Course Descriptions

J614 Communication and Public Opinion
Theories and assumptions surrounding public opinion formation and change; measurement and reporting of public opinion trends; public reactions to polling, news information and marketing communications; analysis of public opinion data.

J616 Mass Media and Youth
Children’s and adolescents’ use of mass media and mass media effects on them. Particular attention is given to changes in comprehension and other cognitive activities that give insights into media and effects.

J617 Health Communication in the Information Age
Classic and contemporary health communication theories and applications, drawing also from other disciplines (e.g., psychology, marketing, public policy, sociology, etc.) that apply to health communication settings.

J618 Mass Communication and Political Behavior
Interrelationships of news media, political campaigning and the electorate. Considers the impact of media coverage and persuasive appeals on image and issue voting, political participation and socialization.

J620 International Communication
Theoretical, practical and ethical issues related to historical and contemporary contexts of international communication.

J621 Mass Communication in Developing Nations
Development, structure, and role of mass communication systems in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

J646 Mass Media and the Consumer
The relationship between the citizen/consumer and the mass media, with particular attention to the role of advertising. Considers both the positive and negative aspects of the media-advertising-consumer relationships.

J658 Communication Research Methods
Survey of methods for investigating mass communication process and effects. Provides a framework for evaluating communication research and some hands-on experience in the process of conducting empirical investigations.

J662 Mass Media and Minorities
Representations of minority groups in U.S. news and entertainment mass media. Historical, social, political, economic, and other factors influencing the mass mediated depictions of minorities.

J666 Professional Responsibility in Mass Communication
Explores concept of “professionalism” in journalism and strategic communication, with emphasis on societal expectations for media and ethical systems. Applies theory to specific cases.

J669 Literary Aspects of Journalism
Critical reading of reporting and writing, including in-depth reporting, extended writings by journalists.

J675 Relationship Between Media Law and Media Ethics
The meaning and intersection of law and ethics; pressures t o put legal sanction behind ethnical standards; legal and ethnical questions in a variety of mass communication contexts.

J676 Special Topics: 

  • Colloquium in Professional Communication Careers. This course explores the wide range of communication careers spanning the journalism and strategic communications fields.  Guest speakers offer their unique perspectives regarding challenges and opportunities in advertising, news reporting, public relations, broadcast, radio, marketing in the private and public sectors.
  • Community Service Learning-Technology for Social Change. This service-learning course integrates the study of information technologies into community engagement practices. The course centers around applying technological knowledge and skills obtained from the class to a local collaborative project that aims produce social change at the community-level.
  • Cyberspace, Hypermedia and Society. New media as product and process; the production of “cyberspace”; investigates the “new information society” through theoretical discussions, geographical mappings, and historical case studies.
  • Digital Media Law and Ethics. Legal and ethical questions raised by digital media and their effects on society and individuals.
  • The Future of News. The shift from print to digital consumption of news; new forms of multimedia that characterize the new news universe; new audiences for news “reading.”
  • Internet and Political Mobilization. Impact of new communication technologies on political mobilization; empirical observations of digital divides, social networks, public opinion, political knowledge, deliberation, the public sphere, political campaigns, government and community.
  • New Media and Society. This class examines the history and social influence of new media in society. The lectures and class discussions are organized around such broad themes as new media and their likely impact on nationalism, democracy, history, values, privacy, and manyother issues.
  • Video Games and Mass Communication. Video games and social, economic and cultural artifact; controversies over their contributions to violence and stereotyping, lawlessness and addiction, as well as their potential for enhancing education, community-building and artistic production.

J800 Advanced Mass Media Practices
Advanced projects in professional practice in mass media. When course focuses on journalism, it typically emphasizes advanced projects in specialized reporting. Course is designed for professional-track M.A. students. Emphasis varies with instructor. Course may be repeated with different instructor.

J805 Qualitative Communication Research
Introduction to observation and interviewing techniques (under the rubric of ethnography), as well as the analysis of documentary evidence and various forms of textual analysis. Students will have an opportunity to get brief hands-on experience with each of these methods in a set of “in-the-field” exercises.

J806 Conceptualization and Design of Mass Communication Research
Assists students in turning research questions into substantive research designs with understanding of the concepts involved. For most students, the final product will be a well-developed thesis or dissertation proposal.

J810 Mass Communication Law and Policy
The law of mass communication, with particular emphasis on communication and the First Amendment; examines different theoretical perspectives on the meaning of freedom of expression and freedom of press and several recent legal developments.

J819 History of Mass Communication
Intensive reading and discussion designed to introduce students to literature of mass communication history

J829 Political Communication
This course examines the role of communication in American politics. Topics covered include the communication of politics (e.g., communication by politics elites, effects of mass media and interpersonal communication on political attitudes) as well as the politics of communications (regulation of political communication, policy issues, etc.).

J830 International/Development Communication
Readings and discussion focusing on global media issues. Topics may include news flow, cultural imperialism, representations, history and political economy, globalization trends, new technologies, mass media and nation building, communication and grassroots politics.

J839 Critical and Cultural Approaches to Mass Communication
Intensive readings focusing on the critical studies and/or cultural studies traditions in mass communication theory and research.

J840 Strategic Mass Communication
Intensive readings focusing on theories, strategies, and methods involved in the strategic uses of mass communication. The course may focus on macro or micro issues.

J849 Mass Communication and the Individual
Theory and research on the social psychological foundations of individuals’ relationship with mass media; the cognitive, attitudinal, affective, motivational, and behavioral processes that underlie individuals’ uses of mass media and their interactions with media content (and one another).

J860 Science and Environment Communication
Course uses available scholarship and commentary to track the evolution of mass media coverage of science and the environment. Emphasis on how journalists utilize evidence, the influence of scientific and journalistic norms on stories, and the effects of mass media on science and environment messages to the public.

J861 Environmental Information and Education Programs
Examines information and education programs pertaining to environmental issues and policies. Emphasis on communication campaigns and programs aimed at public awareness, opinion, and behavior change. Includes program design, planning, and assessment.

J870 Mass Communication and Societal Institutions
Systematic procedures for theory building and comparison of theories of communication processes between mass media and other societal institutions and their relationships with both individuals and micro-social systems.

J880 Topics in Mass Communication:

  • Communication Media and Social Protest. Multi-disciplinary approach to the role of communication media in the dynamics of social protest; antecedents and consequences of mediated messages as they impinge upon processes related to social protest.
  • Integrated Media Storytelling. A low-technology platform-specific course that explores alternative forms for nonfiction storytelling. This class teaches practices, techniques, critiques and concepts of multimedia such as audio and video and interactivity such as social media for news ad other kinds of public information exchange.
  • Internet and Democracy. Connection between the Internet and civic and political life; the linkages between new media and new community building and governance processes; sociological, psychological, legal and political perspectives, placing the implications of technology for democratic functioning at the center of inquiry.
  • Journalism and Theory. Content and purposes of journalism; relationships between journalism and societal institutions; changing technology and challenges to journalism industries.
  • Long Form Journalism. Advanced projects in professional practice, with J800 a required prerequisite. The class emphasizes narrative journalism, magazine writing both in print and e-formats, blogging, and freelance professional practices.
  • Mobile Media, Everyday Life, and Political Mobilization. Impact of mobile communication technologies on political organizing and mobilization; empirical observations of social network diffusion, public opinion expression, political knowledge transfer, deliberative discussion, and new modes of interaction with the public sphere, political campaigns, government and community.
  • Practicum in Communication Research. Practicum on documenting, organizing, reviewing, revising, presenting, and publishing empirical research in mass communication that is intended for doctoral-track students in mass communication and related disciplines.
  • Race/Ethnicity, Media and Society. Review of key issues related to race and ethnicity; the roles of mass communication in multicultural contexts; media representation and problems of democratic inclusion.

J901 Colloquium in Mass Communication
Presentations by mass communication scholars and practitioners designed to acquaint graduate students with theoretical, methodological and practical approaches to the study of communication.

J910 Seminar—Mass Communication Law and Policy
Research in the law of mass communication. Students will explore documentary, social scientific, and qualitative research in the context of mass communication law, and design and execute research projects.

J919 Seminar—History of Mass Communication
Seminar in the history of mass communication in which students are expected to produce original research based on primary documents.

J930 Seminar—International/Development Communication
Research on global media issues. Possible topics include news flow, cultural imperialism, representations, history and political economy, globalization trends, new technologies, mass media and nation building, communication and grassroots politics.

J939 Seminar—Critical and Cultural Approaches to Mass Communication
Research in critical studies and/or cultural studies. Topics may include political economy of mass media, theories of representation, critical news analysis and critique, cultural politics and mass media, critical approaches to mass media, race and gender.

J940 Seminar—Strategic Communication
Research involving strategic uses of mass communication. The seminar involves students in active research on a preselected issue in strategic mass communication, and affords an opportunity for students to design an original research proposal concerning an issue of their choice.

J949 Seminar—Mass Communication and the Individual
Seminar in a specialized topic involving mass media use and effects on individuals. The course features readings from current research literature. In addition, the course will involve either a group or individual research project.

J960 Seminar—Science and Environmental Communication
Research concerning mass media coverage of science and the environment. It provides an opportunity for students to design a research proposal on an issue of their choice.

J970 Seminar—Mass Communication and Societal Institutions
Construction and testing of theories of mass media and societal institutions and their relationships with individuals and micro-social systems. Various quantitative, qualitative, or historical approaches are appropriate to research for the seminar research paper requirement.

J980 Seminar—Topics in Mass Communication
In-depth research in a specific topic in mass communication.

J990 Thesis

J999 Independent Research Problems