Resources and Opportunities

Special Notes for Fall Registration

What should I take? Answer: Required Courses!
First, for those of you 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:
Beginning with the class of 2016, COM majors are required to take BOTH COM 4001 (Qualitative Research in Communication) and COM 4002 (Quantitative Research in Communication).  These courses must be taken prior to COM 5050 (Senior Project).  

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) Students wishing to declare the major will now need only COM 1000 and 1100 and the requisite GPA of 2.5 or above.  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. If you are planning to study abroad, try to take a 2000-level theory class before you go so that you can register for 3000-level classes when you return.

A current Junior? Unsure of what to take? Current Juniors should take a required Advanced research course (4001 OR 4002), if you've already taken COM 1200.  You’ll need both 4001 AND 4002 if you have not 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 Description guide from the department’s website. Look for a link on the right side of our webpage.

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 description guide 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 our course description guide, 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!


Undergraduate Course: Crippling Communication: Rhetorical and Performance Perspectives on Disability

Graduate Course: NeuroTribes: The Rhetoric and Performance of Autism

Bruce Henderson has been on the faculty of Ithaca College, since 1988, and holds the rank of tenured full professor of Communication Studies. His main areas of teaching and research within Communication Studies are Performance Studies, Rhetoric, and Health Communication; in addition, he works in disability studies, queer studies, and literary criticism and linguistics. He served as department chair from 1998-2003 and coordinator of the college's interdisciplinary program in Culture and Communication from 2006-2012. He is a member of the Honors Faculty, the Women's and Gender Studies Faculty, and the Gerontology Institute, and has taught in the Ithaca Seminar Program and for the Department of Occupational Therapy. He received the B.S., M.A., and Ph.D from the School of Communication at Northwestern University, where his major emphasis was Interpretation/Performance Studies with cognate work in Rhetorical Theory and Criticism and English and American Literature. In 2006, he received a second Ph.D., in Disability Studies, from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Previous to his tenure at Ithaca, he taught at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Clarkson University, St. Lawrence University, Triton College, and Eastern Illinois University (as well as at Northwestern).

COM 3201-001 Rhetoric and Social Justice

In this course, we will explore and critically examine discourses on social justice and human rights through an integration of rhetorical theory and criticism. Of central importance to ensuring social justice and human rights are those communicative/rhetorical acts that disrupt, provoke, encourage, and help to mobilize. From public debates to mediated dialogues, from embodied politics and performances of resistance to more extreme acts of violence and terrorism, the rhetorical scholar has a responsibility to study how those practices enrich (or hinder) social justice and participation in public life as well as determine their effectiveness, ineffectiveness and ethical dimensions.

As a student in this course, you will learn how to identify, analyze, invent, augment, and/or challenge the complex array of discourses on social justice and human rights. You will be introduced to the theoretical foundations of rhetoric and social justice and the various communicative techniques and strategies common to those struggling to advance human rights. In addition, you will gain exposure to an array of contemporary and historical debates that continue to shape popular and political culture.

Instructor: Murray

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

Requirements Filled: Peace and Justice Attribute

COM 3207-001 African American Rhetoric

What does it mean to be black—as an individual and as a member of a community—in the United States? How, historically, has the black experience been rhetorically constructed, and what are the enduring consequences of those constructions, in our present, 21st century context? In this class, we will examine these questions (and some answers to them) through a critical examination of a variety of rhetorical artifacts—including, but not limited to, speakers, television shows, movies, spaces (including the Main Line), music, and social movements (both historical, like the Civil Rights Movement, and contemporary, like #blacklivesmatter). We will focus on how these symbolic representations created (and create) the lived meanings of blackness that continue to impact the lives of black Americans—and, indeed, all Americans. The primary objective of the course is therefore to develop a comprehensive understanding of the symbols used to rhetorically construct and reconstruct the African American identity and community, and how those rhetorical efforts work to both constrain and enable the pursuit of racial justice.

Instructor: Crable

Prerequisites: any COM 2000 course; prerequisites will be waived for Africana Studies minors/concentrators, for P&J minors/concentrators, and for Writing & Rhetoric minors/concentrators.

Requirements Filled: Diversity 1; Peace and Justice Attribute

COM 3240 –001 Performance for Social Change

This course explores four basic questions: 1) What is the relationship between the aesthetic and the rhetorical? 2) How can performance utilize multiple art forms and media to influence social change and social justice? 3) What is the relationship between performer and audience? 4) How can performers work in collaboration to inquire about social issues as well as to perform in ways that enact change? Thus, we will explore performance as simultaneously a process and product—a means of exploring questions about self and society, and at the same time a means of articulating a rhetorical message designed to spark some kind of change.

In order to facilitate this exploration, our semester’s work will revolve around a theme: “Identity and Materiality.” In addition to shorter performances and exercises, primary work will involve selecting and researching a social issue related to this theme, then playing with various media and modes of performance to wrestle with the questions raised, and finally creating a script and performing the piece for class and public.

Instructor: MacDonald

Prerequisites: COM 2200 or 2240 or 2340

Requirements Filled: F/A; Div. 1; Div. 2, P&J Attribute

COM 3301-001 Introduction to Film & Video Production

This hands-on workshop will introduce students to the fundamentals of TV production. Students are expected to produce individually and in small groups, broadcast video projects combining all fundamentals learned in class - terminology, script writing, single and multi-camera operation, lighting, audio capture, computer based video editing and effects, and live studio production. The final project will prove how well each student has mastered the above components of video production.

Instructor: Ehrlich, Lewis

Prerequisites: COM 2280 or COM 2300 or COM 2340

COM 3302 -001 Advanced Film and Video Production

Visual aspects of location single camera video production, audio acquisition, lighting, post production support, video editing and digital effects and finished distribution. Each student will work as producer, director, camera operator, editor and writer to show a finished Documentary, Feature News Story or Originally Scripted Drama or Comedy. Helps students understand the world of film and video funding, production and distribution.

Instructor: Lewis

Prerequisites: COM 3301

COM 3303-001 Screenwriting

The purpose of this course is to prepare you to write two short screenplays by introducing you to the building blocks of cinematic storytelling. Students are expected to develop a solid foundation in screenwriting format, three act dramatic structure, character conception and development, the difference between plot and story, and the best way to put all of this information to use in the actual writing of treatments and screenplays. Although the three act model we will use in this class is not the only, or perhaps the best, way to write screenplays, it is standard in the industry and must be mastered by beginning screenwriters. By the end of the semester you will have written two treatments for short films and two screenplays in master scenes form. Part of the goal of this course is to gain an understanding of storytelling that will be applicable to various media. Most class sessions will be a combination of lecture, film viewing, and writing exercises. You are expected to work independently and in collaboration with other students.

Instructor: O’Leary

Requirements Filled: Fine Arts

Prerequisites: COM 1300 and COM 2240 or 2280 or 2300 or 2340

COM 3304-001, 002 Documentary Theory and Practice

This course will combine an academic study of documentary films with practical knowledge of the creation and marketing of documentary films. Students will examine the documentary as an art form, a social protest, and a reflection of culture and society. In addition, many aspects of the practice of documentary filmmaking will be studied, especially as they are related to The Center for Social Justice Film and The Social Justice Documentary Film Course. These aspects include finding and researching future topics for the Social Documentary course, and doing public relations work for past films produced in the course. Students will also learn film production techniques and strategies, including story structure, camerawork and editing skills.

Instructor: Lewis, O’Leary

Prerequisites: COM 3301

NOTE: For COM majors who have taken COM 3600, this course counts as a free elective; for COM majors who have not taken COM 3600, this course counts as a COM 3000 level course. For COM minor, only 3 credits of this 6-credit course counts toward the minor.

COM 3321-001 Interactive Media Design I

Study of the principles of creating effective communication for the World Wide Web. Explores basic web design techniques with emphasis on designing and integrating diverse media elements. Focus on the creation and manipulation of text, graphics, audio and video for the Web.

Instructor: Mafodda

Prerequisites: COM 2280 or 2300 or 2340

COM 3322-001 Interactive Media Design 2

An advanced exploration of Interactive Media Arts & Design for the Web and beyond, with a special focus on developing and consuming content on mobile devices.

Instructor: Mafodda

Prerequisite: COM 3321 or COM 3366 or COM 3363

COM 3343-001 Contemporary Cinema

Exploring contemporary films of renowned film directors and analyzing how they stylistically and thematically address and reflect various themes in national and global contexts. Themes of family, class, gender, politics, identity and relations as addressed in specifically selected films that have left a significant mark on the landscape of contemporary cinema will be studied. Cinema will be examined as a product of the societies it aims to influence.

Instructor: Ehrlich

Prerequisites: Any Com 2000 level course

Requirements Filled: Fine Arts, Cultural Studies, Diversity 1

COM 3351-001 Media and Society

Structure and content of major media industries in America (radio, television, newspapers magazines, recordings, books and film). Students will use various theoretical models to analyze these industries and their organizations in a political and economic context. Students will also examine individual "films of persuasion" from around the world as cultural documents and as works of art.

Instructor: O’Leary


COM 2280 or COM 2300 or COM 2340 or COM 2200

COM 3352-001 Media & Technology

This course aims to make sense of the intersection of culture, communication, and technology. From the emergence of language and symbols in pre-history to the proliferation of digital images in social media, from cave paintings to lapel cameras, we will consider how communication and culture have shaped technology, and how media technologies have shaped communication and culture. Taking an interdisciplinary perspective, we will examine this culture-technology-communication nexus by studying a range of historical and contemporary examples that include literary, film, social media use, and gaming.

Instructor: Coonfield

Prerequisites: COM 2280 or COM 2300 or COM 2340 or COM 2200

COM 3356-001 Media Criticism

This course examines the media from the perspectives of form, production, industries, content and reception.  We will explore the evolution of media from ancient times to the contemporary moment with a focus on the impact of media form on the evolution of culture and society.  In examining media production and industries we will examine media globalization, concentration and media professional work routines and their impact on media content.  In examining media content we will look at the role of ideology and power in shaping portrayals of class, race, gender and ethnicity.  In examining media reception, we will explore theories of media reception with a focus on active audiences, polysemic media texts and media fandom.  In each examination we will look at media theory, media criticism and media practices illustrated through various exercises and case studies.

Instructor: Mackey-Kallis

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

COM 3360-001 Introduction to Journalism

News is an integral part of our daily lives—from the “Eye-witness” reports on Channel 10 and the headlines of the New York Times to Internet news-sites and the tawdry tabloids awaiting us at the supermarket checkout. This course aims to provide a critical understanding of the role of journalism in modern society, combining theoretical perspectives on the making of news with insights from the journalists who produce it. Students will analyze research material on journalism, as well as examine newsmaking across platforms such as television and the Internet. While students will be introduced to foundational journalism practices, this course takes a more theoretical approach to journalism in order to provide the necessary background and context for more in-depth exposure to the practice of journalism in future courses.

Instructor: Ksiazek

Prerequisites: COM 2200 or COM 2280 or COM 2300 or COM 2340

COM 3365-001 Sports Journalism

These days, sports journalism is so much more than good reporting. People blog. Tweet. Podcast. Update Facebook pages. Commentators deliver instant analysis of every detail, every day. Athletes’ lives off the field are more interesting than their play on it. And ESPN reigns supreme – or at least that’s what it wants us to think. Sports journalism is changing rapidly, and this course will show you what’s going on. You’ll learn how technology creates instantaneous news delivery. How talk radio, TV, the Internet and social media are taking over for newspapers and magazines. How athletes and teams are trying to control the message more than ever.

You’ll write, argue, speak, research and present. You’ll use social media and the web. And you’ll do it with a 29-year veteran of the business. By the time this course is over, you’ll be ready for Pardon the Interruption – or at least understand why it’s so popular. More importantly, you’ll start thinking about what comes next – and how to take advantage of it.

Instructor: Bradley

Prerequisites: COM 3360

COM 3367-001 TOP: Humanitarian Journalism.

This course will explore humanitarian journalism and communication, and the role they play in international humanitarian crises caused by war and natural disasters. Topics covered will include: an explanation of humanitarian emergencies and the international aid structure that kicks into gear for them; examples of modern emergencies, such as the Rwandan genocide and the recent earthquake in Nepal, and the role journalism and communication played in them; a history of activist journalism; the principles and practice of conflict-sensitive journalism; and an overview of humanitarian communication, which focuses on information for and two-way communication channels with people affected by disasters.

Instructor: Davis

Prerequisites: COM 3360 or Permission of Chair

COM 3403-001 Intercultural Communication

More so today than ever before in human history, you are likely to encounter persons from different cultural backgrounds in your work, neighborhood, and personal life. This course offers an introduction to the concepts associated with culture and communication. It combines both well-researched theories and everyday intercultural practice. It addresses mindful self-awareness/ other-awareness issues, plus cognitive learning, affective experience, behavioral practice, and ethical reflections. Both cross-cultural (i.e., comparisons—such as how people in the United States communicate differently from people in Iran) and intercultural (i.e., communication between members—such as how people in the United States and Iran communicate when they interact with each other) communication will be examined. This class will emphasize a “process” approach to the study of communication between persons across cultures.

Instructor: Wang

Requirements Filled: Diversity 1; Diversity 3

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

COM 3442-001 Teambuilding and Small Group Communication

Collaboration is an increasingly important part of life in various organizational contexts – corporations, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, civic organizations, religious institutions, etc. In this course, we will consider various theoretical approaches to collaboration, groups and teams within the communication field and will address topics such as power, leadership, decision-making, conflict, trust, diversity and virtual collaboration. Group exercises and assignments will provide us with practical opportunities to apply what we are learning and will illuminate our theoretical understandings.

Instructor: Arnold

Prerequisites: COM 2200 or 2280 or 2400 or 2440.

COM 3445 Communication Consulting in Organizations

This course explores theory and practice of communication consulting through a variety of case studies in the field of organizational/corporate communication. Students will be expected to work as part of a consulting team for part of the semester.

Instructor: Hall

Prerequisites: COM 2200 or 2280 or 2400 or 2440

COM 3460-001, 002 Public Relations

This course provides a foundation for students interested in the field of public relations. It chronicles the development of the profession from its earliest beginnings to its role in modern management. The course also attempts to bridge the gap that exists between theory and practice. It achieves this by emphasizing the fundamental management perspective of the profession and the persuasive intent of message construction while highlighting the four essential skills required for success in the industry - research, writing, planning and problem solving.

Instructor: Flanagan

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

COM 3461-100 Advertising

This introductory course in advertising provides students with an interest in advertising, public relations, organizational communication, and marketing communication, with a thorough understanding of the advertising structure. The course provides students with detailed information concerning the core skills required of advertising executives. Areas of study include the research process in advertising, the creative platform development and execution, the strategy involved in media planning and buying and the process of evaluating advertising effectiveness. Students gain hands-on experience in developing advertising executions and campaigns for a variety of products, services, individuals and ideas.

Instructor: Christopher Murray

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

COM 3462-001, 002 Public Relations Writing

This course offers students the foundation for producing a variety of written public relations materials. The structure includes an overview of the journalistic style of writing along with extensive practice in writing fundamentals. Following the work on enhancing writing skills, students will develop a variety of pieces for their portfolios. Final class products include print news releases, position papers, feature stories, media advisories, media kit, and other related assignments. The course is strongly recommended for students interested in public relations, advertising, marketing, and organizational communication.

Instructor: Flanagan

Prerequisites: COM 3460

COM 3464-001, 002 Public Relations Campaigns

This course explores a variety of case studies in the field of public relations including examples in media relations, crisis communication and planning. Following the review of cases, student groups will be created and will spend the remainder of the semester developing a professional campaign for a client. The final project is a presentation of this overall public relations plan.

Instructor: Cowen

Prerequisite: COM 3462

COM 3490-001 – TOP: Dialogue & Intersectionality

This course focuses on the intersections of identities (gender, race, sexual orientation, religion). Consistent with topical IGR courses, this course utilizes dialogue as the method through which examination of texts and experiences are analyzed. We will deconstruct the dimensions of dialogue as a communicative process, learn skills to engage in fruitful difficult dialogues, and explore discrimination, oppression, and power based on the intersections of identity.    

Instructors: Bowen & Dwyer

Requirements Filled: Peace & Justice Attribute, Diversity 1

Recommended Prereqs: Com 2240, COM 2400 or COM 5300

Permission of Chair

Remember Some Regularly Offered Courses…
Check the Course Description Guide for the electives in each area for Fall 2015.  You will find exciting and interesting courses in every area of specialization, many utilizing our new production, performance, and viewing classrooms in Garey Hall.

Please note that the 1-credit Intergroup Dialogue Courses are offered each semester. Please check on for more information and the application form.

If you are headed directly toward a career in a Communication-related field, one of the most important things that you can add to your program of study is an internship experience. Our Department strongly encourages students to pursue internship opportunities, when relevant to their area of interest—so much so that some of our specializations require them!

However, there are a few things to know about the internship process…so please read through the following information before you start planning for your internship experience! After you have reviewed this information, feel free to contact the Department’s Internship Coordinator, Prof. Juanita Weaver.

Prof. Weaver will have internship advising hours in Fall 2011. She will also be available other times by appointment. Her office is Garey B6B, and her office phone is 9-4794.

Internship Basics

An internship is a great way for you to get some entry-level experience in some area of Communication, fulfilling basic roles for a for-profit or not-for-profit organization. However, an internship is much more than “practical experience.” Internships are opportunities for students to integrate their academic studies with a specific profession, in order to show the strong connection between theory, research, and practice within the field of Communication.

Internship Opportunities

Both the Communication Department and the College of Arts & Sciences have updated information regarding a host of organizations that have internship opportunities available to undergraduate students, but the exact number and variety of openings changes each semester. In addition, you should look through the database of internship opportunities maintained by the College Director of Internships.

You also can find internship opportunities on your own, through personal networking, via the web, or by talking to a faculty member here at VU.


Regardless of how you find your internship opportunity, you should first determine whether it requires you to receive academic credit. Even if your COM specialization requires an internship, this does not mean that you have to receive credit for it; however, particular organizations may require that you receive credit in order to participate in their internship program. Either way, you can receive payment from your organization—just because you receive a small stipend or salary, in other words, doesn’t mean that you have to forego the academic credit in the process!

If you are doing an internship for no credit, but the internship is meant to fulfill the requirement within your COM specialization (including Journalism, Public Relations, or Media Production), then contact the specialization coordinator to find out what documentation you need to substantiate your work as an intern.

Please be aware that virtually all for-profit organizations will require college credit if they are not paying you at least minimum wage.

Interning for Credit: Getting Started

You should by setting up a meeting with our Department’s Internship Coordinator, Prof. Juanita Weaver. She will be able to talk to you about the internships that best fit your specific interest in Communication. She can also help you determine whether you meet the requirements for internships, and assist you in taking the next step in the application process.

Interning for Credit: Requirements

Students interested in receiving academic credit for their work as an intern may choose to earn this credit in the summer, as well as during the fall or spring semesters. Typically, depending upon the hours worked, an internship earns 3 or 6 credits, but more extensive, semester-long internship programs may earn students 12 to 15 credits. However, regardless of the amounts of credit desired for the internship, note that there are academic requirements, set by the College of Arts & Sciences, that must be met before a student is allowed to register for an internship—which means that you must meet these requirements before you apply for an internship that requires you to receive academic credit. The requirements are as follows:  

  • 3.0 overall GPA (spring/fall internships) or 2.7 overall GPA (summer internships). Please note that the Communication Department does not grant any exceptions to these minimum requirements;
  • At least 6 credit hours completed in Communication; for some internships (such as many in public relations, media production, or journalism) you must also have introductory coursework in that specific area of Communication. As a result, most internships are advanced openings for which special skills and/or preparation in specific academic courses are expected. Opportunities for students who are just beginning communication courses are usually not available;
  • A completed application for internship credits, submitted to the College of Arts & Sciences Internship Director;
  • A completed course registration form (an “add slip”), signed by you and the Communication Department chairperson, which will allow you to register for your desired amount of internship credit. This form is available in the Communication Department main office, but will only be signed once the rest of your application for internship credits has been processed.

Interning for Credit: Academic Component

Once you’ve been registered for your for-credit internship, you need to ensure that you fulfill the academic requirements for receipt of internship credit. For the Communication Department, this means that, in addition to completing the duties central to your internship, you must:

  • Attend all seminars as required by the Internship Program Office;
  • Complete any other requirements as specified by the Internship Program Office;
  • Complete a “Learning Goals” statement about the internship experience;
  • Keep a weekly log of internship activities;
  • Ensure that the supervisor completes the internship evaluation form about your job performance;
  • Submit your required 7-10 page research paper directly to the Internship Office by the last day of class for the semester.

Once all of these have been completed and assessed by our Department’s internship coordinators, then you will receive a satisfactory grade for your internship credits!

Contact Information

Department of Communication
Garey Hall room 28
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085
Phone: 610.519.4750

Spring 2017 Senior Project Presentation Schedule