Graduate Courses

The School of Communication at Western Michigan University offers a variety of courses in its graduate program

The School of Communication at Western Michigan University offers a variety of courses in its graduate program, designed to provide specialized degree paths for different students. Our master's program is 30 credit hours. Please see the permanent program form for specific requirements.

Courses offered and descriptions

COM 5060: Special Topics in Global Communication (three credit hours)

Study of special topics in global and international communication such as comparative media systems, development communication, Asian/African/South American communication, governments and propaganda, transnational media corporations and communication.

COM 5600: Teaching Communication (three credit hours)

This course provides an overview of the concepts, materials and methods used in teaching communication courses. The focus will be on the following:

  • Development and evaluation of teaching materials.
  • Development of instructional strategies and objectives.
  • Philosophies and theories of speech communication.

Students will take part in, observe and evaluate teaching-learning processes.

COM 6010: Introduction to Communication Theory and Research (three credit hours)

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 (three credit hours)

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 6050: Qualitative Communication Research (three credit hours)

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 engage in project(s) which develop the ability to write qualitatively.

COM 6400: Seminar in Mass Communication (three credit hours)

This course explores 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. This course may be repeated for credit under different topics.

COM 6430: Communication, Strategic Planning and Innovation (three credit hours)

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 examines 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 (three credit hours)

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 (three credit hours)

Selected topics in interpersonal communication will be explored in this course. Possible topics may include gender communication, micro-organizational communication, intercultural communication, health communication, family communication, dialogue and community or others. COM 6700 be repeated for credit under different topics.

COM 6730: Conflict Management (three credit hours)

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 (three credit hours)

This course examines 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 (three credit hours)

COM 6800 explores selected topics in organizational communication. Possible topics may include corporate advocacy, public relations, global organizations, training and development, dialogue, climate and culture in organizations. This course may be repeated for credit under different topics.

COM 6810: Group Communication Processes (three credit hours)

This course studies 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. You will have practical experience in studying problem-solving and decision-making methods in this course.

COM 6820: Organizational Communication (three credit hours)

This course examines the historical and contemporary perspectives influential to our understanding of organizing and communication's role in this process. You 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 (three credit hours)

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 7000: Master's Thesis (one to six credit hours; six credit hours needed to complete thesis)

The thesis project is a research paper in which you propose and test new ideas, replicate an existing study or advance theoretical understanding of an issue. The thesis must demonstrate scholarly abilities, including solid conceptualization, analysis and writing. The thesis must clearly define the problem to be investigated, demonstrate mastery of relevant academic literature and show competence in the relevant methodology and analysis techniques. The thesis shall consist of six credit hours and shall be considered part of the communication electives.

COM 7100: Independent Research (two to six credit hours)

COM 7150: Professional Project (three credit hours)

The professional project option requires you to demonstrate your knowledge of the theory and methods of communication through an applied communication project. The professional project may involve workshops, case studies, training, creation websites, communication assessments or other options within the context of your chosen area of study. The professional project shall consist of three credit hours and shall be considered part of the communication electives.