Communication Courses and Descriptions


COM 5050: Special Topics in Communication 1-3 hrs.

Group study of special topics in communication education, interpersonal and organizational communication, mass communication, oral interpretation, and film. Many of these special needs courses are organized in response to special needs or interests of students on campus, in the community and in the region. Some topics are announced in the Schedule of Course Offerings; some are added during the semester. Further information and a full listing of topics may be obtained from the Departmental Offices, 301 Sprau Tower.

COM 5060: Special Topics in Global Communication 3 hrs.

Study of special topics in global/international communication such as comparative media systems, development communication, Asian/African/South American communication, Governments and Propaganda, Transnational Media Corporations and Communication.

COM 5070: Freedom of Expression 3 hrs.

The tradition and justifications for freedom of expression are explored and applied to contemporary concerns facing interpersonal, organizational, and mass media-based communication. Beginning with the historical roots of freedom of expression, students will trace the rise of modern First Amendment rights, through careful case analysis. Topics to be investigated include free expression on the Internet and in the mass media, hate speech, speech codes, sexual harassment, freedom of expression in the workplace, corporate free speech rights and other topical free speech issues.

COM 5410: Telecommunications Law & Policy 3 hrs.

This course provides an overview of the essential regulatory and policy issues governing the fields of media and telecommunications. Special attention is given to such topics as First Amendment, libel, intellectual property, media ownership and privacy. A case study approach is used for the purpose of understanding legal precedent. Prerequisite: COM 2000 or graduate standing.

COM 5510: Methods of Media Analysis 3 hrs.

An investigation of the approaches to media analysis (auterist, intentionalist, sociological, structural, historical, ideological, psychological) by intensive "reading" and shot sequence examination and evaluation of widely divergent works.

COM 5540: Communication Technology 3 hrs.

This course provides an overview of telecommunications technology and services, including satellite communication, fiber optics, wireless communication, advanced digital television and Internet communication.  Special attention is given to the business strategies underlying the use of such technologies and services, while also exploring the policy and social use issues that are likely to result from the development of new and enhanced forms of communication technology. Prerequisites: COM 2400 or graduate standing.

COM 5600: Teaching Communication 3 hrs.

This course provides an overview of the concepts, materials, and methods used in teaching communication courses. The focus will be on the following: (a) philosophies and theories of speech communication, (b) development of instructional strategies and objectives, and (c) development and evaluation of teaching materials. Students will take part in, observe, and evaluate teaching-learning processes.

COM 5640: Telecommunications Networks 3 hrs.

International business has been transformed by the power of instantaneous communication. The combination of computer and telecommunications has collapsed the time and distance factors that once separated nations, people and business organizations. This course will examine the subject of intelligent networking which provides the technology and electronic pathways that makes global communication possible for small and large organizations. Prerequisite: Junior or Senior standing and COM 2400, or graduate standing.

COM 6010: Introduction to Communication Theory and Research 3 hrs.

This course introduces the various research paradigms and theories in the field of communication. Through examination of current communication literature, students will examine a broad range of methodologies and approaches to communication research.

COM 6020: Quantitative Communication Research 3 hrs.

This course provides an introduction to social scientific methods, techniques, and instruments for conducting communication research. The course examines methodologies including evaluation and assessment, experimental and survey research designs and statistical analysis including descriptive and inferential statistics.

COM 6040: Seminar in Com Ethics 3 hrs.

An in-depth examination of a central issue in communication ethics as it manifests itself in different contexts, including mass communication, organizational communication and interpersonal communication. Issues may vary from term to term. Examples include deception, confidentiality, autonomy and privacy.

COM 6050: Qualitative Communication Research 3 hrs.

This course will examine the philosophies, methods and techniques used in qualitative research. The focus of the seminar will be on teaching, and putting into practice, specific qualitative methodological processes within the study of communication phenomena. Students will be required to engage in project(s) which develop the ability to write qualitatively as well.

COM 6400: Seminar in Mass Communication 3 hrs.

Exploration of various topics in mass communication. Possible topics may include the history of film, media criticism, news and public affairs, international telecommunications, cultural diversity and the media or others. May be repeated for credit under different topics.

COM 6410: Technologies and Communication Processes 3 hrs.

The course surveys the current literature on the impact of technology mediation on communication processes in a variety of interpersonal, domestic, organizational, social, and public communication contexts. Ethical and philosophical issues pertaining to technological persuasion and control, invasion of person privacy and knowledge management are also discussed.

COM 6430: Communication, Strategic Planning and Innovation 3 hrs.

A basic theme found throughout this course is that successful innovation presupposes effective communication between and among all organizational players involved in the development of new products and services. The course will examine the importance of communication to innovation and of innovation (and innovative thinking) to the long-term success of today’s business and nonprofit organizations. Strategic planning is the set of managerial decisions and actions that determine the long-term performance of a company or organization. Innovation is important because it creates a long-term lasting advantage for an organization. The goal of highly innovative organizations is to make innovation a sustainable, repeatable process.

COM 6450: Mass Communication 3 hrs.

This course will examine the development of mass communication as a field of academic study, including the major questions that have guided and challenged research in this area. Students will survey a broad range of mass communication theories that address media production, analysis, and reception.

COM 6700: Seminar in Interpersonal Communication 3 hrs.

Exploration of selected topics in interpersonal communication. Possible topics may include gender communication, micro-organizational communication, intercultural communication, health communication, family communication, dialogue, and community or others. May be repeated for credit under different topics.

COM 6730: Conflict Management 3 hrs.

Based on the assumption that conflict pervades human life, the course explores the strategies of productive and nonproductive interpersonal conflict within the organizational setting. Theories of conflict are examined, and an explanation of the sources that stimulate conflict in humans is made.

COM 6740: Interpersonal Communication 3 hrs.

Examination of traditional and contemporary theoretical perspectives and research in interpersonal communication. Students will apply theory to interpersonal settings and will critique the contributions and limitations of various theoretical approaches to the understanding of interpersonal relationships.

COM 6800: Seminar in Organizational Communication 3 hrs.

Exploration of selected topics in organizational communication. Possible topics may include corporate advocacy, public relations, global organizations, training and development, dialogue, climate and culture in organizations. May be repeated for credit under different topics.

COM 6810: Group Communication Processes 3 hrs.

A study of small group communication as it affects problem solving and decision making procedures. Emphasis will be on developing an understanding of how participants in problem-solving groups work together and how they can be made more effective through leader facilitation. The student will have practical experience in studying problem-solving and decision-making methods.

COM 6820: Organizational Communication 3hrs.

This course examines the historical and contemporary perspectives influential to our understanding of organizing and communication's role in this process. Students will investigate foundational topics in organizational communication, such as leadership, supervisor-employee relationships, and socialization, as well as examine issues currently affecting organizational communication research and practice, such as emotional labor, self-organizing systems theory, and identity.

COM 6830: Leadership and Communication in Organizations 3hrs.

This course examines current trends in leadership research. Topics to be explored and discussed include: leadership styles and competencies, women and leadership, culture and leadership, power and leadership, transformational leadership, and ethical leadership. Emphasis will be placed on the application of leadership research in for-profit and nonprofit organizations.

COM 6900: Special Topics in Communication Research Methods 3 hrs.

Focused training in specialized methods of communication research.  Possible methods may include survey design and construction, specific advanced statistical analysis techniques, ethnomethodology, etc.  Course may be repeated for credit under different topics.

COM 7000: Master's Thesis 1-6 hrs. (6 hrs. needed to complete thesis)

COM 7100: Independent Research 2-6 hrs.

COM 7150: Professional Project 3 hrs.


Program Requirements

Our master's program is 30 credit hours. Please see the Permanent Program Form for specific requirements.


School of Communication
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5318 USA
(269) 387-3130 | (269) 387-3990 Fax