Head: Robert E. Denton, Jr.
Director of Undergraduate Programs: Douglas F. Cannon
Assistant Director of Undergraduate Programs: Brandi A. Quesenberry
Director of Graduate Studies: Beth M. Waggenspack
W. Thomas Rice Chair: Robert E. Denton, Jr.
Professors: R. E. Denton Jr., W. W. Hopkins, J. A. Kuypers, and J. C. Tedesco
Professors of Practice: D. F. Cannon and W. B. Roth
Associate Professors: R. L. Holloway, J. D. Ivory, J. A. Kuypers, B. M. Waggenspack, and J. B. Mackay
Assistant Professors: K. Haenschen, M. A. Horning, A. H. Ivory, N. J. Logan, N. Mielczarek, M. C. Myers, S. A. Smith, D. J. Tamul, B. A. Watkins, and C. L. Woods
Visiting Assistant Professors: B. W. Howell
Senior Instructor: E. W. Stallings
Advanced Instructors: D. M. Jenkins, B. Quesenberry, and S. J. Robinson
Instructors: D. Conner, C. Hall, H. Shinault, N. Sowder, S. Stinson, E. L. Tydings, and J. Woolly
The majors in communication, leading to a B.A., allow students to develop a broad understanding of the discipline and specific expertise in either public communication or mass communication. The Department of Communication focuses on strategic, theoretical, and practical application of message creation, delivery, analysis, and criticism in cultural and historical contexts.
Communication majors are prepared to continue their studies in graduate school or immediately apply their skills in various professional settings because of the broad applicability of both the theory to which they are exposed and the competencies they develop. Rooted in a strong liberal arts curriculum, this program prepares students to enter careers in mass media, business, public service, government, or professional specializations, such as law.
Students choose one of three majors in COMM in order to specialize in the discipline. Two majors involve the study of public communication: Public Relations and Communication Studies. The other major involves the study of multimedia communication: Multimedia Journalism. Multimedia Journalism also offers a concentration in Sports Media and Analytics.
Communication Studies (CMST) -- The Communication Studies flexible curriculum develops human interaction strategies and skills for face-to-face, public, and organizational contexts relating to decision making, influence, and information exchange. As a graduate, you might consider careers in business, health, civic engagement, public opinion, law, education, and ministry.
Public Relations (PR) – This major emphasizes both skill and management functions of public relations through theoretical and practical applications. Public relations spans media, organizational, corporate, and political contexts and includes investigation and analysis of public relations situations (e.g., crises, successes), message production and campaign planning, writing and presentation, and evaluation of public relations strategies. Public relations permeates many areas of corporate, non-profit, and political careers, so this major provides students a foundation for many different career paths.
Multimedia Journalism (MJ) -- This major prepares students for news media careers in newspapers, magazines, broadcasting and new media. The lines that separate these specialties are blurring as media convergence becomes more nearly the norm. Courses provide both practical skills and theory as they address history, law and ethics, current controversies and opportunities in the changing news media.
Sports Media and Analytics (Concentration) -- This concentration enables students to complete the MJ curriculum while specializing in Sports Media and Analytics. In addition to mastering the content and skills of MJ, you will participate in the production and delivery of sports news, consider ways to promote the sports industry with your study of public relations, and analyze data related to sports accomplishments, fan participation, and social media. The employment opportunities are myriad, including sports reporting; public relations for sports venues, teams, and/or athletes; and promotional work for businesses that support the fans.
The curriculum is designed to provide foundational and development courses along with major-specific study. Students are introduced to concepts early in the undergraduate career, and the curriculum allows them to build knowledge and skills as they work on increasingly complex tasks. They also develop skills in written, spoken, and visual communication across their studies in the major. At the foundational level, students in every major are required to take the same introductory courses.
The graduation requirements in effect at the time of graduation apply. When choosing information about the degree requirements, always choose the year of your expected date of graduation. Requirements for graduation are listed on checksheets. The number of credit hours required for degree completion varies among curricula. Students must satisfactorily complete all requirements and university obligations for degree completion.
The university reserves the right to modify requirements in a degree program. However, the university will not alter degree requirements less than two years from the expected graduation year unless there is a transition plan for students already in the degree program.
Please visit the University Registrar's website at http://registrar.vt.edu/graduation-multi-brief/index1.html for degree requirements.
A minor in Communication offers a broad exploration of the discipline, helping students to understand disciplinary impacts on society, consideration of audience in communicating messages, and historical and contemporary principles and practice. This understanding can be applied to the academic and professional practice of many other disciplines.
The minor curriculum allows students to study the three main options areas of the discipline: public communication, public relations, and multimedia journalism. The study of public communication centers on skill-building in academic and professional communication skills, such as interpersonal, small group, and/or public speaking.
For the 18-hour minor, students enroll in four foundational courses and choose two upper-level courses from the checksheet.
University policy requires that students demonstrate their progress toward the degree by meeting minimum requirements. A student will be certified as making satisfactory progress towards a degree by meeting the following requirements:
- Courses: Completion of COMM 2124 no later than the 72nd hour
- Overall GPA: 2.0
- COMM GPA: 2.0
Students who fall below the standard for either the overall GPA or the COMM GPA will have one semester to regain the required GPA standards. A student who fails to make satisfactory progress toward degree after that semester will be blocked from continuing in the Communication major.
Incoming freshmen and students enrolled at other institutions should follow directions for application as shown on the Admissions website.
Students enrolled in other Virginia Tech majors who wish to transfer into Communication may use the online system for application.
Please see the Departmental Website for more information about majors and the minor: www.liberalarts.vt.edu/departments-and-schools/department-of-communication.html
1004: FIRST-SEMESTER EXPERIENCE IN COMMUNICATION
Introduction to areas of research, ethical behaviors, and career paths in the discipline. Consideration of strategies for learning, accessing advising, and locating resources. (1H,1C)
1014: INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION STUDIES
Survey of the communication discipline across areas of specialization from interpersonal to mediated and mass communication, including history and fundamental concepts, theories, contexts. Emphasis on ethical human behavior and message analysis. (3H,3C)
1015-1016: COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Introduction to oral and written communication. 1015: Focus on oral and written communication in interpersonal, small group, and public contexts. Special emphasis on the writing process, listening, interviewing, conflict resolution, critical analysis, and communication in digital and visual media. 1016: Continued Study in oral and written communication skills for small group and public contexts. Focus on practical applications in ethical research and information gathering, audience analysis and adaptation, message development, and oral, written, and visual presentations by individuals and groups. May not receive credit for both 1016 and 2004. (3H,3C)
1114: INTRODUCTION TO MEDIA PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY
Introduction to basic technologies necessary for multimedia production. Attention to aesthetics and technical aspects of production technologies, including creation, editing, and organization of content. (3H,3C)
2004: PUBLIC SPEAKING
Strategies and practice for speaking to specific audiences. Ethical considerations for message preparation, development, presentation, and evaluation. Pre: Sophomore standing. COMM 2004 partially duplicates COMM 1016. (3H,3C)
2014: SPEECH COMMUNICATION
Introductory study of communication messages across various types, including intrapersonal, interpersonal, small group and public. Credit may not be earned for both 1015 and 2014. (3H,3C)
2024: MEDIA WRITING
Writing and information gathering skills including news, features, press releases, and advertising copy for broadcast, print and public relations media. Sophomore Standing Required. Pre: 1016 or ENGL 1106 or ENGL 1204H. (3H,3C)
2034: VISUAL MEDIA
An introduction to the visual image and visual thinking applied to photography, video, and film. Sophomore standing required. Pre: 1016 or ENGL 1106 or ENGL 1204H. (3H,3C)
2044: PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Principles of public relations practice; public relations in organizations; responsibilities of the public relations practitioner; legal and ethical considerations; role of public relations in society; history of the field and key people who influenced its development; choosing appropriate communication channels/media. (3H,3C)
2064: THE RHETORICAL TRADITION
Analysis of great classic and contemporary theories of rhetoric developed throughout the world during the past 2500 years to demonstrate the dynamic, critical nature of persuasive communication. Study of methodological approaches to rhetorical criticism, ethics of message creation, communication contexts, emerging perspectives, and impact of changing culture on rhetorical theory. (3H,3C)
2074: INTRODUCTION TO MASS COMMUNICATION
Development, concepts, and impact of sports media, including roles and responsibilities of journalists, production staff, and public relations professionals. Considerations of stakeholders' behaviors and connections. Study of ethical standards and perspectives, communication in sports organizations, types of media, issues in context, and data analytics. (3H,3C)
2084: MEDIA AND SOCIETY
An examination of media influence on society. Emphasis on impact of media (such as newspapers, film, social networks, and video games) on audiences and culture. Considerations of the evolution of media, the global and ethical questions posed by the media, and new technology's influence on society. (3H,3C)
2104 (AINS 2104) (HUM 2104): ORAL TRADITIONS AND CULTURE
Examination of the world's great oral traditions, both ancient and contemporary. Emphasis on performance contexts, relationships among multicultural traditions, including American Indian oral traditions, and the relationships among orality, literacy, technology, media, and culture. I (3H,3C)
2124: INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION RESEARCH
Study of approaches to research in the discipline, including identification and analysis of existing research; procedures for conducting and reporting basic research in communication. Sophomore Standing required. Pre: (1016 or ENGL 1106). (3H,3C)
2964: FIELD STUDY
Pass/Fail only. Variable credit course.
2974: INDEPENDENT STUDY
Variable credit course.
2974H: INDEPENDENT STUDY
Honors section. Variable credit course.
2984: SPECIAL STUDY
Variable credit course.
3014: PUBLIC RELATIONS CASES
Analysis of contemporary and historic public relations cases. Emphasis on theories, research techniques, planning methods, implementation strategies, evaluation standards, and ethical considerations in public relations programs and campaigns. Pre: 2044. (3H,3C)
3034 (HUM 3034) (RLCL 3034): THEORIES OF POPULAR CULTURE
Relationship of popular culture to communication; ways to classify, analyze, and evaluate popular culture; history of main themes with emphasis on the United States; cultural evolution of the electronic revolution. (3H,3C)
3044: ORAL COMMUNICATION CENTER PRACTICUM
Focus on peer pedagogy in a communication center to support development of oral communication competence among students across disciplines. Emphasis on oral communication theory applied to one-on-one support for students' oral presentations. May repeat 1 time. Pre: 1016 or 2004. (1H,1C)
Theoretical foundations of persuasion; techniques of persuasion; contemporary persuasive practice and campaigns; persuasive media strategies. Junior standing required. Pre: 1014. (3H,3C)
3074: PERSUASIVE PUBLIC SPEAKING
Advanced critical analysis, preparation and presentation of persuasive speeches. Study of advanced rhetorical principles with emphasis on policy speeches and the use of proofs to convince, strengthen beliefs, and motivate listeners to overt action. Advanced focus on approaches to research, audience analysis, effective organization and extemporaneous delivery. Pre: 1016 or 2004. (3H,3C)
3084: ADVANCED PUBLIC RELATIONS RESEARCH METHODS
Analysis and implementation of contemporary academic and professional research tools for public relations. Emphasis on development of research designs, assessment and evaluation of public relations programs and campaigns, and implementation of ethical research practices and standards. Pre: 2044, 2124. (3H,3C)
3114: VIDEO PRODUCTION: STUDIO
Producing, directing, and writing live video segments; operating control room and studio equipment including studio camera, video switcher, audio board and the creation of video graphics and written packages. Pre: 2034. (2H,3L,3C)
3124: INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION
Basic theories and processes of person-to-person communication; interpersonal perception; verbal and nonverbal communication; establishment of relationships in the family and work situation. Junior standing required. (3H,3C)
3134: PUBLIC ADVOCACY
Practical reasoning and argumentation about questions of community significance, emphasizing critical thought, rhetorical strategies, and advocacy. Junior standing required. Pre: 2004 or 1016. (3H,3C)
3144: WRITING AND EDITING FOR PUBLIC RELATIONS
Advanced writing and editing used to structure and present information in the practice of public relations. Includes message development, message design for delivery through various media, copyediting skills and tools, and strategies for dissemination. Pre: 2024. (3H,3C)
3154: MULTIMEDIA REPORTING
Multimedia news gathering, news writing, audio/visual storytelling, and news judgment for the print and online media. Consideration of professional strategies and standards for reporters, including legal and ethical issues. Pre: 2024, 2034. (3H,3C)
3164: GROUP PROCESSES AND PRESENTATIONS
Study of group theory and its application to a group project, including team dynamics and leadership, conflict resolution, project management, and team presentation strategies. (1H,1C)
3174: ADVANCED MULTIMEDIA REPORTING
Multimedia gathering and writing of complex news, features, and documentary; visual content and news judgment for television, print and online media; techniques of broadcast interviewing and on-camera performance. Considerations of legal and ethical issues related to the reporting of complex news. Pre: 3154. (2H,2L,3C)
3204 (HUM 3204) (RLCL 3204): MULTICULTURAL COMMUNICATION
Exploration of communication in various cultural groups through the medium of performance. Emphasis on understanding cultural differences and similarities in styles of communication, aesthetics, worldviews, and values. (3H,3C)
3214: PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION
Theory and contemporary practice of professional oral communication, including interpersonal interaction, small group problem-solving, and public presentations. Emphasis on ethical exchanges in traditional or virtual workshops settings. Pre: 1016 or 2004. (3H,3C)
3244 (PSCI 3244): POLITICAL COMMUNICATION
Distribution of political information; elite-mass communication; alternative models of political communication; communication and telecommunications policy. Pre: PSCI 1014 or PSCI 1024. (3H,3C)
3254 (PSCI 3254): MEDIA AND POLITICS
Explores the role of the mass media in contemporary American politics by examining the development of media as sources of social and political influence. Study of news organizations, their coverage of electoral and issue campaigns, and their impact on candidates and voters. Includes the role of new technologies in campaigns. Pre: Junior Standing. (3H,3C)
3264: COMMUNICATION AND GENDER
Examines how verbal, nonverbal, and visual communication create, sustain, and challenge the meaning of gender and cultural structures and practices. Junior standing. (3H,3C)
3304: TOPICS IN SPORTS COMMUNICATION
Study of the theory and practices related to sports communication in fields such as public or reporting. Topics may include print, broadcast, and online news; college sports information; social media; crisis management; and media relations. May be repeated once with different course content. Junior standing. (3H,3C)
3314: SPORTS JOURNALISM
Theory and practice of sports journalism, including strategies for writing and broadcasting sports information. Study of ethics and professional standards. Junior standing required. Pre: 2024, 2034. (3H,3C)
3324: CORPORATE COMMUNICATION
Examines communication theories, strategies and tactics that corporations use in their public relations efforts to reach and influence publics. Prepares students for "in-house" public relations work and familiarizes them with expectations of corporate clients. Introduces students to the important role communication plays within and between for-profit, nonprofit, and government institutions. Emphasis on the influence of corporate culture, ethics and values on communication styles. Junior standing required. (3H,3C)
3334: PUBLIC RELATIONS AND CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Explores role of communication in corporate social responsibility. Emphasis on the ethical implications of communicating the need to generate profits with the need to ensure that corporate actions do not harm important stakeholders such as employees, investors, customers, and communities. Pre: 2044. (3H,3C)
3954: STUDY ABROAD
Variable credit course. X-grade allowed.
3984: SPECIAL STUDY
Variable credit course.
4014: MEDIA EFFECTS
Impact of mass media on individuals and on society; methods for documentation of media effects; research about effects on various demographic groups such as children, elderly, and minorities; effects of advertising; effects of interactive and time shift technologies. Junior standing required. Pre: 2124. (3H,3C)
4024: COMMUNICATION LAW
Study freedom of speech and the press how these freedoms apply to the press, public relations, advertising and personal speech. Consideration of First Amendment theories and jurisprudence; related ethical issues. Senior standing. (3H,3C)
4034 (HUM 4034) (RLCL 4034): FUNCTIONS OF POPULAR CULTURE
Popular culture as a humanistic discipline; emphasis on archetypes, formulas, and genres; the function of ideas, images, and icons on the popular imagination. (3H,3C)
4044 (IS 4044): INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATION
Comparative perspectives on global communication systems; problems with the flow of information; roles of international organizations; mass communication and national development; implications for conflict resolution; selected case studies. Senior standing required. (3H,3C)
4074: ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION
Role of communication in complex organizations; communication networks, communication and management, message systems, decision-making; relationships between organizational theory and communication. Senior standing required. (3H,3C)
4094: BROADCAST MANAGEMENT
Broadcast management procedures; programming; sales and advertising. Senior standing required. Pre: 3154. (3H,3C)
Interpretive and creative photography applied to journalism; cameras, films, photography techniques; history of photography as communication; advanced darkroom techniques. Junior standing required. Pre: 2034. (3H,3C)
4134: EDITORIAL WRITING
Development and function of the editorial page; writing of editorials, reviews, and personal columns; examination of role of letters and syndicated columns and cartoons; problems editorial writers face in their jobs and communities. Junior standing required. (3H,3C)
4144: MAGAZINE WRITING
The writing of feature material (as opposed to the reporting of hard news), plus detailed examination of several article types from a wide variety of contemporary magazines and newspapers. Junior standing required. Pre: 2024. (3H,3C)
4154: DIGITAL NEWSROOM
Production of news, including newsroom operations, management, legal and ethical issues, and professionalism. Professional reporting in the newsroom setting and across platforms, including professional writing, interviewing, and photography/videography. Pre: 3174. (1H,3L,3C)
4164: PUBLIC RELATIONS ADMINISTRATION
Public Relations (PR) administration issues related to budgeting, strategy, legal issues, and campaigns in an organization. Emphasis on PR theory and ethics. Pre: 2044. (3H,3C)
4174: DIGITAL ADVOCACY CAMPAIGNS
Study of advocacy campaigns with digital components. Rhetorical considerations in message construction, analysis of persuasive techniques, ethical standards, and strategies for campaign development. Senior standing required. Pre: (1016 or 2004), 2124. (3H,3C)
4204: COMMUNICATION INTERNSHIP
Placement in a communication industry for practical internship under supervision by a departmental advisor and a professional in the field. May be repeated for credit up to a maximum of 6 hours credit. Junior standing and consent required. Pass/Fail only. Variable credit course.
4224: TOPICS IN MEDIA CRITICISM
Selected topics in media criticism. Offered on demand. Senior standing and consent required. (3H,3C)
4244: TOPICS IN PUBLIC COMMUNICATION
Selected topics in public communication. Offered on demand. Senior standing and consent required. May be repeated with a different topic focus, up to a maximum of 6 credit hours. (3H,3C)
4254: TOPICS IN MEDIA WRITING
Selected topics in media writing; emphasis on critical analysis and writing. Senior standing required. (3H,3C)
4264: SOCIAL MEDIA THEORY & PRACTICE
Study of social media as a professional communication and media tool. Emphasis on foundations in communication theory and contemporary approaches. Pre: 2034. (3H,3C)
4274: BROADCASTING PERFORMANCE
Advanced study of on-air performance for broadcasters. Professionals behaviors and strategies for developing conversational writing, broadcast style, interviewing, reporting, and anchoring. Pre: 3154. (3H,3C)
4304: PUBLIC RELATIONS CAMPAIGNS
Public relations campaign research, planning, implementation and evaluation. Emphasis on applying theory in campaign contexts; executing applied research; setting objectives; developing strategic plans, messages and budgets; carrying out courses of action; and evaluating results. Pre: 2124, 3144, 3014. (3H,3C)
4314: COMMUNICATION AND ISSUES OF DIVERSITY
Study of diversity including issues such as power, race, ethnicity, social class, gender, disability, age, and sexuality as related to communication theory and practice. Pre: Senior standing (3H,3C)
4324: ISSUES IN HEALTH COMMUNICATION
Study of issues related to the theory and practice of health communication, including interpersonal, public, organizational, political, and cultural. Junior standing required. (3H,3C)
4334: COMMUNICATION ETHICS
Discussion of issues related to professional communication ethics; emphasis on recognizing ethical issues, applying theoretical models and critical thinking skills to ethical issues in multimedia journalism, public relations, and communication studies. Includes research on topics related to communication ethics. Pre: Junior standing. (3H,3C)
4364: ISSUE MANAGEMENT IN PUBLIC RELATIONS
Principles of issue management: creation, development, and resolution; role of rhetoric in public policy processes; legal constraints; strategies; social responsibility. Junior standing required. (3H,3C)
4374: NEW COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY
Identify recent trends in the innovation of new communications technologies; storage, transmission, and display systems of mediated communication: optical disc, common carriers, telecommunication-computer linkages, high-definition TV, and virtual reality; information industries and society; markets for new and existing telecommunication services. Junior standing required. Pre: 2084 or 4014. (3H,3C)
4404: COMMUNICATION CAPSTONE
In-depth study of a particular issue or theme in communication for majors in communication studies, public relations, or multimedia journalism. Integrates previous work in the discipline, focusing on research and presentation of research. Pre: Junior standing. (3H,3C)
4414: PUBLIC RELATIONS STANDARDS AND PRACTICES
Addresses complexities of public relations research, planning, implementation, and evaluation required for professional certification. Includes special emphasis on public relations legal and ethical practices. Senior standing. Pre: 2044. (3H,3C)
4964: FIELD STUDY
Pass/Fail only. Variable credit course.
4974: INDEPENDENT STUDY
Variable credit course.
4974H: INDEPENDENT STUDY
Variable credit course.
4984: SPECIAL STUDY
Variable credit course.
4994: UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH
Variable credit course.
4994H: UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH
Variable credit course.