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Curriculum

The Communication program is designed for students interested in the broad intersections of media and cultural studies. It provides in-depth study in the fundamental principles of communication as they are manifest in representation and human behavior. Our curriculum prepares graduates to attend graduate school or to use their understanding of communication to craft messages for public audiences using contemporary media platforms.



Public Communication

COMM 110 Creative Writing
COMM 204 Public Relations
COMM 209 Advertising
COMM 233 Media Production
COMM 314 Contemporary Journalism
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Public Communication

COMM 110 Creative Writing 3 Units

An introduction to fiction writing with an emphasis on the short story that provides a foundation for writing across all disciplines. Self-expression and experimentation will be encouraged within the framework of the narrative tradition. Mini-lectures on craft, reading assignments, writing exercises designed to inspire creativity and help the student reach his or her full potential, and thoughtful critiques of those exercises will guide the student toward planning, organizing and completing the final project: a short story from 500 to 1500 words. Students will learn how to submit stories for publication and will be given the opportunity to read in front of an audience. Lecture. Prerequisite: WRIT 111, Academic Writing I. Offered in fall. No lab costs.

COMM 204 Public Relations 3 Units

An introduction to messaging strategy using a combination of public relations theory and practical application. Lecture. Prerequisite: WRIT 111, Academic Writing I. Offered in spring. No lab costs.

COMM 209 Advertising 3 Units

An introduction to North American advertising techniques. Components of advertising campaigns are used to illustrate these techniques in both successful and unsuccessful marketing efforts. Lecture. Prerequisite: WRIT 111, Academic Writing I.

COMM 233 Media Production 3 Units

This course is a hands-on television production course that provides solid grounding in the technical and creative aspects of production. Students will conceptualize and develop group video projects and become familiar with Final Cut Pro editing techniques. Lecture. Prerequisite: WRIT 111, Academic Writing I. Offered in fall. Lab costs: approx. $100.

COMM 314 Contemporary Journalism 3 Units

An introduction to the fundamentals of newspaper, magazine and web journalism, including the writing of hard news stories, features, profiles and entertainment reviews (film, theater, music and books). Students will collaborate in the writing, editing and publishing of an expanded version of the student newspaper, The Wire. Selected student journalism may be published in the L.A. community press and on the web. Lecture. Prerequisite: WRIT 112, Academic Writing II. No lab costs.

Speech Communication

COMM 120 Public Speaking
COMM 210 Interpersonal Communication
COMM 231 Oral Interpretation
COMM 307 Rhetorical Theory
COMM 310 Argumentation and Debate
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Speech Communication

COMM 120 Public Speaking 3 Units

A study of the oral presentation of ideas and feelings that blend contemporary communication theory with traditional approaches to public address. Provides experience in public speaking, interpersonal communication, and critical listening skills. Lecture. Prerequisite: none. Offered spring, summer, and fall. No lab costs.

COMM 210 Interpersonal Communication 3 Units

An introduction to, and critical analysis of, the major theories of communication with an emphasis on media. A review of the characteristics of the message, the communicator, and the audience that affect the impact of the message. Lecture. Prerequisite: WRIT 111, Academic Writing I. Offered in fall. No lab costs.

COMM 231 Oral Interpretation 3 Units

Improves communication skills by focusing almost entirely on those aspects of presentation associated with voice, body, and gesture. Unique performative approach combines the discovery of meaning in written texts with the effective communication of that meaning to an audience. A variety of traditional and non-traditional literary forms will be used including prose, poetry, drama, autobiography, letters, and oral history. Lecture. Prerequisite: WRIT 111, Academic Writing I. Offered in fall. No lab costs.

COMM 307 Rhetorical Theory 3 Units

A survey of major classical and neoclassical treatises on rhetoric. The works include those of Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Quintilian, St. Augustine, Blair, Burke, Whately, Toulmin, Campbell, Habermas, and other leading theoreticians. New units might look at African, Asian, and feminist approaches to rhetoric. Lecture. Prerequisites: LSCI 105, Information Theory and Practice; WRIT 112, Academic Writing II; and COMM 203, Communication Theory. Offered in fall. No lab costs.

COMM 310 Argumentation and Debate 3 Units

Examines the uses of argument, evidence, and the various types of proof. Attention is given to the different formal debate structures and modes of refutation. Treats reasoning and explores logical fallacies. Students participate in classroom debates on significant contemporary issues. Lecture. Prerequisites: LSCI 105, Information Theory and Practice; WRIT 112, Academic Writing II; and COMM 120, Public Speaking. No lab costs.

Emphasis Electives

COMM 222 Film Studies
COMM 250 The Director’s Craft
COMM 323 Entertainment Studies
COMM 341 Film Genres
COMM 342 Film Noir
COMM 350 World Cinema
COMM 370 Special Topics in Communication
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Emphasis Electives

COMM 222 Film Studies 3 Units

The movies – telling stories through images in a fixed period of time – are potentially the most affective form of human expression. This course will use lectures, discussions and analyses of screenings of films and film clips to explore how the elements that define all the arts are incorporated in the narrative motion picture as it seeks to approximate the actual processes of thought. Prerequisite: WRIT 111, Academic Writing I.

COMM 250 The Director’s Craft 3 Units

Through lectures, discussions and analyses of screenings of films and film clips, this course will present a historical introduction to contemporary independent film and video making and offer a step-by-step guide to the art, craft and business of low-budget film and video making in the digital age. Prerequisite: WRIT 111: Academic Writing 1. No lab costs.

COMM 323 Entertainment Studies 3 Units

An interdisciplinary approach that might combine rhetorical, media, and cultural studies as well as semiotics to explore image advertising that includes product and lifestyle images. Lecture. Prerequisites: WRIT 112, Academic Writing II; COMM 307, Rhetorical Theory; and COMM 312, Communication and Culture. No lab costs.

COMM 341 Film Genres 3 Units

Genres have evolved greatly since their inception due to improvements in technique and in response to changes in sociological, philosophical, and political thought. As such, genres have a cultural history that is tied up with ideologies and stereotypes. This course is not a chronological history of genres but is instead an exploration from many different perspectives including cultural, political, and thematic ones. Prerequisite: LSCI 105, Information Theory and Practice; and WRIT 112, Academic Writing II. No lab costs.

COMM 342 Film Noir 3 Units

The American film industry has gone through a number of movements and refinements in genre since its inception in response to changes in sociological, philosophical, and political thought. As such, film has a cultural history that is tied up with ideologies and stereotypes. This course explores a single significant movement in film history, namely film noir. It surveys films from the noir period to understand this movement in terms of its unique style and meanings. The influence of the genre on other film styles will also be discussed in the context neo noir and other contemporary film movements. Prerequisite: LSCI 105, Information Theory and Practice; and WRIT 112, Academic Writing II. No lab costs.

COMM 350 World Cinema 3 Units

This course offers an incisive survey of the history of the narrative motion picture from its silent beginnings to the present as a reflection of, and an influence on, the evolution of contemporary culture. Analyzing film images, stories, and themes and exploring the dynamic interplay between American and foreign film in the context of the movements and events of the past century, the course provides a framework for examining the seeds of a potential global culture. Prerequisite: LSCI 105, Information Theory and Practice; and WRIT 112, Academic Writing II. Offered in fall. No lab costs.

COMM 370 Special Topics in Communication 3 Units

A seminar devoted to selected topics of special interest to students and faculty. Lecture. Prerequisites: LSCI 105, Information Theory and Practice; WRIT 112, Academic Writing II; and COMM 100, Media Culture or COMM 203, Communication Theory. No lab costs.

Cultural Studies

COMM 240 Communication and the Sexes
COMM 312 Communication and Culture
COMM 450 Collaborative Seminar
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Cultural Studies

COMM 240 Communication and the Sexes 3 Units

An exploration of how cultural values and habits influence views on femininity and masculinity, how expectations of gender are communicated, and how communication affirms or challenges prevailing cultural prescriptions of gender in intra- and interpersonal, small group, public, and organizational settings. Lecture. Prerequisite: WRIT 111, Academic Writing I. Offered in fall. No lab costs.

COMM 312 Communication and Culture 3 Units

An inter-, intra-, and cross-cultural analysis of processes and problems of communication as affected by ethnic or national identity; effects of differences in language, values, meaning, perception, and thought. Lecture. Prerequisite: LSCI 105, Information Theory and Practice; and WRIT 112, Academic Writing II. Offered in fall. No lab costs.

COMM 450 Collaborative Seminar 3 Units

These advanced special topics seminars seek to address the changing nature of communication processes in relation to a single grand theme. Previous offerings included themes related to the future, the global context, and the virtual world. Thematic Seminar may be taken twice for credit in the major. Lecture. Prerequisites: WRIT 112, Academic Writing II; and COMM 307, Rhetorical Theory.  No lab costs.

Theory/Research

COMM 203 Communication Theory
COMM 230 Research Methods
COMM 460 Critical Studies in Communication
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Theory/Research

COMM 203 Communication Theory 3 Units

An introduction to and critical analysis of the major theories of communication with an emphasis on media. A review of the characteristics of the message, the communicator, and the audience that affect the impact of the message. Lecture. Prerequisite: WRIT 111, Academic Writing I. Offered in spring. No lab costs.

COMM 230 Research Methods 3 Units

Introduction to empirical research methods. Formulation of research problems, development of interviewing skills including data collection and recording, establishing field relations and tactics, transcribing data, analyzing data, and writing research reports. Fundamentals of participant observation and interviewing. Lecture. Prerequisite: WRIT 111, Academic Writing I. Offered in spring.  No lab costs.

COMM 460 Critical Studies in Communication 3 Units

Students in this writing-intensive course gain a thorough understanding of the critical studies approach in communication. We examine media texts and other forms of communication through the lens of current critical and cultural theory. To do so, extensive use is made of the collection of important journal articles housed in the media research room of the library. Successful completion of the course satisfies the departmental requirement for a comprehensive exam. Lecture. Prerequisites: WRIT 112, Academic Writing II; COMM 307, Rhetorical Theory; and COMM 312, Communication and Culture. Offered in fall. No lab costs.

Media Studies

COMM 100 Media Culture
COMM 305 Media, Self & Society
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Media Studies

COMM 100 Media Culture 3 Units

An exploration of immediacy (liking) and the depth and breadth of personal relationships. Development of skills in generating messages in one-on-one informal settings and methods of negotiating. Communication variables might include nationality, ethnicity, religious beliefs, and other ideologies. Lecture. Prerequisite: WRIT 111, Academic Writing 1. Corequisite: WRIT 111, Academic Writing 1. Offered in fall and spring. No lab costs.

COMM 305 Media, Self & Society 3 Units

An exploration of the techniques used in propaganda and the persuasive communication strategies that convert ideas into ideologies. These techniques and strategies are illustrated in several ways including marketing campaigns, artistic efforts, and wartime propaganda. Lecture. Prerequisites: LSCI 105, Information Theory and Practice; WRIT 112, Academic Writing II; and COMM 100, Media Culture or COMM 203, Communication Theory. Offered in spring. No lab costs.

Required for Graduation

COMM 485 Senior Seminar
COMM 490 Communication Internship
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Required for Graduation

COMM 485 Senior Seminar 3 Units

This class is a CAPSTONE for students in the communication major. Students will engage in extensive research and produce a major research paper or original project appropriate to the field of communication. The creation of personal learning portfolios will help identify pertinent themes and research topics for each student. Prerequisite: Senior status. Offered in spring. No lab costs.

COMM 490 Communication Internship 3 Units

An on-the-job practicum in commercial settings in media, design, entertainment, and marketing firms. Work experience is complemented by academic requirements specified in a contract with the faculty advisor. Prerequisite: Communication majors only. Offered in fall, summer, and spring. No lab costs.