Courses & Curriculum
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 mass 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. The program offers students a variety of opportunities to acquire professional knowledge 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. Instead of focusing on preparation for specialized jobs that exist today but may not be viable in the future, the Communication Studies faculty provides the foundation on which to build meaningful roles in the contemporary world.
Qualifications for the major
Concentration and Sequence Courses in the major
Communication Studies majors must select an area of concentration and complete at least two courses in that concentration in order to graduate. There are three sequences, which include a total of four concentrations:
Broadcasting & Media Studies
Advertising & Public Relations
Interpersonal & Organizational Communication
A concentration in integrated marketing communications is also available. Students who successfully complete this course of study will receive an award of completion from the Communication Studies Department.
Communication Studies Curriculum:
1. Core Curriculum Requirements:
View the Core Curriculum requirements. All students complete these requirements as part of their overall Canisius education.
|2. Major course requirements: (12 courses)||36 credits|
|A. Major Required Courses (6 courses)|
|COM 201 Oral Communication||3 credits|
|COM 202 Communication Theory||3 credits|
|COM 203 Writing for the Public Media||3 credits|
|COM 204 Interpersonal Communication||3 credits|
|COM 205 Mass Communication and Society||3 credits|
|COM 206 Introduction to Research Methods||3 credits|
|B. Sequence Courses (2 courses)||6 credits|
|C. Major Electives (4 courses)||12 credits|
Free electives are courses in addition to the Core Curriculum and major requirements sufficient to reach a minimum of 120 credit hours for graduation. Students may graduate with more but not less than 120 credit hours.
Internships and Independent Study
Internships 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 G.P.A. of at least 2.50 and a Communication average of at least 2.70. Internships are taken on a Pass/Fail basis and are counted towards free elective credit. Students are encouraged to plan early to do an internship during their Junior or Senior year.
Opportunity for independent study (three credits) is sometimes available for qualified upperclass students by arrangement with the Communication Studies chair and faculty supervisor.
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, political science, psychology, English, history, management/marketing and modern languages. The department participates in programs with Women’s Studies and Fine Arts, and also offers courses towards a minor in Child, Family and Community Studies. Photography courses listed in Fine Arts are limited to six credits in the Communication Studies major. 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.
Note: Additional Communication Studies courses may be offered each semester in both the day and evening. Students should consult the department.
COM 101 Communication in Contemporary Society 3 credits
Survey of current issues of human communication with emphasis on concerns of young adults. Topics include communication problems such as communication in difficult situations (e.g., apologizing, embarrassment, assertiveness), divorce communication and death and dying. Spring
Study and practice of concepts, processes and techniques of effective verbal communication in face-to-face, small group and public-address contexts. Speeches required. Fall/Spring
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. Fall/Spring
Intensive writing assignments employing message-design principles provide opportunities to prepare news, features, press releases, advertising copy and opinion pieces. Fall/Spring
Examines the theoretical and pragmatic aspects of interpersonal communication in various contexts to enhance self-awareness and effective self-expression in relationships. Fall/Spring
Survey of mass communication processes and the mass media in terms of development, structures, functions, effects and interactive relationships with American society. Fall/Spring
The fundamentals of the scientific method, especially, the basics of research methods, designs and hypothesis testing. Fall/Spring
Our families are often a great source of support and stress. This course examines family communication patterns, theories, and research with special emphasis on improving family communication and relationships.
Get me rewrite! Develop a nose for news. You’re only as good as your last story. Nut graf. Slug. Lede. Flag. Mug. Dog legs. Copy! Copy! Combine legendary lingo with core aspects of journalism: recognizing newsworthiness, doing serious reporting (gathering the facts) and writing news objectively. Leave your cable remote at the door.
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. Fall
JRN 311 Journalism II (formerly COM 366) 3 credits
Explore the ever-changing and highly competitive inner workings of a newsroom and broadcast news department in the new era of multimedia journalism. Become part of your own news team by learning the process of writing and reporting news. Take advantage of this opportunity to enhance your electronic news-gathering skills and explore new delivery methods. Note that students in this course will collaborate with students in COM 361 - Intro to TV Production - to create video packages for web delivery and multimedia journalism projects. Fall
Study of techniques, tools and theories for generating innovative concepts and ideas. Emphasize application to advertising context. DMA elective. Fall
Learn how to become an effective trainer! Students will learn how to assess training needs within companies & organizations, design training programs, and evaluate training programs. There is a strong need for good trainers when the economy is in hard times. Prerequisite: COM 201 or permission of instructor.
Bring your imaginations and come ready to play with words and ideas. Learn to develop the creative concepts and persuasive copy to basic print, television, web and radio advertising. During the semester you’ll also see your words come to life as we team up, on a few projects, with designers in DMA 393- Advanced Digital Design Prerequisite: COM 311 or permission of instructor.
Profiles and other human-interest features developed for newspapers and magazines. Free-lance writing introduced. Fall
Focuses on theoretical approaches and practical skills enabling students to analyze, think critically and produce effective mediated messages in a variety of formats and specialized content areas. Service Learning Option DMA elective. Fall
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.
Think you have a good idea for a TV show or a movie? This course will help you take that idea and develop it into a teleplay or screenplay. Explore characters, story, dialogue and the business of screen writing. COM & DMA elective.
Theoretical and practical perspectives on various forms of Public Relations writing. Students produce a portfolio of PR writing samples using a wide range of tools and techniques. Prerequisite: COM 312 or permission of instructor.
We will look at some common personality characteristics such as shyness, argumentativeness and aggression. This is a very good course for people who enjoy interpersonal communication. Prerequisite: COM 204
First-hand exposure and instruction on writing for TV, print, and the Internet, broadcast anchoring and covering games. This course puts the student in front of the camera, computer, microphone and face-to-face with sports journalists and athletes. Spring
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.
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.
Explores ethics across mass media disciplines, through the work of professional communicators—journalists, broadcasters, advertising and public relations practitioners, as well as the new cyber-communicators. Develop practices of making crucial media decisions based on principles and idealism. Fall
This course is designed for those who need to understand the interplay of marketing issues and advertising account and media skills, including integrated marketing strategic plans, media plans, budgeting and scheduling. Account management and media strategy are critical components 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. We’ll look at the different disciplines within the industry and show how they all work as a team. Spring
Examines classic and contemporary persuasion and social influence theories, models, concepts, and research. Students will become more effective in designing and delivering persuasive messages.
COM 355 – Adv. Media Planning/Buying 3 credits
Where should we advertise? Why? How often? And how much will it cost? Orchestrating the marketing mix is both an art and a science. We will explore the relationship between market research, consumers, and the media they read and watch. Learn about the newest tools media planners employ to reach these consumers. We’ll discuss traditional media such as TV, print and outdoor as well as the newest online media that are changing the marketing communication landscape.
COM 360 Health Campaigns 3 credits
In this course students will learn how to design, draft and deliver effective health campaigns using a variety of message strategies. Students will work collaboratively to develop effective tools for a health communication campaign that bring about behavioral change among target audiences and influence health policy issues. Students will also learn how to develop evaluation techniques to determine whether or not their messages effectively reached and influenced the targeted population. Pre-requisite: COM 312 or COM 350.
Studio techniques, lighting, sound recording, set design, electronic graphics and editing, production of live and edited programs in studio. DMA elective. Fall
Cultivate the skills and sensibilities necessary for shepherding multimedia news and feature stories from conceptualization to publication. Explore how to shape and sharpen journalism across a variety of media platforms. Develop an eye for reporting deficiencies, inaccuracies and potential legal problems.. Explore journalism theory and ethics. Edit for content and style. Write headlines. Design and lay out pages using pagination software.
Interested in a career as a TV or radio anchor or reporter? Maybe you’re more of a behind-the-scenes type. If you see yourself in the broadcasting or cable business, then don’t miss the chance to register for this course!
Design, write and produce special feature reports, multiple-part series, investigative stories and mini-documentaries. Emphasis on field work.
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. Fall
The development of cinema worldwide from World War II through the 1970s. Study, view and discuss films representative of major directors, genres and national cinema movements. DMA elective. Also accepted for Art History major/minor credit. Fall
COM 376 – Film Genre: Thrillers to Comedies 3 credits
Students who are interested in film professionally or personally are invited to view sequences from the finest American motion pictures made in the past 100 years. The course will present an overview of film genres, and particulary focus on elements of the Thriller and Comedy film genres including: Action-Adventure, Comedy, Crime, Horror, Melodrama, and Mystery.
COM 378 – Film Directors 3 credits
Just as a novel has an author, a film has a director: one individual responsible for the film; one sensibility which unites the talents of the cinematographer, editor, sound director, composer, performer, et al. This course will provide an overview of key North American directors whose cinematic achievements are widely recognized, and will include: Kathryn Bigelow, James Cameron, Clint Eastwood, Francis Cappola, John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas, Michael Moore, Martin Scorsese, M. Night Shyamalan, and Stephen Spielberg.
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. Spring
Designed as a capstone course for advertising students, this course examines current and classic advertising campaigns for technique and effectiveness. Students also have the chance to develop their own advertising campaigns.Prerequisite: COM 311 or permission of instructor. Spring
Students will become familiar with a process for public relations problem-solving through analysis of PR cases in major areas of the field, including media relations, consumer/ investor relations and crisis communications.
In this seminar, students explore a range of contemporary issues surrounding the advertising industry including consumerism, effects, ethics, racism and sexism and trends. Prerequisite: COM 311 or permission of instructor. Fall
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.
Explore the world of movies beyond Hollywood. See award winning and critically acclaimed films from 15 different countries and cultures. Have your eyes, ears and minds opened to alternative ways of using the universal language of cinema to tell stories which represent life and the human condition from other national, artistic and political perspectives.
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 488/498 combined. Prerequisite: Open to junior and senior majors with G.P.A. of at least 2.50 and Communication Studies average of 2.70 and approved by department faculty. Applications on Communication Studies Department website. Fall/Spring
Sequel to COM 488 for students taking a second internship. Each student is limited to a combined total of 12 credit hours for COM 488 and 498.Prerequisite: Same as for COM 488. Fall/Spring
Student conducts original project or self-designed course of study under the tutelage of Communication Studies faculty member. Prerequisite: Open to junior and senior majors in good standing with consent of instructor and chair. Fall/Spring
DMA 202 Digital Media Culture 3 credits
DMA 204 Digital Media Law 3 credits
DMA 205 Digital Graphics 3 credits
DMA 206 Interactive Multimedia 3 credits
DMA 310 Digital Audio/Music Production 3 credits
DMA 342 Introduction to Web Design 3 credits
DMA 385 Intro to Digital Filmmaking 3 credits
DMA 442 Advanced Web Design 3 credits
FAS 140 Introduction to Still Photography 3 credits
FAS 141 Digital Photography 3 credits
FAS 241 Intermediate Photography 3 credits