Registration and Advising Notes

Special Notes for Fall 2014 Registration

What should I take? Answer: Required Courses!

First, for those of you who are current Freshmen or Sophomores, if you are in your first year or two here at VU, think about taking as many COM courses as you can fit in your schedule.

Please note the following: The Communication Department is changing its required research sequence for majors.  We are deleting COM 1200 (Introduction to Communication Research) and will not offer it again after this summer.  

Beginning with the class of 2016, COM majors will be required to take BOTH COM 4001 (Qualitative Research in Communication) and COM 4002 (Quantitative Research in Communication).  These courses should be taken prior to COM 5050 (Senior Project).

Students wishing to declare the major will now need only COM 1000 and 1100 and the requisite GPA of 2.5 or above.

During the transition, students who have taken COM 1200 can elect to take EITHER COM 4001 or 4002 before taking COM 5050.

Two things to remember: 1) You must take the two following courses prior to declaring the major: COM 1000 and COM 1100 and 2) since 2000-level courses are prerequisites for all our 3000-level courses, the sooner you take at least one 2000 level course, the sooner you're into our advanced courses.

A current Junior? Unsure of what to take? Current Juniors should also think about taking the required Advanced research course (4001 OR 4002), if you've already taken COM 1200.

If you are a Senior, then be sure to check out the topics for our Senior Project sections, so you can match your interests with the right section of this course.

Wondering what courses COM is offering in the Fall?

Download the COM Department Course Descriptions below

* COM-Course-Descriptions-Fall-2014.pdf
Download the Fall 2014 COM Course Descriptions for all required and elective courses.

Which Senior Project section should I take in the Fall?

As you hopefully know, each section of COM 5050 has a different topic, one chosen by the section's instructor. This topic will be the one that will help guide you in the selection of projects for the semester. Thus we urge you to consider the section topic when signing up for your section of 5050. Please consult the course descriptions file to see the descriptions of each section's topic.

Want to take a course not regularly offered?

As always, we're rotating in some courses that you might find of interest. Descriptions of these can be found in the Course Descriptions file, but keep in mind that these courses all have prerequisites at the 2000 level, as per our curriculum.  All of these are courses that are LESS FREQUENTLY offered… so, if you've got the prerequisites, catch these NOW!


COM 3290-001: Special Topics in Rhetoric: Feminist Rhetoric

This course will begin with a general consideration of what the term “feminism” means in its historical context, and what it means to you. The object of this course is NOT to convince you to become a feminist if you are not willing to own that label; rather, it is to provide you with the necessary information to determine whether you want to own it, and if not, why not. The second phase of this course will focus on a more “traditional” review of feminist rhetoric, as expressed by several theorists/writers in the “2nd Wave” of feminist action. The third phase will be devoted to an examination of what has come to be known as feminism’s “3rd Wave.” This ‘topical’ approach is neither a straightforward ‘history’ nor a comprehensive review of feminist discourse. Rather, it seeks to ground an examination of contemporary feminist rhetoric in an appreciation of the changing condition of women’s rhetorical history.  Here and there, we will also look at “anti-feminist” and “post-feminist” issues—as you need to know what is being argued across the range of possibilities.

COM 3290-100: Special Topics in Performance: Theatre of the Oppressed
Dr. Lisa Jo Epstein

This course will introduce students to the theory and techniques of Theatre of the Oppressed, a revolutionary form of participatory theatre designed primarily for non-actors by Brazilian theatre innovator and Nobel Peace Prize finalist Augusto Boal.  Through lively, fun and revelatory activities and improvisations, Theatre of the Oppressed transforms real-life struggles into interactive theatrical dialogue in ways that bring out your ability to overcome societal and self-imposed limits to better include and interact with others.  The techniques that students will learn can be applied to all kinds of work committed to social action and transformation-educational, political, creative, cultural and beyond.  The creation and public performance of Forum Theatre pieces based on the students’ personal social concerns will be an integral part of the course.

COM 3205 -001: Advanced Public Speaking
Dr. Susan Mackey-Kallis

This course will build upon the foundations acquired in a basic public speaking course.  The focus is on developing advanced speaking skills and finding your voice and style as a speaker and a leader. Areas of emphasis include speech structure, delivery, style, and use of multimedia; persuasive and motivational speaking and speaking with the media.  Although the focus is on extemporaneous speaking there will be opportunities to improve or develop manuscript and impromptu speaking as well.  Some individual speech coaching, especially for outside speaking engagements is possible. This course is ideal for you if you enjoy or anticipate a career with many opportunities to speak publically and/or a career involving sales/motivation or persuasive speaking.

Who should take this course?  Majors or minors in Communication, Honors and Political Science and those with an interest in public relations, broadcasting, organizational communication, rhetoric, sales, law, management, and leadership.

Prerequisite: COM 1100 and a 2000-level COM course or Political Science Major

Contact: with any questions or to determine eligibility.

HON 3450-001: Communication and Collective Memory
Dr. Gordon Coonfield

"We will never forget." This mnemonic phrase embodied in language a collective attitude toward an event that profoundly shaped American identity in the aftermath of September 11.  The memorial practices associated with that attitude also shaped the collective response in ways that continue to have profound consequences not only for the American collective's identity but for others throughout the world.  Collective memory has become an important interdisciplinary area of humanities and social science scholarship. In contrast to history, understood as the reconstruction of the past itself from its traces; or individual memory, understood as the cognitive images we have of past personal experiences; collective memory refers to the shared practices through which a collective makes the past meaningful for the present.  Taking a communication perspective, this course will engage contemporary examples of memorial practices to explore the role of remembering and forgetting in creating and maintaining a collectively meaningful world. In doing so, we will focus on a number of critical questions:  How is the memory of collectives created, maintained and changed?  What can the memorial and ritual practices associated with collective memory tell us about those who enact them? What role do media play in the practice of collective memory? How does collective memory shape identity? And how do these practices mitigate or encourage acts of social injustice?

COM 3342 - 001 International Cinema CRN: 21567
Professor Nasser Chour

This course explores a range of International film movements and films made by some of the world’s most renowned directors, and consider the ways in which they stylistically and thematically reflect and engage with various themes within both regional and global contexts. The goal is to examine the means by which such films mirror, contribute to, and challenge their dominant values and cultures and vice versa while also striving to maintain and advance the formal aspects of film art. This class offers an opportunity to appreciate how filmmakers from different parts of the world tell their own stories through their own lenses.

Prerequisites: COM 2200 or COM 2240 or COM 2280 or COM 2300 or COM 2340 or COM 2400 or COM 2440

COM 3390-001 Media Audiences
Dr. Tom Ksiazek

Introduction to the study, measurement and analysis of media audiences, merging theoretical approaches with applied methods for understanding user behavior.

Prerequisites: COM 2300 or COM 2340 AND COM 1200 or COM 4001 or COM 4002

COM 3390-002 Multimedia Journalism
Professor Michael Bradley

Journalism is no longer defined by a single medium. Newspapers have become digital news organizations with print, online and mobile editions. Broadcast journalists have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. Journalists are writing for digital media, shooting video, blogging, creating podcasts, and using social media to distribute their content and engage users. This course explores journalism across media platforms. Students will learn to write for a variety of media, create integrated news packages, and maintain strong journalistic principles, techniques and ethics within and across these varied platforms.

Prerequisite: COM 3360

Remember Some Regularly Offered Courses…

Please note that the 1-creit Intergroup Dialogue Courses will also be offered in the spring. Please read the Course Descriptions on the Communication Department website for details or visit

Fall Electives Guide

teacher and student

Looking to see what is being offered next semester? Download the Fall 2014 course descriptions guide here!

* COM-Course-Descriptions-Fall-2014.pdf
Download the Fall 2014 COM Course Descriptions for all required and elective courses.