Department of Communication Studies

Interim Chair: Dr. John Wittig

The Department of Communication Studies is concerned with human interaction and communication in all of its forms. The department offers concentrations in Communication Management and Mass Communication.

Students interested in studying communication should consult the department chair or undergraduate coordinator as well as the requirements set by the College of Arts and Sciences.

Major in Communication Studies with Communication Management Concentration
The Communication Management concentration is designed for students interested in the general principles of communication from interpersonal relationships to the theory and practice of public dialogue. A minor is available in Communication Management for non-majors.  

Major in Communication Studies with a Mass Communication Concentration
The Mass Communication concentration allows students to specialize in journalism, broadcasting, or public relations. Minors are available in Mass Communication. A Minor is required for a degree in Mass Communication.

Specializations
Students interested in developing a concentration in mass communication may select from one of three specializations available in the department: journalism, broadcasting, or public relations. Students specializing in one of the mass communication specializations may also major or minor in communication management.

Journalism
The curriculum in journalism is designed to prepare students for work with newspapers, magazines and company publications. In addition to courses in writing, reporting, and editing, the journalism program frequently offers special courses aimed at meeting the media demands of Birmingham, its people, and its publications.

Broadcasting
Students in broadcasting prepare for professional careers in television production, news operations, or management. In addition to skills courses, students are given a strong theoretical foundation designed for both the media professional and the potential graduate student in mass communication.

Public Relations
Public relations is a pre-professional program designed to acquaint students with the theoretical knowledge and the practical skills necessary for relating ideas and information to man “publics.” The program stresses writing, oral, and analytical skills.

Major Requirements for Communication Studies with Communication Management Concentration

RequirementsHours
Required Courses 1
CMST 105Introduction to Human Communication3
CMST 494Communication Research Methods3
CMST 103History of Mass Media (Required Courses) 13
Communication Management Electives30
Select 30 credit hours from the following courses. At least 6 hours must be taken at the 400 level.:
Human Communication in Everyday Life
Applied Communication Theory
Interviewing
Communication and Teamwork
Organizational Communication
Communication Leadership and Management
Argumentation Theory
Introduction to Public Relations
Propaganda and Public Persuasion
Health Communication
Professional Presentations
Instructional Communication
Organizational Communication Project
Language & Thought
Intercultural & International Communication
Seminar in Political Communication
Media Criticism
Communication and Social Movements in America
Communication and Aging
Independent Study
Special Topics in Communication Studies
Communication Research Methods
Total Hours39

 Major Requirements for Communication Studies with Mass Communication - Broadcasting Concentration

RequirementsHours
Required Courses 1
CMST 103History of Mass Media3
CMST 105Introduction to Human Communication3
CMST 210Newswriting and Reporting I3
CMST 283Visual Media Production I3
CMST 370Fundamentals of Broadcast Journalism3
CMST 371Copywriting for Broadcast Media3
CMST 383Visual Media Production II3
CMST 402Mass Communication Law3
CMST 494Communication Research Methods3
CMST 495Mass Media and Society 3
Mass Media Internship
Select two internship hours:2
Internship
Major Electives
Select six hours from 300-level or 400-level Communication Studies Classes. At least one elective must be at the 400 level.6
Classical Theories of Social Influence
Applied Communication Theory
Investigative Reporting
Interviewing
Communication Leadership and Management
Newswriting and Reporting II
Argumentation Theory
Introduction to Public Relations
Public Relations Methods II
Propaganda and Public Persuasion
Health Communication
Instructional Communication
Organizational Communication Project
Nonverbal Communication
Language & Thought
Public Relations Methods I
Conducting Public Relations Campaigns
Seminar in Political Communication
Communication and Aging
Media Citizenship
Internship
Independent Study
Special Topics in Communication Studies
Total Hours38

1

Completion of CMST 105 automatically satisfies the Core Curriculum Area IV Speech requirement.


 Major Requirements for Communication Studies with Mass Communication - Journalism Concentration

RequirementsHours
Required Courses 1
CMST 103History of Mass Media3
CMST 105Introduction to Human Communication3
CMST 210Newswriting and Reporting I3
CMST 306Investigative Reporting 3
CMST 308Newswriting and Reporting II3
CMST 350Publication Editing and Design3
CMST 360Feature Writing3
CMST 402Mass Communication Law3
CMST 494Communication Research Methods3
CMST 495Mass Media and Society 3
Mass Media Internship
Take at least two hours in the following:2
Internship
Major Electives
Select nine credit hours from 300-level or 400-level Courses (that are not required):9
Classical Theories of Social Influence
Applied Communication Theory
Interviewing
Communication Leadership and Management
Argumentation Theory
Introduction to Public Relations
Public Relations Principles
Public Relations Methods II
Propaganda and Public Persuasion
Health Communication
Instructional Communication
Organizational Communication Project
Nonverbal Communication
Language & Thought
Intercultural & International Communication
Public Relations Methods I
Conducting Public Relations Campaigns
Seminar in Political Communication
Seminar in Health and Medical Communication
Communication and Aging
Media Citizenship
Internship
Independent Study
Special Topics in Communication Studies
Total Hours41

1

Completion of CMST 105 automatically satisfies the Core Curriculum Area IV Speech requirement.


 Major Requirements for Communication Studies with Mass Communication - Public Relations Concentration

RequirementsHours
Required Courses 1
CMST 103History of Mass Media3
CMST 105Introduction to Human Communication3
CMST 210Newswriting and Reporting I3
CMST 339Introduction to Public Relations3
CMST 340Public Relations Principles3
CMST 402Mass Communication Law3
CMST 440Public Relations Methods I3
CMST 442Conducting Public Relations Campaigns3
CMST 494Communication Research Methods3
CMST 495Mass Media and Society 3
Mass Media Internship
Take at least two hours in the following:2
Internship
Writing
Select one of the following:3
Newswriting and Reporting II
Feature Writing
Major Electives
Select two courses not previously taken6
Organizational Communication
Argumentation Theory
Public Relations Methods II
Propaganda and Public Persuasion
Internship
Total Hours41

1

Completion of CMST 105 automatically satisfies the Core Curriculum Area IV Speech requirement.


Additional Requirements

Minor

Completion of a minor is not required for this degree. 

Proposed Program of Study for a Major in Communication Management

Freshman
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
CMST 1013CMST 1033
CMST 1053 
 6 3
Sophomore
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
Communication Management Electives I36Communication Management Elective II46
 6 6
Junior
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
CMST 4943Communication Managment Electives IV66
Communication Management Electives III56 
 9 6
Senior
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
Other Communication Management Elective3Other Communication Management Elective3
 3 3
Total credit hours: 42

1

 Public Speaking is highly recommended as a core choice for Communication Studies majors and minors.

2

Ideally, at the end of the first year, the student would have completed the university composition requirement (6 hours), 6 hours of humanities, 9 hours of social science, and 3 hours of science and mathematics.

3

Select two courses from CMST 310, CMST 311, CMST 315, CMST 339 or CMST 356.  

4

Select two courses from CMST 300, CMST 301, CMST 309 or CMST 310.

5

Select two courses fromCMST 401CMST 413, CMST 414, CMST 455 or CMST 492

6

Select two courses from  CMST 400CMST 411, CMST 415 or CMST 492

 

 

Proposed Program of Study for a Major in Mass Communication with a Broadcasting Specialization

Freshman
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
CMST 1013CMST 1053
CMST 1033 
 6 3
Sophomore
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
CMST 2103CMST 2833
CMST 3703CMST 3713
 6 6
Junior
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
CMST 3833CMST 4023
CMST 4943CMST 4953
 6 6
Senior
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
CMST 4911-3CMST 4933
 1-3 3
Total credit hours: 37-39

 

1

Ideally, at the end of the first year, the student would have completed the university composition requirement (6 hours), 6 hours of humanities and fine arts, 9 hours of social science, and 4 hours of science and mathematics.

2

 Public Speaking is highly recommended as a core choice for Communication Studies majors and minors; however, other options exist.


 

 

Proposed Program of Study for a Major in Mass Communication with a Journalism Specialization

Freshman
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
EH 10113EH 10213
CMST 1013CMST 1033
CMST 1053 
 9 6
Sophomore
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
CMST 2103CMST 3103
MC/CM Elective (300 level or above)3CMST 4023
 6 6
Junior
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
CMST 3063CMST 3603
CMST 3503CMST 4953
CMST 4943MC/CM Elective (300 level or above)3
 9 9
Senior
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
CMST 4911-3MC/CM Elective (300 level or above)3
 1-3 3
Total credit hours: 49-51

1

EH 101 and EH 102 are listed because they are prerequisites for CMST 210, which is required for these specializations (Public Relations and Journalism).  Additionally, at the end of the first year, the student would have completed the university composition requirement (6 hours), 6 hours of humanities and fine arts, 9 hours of social science, and 4 hours of science and mathematics.

2

 Ideally, at the end of the first year, the student would have completed the university composition requirement (6 hours), 6 hours of humanities and fine arts, 9 hours of social science, and 4 hours of science and mathematics.

3

 Public Speaking is highly recommended as a core choice for Communication Studies majors and minors; however, other options exist.

 

 

Proposed Program of Study for a Major in Mass Communication with a Public Relations Specialization

Freshman
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
EH 10113EH 102*3
CMST 1013CMST 1053
CMST 1033 
 9 6
Sophomore
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
CMST 2103CMST 4023
CMST 4953CMST 4943
 6 6
Junior
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
CMST 3393CMST 3103
CMST 3563CMST 3403
 6 6
Senior
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
CMST 4403CMST 4423
CMST 3113CMST 4911-3
 6 4-6
Total credit hours: 49-51

1

EH 101  and EH 102 are listed because they are prerequisites for CMST 210, which is required for these specializations (Public Relations and Journalism.)  Additionally, at the end of the first year, the student would have completed the university composition requirement (6 hours), 6 hours of humanities and fine arts, 9 hours of social science, and 4 hours of science and mathematics.

2

 Public Speaking is highly recommended as a core choice for Communication Studies majors and minors; however, other options exist.

Minor Requirements for Communication Management

A minor for non-majors consists of the following:

RequirementsHours
CMST 105Introduction to Human Communication3
CMST 311Organizational Communication3
CMST 413Nonverbal Communication3
Three additional courses, approved by departmental advisor or chair. 9
Total Hours18

 

 

Minor Requirements for Mass Communication

RequirementsHours
Required Courses
CMST 103History of Mass Media3
CMST 210Newswriting and Reporting I3
Communication Studies Electives
Under advisement, select five 300-level or 400-level Mass Communication courses.15
Total Hours21

 

Courses

CMST 100. Media & Society. 3 Hours.

Examines the impact of mediated messages on society. What theories help to shape perception and understanding of the interplay between media, society, and human behavior.

CMST 101. Public Speaking. 3 Hours.

Effective public speaking. Analysis, research, organization, delivery, to enhance speaking performance.

CMST 103. History of Mass Media. 3 Hours.

The history of newspapers, books, magazines, radio, television, cinema, recording industry, and the internet, focusing on current events, civic responsibilities and the role, value of diversity when appropriate. Ethics and Civic Responsibility are significant components of this course.

CMST 105. Introduction to Human Communication. 3 Hours.

Communication and persuasion as ideas in Western thought, ranging from Greek to contemporary period.

CMST 210. Newswriting and Reporting I. 3 Hours.

Recognizing news, gathering information, and writing news. Though the emphasis is on newspaper journalism, this is a foundational news writing course for all mass communication majors and minors.
Prerequisites: EH 102 [Min Grade: B]

CMST 283. Visual Media Production I. 3 Hours.

Intro to digital video production camera operation, framing, composition, lighting and audio with both multi-camera and single camera applications.

CMST 300. Human Communication in Everyday Life. 3 Hours.

Learning to express what we mean and to understand others is the foundation of this course. Human communication will review the following basic concepts:Components of human communication, interpersonal relationships,perceptions, and relational concerns.

CMST 301. Classical Theories of Social Influence. 3 Hours.

Classical systems of rhetoric applied to contemporary theory building in communication. Works selected from among Sophists, as well as Plato and Aristotle.

CMST 305. Applied Communication Theory. 3 Hours.

Major theoretical approaches to issues involved in human communication. Various psychological and sociological conceptualizations of communication process.

CMST 306. Investigative Reporting. 3 Hours.

Gathering and writing in-depth news; covering courts, police, schools, and county and city governments.
Prerequisites: MC 210 [Min Grade: C] or CMST 210 [Min Grade: C] or MC 106 [Min Grade: C]

CMST 308. Newswriting and Reporting II. 3 Hours.

Practice in gathering and writing news, with experience in writing under pressure of deadlines and covering beats.
Prerequisites: CMST 210 [Min Grade: C] or MC 210 [Min Grade: C] or MC 106 [Min Grade: C]

CMST 309. Interviewing. 3 Hours.

Theory and practice in various types of interviews, such as employment, counseling, research, and journalistic.

CMST 310. Communications and Teamwork. 3 Hours.

Theories of small group communication and practice in decision making in various group formats as part of organizational structure.

CMST 311. Organizational Communication. 3 Hours.

Theories and models of communication in organizational settings. Analysis and diagnosis of communicative patterns and consideration of methods for implementing appropriate communication models in organizations.

CMST 315. Communication Leadership and Management. 3 Hours.

Theory and research on leadership and communication management. Specific attention to contexts in which leaders and managers function.

CMST 320. Introduction to Advertising. 3 Hours.

Survey of methods, techniques, and strategy involved in creating an advertising campaign.

CMST 322. Argumentation Theory. 3 Hours.

Bases of argument and nature of issues in controversy. Evidence, logic, refutation, and argumentative formats. Recommended for pre-law as well as general students.

CMST 339. Introduction to Public Relations. 3 Hours.

Survey of public relations in the United States. Relationships among marketing, advertising and public relations.

CMST 340. Public Relations Principles. 3 Hours.

Relationship of business, industrial, educational, health, and service institutions to audiences. Public relations as management function in areas of communication analysis, counseling, and public information activities.
Prerequisites: (CMST 210 [Min Grade: C] or MC 210 [Min Grade: C]) and (CMST 339 [Min Grade: C] or CM 339 [Min Grade: C] or MC 339 [Min Grade: C])

CMST 343. Public Relations Methods II. 3 Hours.

Graphics, brochure and newsletter design, slide shows, broadcast PSAs, and multimedia presentations.
Prerequisites: CMST 340 [Min Grade: C] or MC 340 [Min Grade: C]

CMST 350. Publication Editing and Design. 3 Hours.

News selection, copy editing, picture editing, and headline writing.
Prerequisites: CMST 210 [Min Grade: C] or CM 210 [Min Grade: C] or MC 106 [Min Grade: C]

CMST 356. Propaganda and Public Persuasion. 3 Hours.

Theory and practice of propaganda with emphasis on mass media as tools of propagandist. Nazi, Soviet, and U.S. propaganda analyzed and critiqued in context of communication theory and ethics.

CMST 360. Feature Writing. 3 Hours.

Finding subjects, collecting information, interviewing, writing, and marketing magazine and newspaper features.
Prerequisites: CMST 210 [Min Grade: C] or MC 210 [Min Grade: C] or MC 106 [Min Grade: C]

CMST 370. Fundamentals of Broadcast Journalism. 3 Hours.

Broadcasting technology, history of radio and television, economics of broadcasting, government regulation of industry, and assessment of medium in society.

CMST 371. Copywriting for Broadcast Media. 3 Hours.

Copywriting for freelance, in-station, agency, corporate in-house, and institutional settings.
Prerequisites: CMST 103 [Min Grade: C] or MC 101 [Min Grade: C]

CMST 380. Health Communication. 3 Hours.

Bases of theory and practice of communication in health-care setting. Emphasis on communication contexts and relationships.

CMST 382. Current Issues in Health Communication. 3 Hours.

A project-based course in the current methods of communicating health information. Students will research the foundations of communication strategies in health care and plan a program of health information to be tested with an actual population. Email, telephone health, are just two areas of study for students. Students should plan for some time to be devoted to a community project.

CMST 383. Visual Media Production II. 3 Hours.

Advanced digital video production for media applications on the web, television and film.
Prerequisites: CMST 283 [Min Grade: C] or MC 283 [Min Grade: C]

CMST 400. Professional Presentations. 3 Hours.

Advanced speaking and delivery techniques in professional settings. Audience analysis, professional delivery, research, and application of theories of persuasion.

CMST 401. Instructional Communication. 3 Hours.

Communication problems in the classroom. Translation of data into lecture discussion. Empirical research on verbal and nonverbal elements of effective presentation.

CMST 402. Mass Communication Law. 3 Hours.

Legal limitations and privileges affecting publishing and broadcasting. Major court decisions. Fair comment, libel, right of privacy, fairness doctrine, and license renewal.

CMST 405. Contemporary Philosophies of Communication. 3 Hours.

Twentieth-century systems of Western rhetoric. Concepts selected from among works of Burke, Weaver, Toulmin, Perelman, Richards, and McLuhan.

CMST 411. Organizational Communication Project. 3 Hours.

Theory and research in communication audits of organizations.
Prerequisites: CMST 311 [Min Grade: C] or CM 311 [Min Grade: C]

CMST 413. Nonverbal Communication. 3 Hours.

Elements of nonverbal behavior (physical appearance, gestures, space, voice) which affect communication in person-to-person situations.

CMST 414. Language and Thought. 3 Hours.

Semiotics and communication. Definition of sign and sign process. Cognitive processes and communication processes. Signs in communicative action.

CMST 415. Intercultural & International Communication. 3 Hours.

Communication problems in intercultural and multicultural contexts. Interpretations and otherness. Ethnocentricity and culture. Analysis of one culture interpreting another, with emphasis on modern societies.

CMST 416. Issues in Global Communication. 3 Hours.

Changes in technology and communication; from narrowcasting to networking. The global village is transformed, from Marshall McLahan to the internet. Narrowcasting and broadcasting. How did the internet change communication? Circuit switching and packet switching. Cultural changes in global communication.

CMST 417. Cyborg Communication. 3 Hours.

The study of how people use online communities to mirror, extend, idealize and fantasize their everyday lives. Exploration of how online communities are formed, maintained and dissolved will be made.

CMST 440. Public Relations Methods I. 3 Hours.

Planning and executing ongoing programs and campaigns to improve organizational and institutional relations with publics. Preparing and distributing news releases, reports, letters, pamphlets, position papers, public statements, speeches, and backgrounders.
Prerequisites: CMST 340 [Min Grade: C] or MC 340 [Min Grade: C]

CMST 442. Conducting Public Relations Campaigns. 3 Hours.

National and local programs that illustrate good and bad practices. Student teams research, plan, and design public relations campaign for client.

CMST 455. Seminar in Political Communication. 3 Hours.

Emerging cross-disciplinary field of political communication. Literature and propositions surrounding key approaches, methods, and substantive areas of inquiry in political communication.

CMST 458. Media Criticism. 3 Hours.

Rhetorical systems for appraising persuasive messages and campaigns in twenty-first century.

CMST 460. Communication and Social Movements in America. 3 Hours.

Exploration of role of public communication in political, religious, social, and economic evolution of America. Movements include war and peace, revolution, slavery, feminist concerns, and industrial change.

CMST 461. Media Economics. 3 Hours.

Basic economic principles in the theories of Adam Smith, Davis Richardo and Karl Marx. Economy and communication as part of a social life. What’s the value? Value in linguistics and economics. F. von Hayeck and the idea of pricing as a means of signaling. Pricing and consumption of goods in Industrial Society. Understanding media from the viewpoint of economic concepts and procedures.

CMST 480. Seminar in Health and Medical Communication. 3 Hours.

Advanced communication theory and research in health-care setting. Impact of interpersonal, organizational, and mass communication policy in field of human health and medicine.

CMST 481. Communication and Aging. 3 Hours.

Biological, neurological, and socio-psychological effects of aging on communication process. Communication with elderly in various health and medical contexts.

CMST 483. Visual Media Production III. 3 Hours.

Applied advanced digital video production.
Prerequisites: CMST 383 [Min Grade: C] or MC 383 [Min Grade: C]

CMST 491. Internship. 1-3 Hour.

Students who meet eligibility requirements may take three hours of academic credit per semester for participating in an advisor approved internship experience. All internships require a minimum of 70 hours of work per academic credit per semester.

CMST 492. Independent Study. 1-3 Hour.

The purpose of this class is to provide the student with an opportunity to conduct significant research under the direct supervision of a Communication Studies faculty member. This research is to be an extension of an existing class or classes that you have already taken. It is not to be used to replace existing classes or fulfill requirements that existing classes already fill.

CMST 493. Special Topics in Communication Studies. 3 Hours.

Topics selected by faculty.

CMST 494. Communication Research Methods. 3 Hours.

Research questions, design, methodology, data gathering, and analysis. Practice in conducting, interpreting, and communicating research findings to public. Ethical considerations of conductions research with human subjects. Ethics and Civic Responsibility are significant components of this course (QEP). Junior standing required.

CMST 495. Mass Media and Society. 3 Hours.

Mass communication research from 1940s to present. Transactional model of communication and symbolic-interactionist perspective used among other approaches to evaluate role of mass media in twenty-first century America.