Communication Arts

Communication Arts Department

Joseph Faura, MFA
Debra Minick Franklin, Ph.D.
Joseph C. Schaub, Ph.D., Chair

Degrees offered

Major
Minor

Campuses

Main Campus

The communication arts department of the School of Arts and Sciences offers a major and minor in communication arts to students in the Women's College. The program provides an intensive study of communication between and among persons, via the mass media and in cyberspace. The department mission is to enable students to be knowledgeable creators and astute consumers of messages within our increasingly complex, technological society. The core curriculum aims to develop the student's talents in communicating effectively in print, in visuals, in speech and with diverse types of media. By offering the student additional choices through a series of electives, the program also encourages the student to design a specialty within the communication fields, such as advertising, video and digital media, public relations, journalism or corporate communication. Through internships, practicums and advanced courses, the student learns in more depth about the theory and practices of the specific communication area of the student's interest.

Department facilities include a color video studio with computer-based nonlinear editing, a campus video cable network, ENG equipment for video field work and the campus radio studio. Classes meet frequently in the campus Macintosh laboratory for sessions on writing, digital publishing, digital design work and multimedia presentations.

Early internships during the sophomore and junior years may be taken to explore various career areas in which students may be interested. All communication arts majors must complete an advanced practicum with an approved organization as part of their senior year experience.

Graduates in communication arts have been employed in settings as varied as C-SPAN, Animal Planet, SmartCEO magazine, Baltimore Magazine, the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, and The Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. They serve as advertising media planners, Webmasters, media relations experts, television producers, newspaper editors and sports information directors. An active Advisory Board of department graduates assists the faculty in preparing the students for careers. The department sponsored the first student chapter of the Association for Women in Communications in the state of Maryland.

The general education requirement in fine arts may be fulfilled by any of the following courses: COM-325, COM-330 or COM-351. The general education proficiency in oral communication may be fulfilled by COM-106 or COM-206. COM-106 is designed specifically for non-communication arts majors; communication arts majors and minors must complete COM-206. The general education requirement in gender studies may be met by completing COM-330, COM-382 or the honors course COM-329. COM-329 also fulfills the requirement in history. The general education requirement in cross-cultural studies may be met by completing COM-303. Communication arts majors and minors must complete all courses for the major/minor (including departmental electives) with a grade of C or higher.

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Program of Study

Required Courses for a Major in Communication Arts (Credits)

COM-101 Introduction to Media Writing (3)
COM-131 Mass Media and Society (3)
COM-200 Digital Skills Workshop (1)
COM-201 Interpersonal and Team Communication (3)
COM-206 Speaking in Professional Settings (fulfills general education requirement for majors) (3)
COM-210 Social Media (3) 
COM-256 Popular Culture (3)
COM-310 Media Literacy (3)
COM-313 Digital Media Skills (3)
COM-314 Reporting and Writing News (3) 
COM-356 Communication Research Methods (3)
COM-441 Mass Communication Law (3)
COM-461 Communication Arts Practicum (4)

Students also take three additional courses of their choice to prepare for specific careers in communication. Students interested in digital production are strongly encouraged to enroll in DMA-201 Time-Based Media.

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Minor in Communication Arts

COM-101 Introduction to Media Writing (3)
COM-131 Mass Media and Society (3)
COM-201 Interpersonal and Team Communication (3)
Plus three communication arts electives of the student's choice, two of which must be at the 300- or 400-level (9)

N.B. majors and minors must complete COM-206 Speaking in Professional Settings with a grade of C or higher to fulfill the communication proficiency requirement in general education.

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Four-Year Plan

A sample program of study for the communication arts major follows. Students should select courses with the assistance of a faculty advisor. The plan is intended as a guide only. Many variations are possible.

FallSpring
First Year

COM-131 Mass Media and Society

3

COM-101 Introduction to Media Writing

3

Foreign Language

3

COM-256 Popular Culture

3

Natural Science

4

Mathematics

3

ENG-101 College Writing

3

RST-201 Introduction to Biblical Studies

3

NDMU-100 First Year Seminar

3

History or Social Science

3

[16 credits]

Physical Education

1

[16 credits]

Second Year

COM-201 Interpersonal and Team Communication

3

COM-206 Speaking in Professional Settings

3

COM-210 Social Media

3

COM elective

3

PHL-201 Introduction to Philosophy

3

History or Social Science

3

English Literature

3

PHL or RST 300/400 level

3

General Education/Course in minor

3

General Education/Course in minor

3

[15 credits]

[15 credits]

Third Year

COM-314 Reporting and Writing News

3

COM-356 Communication Research Methods

3

COM Elective

3

COM-310 Media Literacy

3

Course in Minor

3

COM-313 Digital Media Skills

3

Gender Studies/Cross Cultural

3

Gender Studies/Cross Cultural

3

PHL or RST 300/400 level

3

Ethics/Values Requirement

3

[15 credits]

[15 credits]

Fourth Year

COM-441 Mass Communication Law

3

COM-461 Practicum

4

COM Elective

3

General Education/Minor/Electives

9-11

General Education/Course in Minor

6

[13-15 credits]

Internship

3

[15 credits]

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Courses

COM-101 Introduction to Media Writing

Explores the various types of writing and rhetorical approaches used in crafting messages for the mass media. Provides experience in writing for journalistic, broadcasting, public relations and advertising needs, with diagnostic attention given to the individual student's writing skills. Writing requirements of the Web and digital media are previewed. Intensive laboratory work assists the student in improvement of skills. Offered in Women's College only. Prerequisite: ENG-101 or permission of department. [3 credits]

COM-131 Mass Media and Society

Studies the role of newspapers, magazines, radio, television, motion pictures and the "new media" in contemporary life and their impact on sociological and cultural patterns. The goal of the course is to develop the students'critical perspective through reflective review of media messages and analysis of current media systems. [3 credits]

COM-201 Interpersonal and Team Communication

Examines concepts, principles and skills central to interpersonal communication processes. Develops understanding of verbal and nonverbal dimensions of human interaction from both experiential and competency-based approaches. Consideration given to group dynamics. Students write reflective journals and participate in a number of workshop experiences. [3 credits]

COM-206 Speaking in Professional Settings Speaking in Professional Settings

Explores the art of public communication and persuasion, content and delivery, through composition and delivery of a variety of speeches. Particular attention is given to the xpectations of the workplace. Recommended in first year or second year. Fulfills the general education requirement in oral communication. [3 credits]

COM-210 Social Media

Engages students in a theoretical and critical look at the incursion of social media (such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter) into human communication processes and considers the implications of use of these media for the future of communication. [3 credits]

COM-256 Popular Culture

Explores contemporary American culture through an examination of the creation and propagation of iconic images, myths, stereotypes and shared beliefs within a mass-mediated context. Extensive discussion and analysis of media and media artifacts. [3 credits]

COM-310 Media Literacy

Explores visual and audio literacy through the balance of critical consumption and production skills. Employs a series of units in which students decode complex visual and audio images and then move to composition in both visual and auditory production. Creation of a Web-based portfolio is the culminating unit. [3 credits]

COM-313 Digital Media Skills

Provides hands-on experience in the use of digital and social media in professional contexts in the communication fields. Students will complete a number of projects applicable to professional situations that will enhance the job-search portfolio. [3 credits]

COM-314 Reporting and Writing News

Stresses the writing of accurate and stylistically compelling news and information and the development of interviewing skills. Students will use digital media and new technologies necessary for covering stories and preparing news packages in the field. Mobile reporting and convergence are stressed. [3 credits]

COM-356 Communication Research Methods

Serves as an introduction to research methods in the communication field, detailing how to gather and analyze data about communication processes and their effects. Emphasizes the relevance of research to helping communication practitioners make sound decisions in applied settings (e.g., print, video, advertising, public relations and interpersonal relations). In workshop and small group settings, students learn how to formulate and pursue research questions of interest. Prerequisites: COM-131, COM-201. [3 credits]

COM-441 Mass Communication Law

Provides students with opportunities to discuss and analyze the major legal problems encountered by communication practitioners. Teaches case method by review of benchmark federal and state court decisions and statutes. Covers freedom of information, censorship, copyright, privacy, libel, and law for the digital media, public relations, business communication, advertising and broadcasting. Students write case briefs and hypothetical case analyses. [3 credits]

COM-461 Communication Arts Practicum

Provides opportunities to work in pre-professional settings in communication positions with an approved organization. Prepares the student for a career in the communication field of her choice as a culminating experience. The student must enroll for the spring semester of her senior year. Prerequisite: senior standing. [4 credits]