques and modes appropriate to professional communicators and others. The course features an extended simulation that integrates work-related written and oral communication through practical application. Emphasis on group dynamics, collaborative presentations, research, audience analysis, effective writing and speaking styles.

COMM 2221
Advertising Principles

3 Credits
Offerings

Prerequisites: ENGW 1102; COMM 2001
The process and practice of advertising: theoretical background and practical application to provide participants with the ability to plan campaigns and execute advertising strategies. Study of the role of advertising in current society and its significance in our economic system; practical exercises in setting advertising goals; planning, implementing and evaluating creative strategies; discussion of ethical and legal issues.

COMM 2244
Writing for the Metro

1 Credit
Offerings

Prerequisite: ENGW 1102
This course will give students the opportunity to develop or enhance their writing portfolio by completing journalistic assignments for the College at Florham's campus newspaper, The Metro. Students will gain real world experience with newsgathering, interviewing, copyediting, proofreading, headline writing, layout and design, and picture editing.

COMM 3004
Organizational Communication

3 Credits
Offerings

Prerequisites: COMM 2001 and COMM 2002
A comprehensive examination of organizational communication from the Industrial Revolution to the present; the multiple frameworks of meaning that evolve in large systems and institutions; analysis of their structures, narratives, practices and discourse.

COMM 3011
Introduction to Journalism

3 Credits
Offerings

Prerequisite: ENGW 1102 or equivalent
A survey course in the history of journalism in America; emphasis on development of principles of modern journalistic practice, including broadcasting.

COMM 3012
Newswriting

3 Credits
Offerings
Practical instruction in newswriting, feature writing and reporting and interviewing for newspapers. Students will be expected to meet deadlines, to become familiar with news-writing style, to become sensitive to legal and ethical matters, to handle quotes and attribution, and to craft well-made stories.

COMM 3013
Article Writing

3 Credits
Offerings
Practice in writing feature articles for magazines, newspapers and other print media. Practical exercises and article assignments will develop students' abilities to generate ideas; write magazine queries; pitch article proposals; produce saleable manuscripts; review the marketplace; foster agent-editor relationships; develop research and interviewing skills; and use networks for writers.

COMM 3014
Family Communication

3 Credits
Offerings

Prerequisite: COMM 2001
This course examines family relationships, roles, structures, crisis management strategies, myths and dynamics from a communicational systems perspective. Family interaction as foundational to lifelong experience is a central consideration of the course. Historical, economic, social and legal issues relating to the family are explored.

COMM 3016
News Editing

3 Credits
Offerings
Practical instruction in editing copy and writing headlines for newspapers. Also covers standard news style, newsroom routine, newsroom technology, wire services, photo editing, typography, page makeup and design and ethical and legal limitations on the press.

COMM 3017
Creative Nonfiction

3 Credits
Offerings
New methods, theories and techniques in the various print and word media. Nonfiction prose as a major genre and significant trends in nonfiction, including the New Journalism, the nonfiction novel, the memoir and innovative journalism styles in newspapers and magazines.

COMM 3018
Mass Communication

3 Credits
Offerings

Prerequisite: COMM 2001
This class will provide a forum for examining the uses and impact of the varied communication media that are now available. The course examines the history of and contemporary trends in print, broadcast and computer media, and investigates issues of media ethics, censorship and media law as well as the social and psychological impact of communication media.

COMM 3019
Global Communication

3 Credits
Offerings

Prerequisite: COMM 2001
This course surveys a broad range of communcation issues related to the area of globalization. The course explores international, intercultural, and multicultural communication and diversity issues related to gender, race and ethnicity, the role of technology and the impact of the "global village" on the nature of work. Time will also be spent exploring how globalization has led to compressions of time and space, and significant changes in our social relationships. Finally, students will engage in several cultural immersion projects in order to experience firsthand the impact globalization has on the communication that takes place in their every day lives.

COMM 3020
Art and Theory of Film

3 Credits
Offerings

Prerequisites: ENGW 1102 and ENGL 2001 or equivalent.
A course in the aesthetics and theory of film, with a focus on writing critically about movies. Covers such major elements of film art as montage, visual composition, kinds and styles of editing, actors and icons, screen writers, cinematography, lighting, sound, music and special effects. Major critical movements covered include semiotics, myth criticism, feminist criticism, auteur theory and genre criticism. The work of one or two theorists will be explored in depth.

COMM 3022
Communication Research

3 Credits
Offerings
A field such as Communication defines itself by the integrity of its research. To be capable of reading and making contributions to a field's literature, it is essential that a student have a working knowledge of research methods. This course is designed to help students develop skills to critically interact with the discipline's research through an examination of the fundamental concepts and terminology of social science research.

COMM 3035
Public Relations Writing

3 Credits
Offerings

Prerequisites: ENGW 1102 and COMM 2001
This class will provide students with a repertoire of writing skills and techniques for use in the Public Relations field with particular emphasis on writing for the media, crisis communication, advertising and publicity.

COMM 3244
Public Relations Campaigns

3 Credits
Offerings

Prerequisite: COMM 2001
This course provides students with an accelerated opportunity to enhance essential practitioner skills through engagement in a hypothetical campaign based on skeletal scenarios. Students engage in the entire problem solving process, including research and planning, as teams, while refining their critical and writing skills .

COMM 3430
Communication and Gender

3 Credits
Offerings

Prerequisite: COMM 2001
Starting with a general exploration of gender and communication, and moving into media, education, and workplace specific applications, this course seeks to blend reading and personal reflection into an understanding of what "gender" means in contemporary society, and the implications of this understanding for communication in our personal and professional lives.

COMM 3431
Sports Journalism

3 Credits
Offerings
This course concerns reporting and writing about sports and sports events, with emphasis on news, features, and opinion writing. The course will also cover history of sports writing and public relations and promotion aspects of sports events.

COMM 3433
Images of Communication in Science-Fiction Film

3 Credits

Syllabus
A major theme of contemporary communication theory is the notion of "social worlds." The idea is that we inhabit worlds produced through our ability to communicate. This course examines the forms and roles of communication that create and exist within social worlds through a consideration of the "social constructionist" approach to interpersonal communication. This approach is located within the larger context of systems theory, language-game analysis, American pragmatism, and symbolic interactionism. The genre of science-fiction is used in this course to exemplify and analyze key components of the social constructionist position. Students explore the nature of the realities presented in science-fiction texts and analyze the communication practices that would make such a reality possible. By understanding this relationship within science-fiction, this course provides students with an important theoretical tool with which to understand and make sense of current communication phenomena.

ENGL 4001
Literary and Communication Theory

3 Credits
Offerings

Syllabus
This course considers the contribution and impact of literary theory within contemporary communication studies. The course examines perspectives such as semiotics, hermeneutics, phenomenology, structuralism, and post-structuralism and explores what literary theory contributes to our understanding of human communication processes.

COMM 4001
Communication Internship

3 Credits
each Semester
Offerings
A minimum of 150 hours of work in a communications-related position, e.g. public relations, advertising, journalism, broadcasting, corporate communications, etc. Final grade is based on the student's log, a written evaluation from his or her supervisor, and a final evalation paper. Required of all Communications students.

COMM 4498
Cooperative Education in Communication

3 Credits
Offerings
Integration of classroom study with specific planned periods of supervised learning in productive employment experiences. A developmental process designed to combine progressive learning on the job, in University course work and in career development skills.
Copyright 2001, Fairleigh Dickinson University
This page last updated November 10, 2003, by Gary P. Radford.