Communication Studies

Chair: John S. Dahlberg, PhD

Introduction

The Communication Studies major is grounded firmly in the liberal arts tradition. The Communication Studies curriculum reflects an equal interest in what is communicated within and between cultures and in how communication takes place in intrapersonal, interpersonal, organizational and mediated contexts. The department’s curriculum addresses three major facets of the academic study of communication: theory, criticism and professional skills. In the Communication Studies program, students examine the dynamic nature of modern communication processes and technologies by emphasizing the theory, structure, function, value systems and effects of society’s communication institutions. In practical terms, students examine how we communicate as families, couples and friends. We study how we interact in work and corporate settings; how we persuade and are persuaded, as individuals, professionals and intended targets; and how we affect others through various media, from oral to written to electronic to digital. The program offers students a variety of opportunities to acquire professional knowledge, skills and production competencies relevant to diverse careers in many communication-related fields. Recognizing the need to prepare students for productive lives in a changing world, the department aims at educating its graduates to welcome change. In a rapidly changing and highly competitive job market, the Communication Studies faculty provides the foundation on which to build meaningful roles in the contemporary world. Students may concentrate in Media Studies, Advertising and Public Relations, and/or Interpersonal/Organizational Communication. For a more detailed description of the program, faculty, facilities, academic and co-curricular opportunities please go to the Communications Studies website.

Qualifications

Majors must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0, a minimum grade of C- in all communication courses, and a minimum overall average of 2.0 in all communication coursework. Performance of majors is subject to review relative to their continuation in the program. Communication Studies majors select an academic sequence within the Communication major and need at least 36 hrs. of communication courses (33 hrs. for dual majors).

Advisement

All students should have an advisor in the major and should contact the department directly to have an advisor assigned if they do not already have one.  Major advisors are normally assigned in the sophomore year, but may be requested in the freshman year to supplement a student's freshman advisor (their GRIF 101 facilitator). Meetings with academic advisors are required prior to students receiving their PIN for course registration each semester. All majors should work closely with their advisor in discussing career expectations, choosing their major electives, developing their entire academic program and planning their co-curricular or supplemental academic experiences.

Communication Studies majors are assigned an advisor at the beginning of their freshman year. If you are a transfer into the Communication Studies major or you do not have an advisor, please contact the Communication Studies departmental office at 716-888-2115 so that an advisor can be assigned to you.

Major Experiences

Internships and Independent Study

Internships (COM 488 , COM 498 ) awarding up to a maximum of 12 credit hours may be earned by qualified Communication Studies majors at approved locations in Buffalo or other cities. The internships are individually arranged, require department approval and are available only to junior or senior candidates with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 and a Communication average of at least 2.7. Internships are taken on a Pass/Fail basis and are counted towards free elective credit. Students are encouraged to plan early to do internships during their junior and senior years. Independent Study (COM 499 ) provides the opportunity for a student to work under the supervision of a faculty member to complete an academic research project culminating in a scholarly product or a production of some kind. Opportunity for independent study (three credits) is open only to junior and senior majors in good standing with consent of the instructor, chair, and associate dean. Please note that Independent Studies are granted only in very specific circumstances. See the department chair for more information.

Dual Majors

Students who wish to expand their educational opportunities may decide to declare a dual major. The decision may be based on career goals or planned graduate studies. Before a student declares a dual major, it is important to meet with the appropriate academic departments for advisement. Some dual major combinations can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in some cases additional course work may be required. In order to declare a dual major, the student must complete the appropriate dual major request form and get the signature of each department chairperson and the appropriate associate dean.

Dual majors with Communication Studies are available with the permission and guidance of both chairs. Students complete a minimum of 33 credit hours of communication courses. Communication Studies dual major sequences allow several different choices; among those most frequently involved are digital media arts, journalism, political science, psychology, English, history, marketing and modern languages. Each Communication Studies and dual major is assigned a department faculty advisor for the purpose of planning an individual program that will satisfy the department’s requirements and the student’s personal goals. Course selections develop from communication major requirements, prerequisites, recommended sequences and communication electives. Communication Studies students who are dual majors and successfully complete 3 or more credit hours in Internships or Independent Study (COM 488, COM 498 or COM 499) are required to complete 30 hours of in-class credit in order to complete the Communication Studies major (i.e., not 33 or 36 in-class hours).

Minors

Minors provide students the opportunity to pursue additional interests but generally do not require as many courses as a major.  Minors generally range from five to eight required courses. The minors page provides a complete list of minors and provides links to each minor. Some majors and minors can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in some cases additional coursework may be required. Students must complete the appropriate minor request form.

General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students must complete either the Canisius Core Curriculum or the All-College Honors Curriculum.

Free Electives

Free electives are courses in addition to the Core Curriculum or Honors Curriculum and major requirements sufficient to reach the minimum of 120 credit hours required for graduation. Students may graduate with more but not less than 120 credit hours.

Major Requirements

Major Required Courses
COM 201Oral Communication3
COM 202Communication Theory3
COM 203Writing for the Public Media3
COM 204Interpersonal Communication3
COM 205Mass Communication and Society3
COM 206Introduction to Research Methods3
Sequence Courses
Two courses from Interpersonal/Organizational Communication6
Two courses from Advertising/Public Relations Communication6
Two courses from Media Communication6
Total Credits36

Sequence Courses

Interpersonal/Organizational Communication

COM 302Small Group Communication3
COM 304Family Communication3
COM 318Organizational Communication3
COM 319Training and Development3
COM 327Gender Differences in Human Communication3
COM 335Communication and Personality3
COM 337Constructive Uses of Humor3
COM 350Health Communication3
COM 354Persuasion3
COM 359Communication and Sports3

Advertising/Public Relations Communication

COM 311Principles of Advertising3
COM 312Public Relations: Principles and Practices3
COM 315Advertising and the Creative Process3
COM 320Advertising Writing3
COM 330Public Relations Writing3
COM 340Media Relations3
COM 348Environmental Communication3
COM 353Advertising Account Strategies3

Media Communication

COM 325Media Literacy3
COM 351Media Ethics3
COM 361Introduction to TV Production3
COM 374Film History3
COM 375Film Classics3
COM 376Film Genres3
COM 385Television and Children3
COM 479World Cinema3

Major Electives

To be selected from available COM courses, or courses with the DMA, JRN, or FAS prefix that are designated as COM electives. Photography courses listed in Fine Arts are limited to six credits in the Communication Studies major.

Select four of the following:12
Small Group Communication
Family Communication
Principles of Advertising
Public Relations: Principles and Practices
Advertising and the Creative Process
Organizational Communication
Training and Development
Advertising Writing
Media Literacy
Gender Differences in Human Communication
Public Relations Writing
Communication and Personality
Constructive Uses of Humor
Health Communication
Media Ethics
Advertising Account Strategies
Persuasion
Communication and Sports
Introduction to TV Production
Film History
Film Classics
Film Genres
Television and Children
Advertising Campaigns
Public Relations Case Studies
Issues in Integrated Marketing Communications
Interviewing
Public Relations Campaigns
World Cinema
Internship I Seminar
Video Institute I
Video Institute II
Internship II Seminar
Independent Study
Introduction to Digital Media
Digital Media Culture
Digital Media Law
2D Graphics
Interaction Design
Digital Audio/Music Production
Introduction to Web Design
Digital Filmmaking
Advanced Web Design
Introduction to Still Photography 1
Digital Photography 1
Journalism
Advanced Journalism and Investigative Reporting
Feature/Magazine Writing
Sports Journalism
Television Features
Total Credits12
1

Only 6 credits of FAS photography courses can be applied as COM elective credit. 

 Note: Four computer labs, HD digital video editing stations, an audio/music production studio and an HD television studio/control room are available for student use in Lyons Hall.

Recommended Semester Schedule for Major Course Requirements

Freshman
FallSpring
COM 205COM 204
Sophomore
FallSpring
COM 201COM 202
COM 206 (or COM Elective)COM 203 (or COM Elective)
Junior
FallSpring
COM 206 (or COM Elective)COM 203 (or COM Elective)
Senior
FallSpring
COM ElectiveCOM Elective
COM ElectiveCOM Elective

Learning Goals & Objectives

These learning goals and objectives apply to all Communication Studies majors.

Student Learning Goal 1:

Communication Studies majors will be critical thinkers who apply communication theories and concepts in life situations. 

Students will:
  • Objective 1: Demonstrate advanced skills in analyzing research.

  • Objective 2:  Apply targeted communication theories and constructs to specific projects or situations.

Student Learning Goal 2:

Communication Studies majors will design and deliver effective messages.

Students will:
  • Objective 1: Demonstrate an understanding of the intended audience
  • Objective 2: Determine appropriate means of communication to reach that audience.
  • Objective 3: Demonstrate an ability to design and deliver messages.

Communication Studies Minor

Beginning in the spring of 2015, the Communication Studies department began to offer a general Communication Studies minor. Students need to complete 18 credit hours of Communication Studies courses, based on the following requirements:

Required courses for the Communication Studies minor (18 total credits):

Foundation Courses
Select three of the following: 19
Oral Communication
Communication Theory
Writing for the Public Media
Interpersonal Communication
Mass Communication and Society
Introduction to Research Methods
Sequence Courses
One course from Interpersonal/Organizational Communication3
One course from Advertising/Public Relations Communication3
One course from Media Communication3
Total Credits18
1

Note: A section of each foundation course is offered every semester. Multiple sections of COM 201 and COM 203 are offered each semester.

Sequence Courses

Interpersonal/Organizational Communication

COM 302Small Group Communication3
COM 304Family Communication3
COM 318Organizational Communication3
COM 319Training and Development3
COM 327Gender Differences in Human Communication3
COM 335Communication and Personality3
COM 337Constructive Uses of Humor3
COM 350Health Communication3
COM 354Persuasion3
COM 359Communication and Sports3

Advertising/Public Relations Communication

COM 311Principles of Advertising3
COM 312Public Relations: Principles and Practices3
COM 315Advertising and the Creative Process3
COM 320Advertising Writing3
COM 330Public Relations Writing3
COM 340Media Relations3
COM 348Environmental Communication3
COM 353Advertising Account Strategies3

Media Communication

COM 325Media Literacy3
COM 351Media Ethics3
COM 361Introduction to TV Production3
COM 374Film History3
COM 375Film Classics3
COM 376Film Genres3
COM 385Television and Children3
COM 479World Cinema3

COM 201 Oral Communication 3 Credits

Study and practice of concepts, processes and techniques of effective verbal communication in face-to-face, small group and public-address contexts. Speeches required.

Fulfills College Core: Oral Communication

Offered: fall & spring.

COM 202 Communication Theory 3 Credits

Fundamental forms of communication theory and perspectives are explored and related to particular lines of research in interpersonal, group, organizational, public and mass mediated communication contexts.

Offered: fall & spring.

COM 203 Writing for the Public Media 3 Credits

Intensive writing assignments employing message-design principles provide opportunities to prepare news, features, press releases, advertising copy and opinion pieces.

Fulfills College Core: Advanced Writing-Intensive

Offered: fall & spring.

COM 204 Interpersonal Communication 3 Credits

Examines the theoretical and pragmatic aspects of interpersonal communication in various contexts to enhance self-awareness and effective self-expression in relationships.

Fulfills College Core: Field 5 (Social Sciences)

Offered: fall & spring.

COM 205 Mass Communication and Society 3 Credits

Survey of mass communication processes and the mass media in terms of development, industry structure, functions, effects and interactive relationships with American society.

Fulfills College Core: Field 5 (Social Sciences)

Offered: fall & spring.

COM 206 Introduction to Research Methods 3 Credits

The fundamentals of the scientific method, especially the basics of research methods, designs and hypothesis testing.

Offered: fall & spring.

COM 302 Small Group Communication 3 Credits

Communication variables in small groups involving task, maintenance, leadership, conformity, shift-to-risk and development. Some emphasis on skill development.

Offered: every other year.

COM 304 Family Communication 3 Credits

Examines contemporary family communication theories, concepts, models and research. Special emphasis on improving family communication across the lifespan.

Fulfills College Core: Field 5 (Social Sciences)

Offered: every other year.

COM 311 Principles of Advertising 3 Credits

The fundamentals of advertising, including history and development, advertising media, marketing, audiences, campaign objectives, budget, creativity and agency functions. (DMA elective).

Offered: fall.

COM 312 Public Relations: Principles and Practices 3 Credits

Historical antecedents and contemporary practice of public relations are examined in the context of public relations concepts and theories. The course also examines the day-to-day responsibilities and ethical obligations of PR practitioners in a variety of public settings. (ADV/PR sequence).

Offered: fall.

COM 315 Advertising and the Creative Process 3 Credits

Study of techniques, tools and theories for generating innovative concepts and ideas. Emphasize application to advertising context. (DMA elective).

Offered: every other year.

COM 318 Organizational Communication 3 Credits

Communication principles and practices, including communicator style variables, communication flow and competent superior-subordinate communication.

Offered: fall.

COM 319 Training and Development 3 Credits

Methods for assessing training needs within organizations, and designing, implementing and assessing outcomes of training. Emphasis on principles of effective training and development of training competencies. Students develop training skills.

Fulfills College Core: Oral Communication

Offered: spring.

COM 320 Advertising Writing 3 Credits

Covers a variety of ways of developing advertising copy (copywriting) and creative concepts for persuasive advertising pieces. Includes workshop writing for print, television and radio commercials, and social media.

Offered: every other year.

COM 325 Media Literacy 3 Credits

Focuses on theoretical approaches and practical skills. Students learn to analyze, think critically and produce effective mediated messages through the production of a service-oriented video project. Service Learning Option. (DMA, JRN elective).

Offered: every other year.

COM 327 Gender Differences in Human Communication 3 Credits

Examines gender as a variable of interest in social interaction with special emphasis on contemporary gender theories, concepts, and research. Understand the reasons why communication misunderstandings related to gender differences occur.

Offered: every other year.

COM 330 Public Relations Writing 3 Credits

Theoretical perspectives on various forms of public relations writing and the applications of each. Writing and editing skills. Students produce portfolio of PR writing tools and techniques. (ADV/PR). Spring.

Offered: spring.

COM 335 Communication and Personality 3 Credits

The role of personality in human communication (especially argumentative and aggressive traits). Emphasis on critical thinking and constructive arguing. Students develop arguing skills.

Offered: every other year.

COM 337 Constructive Uses of Humor 3 Credits

Survey of classic and contemporary humor theories, concepts and research. Special emphasis on research that highlights the benefits of humor in education, medicine, business and relational contexts.

Offered: every other year.

COM 340 Media Relations 3 Credits

One form of public relations is communicating with audiences through the news media. This course focuses on the principles and practices of media relations. (ADV/PR sequence).

Offered: every other year.

COM 348 Environmental Communication 3 Credits

Writing about the environment began in earnest with Thoreau, continued with Rachel Carson and Silent Spring, and is an important issue for journalists, PR specialists, environmental scientists and ordinary citizens. This course examines issues in environmental communication from the various public roles. (ADV/PR sequence).

Offered: every other year.

COM 350 Health Communication 3 Credits

Examines how communication plays a role in the health decisions people make from a variety of perspectives. Focuses on theoretical approaches to health communication, influence tactics, challenges associated with medical adherence/compliance gaining, caregiver- client communication, how personality affects health decisions, nonverbal and verbal factors in the health interaction, and social-cultural factors in health.

Fulfills College Core: Field 5 (Social Sciences)

Offered: every other year.

COM 351 Media Ethics 3 Credits

Explores ethics across media disciplines through the work of professional communicators -- journalists, broadcasters, advertising and public relations practitioners. Develop practices of making crucial media decisions based on principles and idealism.

Fulfills College Core: Ethics

Offered: fall.

COM 352 Advanced Interpersonal Seminar 3 Credits

This class examines interpersonal communication theories, concepts and models.Students learn more about how interpersonal communication research is conducted and develop an original research project on some aspect of interpersonal communication.

Offered: occasionally.

COM 353 Advertising Account Strategies 3 Credits

Account management is a critical component of marketing and communications. We'll cover the practical aspects of planning, client-agency relationships, functioning effectively in a creative environment, working with media outlets and start to learn how to develop an integrated marketing communications program.

Offered: occasionally.

COM 354 Persuasion 3 Credits

Students explore classic and contemporary persuasion theories, models and concepts. Students participate in semester long persuasion and social influence projects where they apply theories and concepts.

COM 359 Communication and Sports 3 Credits

Why do so many people enjoy playing, watching, and talking about sports? This course examines the significance of interpersonal communication in the context of sports. Communication interactions between coaches and athletes, athletes and teammates, coaches and parents, and parents and athletes are explored.

Offered: every other year.

COM 361 Introduction to TV Production 3 Credits

Studio techniques, lighting, sound recording, set design, electronic graphics and editing, production of live and edited programs in studio. (DMA elective).

Offered: every other year.

COM 374 Film History 3 Credits

Development of film making and cinema art from 1895 through World War II. Students study, view, and discuss classic silent and sound pictures from Hollywood and abroad. (DMA elective. Also accepted for Art History major/ minor credit).

Offered: every other year.

COM 375 Film Classics 3 Credits

The development of cinema worldwide from World War II through the 1990s. Study, view and discuss films representative of major directors, genres and national cinema movements. (DMA elective. Also accepted for Art History major/minor credit).

Offered: every other year.

COM 376 Film Genres 3 Credits

Students who are interested in film professionally or personally are invited to view sequences from the finest motion pictures made in the past 100 years. The course will present an overview of the types (genres) of films, including: Action-Adventure, Animation, Avant-Garde, Biopic, Children's Comedy, Crime, Cult Movies, Documentary, Drama, Film Noir Historical, Horror, Melodrama, Musical, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Serials, War, and the Western.

Offered: every other year.

COM 385 Television and Children 3 Credits

Learn about the role of television in children's lives. Course explores children's television use, the development and content of children's television programs (both commercial and educational), television and the family, and children's advertising.

Offered: occasionally.

COM 408 Seminar: Special Topics and Not-for-Profit Organizations 3 Credits

The seminar experience concentrates on current issues and trends in not-for-profit organizations. Topics will vary to meet the changing challenges and opportunities not-for-profit organizations face in light of political climate changes and the evolution of public policy. Topics may include community building, the role of a board of directors, women's issues, aging, public policy, and globalization. The seminar will incorporate discussion of relevant theory and topical issues leading to independent research related to the selected topic(s).

Offered: spring of odd-numbered years.

COM 411 Advertising Campaigns 3 Credits

Designed as a capstone course for advertising students, this course examines current and classic advertising campaigns for technique and effectiveness. Students will also develop their own advertising campaigns.

Prerequisite: COM 311 or permission of instructor.

Offered: every other year.

COM 412 Public Relations Case Studies 3 Credits

Students will become familiar with a process for public relations problem-solving through analysis of a variety of PR case studies in major areas of the field, including employee relations, consumer relations, media relations and crisis communications. (ADV/PR sequence).

Offered: every other year.

COM 414 Issues in Integrated Marketing Communications 3 Credits

In this Core Capstone seminar, students explore a range of contemporary issues in advertising, public relations and marketing communications (IMC). They include: consumerism, social effects, privacy and social media, sexual and minority portrayals, political communication, messaging, and more. These are viewed against ethical, justice, global and diversity attributes. Recommend COM/ADV, COM/PR or MKT background.

Restriction: senior standing.

Fulfills College Core: Core Capstone

Offered: fall & spring.

COM 415 Partnerships and the Not-for-Profit Organization 3 Credits

Growing and strengthening our non-profit organizations through partnerships is one of the most important strategies available to organizational leaders today. Say the word 'collaboration' and everyone knows it is code for innovation, inspiration, new funding sources and a great deal of hard work. In this course, we will blend practice and theory to gain a deeper understanding and mastery of the process of collaboration. During our time together, we will use the power of our own partnership success stories and lessons learned in order to weave together key content areas of communication, collaboration and leadership in the non-profit.

Offered: spring of even-numbered years.

COM 416 Fund Raising and Development at Not-for-Profit Organizations 3 Credits

This course will introduce students to the principles and practices of fundraising and long-term development planning in the not-for-profit organization. Blended into each topic area is the professional code of ethics, advocacy and role and responsibilities. The course combines theory and practice by using case studies, in-class small group exercises, case writing, role plays and experience sharing.

Offered: every fall.

COM 418 Interviewing 3 Credits

Examines the underlying principles of interviewing in professional, business, and research settings and research providing validation of these principles. Students develop skills in interviewing through class projects and in-class exercises. Students develop the ability to probe well, to avoid making unwarranted assumptions, and, accurately, to record information during interviews.

Offered: every other year.

COM 422 Public Relations Campaigns 3 Credits

Designed as a capstone course for public relations students, this course examines PR campaigns as the concerted efforts of an organization to build socially responsible relationships by achieving research-based goals through the application of communication strategies and the measurement of outcomes. Students produce an actual campaign.

Prerequisite: COM 312 or permission of instructor.

Offered: every other year.

COM 479 World Cinema 3 Credits

Award-winning and critically acclaimed films from different countries and coultures are studied through weekly screenings and written logs. By examining cinema practices beyond Hollywood, student experience altermative ways of using the universal language of cinema to tell stories and express the human condition from other national and artistic perspectives. Also accepted for Art History major/minor credit.

Offered: every other year.

COM 488 Internship I Seminar 3-9 Credits

Student experientially learns communication functions in compatibly matched professional setting, locally or out-of- town. Faculty and on-site supervision. Seminar required. Pass/fail. May be repeated as COM 498; 12-credit limit for COM 488 and COM 498 combined. Information about the internship application process is available on the Communication Studies Department website.

Prerequisite: junior or senior standing, minimum overall GPA of 2.50, minimum communication studies average of 2.70, & approval by department faculty. Restriction: must be COM major.

Offered: every semester.

COM 491 Video Institute I 3 Credits

Students are immersed in the development and creation of original video/film projects, which may take the form of a service-oriented video for a non-profit organization or a social documentary. May be repeated as COM 492.

Offered: every other year.

COM 492 Video Institute II 3 Credits

Sequel to COM 491. Students are immersed in the development and creation of original video/film projects, which may take the form of a service-oriented video for a non-profit organization or a social documentary.

Offered: every other year.

COM 498 Internship II Seminar 3-9 Credits

Sequel to COM 488 for students taking multiple internships. Each student is limited to a combined total of 12 credit hours for COM 488 and COM 498.

Prerequisite: junior or senior standing, minimum overall GPA of 2.50, minimum communication studies average of 2.70, & approval by department faculty. Restriction: must be COM major.

Offered: every semester.

COM 499 Independent Study 3 Credits

Student conducts original project or self-designed course of study under the tutelage of Communication Studies faculty member. Offered only in very specific circumstances. Independent studies require an application and approval by the associate dean.

Prerequisite: junior or senior standing; & permission of instructor, chair, & associate dean. Restriction: must be COM major.