Skip to main content

Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Below are short descriptions of courses offered by the Department of Communication Studies, as listed in the current Undergraduate Catalog of West Chester University of Pennsylvania. For a current listing of sections offered, please consult the latest edition of the WCU Undergraduate Course Schedule, available from the Registrar's office, or online at

COM 112 Communication Media Practicum (1-3)

This course provides students with an opportunity to gain knowledge and skill as they work at WCU media outlets. (This course may be taken again for credit.)

COM 200 Communication Careers Planning I (1)

This course is designed to introduce the first of a two-phase, career-planning process. Self-assessment and exploration are provided through assigned readings, mini-lectures, reflective exercises, and small group activities.

COM 201 Fundamentals of Communication Technology (3)

Examination of the use of computers and other technologies to create, organize, store, visualize, and present messages.

COM 202 Writing for Broadcast and Public Relations (3)

Students are required to analyze, evaluate, and produce scripts for a variety of mass media formats. The course will focus on writing for radio and TV and will also emphasize public relations writing within those media. The primary course objective is to develop effective writing, critical analysis, and communication skills. COM 202 is designed to help you improve your research and writing skills for each of these media and is geared toward students with a genuine interest in a media career.

COM 203 The Philadelphia Media Experience (3)

This course introduces students to the history of media professions in the Philadelphia area, exposes them to media opportunities and helps them to improve the skill set needed to obtain jobs in emerging media organizations

COM 204 Interpersonal Communication (3)

This course focuses on one-on-one (or dyadic) communication to give the student a fundamental understanding of the processes and experiences of the most basic type of human communication.

SPK 208 Public Speaking (3)

Development of skills necessary to understand the theory of communication as a problem-solving tool in the community. Special emphasis is on the student's performance as a sender and receiver of messages directed at social action.

COM 212 Mass Communication (3)

A survey course designed to identify, analyze, and evaluate the pragmatic, persuasive, creative, and technical dimensions of mass media.

COM 216 Small Group Communication (3)

Introduction to and practice in the structured small group. Emphasis on preparation for, analysis of, and participation in problem-solving oriented groups.

COM 217 Introduction to Video Production and Editing (3)

Planning and producing the nondramatic television production.

COM 219 Communication Theory (3)

A study of human communication that includes a historical view of the field, examinations of definitions of communication, analyses of the nature of theory and the process of theorizing, assessment of perspectives of communication, and construction of models of communication.

COM 224 Communication Research (3)

An examination of the nature of inquiry and research in communication. Emphasis on understanding and appreciating the strengths and weaknesses of various methods of research in communication.

SPK 230 Business and Professional Speech Communication (3)

Practice in effective speaking and listening. Interpersonal communication in the business and professional setting, including reports and sales presentations, policy speeches, conference leadership techniques, group dynamics, and speaking.

COM 250 Intercultural Communication (3)

A study of factors that contribute to communication breakdowns between diverse cultures and between fragmented segments within the same society. (Diverse communities course)

COM 275 Media In Ireland (3)

This course introduces students to the past, present and future of media in Ireland by examining the culture, history, law and economic conditions of the nation. It includes visits to the major historic sites and media centers in Dublin.

COM 276 Media In London (3)

This course explores the past, present, and future of British media. Students will study England from a variety of perspectives (cultural, economic, legal, technological) as a way of understanding the evolution of British media, including both print and broadcast. Course includes three weeks in London visiting various media institutions.

COM 292 Living in the Digital Age (3)

New technologies result in immediate and far reaching changes in our communications systems and in our communication practices. They even effect how we define ourselves. This course examines a broad array of issues from Artificial Intelligence to the WWW.

COM 295 Communication and Disability (3)

This course explores how individuals communicate through and about disability. Topics covered include the place of perceptions, identity, language, nonverbal behavior, and assistive technology in interpersonal communicative interactions among and about individuals with disabilities in family, friendship, and professional relationships.

COM 304 Organizational Communication (3)

An indepth analysis of the dynamic process of communication as it occurs in organizational networks. PREREQ: COM 216, 219, 224; and SPK 208.

COM 307 Nonverbal Communication (3)

A study of the verbal and sensory messages we are constantly receiving. Body language and the uses of space, time, touch, objects, and color inherent in the sensory messages we receive. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.

COM 309 Advanced Public Speaking (3)

Designing personal strategies, adapting delivery to large audiences, developing oral use of language, and speaking to live or simulated community groups. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.

COM 311 Communication Professions in Sports (3)

Course focuses on the communications businesses related to sports in America, including marketing, public relations, journalism, emerging media, etc. Includes sections on media history, communication ethics, race relations, and gender issues in sports media. Guest speakers from major media and local professional teams provide insight into communications-related professions in sports. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.

COM 317 Advanced Video Production (3)

Planning the program. Preparing the shooting script. Practice in rehearsing with actors and cameras. PREREQ: COM 217, 219, 224; and SPK 208.

COM 318 Forensics (3)

Study in the philosophy and practice of forensics. Initiating, developing, and administrating a forensic program. Coaching and judging debate and individual events. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.

COM 320 Communicating on Television and Radio (3)

For the student who, by career or circumstance, will be required to be on radio and television. The focus of the course will be on three major areas: interviewer/interviewee techniques; acting for television, including working in commercials; and news reporting, including studio and remote locations. PREREQ: COM 219, 224, SPK 208 and THA 103.

COM 325 Strategic Social Media (3)

This course explores the historical landscape, best marketing practices, and mobilization through social media in the 21st first century. Topics covered include media literacy, personal identity, community, globalization, and the convergence culture. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.

COM 340 Political Communication (3)

This course examines the functions and effects of political messages in policymaking and in campaigns. Particular attention is paid to the flow of messages between politicians, the media, and the electorate. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208. (Interdisciplinary course)

COM 345 Communication And Gender (3)

This course explores communication between and about females and males. Topics covered include interpersonal interaction between men and women in romantic, friendship, family, work, and professional relationships, as well as societal assumptions and popular culture messages about communication and gender. PREREQ: COM 219, 224, and SPK 208

COM 355 Introduction to Public Relations (3)

Introduces students to the theory and practice of public relations, including research, writing, and evaluation. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.

COM 360 African American Culture and Communication (3)

This course explores the cultural perspective and practices that form the basis of African American communication. Topics covered include the characterisitics of African American verbal and nonverbal communication as well as the communication strategies that improve intercultural communication competence. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.

COM 399 Directed Studies in Communication Studies (1-3)

Research, creative projects, reports, and readings in communication studies. Students must apply to advisers one semester in advance of registration. Open to juniors and seniors only. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; SPK 208; and approval of department chairperson. (This course may be taken again for credit.)

COM 400 Internship in Communication Studies (3-12)

This course provides a structured and supervised work experience in communication. Credits earned are based on the amount of quality time spent on the job. Students must apply to the department internship coordinator and receive approval to be admitted. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; SPK 208; and approval of department internship coordinator. (This course may be taken again for credit.)

COM 403 Persuasion (3)

Current theories of attitude and attitude change. Practice in speaking to modify behavior through appeals to the drives and motives of the listener. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.

COM 404 Rhetorical Theory and Criticism (3)

Offers an overview of rhetorical theory from classical to contemporary times. Theory is used to analyze and assess a variety of texts such as advertisements and speeches. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.

COM 405 Argumentation and Debate (3)

This course explores the functions and principles of argumentation and debate, including analysis, evidence, reasoning, and refutation. Class debates on vital issues. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208. Writing emphasis course.

COM 410 Conflict Resolution (3)

This course explores the means of resolving conflict through argument, negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.

COM 415 (also LIN 415) Language, Thought, and Behavior (3)

This course is designed to help students understand the way language functions in the communication process. To accomplish this purpose, various language systems will be examined, and one will be selected for in-depth analysis. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208. Writing emphasis course.

COM 440 Friendship Communication (3)

This course explores communication in friendship relationships. Topics covered include a dialectical perspective of creating and maintaining meaning between friends in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, as well as how friendship communication is affected by gender, culture, school, work, romance, and family. PREREQ: COM 204, 219, 224; and SPK 208. Writing emphasis course.

COM 445 Family Communication (3)

This course explores communication in family relationships. Topics covered include interpersonal interaction between family members, societal influences on the family as a whole, and the place of family narratives in these communicative behaviors. PREREQ: COM 204, 219, 224; and SPK 208. Writing emphasis course.

COM 450 Health Communication (3)

This course explores communication in health care settings. Topics covered include the changing perceptions of medical encounters, the language of illness and health, the roles of patients and caregivers, and health communication in historical, cultural, organizational, technological, and medical contexts. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.

COM 455 Public Relations Management (3)

This course explores the strategic planning and implementation of public relations programs. Topics include the application of management theory to real public relations cases to solve communication problems as well as identifying audience values and working with the media to develop and distribute messages. PREREQ: COM 212, 219, 224, 355; and SPK 208.

COM 460 Communication and Advertising (3)

This course explores the relationship between communication and advertising. Topics covered include the interconnection among advertising, media, and a range of publics, as well as the process and history of advertising, message strategies, media planning, campaign evaluation, and ethical and regulatory issues. PREREQ: COM 212, 219, 224; and SPK 208.

COM 470 Intercultural Communication Training (3)

This course explores intercultural communication training in organizations. Topics covered include the effects of cultural differences on communication within and between organizations, training strategies for managing cultural differences in communication, and the relationship between intercultural communication training and the power structures in organizations. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.

COM 480 Communication and Leadership (3)

This course explores the relationship between leadership and communication. Topics covered include the definition of "leadership challenge," the major approaches to leadership training, and the study of leadership as a metaphor for self-development. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208.

COM 490 Capstone Course in Communication Theory (3)

This senior-level seminar explores leading communication theories at an advanced level. Students will be expected to read, synthesize, and apply original communication research related to key theories across the communication studies field. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; SPK 208; and any two 300- or 400-level COM courses other than COM 400.

COM 499 Communication Seminar (3)

Intensive examination of a selected area of study in the field of communication studies. Topics will be announced in advance. PREREQ: COM 219, 224; and SPK 208. (This course may be taken again for credit.)