Communication Course Descriptions

Students majoring in Mass Communication or Communication Arts or minoring in the Department of Communication must earn a “C” or better to receive credit for these courses (2017-2018 catalog and beyond). Majors are expected to save selected course assignments and include them in the COM 420 Capstone course (formerly Portfolio Prep)).

COM 201. (3) Fundamentals of Speech. Communication theory and practice for public speaking with emphasis on content, research, organization, delivery, adaptation to the audience, as well as listening and speaker evaluation. Prerequisite: minimum English ACT score of 18, or satisfactory completion of EN 099 or higher. 

COM 201H. (3) Fundamentals of Speech, Honors. Accelerated training in public speaking, with emphasis on the evolution of rhetoric and speaking to a variety of audiences. This course utilizes class discussion and written responses to further encourage critical thinking skills. This course is open to students in the Honors Program and other students with an English ACT score of 28 or higher with departmental approval. 

COM 205. (3) Communication in a Global Age. Foundation course in communication, placing U.S. media in a global perspective and examining both human and technological impact on communication. 

COM 215. (3) Media Writing. Writing applications across multiple media platforms including print, broadcast, social media, news releases and scripts, for traditional and new media. Grammar and language skills are refined, and Associated Press style is introduced. Prerequisites: EN 111, 112 or EN 121, 122. Course fee: $30.00. 

COM 221. (3) Human Communication. Students develop effective communication skills by studying how people interact in a variety of situations, including group settings, interpersonal communication, mass communication and speaking before the public. Prerequisite: minimum English ACT score of 16 or satisfactory completion of EN 099 or higher. 

COM 230. (3) Foundations of Public Relations. The history, development, and professional practices of public relations in society, including the public relations process and standards.

COM 243. (3) Aural-Visual Production. Hands on experience in familiarizing students with the foundation of aesthetic values, current professional standards, and technical tools of creation. Introduction to individual elements of all three phases of production. Prerequisite: COM 205. Course fee: $50.00. 

COM 303W. (3) Communications Research Methods. A class centering on understanding the relationships between philosophy, theory, and research methods used in the study of communication. The class focuses on experimental, survey, textual analyses, and naturalistic inquiries. Students will develop a working knowledge of both quantitative and qualitative data analyses procedures as well as being able to critically appraise communication research. 

COM 306. (3) Interpersonal Communication. Provides a functional interpretation of interpersonal communication in societal, educational, and vocational relationships. Appropriate readings and research regarding the influence of communication between two individuals is a primary focus of the course. 

COM 308. (3) Nonverbal Communication. This course studies the use of symbolic transmissions outside verbal contexts. Specific topics include the influences of gestures, dress, posture, and facial expressions on both senders and receivers. 

COM 314. (3) Communication Theory and the Public Interest. An introduction to modern communication theories, communication effects and ethical issues associated with communication in a contemporary mediated environment. 

COM 317. (3) Digital and Social Media. The blending of text, sounds and images in a converged media environment. Basic computer literacy is required. Students learn aural and visual aesthetics and web content production. Prerequisites: COM 243. Course fee: $50.00. 

COM 326. (3) Broadcast News Writing and Producing. Techniques of news gathering, writing and producing for television, radio, and new media. Prerequisites: COM 220, COM 243. Course fee: $50.00. 

COM 330. (3) Group Communication. Deals with communication theory and its applications to small groups within a variety of settings. Attention is given to the roles of the discussants and the emergence of group leaders as well as the influence communication variables have on each.

COM 331. (3) Argumentation and Debate. An introduction to the theory and practice of argumentation and debate as they are employed in our society. This course includes a study of basic argumentative theory, burden of proof, and reasoning within both public address and debate contexts for issue resolution. 

COM 340. (3) Media Criticism. Fundamentals of criticism with emphasis on content, visual literacy, programming genres, and social impact. Coursework will involve viewing and analysis of various types of media content. Prerequisite: COM 205. 

COM 341. (3) Radio Production and Performance. The basic techniques of operation, production, and performance of radio and audio media. Course fee: $50.00. 

COM 342. (3) Television Production and Performance. Studio and field television production techniques including producing, equipment operation, and on- camera performance. Prerequisite: COM 243. Course fee: $50.00. 

COM 356. (3) Advanced Reporting. A continuation of COM 215 with emphasis on the development of reportorial skills necessary for advanced news gathering and news writing. Prerequisite: COM 215. Course fee: $30.00. 

COM 368. (3) Copy Editing. The processes of copy editing, proofreading, headline writing, and newspaper layout. Course fee: $30.00. 

COM 370. (3) Feature Writing. Theories, techniques, and practice in writing feature articles for newspapers and magazines. Prerequisite: COM 215. Course fee: $30.00. 

COM 374. (3) Public Relations Cases. Study of individual cases in the practice of public relations. May include field trip. Prerequisite: COM 230. 

COM 386. (3) Gender Communication. Examines multiple relationships between communication and gender. Emphasizes how communication creates gender and power roles and how communicative patterns reflect, sustain, and alter social conceptions of gender. Also listed as WS 386 but creditable only in field for which registered. 

COM 390. (3) Public Relations Writing. Theories, techniques, and practice in advanced writing for public relations. Coursework will include the writing of mission statements, position statements, advertorials, appeal letters, video news releases, speeches, and opinion pieces for a variety of media outlets and platforms. Prerequisites: COM 215 and COM 230. 

COM 400W. (3) Communication Law and Ethics. An introduction to legal and ethical responsibilities related to communication in the United States. This course distinguishes between forms of communication that have constitutional protection and those which have limits (libel, privacy, copyright, intellectual property, censorship, commercial speech, broadcast licensing, access to information) on freedom of expression. 

COM 402. (3) Persuasion. An analysis of the principles and techniques used in all forms of persuasive communication. The course includes both theoretical and applied work concerning the use of communication to produce specific attitudes within receivers. 

COM 410. (3) Layout and Design I. Preparation of newsletters, brochures, and small publications using current desktop publishing software. 

COM 411. (3) Layout and Design II. This course is a continuation of the skills learned in Layout and Design I and includes preparation of printed/digital documents, publications and infographics, designing websites and social media platforms and editing images, using current desktop publishing and design software. Prerequisite: COM 410. 

COM 417. (3) Intercultural Communication. This course provides an introduction to communication among people from different cultural and co-cultural groups. It focuses on intercultural communication theories and research and their application to multi-cultural contexts. 

COM 420. (3) Communication Capstone. Developing professional skills such as writing a resume, writing a cover letter, participating in an employment interview, and creating a professional portfolio. Should be completed by all departmental majors in their junior or senior year.  

COM 440. (3) Organizational Communication. An analysis of communication within complex organizations. Areas covered include communication auditing, interviews, decision-making, communication networks, and problem solving. 

COM 441 (3) Podcasting & Creative Audio. A comprehensive overview of podcasting, content development and podcast production techniques. Students will produce their own original podcasts, reflecting their individualized interests and skills. Finally, students learn to set-up a viable system for podcast production, distribution, and possible monetization of their creations. Other advanced, creative, audio techniques will be produced. Prerequisites: COM 341, or COM 317, or consent of instructor. Course fee: $30.00. 

COM 442. (3) Public Relations Campaigns. Research, planning, management, and evaluation of public relations campaigns. Prerequisites: COM 215, COM 230, and COM 374. 

COM 455. (3) Mass Media History. A survey of media and their influence from colonial times to the present, with attention to the personalities who shaped journalism and mass communication. Includes an introduction to historiography and historical research methods. 

COM 460. (3) Advanced Radio-Television Production Theories and practical application of production of programs in the broadcast and digital media industries. Final product(s) suitable to the focus of the course will be required. Prerequisites: COM 341 and 342. Course fee$30.00. 

COM 465. (3) Global Media Systems. Media systems differ substantially around the world. This course examines world mass media: history, development, economic and social influence, theories of control, international news agencies and new technologies. 

COM 470. (3) Media Management and Diversity. Management responsibilities of digital, electronic and print media managers, including social, legal, economic, and cultural diversity issues. Prerequisite: COM 205 or consent of instructor for non-majors. Course fee: $30.00. 

COM 475. (3) Crisis Management and Community Relations. An examination of communication principles and the spectrum of forces that are involved in community and media relations. Students will learn the implementation of descriptive, analytic, assessment, communications and application skills. Course is taught online. 

COM 480. (3) Topics in Communication. Detailed examination of a specific topic in the field of communication. Topic will be announced prior to scheduling of the class. May include field trip. A $30.00 Course fee may be required according to the topic. 

COM 485. (3) MANE Agency. Accelerated training in agency public relations. This course will utilize class discussion and written responses to further encourage critical thinking skills. May require a field trip. 

COM 497. (0) Principles of Public Relations Certification. Certification training program for the Universal Accreditation Board's Certificate in Principles of Public Relations. This is neither a required nor elective course within the Communication Arts or Mass Communication majors. Enrollment is restricted to seniors and recent graduates who plan to seek UAB certification.  A training course fee is paid directly to the UAB. 

COM 498. (1-3) Independent Study. Independent study and research in an area of communication arts or mass communication under departmental guidance and supervision. The length of time and amount of study will determine credit earned. May be repeated but not to exceed a maximum of three (3) credit hours. Prerequisite: departmental approval required prior to registration. 

COM 499. (1-3) Internship. Special field experience under departmental guidance and evaluation. The length of time and amount of study will determine credit earned. May be repeated but not to exceed a maximum of six (6) credit hours. Prerequisite: departmental approval required prior to registration.