Courses in Communication Studies

Courses may not be offered during every semester. To confirm course offerings for each semester, please use the Course Search.

Highly educated, highly connected, and highly prepared

Communication Studies majors at IUPUI are among the most well-rounded, educated, and engaged students. As a Communication Studies major, you will receive a broad-based liberal arts education designed to equip you for life and work in the 21st Century. Communication Studies graduates have many exciting careers, including Social Media, Health, Sales, Human Resources, Management, Law, Marketing, and Education, among many others. Internships and study abroad opportunities can make you stand out and launch the career that’s right for you.

General Communication Studies Courses

Survey course of history, theory, and practice in each of six major areas: rhetoric and public address, theatre arts, interpersonal/ organizational communication, small group dynamics, public communication, and mass media studies. For each of the areas examined, students will apply theory to practice, thereby learning to become more effective communicators.
Select introductory theory and practice in specialized and/or consolidated areas of communication and theatre not directly covered by current curricular offerings. Topics will vary from one semester to another. A student may register for a total of no more than 6 credit hours under this course number.
A survey of theories in the field of human communication. Consideration is given to theories that explain communication behavior between pairs of people, within groups, in organizations, and in societies.
Research or practical experience in various departmental areas as selected by the student prior to registration, outlined in consultation with the instructor, and approved by the department. If a practicum experience, it must represent a minimum of 45 clock hours of practical application per credit hour. A student shall take no more than a total of 9 credit hours of G300 and G491.
Methodologies and types of data analyses for investigating communication phenomena. Students will acquire knowledge and competencies that will allow them to understand and address the process of communication research and relevant communication research issues.
P: Junior standing and departmental approval. Individualized readings and/or project work devised by the student; regular meetings with faculty supervisor.
P: Permission of instructor. Topic announced in prior semester; oriented to current topics in communication and theatre; readings, projects, and papers as indicated by the topic and instructor. May be repeated for a total of 8 credit hours.
This course is designed to teach communication skills and practices related to health care discourse, by examining transactional communication within health care contexts. Topics covered in this course focus directly upon interpersonal dialogue between health care providers and patients.
As your capstone course, this class is designed to help you reflect back on and synthesize your training as a Communication Studies major at IUPUI and to explore ways in which a communication perspective might inform your career after graduation. All Communication Studies majors are required to complete this class, which will address questions such as: What does it mean to approach problems from a communication perspective? What skills and competencies have you acquired through your training as a Communication Studies major? How can you communicate what you have learned and what you can do to future employers?
P: Permission of instructor. For seniors and majors only. Internship in rhetoric and public address, theatre arts, interpersonal/organizational communication, media studies permitted under the auspices of a qualified cooperating organization. Periodic meetings with faculty advisors and term paper detailing intern's professional activities and reactions. Apply during semester prior to desired internship. Total credit applicable to graduation shall not exceed 9 credit hours of COMM-G 300 and COMM-G 491.
P: Upper-division standing or permission of instructor. A survey of the methods used by communication researchers for gathering and interpreting information emphasizing the relationship between theory and research, the seminar will explore important issues such as ethics and naturalistic vs. laboratory approaches


Core Communication Studies Courses

Directed primarily toward the improvement of normal speech patterns, with emphasis on normal production, resonation, and articulation.
This course will provide a theory-based understanding of the processes of listening, introduce the unique characteristics/challenges of listening within a variety of contexts (i.e., organizational listening, listening in health care, relational listening), and increase proficiency as a listener.
The study of human dyadic interaction, including topics such as perception processes, verbal/nonverbal communication, theoretical models of communication, conflict, and interpersonal communication in various relationships. Course covers applications of interpersonal communication theory/research, including communication competence.
P: R110 or equivalent. Preparation and presentation of interviews, speeches, and oral reports appropriate to business and professional organizations; group discussion and parliamentary procedure. This is an intermediate skills course with survey characteristics.
Theory of and practice in effective participation in and leadership of group, committee, conference, and public discussion; application to information-sharing and problem-solving situations.
In this intergroup dialogue, students will participate in semi-structured face-to-face meetings across social identity groups. Students will discuss relevant reading material related to social identity, groups, and group discussion and dialogue. Students will participate in exercises that will be explored in class and in weekly journals. Students will learn about pertinent issues facing the participating groups on campus and in society. The goal is to create a setting in which students engage in open and constructive dialogue, learning, and exploration concerning issues of intergroup relations, conflict, and community. Dialogue sessions will take place during class sessions. Under the direction of the faculty, two advanced student facilitators with previous dialogue experience will facilitate the classroom dialogues.
Discuss queer sexual identity, implications of the controversies surrounding the intersection between LGBT and contextual factors such as age, gender, race, ethnicity, etc. Communicative and behavioral lives of sexual minorities come into focus by employing a critical perspective as we explore self-concept, coming-out, heteronormativity, socio-cultural norms, hate rhetoric, and homophobia
P: R110, C180 or equivalent. Required for online certificate in Communication Studies - Human Communication in a Mediated World. Students learn how interpersonal, group, mass, public, and organizational communication modes are mediated in Internet environments. Students practice message preparation in different modes and contexts.
P: C180 or permission of instructor. Covers core components of the study of interpersonal communication: perception, systems, exchange theoretical approaches; methods of research in interpersonal communication; content (topic) areas such as intimate relationships and friendships. Includes applications of interpersonal communication theory/research.
P: COMM-R 110 or equivalent. Emphasizes verbal and nonverbal communication in pre-interview back-ground research preparation, interview schedule design, question construction, and post-interview self-analysis in several interviewing contexts. Course includes significant assignments designed to help the student enhance oral performance competencies.
P: COMM-C 228 or permission of instructor. Theories of small group communication processes. Explores group communication across cultures, groups in organizations, group decision making, conflict management in groups, and assessing competence in group communication.
P: COMM C180 The course focuses on healing communication -- healing individuals and relationships. Specific topics include healing communication basics, family, couple, group (e.g. support groups) and community healing (restorative justice; peace building). There is a strong focus on research theory and practice. Some assignments involve community participation.
Course examines the influences of nonverbal communication cues: interpersonal dynamics, media, environmental dimensions, and rhetorical strategies. Cross-cultural and gender differences in nonverbal codes will also be explored.
The application of communication theory and research to the study of communication in various types of organizations. Explores reciprocal influence between communication and organizational structures and between communication and managerial styles. Discusses communication designs, superior/ subordinate communication, conflict, information management, networks; communication vis-a-vis employee motivation, satisfaction, and productivity; and communication effectiveness in organizations.
P: COMM C290 or permission of the instructor; This course is designed to provide students with both a theoretical and practical foundation in the knowledge, understanding, and skills to effectively facilitate intergroup dialogues. Students will be trained to facilitate intergroup dialogues in a number of campus and community settings.
This course is an advanced seminar. In this course you will focus on the theories and research about leadership and women. Seminal and contemporary theories of leadership are surveyed along with research on and about female leaders.
P: 3 credit hours of communication or consent of instructor. Exploration of the communication competencies needed by health care professionals. Emphasizes interviewing; verbal and nonverbal skills; group interaction; and intercultural, interprofessional, therapeutic, and organizational communication. Analyzes communication problems encountered in health care and the development of coping strategies.
P: COMM-C 180 or permission of instructor. Theory/research on the role of communication in creating and maintaining marriages and families. Topics include communication and family life cycles, different family forms, family race/ethnicity, power, and conflict. Covers applications of family communication theory/research.
Analyzes conflict as a form of interaction. Examines approaches/perspectives to the study of conflict, the nature of power, face saving, and contentious behaviors. Specific contexts include relational, marital, group, and organizational. Special attention to bargaining and mediation.
Examines the meaning of gender in contemporary American culture and its interaction with and relationship to communication. Explores topics such as gender and verbal and nonverbal communication; gender differences in public and private settings; gender and communication in families, schools, organizations, and the media.
This course is designed to teach communication skills and practices related to health care discourse, by examining transactional communication within health care contexts. Topics covered in this course focus directly upon interpersonal dialogue between health care providers and patients.
P: COMM-R 110 or equivalent. Organization and presentation of information of a practical, technical nature. Emphasis is placed on the study, preparation, and use of audiovisual materials. For nonmajors only.
For nonmajors only. Principles of communication as related to the information-gathering interview, the employment interview, and problem-solving discussion; practice in using these principles.
P: COMM-C 380 or permission of instructor. In-depth exploration of topics and issues at the forefront of research and theory in organizational communication. Topics may include gender issues in organizational communication, sexual harassment, crisis management, organizational culture. Seminar format with research papers and class discussion/presentations.
P: COMM-C 180 or permission of instructor. Cognitive, affective, and behavioral learning about intercultural and intracultural communication to increase under-standing of the centrality of communication in the social, psychological, and environmental aspects of culture.


Media Courses

A critical overview of the role of electronic mass media in contemporary society. Provides an introduction to such issues as industry structure, organization, and economics; regulation, public interest, and media ethics; impact of programming on individuals; media construction of social institutions; media issues in the global village.
P: W132. Examines the process of message design in the context of institutional media use. Analyses of media messages and communication theory; analyses of the message receiver employ quantitative and qualitative audience research methods. Semester project involves planning and writing of script for use in organizational/institutional media context.
Fundamentals and a general understanding of communication technologies are surveyed and discussed in a nontechnical and nonengineering manner. This course will introduce students to basic terminology and to various types of communication technology systems. It will also help students understand new and traditional communication systems and their theories of operation and application (including advantages and limitations).
Principles of visual aesthetics and critical visual literacy applied to the production of mediated messages. Basic typographic, graphic, and photographic skills are examined and practical techniques in different media are discussed. Several hands-on projects are used to develop individual competencies.
Principles of visual and aural aesthetics and critical visual literacy applied to the production of mediated messages. Basic animation, video, and audio skills are examined and practical techniques in different media are discussed. Several hands-on projects are used to develop individual competencies.
P: or C: COMM-M 221. The practical application of video production techniques. In a production center atmosphere, students are instructed in and practice equipment operation and crew responsibilities creating video productions for outside clients. Students may register for more than one section in one semester.
The development of television as an industry, technology, and cultural commodity from its roots in other forms of popular culture to the present, paying particular attention to the social and aesthetic contexts within which programs have been viewed.
P: COMM-M 150, C 190, or permission of instructor. An historical survey of documentary film and video and a consideration of specific problems in documentary theory and practice.
For nonmajors only. Television production principles and practices for students in other disciplines. Emphasis on practical studio experiences with special attention to the roles of the writer, producer, and director. No prior knowledge of media required. May not be counted for credit in the media major emphasis. Lab arranged.
P: Permission of instructor. Topic announced during preceding semester. Specialized study and application of advanced production techniques in audio, video, photography, or graphics. Readings, research, papers, and project as indicated by the topic and instructor.
P: COMM-M 150 or permission of instructor. Aesthetic and critical approaches to modes of television expression. Aesthetics of picture composition, audiovisual relationships, visual narrative, and program content. Analysis of selected television criticism.
P: COMM-M 220 or permission of instructor. Analysis of problems, methods, and technology in graphics. Consideration of advanced techniques in digital image and illustration manipulation including compositing, lighting effects, and different compression formats for video, multimedia, and the World Wide Web.
P: COMM-M 221 or permission of instructor. Analysis of field and studio recording technique with an emphasis on multitrack production. Electronic editing, mixing, and signal processing are considered. Group and individual projects.
P: COMM-M 221 or permission of instructor. Analysis of electronic field production and editing with an emphasis in advanced video editing techniques. Both linear and nonlinear editing systems are considered. Individual and/or group projects.
P: COMM-M 221, COMM-M 290, or permission of instructor. Creative management of production elements to translate a program idea into medium requirements. Advanced course in which the experienced student produced substantive programs combining several formats. Emphasis on design and production from first request by client through program distribution.


Rhetoric Courses

Theory and practice of public speaking; training in thought processes necessary to organize speech content for informative and persuasive situations; application of language and delivery skills to specific audiences. A minimum of six speaking situations.
P: reading placement of at least 80, and placement in W131. Modern concepts of parliamentary forms in legislative assemblies and business meetings; practice in the use of parliamentary procedures
Analysis, evidence, and argument in logical discourse; study of debate forms; practice in argumentative speaking in class, campus, and intercollegiate debate.
Course introduces students to historical and contemporary public address. Students will study the speechmaking of notable American speakers. The study will include speeches from a wide range of established genres and will include campaign rhetoric, debates, historical celebrations, lectures, legislative speaking, presidential speaking, public meetings, movement, rhetoric, and sermons.
P: COMM-R 110 or equivalent. Explores the persuasion process by examining the historical development of persuasion theory and practice in the Western world, and by studying and applying rhetorical concepts in contemporary culture to our everyday lives. Students become more critical consumers and practitioners of communication.
P: COMM-R 110 or equivalent. Critical analysis of the public communication efforts of individuals and organizations; emphasis on research, clarity of organization, application of argument strategies, and development and presentation of public communication messages.
P: COMM-R 110 or equivalent. Examines classical and current theories and research related to persuasion and social influence; considers variables affecting implementation of persuasion principles with special emphasis on media and persuasion. Designed to help students become critical consumers and effective, ethical producers and presenters of persuasive messages.
P: COMM-G 100 or COMM-R 110 and reading placement of at least 80. The course will introduce students to criticism as a method of studying persuasive messages in speeches, fiction, mass media, music, political campaigns, art, and other modes of communication in contemporary culture.
To understand the ideological development of American feminist rhetoric, we examine: 1) speeches by well known, "Great Women" from the 1600's to the present; 2) non-traditional rhetorical forms of "ordinary women," including diaries, fiction, photography, reading groups; 3) intersections among race, class, ethnicity, sexual preference and gender in public discourse.
Provides an opportunity to study, understand, and participate in political communication. Topics covered include the rhetoric of politics, campaign discourse, political advertising, the role of the media and public opinion, the impact of new technology, and the place of interpersonal communication.
Social movements require understanding of persuasion and the limitations and opportunities of media for the goals of the movement. This course explores how people mobilize to transform and improve society by applying theories from rhetoric and media studies to social movements both historical and contemporary.


Theatre Courses

Emphasizes learning through the preparation and performance of plays and nondramatic literature adapted for performance. Various approaches may include but are not limited to performance studies, the study and preparation of a short play, and an original play for young audiences. The various steps and processes involved in the preparation and rehearsal will be based on appropriate theoretical concepts. A student may enroll in no more than 6 credits under this course number.
An introduction to the study of theatre; the wide range of critical, historical, aesthetic, and practical interests necessary to a well-rounded view; emphasis on theatre as an art form and elements of dramatic construction.
Acting I, a study of the theories and methods of acting, basic techniques, character analysis, interpretation, and projection. Class scenes.
Basic principles and practice in analysis and reading of selections from prose, poetry, and drama. Public presentation of programs.
P: COMM-T 205. C: COMM-C 104. An advanced approach to analysis and oral presentation of literature. Emphasis on group work. Analysis, development, and presentation of readers' theatre or chamber theatre materials.
P: or C: COMM-T 133 or consent of instructor. advanced scene study. Laboratory in body movement and vocal techniques; participation in laboratory theatre.
P: Junior standing or consent of instructor. Historical development of children's theatre, with emphasis on scripts appropriate to young audiences: designed to assist future teachers, parents, librarians, and others in understanding theatre as an art form for children ages 6-12, and in selecting appropriate theatre experiences for various periods of the child's life.
Significant factors in primary periods of theatre history to the Renaissance and the effect on contemporary theatre; emphasis on trends and developments; review of representative plays of each period to illustrate the theatrical use of dramatic literature.
Continuation of COMM-T 337, beginning with the Renaissance. May be taken separately.
P: COMM-T 130; COMM-T 133 or permission of the instructor. Introduction to theatre, methodology, and techniques: strong emphasis upon play analysis, actor-director communication, stage compositions. Students will direct scenes.
P: COMM-T 130 or permission of the instructor. This course is based on the concept that theatre is a business and must be operated on sound business principles. Students study the business aspects of operating various types of theatres. The study of the theoretical basis of management is augmented by practical projects.
Introduction to playwriting theories, methodology, and skills; principles of dramatic structure; practice in writing, culminating in a one-act play manuscript; class evaluation and conferences. Credit not given for both T431 and IUB T453.
Laboratory course in informal dramatics, emphasizing the child rather than the production; includes methods of stimulating the child to imaginative creation of drama with the materials of poetry, stories, choral readings, and music.
Theory and practice of puppetry as an art form and as an educational tool. Students will create a wide variety of hand puppets, scripts, and stages as well as master basic techniques of puppet performance.


Graduate Courses

Students explore how scholars from various traditions have described and explained the universal human experience of communication. Students develop an understanding of a variety of communication theories to more completely interpret events in more flexible, useful, and discriminating ways.
The course is designed to offer students an opportunity to examine, assess, and utilize communication research methods to test theory in applied settings and/or to applied ends (i.e., problem-solving, policy, analysis).
P: 6 credits (at any level) of coursework in Communication Studies. Inductive (data-to-theory) approach to knowledge, and associated sequential and non-sequential methods, for studying communication in applied everyday situations, e.g., friendships and other close personal dyads, families, small groups, organizations, and public, media, historical, computer mediated, or health-related contexts.
An applied learning project that provides students with a culminating educational experience. The project gives students the opportunity to apply their knowledge of communicative processes to real-life organizational problems and provides the opportunity to produce a body of work reflecting their abilities.
The course provides an orientation to graduate school expectations and a stronger grasp of the diverse approaches (methods) to constructing knowledge via Communication Studies Research. Students will be expected to perform at graduate level standards in writing for an academic audience, thinking and arguing critically, and analyzing/synthesizing published research.
This course is designed to provide students with a survey of the concepts and strategies for effective pedagogy in communication. Emphasis is placed on building skills and confidence in designing lessons, using appropriate instructional and assessment strategies, and developing a unique and coherent teaching philosophy.
Designed to teach communication skills and practices related to health care talk by examining transactional communication within health care contexts. Topics covered in this course focus directly upon interpersonal dialogue between health care providers and patients.
Critical analysis and employment of rhetorical strategies in forms and types of professional discourses incorporating current technologies.
This interdisciplinary seminar focuses on communication involving families in health care settings, addressing significant issues for graduate and professional students who will work with families, including students in Comm. Studies, Nursing, Psychology, Social Work, Public Health, and Medicine. Topics include communication with families about health care concerns and family-patient-health provider systems
Contemporary communicators in need of mediums of communication in addition to face-to-face interaction require an expanded knowledge of rhetorical strategies. This course will have a special focus on the effective use of the media as a means of persuasion.
This seminar-format course examines the ways in which informal groups and communication networks facilitate a variety of organizational processes (i.e., socialization, diffusion of innovation). Emphasis is placed on developing theoretical understanding of informal groups in organizations as well as on methodological issues involved in studying communication networks in organizations.
This course will introduce students to criticism as a method of studying persuasive messages in speeches, fiction, mass media, musical lyrics, political campaign literature, art, and other modes of communication in contemporary culture.
A course organized primarily around theories and critical strategies commonly considered within the broad category of contemporary criticism. The course utilizes primary theoretical texts to introduce students to a variety of methodologies employed in analyzing media messages and emphasizes the application of theoretical frameworks on the analysis of specific media texts.
Students will learn to communicate effectively and responsively through a series of exercises drawn from the methods of improvisational theater. Students will practice connecting to an audience, paying dynamic attention to others, reading nonverbal cues, and responding appropriately.
Students learn to communicate clearly and vividly about complex scientific research and why it matters, in terms non-scientists can understand. Students practice finding common ground with lay audiences and adjusting levels of message complexity for different audiences.
Given the significant gaps in understanding between the public and scientists, this course trains students in the sciences and health professions to format and structure formatted and structured complex, scientific information for a variety of new, electronic communication platforms including social media. Students will collate, synthesize, and translate scientific evidence into information that a non-expert audience can access, understand, and act on.
Students will theorize and develop techniques for shared meaning-making with community partners. They test methods to develop common ground between experts and community members including the lay public and policy makers. Activities focus on developing trust, open communication, and sharing expertise that values and respects lived experiences of community members.
Applications of communication theory/ research in such areas as relational culture and relationship development. Includes a scholarly project on a real relationship, and applications of research to areas such as pedagogy and couple/family therapy.
The course provides a solid foundation of concepts for understanding and discussing human organizations. Students will analyze, evaluate, and apply the theories and practices related to organizational issues. Through case studies, readings, and practical applications, this course combines a theory-based understanding of communication in organizations with real-world applications.
An in-depth analysis of how variables such as values, beliefs, traditions, language, background, and experiences are manifested in the verbal and nonverbal meaning of messages communicated by cultures and subcultures throughout our global society.
This is a revolving topics course. The changing nature of the topic allows graduate students to explore, synthesize, and integrate knowledge of the field of communication and the particular discipline of applied communication while focusing on a single topic not otherwise addressed in the course of study. May be repeated for credit.
A course designed to teach communication skills and practices related to health care by examining health care communication theory. Topics range across communication levels (interpersonal, intrapersonal, group, organization, mass media, and mediated communication) within a variety of health care contexts.
Applications of theory and research on the role of communication in creating and maintaining marriages/committed couples and families. Includes a scholarly term paper on a real couple or family's communication.
This seminar-format course examines the communication exchanges that facilitate conflict management within organizational contexts. Specific attention is focused on negotiation and mediation; however, the communication of alternative means of conflict and dispute resolution are also discussed. In addition, students will be introduced to methods for assessing conflict interaction in organizations.
Applied communication students who choose the thesis option will identify a research topic and develop it under the guidance of the student's thesis director (IUPUI professor). The thesis topic will be related to the field of applied communication in its foci and method.
This course integrates applied communication theory and practice in a practice setting. Students will apply theoretical concepts and research tools, conduct projects, and interact with communication professionals in the designated setting. In concert with the student's chosen area of concentration, he or she will address issues of importance to that particular organization.
This course provides students with the opportunity to synthesize and apply knowledge acquired through course work and professional experience into a completed research project in applied communication. Students will work independently on a topic/issue of choice under the guidance of graduate faculty.
An overview of practical and scholarly approaches to computer mediated communication. The readings address mass communication, discourse, community, gender, intercultural understanding, ethics, interpersonal relationships, identity, organizational communication, and education.
Takes a rhetorical/critical approach to persuasion in its broadest sense, how it affects our lives everyday and how we can find evidence of persuasive tactics in unexpected places. We will look broadly at theories of persuasion and their application across contexts and fields. In order to keep our attention to how these theoretical perspectives make their way into practice we will devote considerable attention to specific examples of persuasion and analysis of persuasive phenomena.
Examines the public communication involved in various political contexts. We will consider the communication involved in political campaigns, advertising, and oratory; social media, technology, and popular culture; the news, framing, and political media; citizenship, public deliberation, and decision making in what some argue is a divided political culture. We will read and discuss state of the art research in political communication and meet individuals who are currently working in a communication capacity in public political campaigns.
Focus on the effect of media on health behavior. Theories of health behavior change and media effects examined; applications of theory to health campaigns evaluated. Examples of mediated health campaigns and effectiveness discussed. Considerations include: interplay among theory, research, practice; how theory informs practice; how research aids in theory construction/refinement.
An introduction to qualitative research methods in communication studies, with an emphasis on health communication research. Provides an overview of several techniques for gathering and analyzing qualitative data.
Course focuses on the principles and theory of descriptive and inferential statistics within the context of health communication research. Topics include ttest, ANOVA, MANOVA, ANCOVA, correlation, multiple regression, and SEM. Students will gain proficiency using SPSS to analyze novel data sets, and will conduct their own health communication research projects and report the results.
This seminar offers an interface between learning from practicing providers and experts in medical care specialties and becoming enmeshed in health communication research. The course is structured so that the student gains insights from experts in the medical field while also gaining an overview of research issues through reading and engaging in health communication research.
This course is designed to allow PhD students to complete independent research projects prior to enrollment in the dissertation course. Students can enroll in 1-9 credit hours in any given semester, depending on the nature of the project. The fieldwork/research course is designed to focus the student's research interests and to serve as a spring-board for dissertation work. Students must have ample preparation in some theoretical area and in one or more research methods prior to registration for the course. The course will allow students to initiate or conduct a research study, including the collection and examination of data (broadly defined), to answer a question or to test a hypothesis related to communication theory. May be repeated for credit.
This course is eligible for a deferred grade.

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Contact Mike Polites,, Academic Advisor.