Course Descriptions

The communications major prepares students for careers in such areas as advertising, public relations, journalism (print, broadcast, and electronic), video and audio production, and writing for print and electronic media. Emphasis is on developing good writing and speaking skills, acquiring professional-level experience across several media platforms, and nurturing aesthetic awareness and creativity.

Majors complete 48 credits in communications and six credits of additional English-related coursework. Required communications courses include human communication media criticism, video production I, Journalism I, and senior seminar – all three credit courses. Majors also take three, one-credit practicum courses (supervised work in student radio, TV and newspaper) over their first two years, followed by one, three-credit campus media internship in junior year. As seniors, majors will complete a three-credit internship with a professional media organization. The practicum courses and internships provide valuable experiential learning as well as contacts with professionals in the media. The student selects the remaining credit hours in the major in consultation with his/her advisor.

Click here to access a complete list of Communications course descriptions from the online course catalog.

Course Descriptions

COM 102 Introduction to Mass Communications, 3 credits

Students will explore the history and diverse facets of the mass media in American society through the lens of the contemporary convergent media. Convergence is integration of media platforms—including video, audio, still photography, and text—into a single product on the Web. This course is an exploration of the history and evolution of newspapers, magazines, radio, television, film and other platforms in this contemporary context, enabling students to make connections and understand how each facet of the industry impacts all others. Issues of media ethics, law, and global communication, which are embedded in this context, will allow students to think critically about the rapidly changing industry and investigate the challenges that lie ahead.

COM 173/272/273 Practicum, 1 credit

Directed experiences during freshman and sophomore years working with student radio, TV, and newspaper.
Prerequisite for COM 273: COM 232 (prerequisite approved 10/2/2014, effective Spring 2015 semester)

COM 204 Film and Filmmakers, 3 credits

An introduction to the art, language, history and theory of film. Students will study films from the 1940’s through the present.

COM 207 Media Writing, 3 credits

Instruction and practice in writing public relations materials, commercials and advertising copy.

COM 215 Web Design & Production, 3 credits

An introduction to web design principles and production techniques. This course features hands-on exploration of web design and communication theory. Subjects covered include HTML, interface, graphics, and multimedia.

COM 217 Introduction to Graphic Design, 3 credits

This course is an introduction to design principles and production techniques. It includes key design principles, fundamentals of professional level typography and page layout software programs to create well designed media. It is a study of basic graphic elements, including the interaction of type and image as applied to visual communication in both print and Web design.

COM 220 Journalism I, 3 credits

Introduction to basic news writing and reporting. Emphasis on developing a journalistic style, learning to cover events, and conducting interviews.

COM 221 Journalism II, 3 credits

Introduction to copy editing and beat reporting; advanced study and practice in event coverage, research, and interviewing.
Prerequisite: COM 220

COM 222 Fundamentals of Digital Photography, 3 credits

Students will explore the fundamentals of digital photography, including the use of the SLR camera as well as digital photo manipulation software. They will grow visual literacy as they critically examine images and study the application of composition, light, color, and technique. They will also explore the legal and ethical implications of photography in the digital era, including privacy, libel, and taste.

COM 225 Photojournalism, 3 credits

This course focuses on the elements of photojournalism, including photographic theory and visual storytelling. This course will emphasize privacy, ethics, libel and copyright law as it affects professional journalists. Students will refine and practice skills in the use of composition, light, and color, and they will study and practice advanced photographic techniques as they create journalistic images suitable for publication. Photo manipulation software for editing and captioning is also discussed.

COM 232 Video Production I, 3 credits

Instruction and practice in electronic field production and electronic news gathering. Emphasizes field camera operation, location shooting, and editing of short video segments.

COM 233 Video Production II, 3 credits

Emphasis placed on pre-production, studio production, studio equipment operation, and non-linear post production.
Prerequisites: COM 232

COM 240 Audio Production, 3 credits

Instruction and practice in the creation and duplication of audio tracks for radio, television and multi-media.

COM 251 Public Relations Principles and Practices, 3 credits

Instruction and practice in the basics of public relations.
Prerequisite: COM 220 or instructor permission

COM 306 Media Criticism, 3 credits

Analysis, evaluation and instruction in the critical process to evaluate media products and messages. The course will emphasize the difference between description, analysis, and opinion.
Prerequisites: COM 101 plus nine additional credits in Communications

COM 307 Communication Research, 3 credits

This course will study and practice the various methodologies in communication research.
Prerequisites: COM 101, Junior status

COM 310 Print Design and Production, 3 credits

An introduction to print design principles and production techniques. Areas covered include key design principles, fundamentals of professional-level typography, and page-layout software programs to create print publications.

COM 317 Advanced Graphic Design, 3 credits

This course will build upon skills students have acquired in COM 217: Introduction to Graphic Design. Students will study design principles and information structure of multiple page designs. Emphasis will be placed on the hierarchy of text as well as visual and verbal balance.
Prerequisite: COM 217: Introduction to Graphic Design

COM 321 Multi-Media Journalism, 3 credits

This course will explore state-of-the-art media technologies in journalism across media platforms. Students will grow, practice, and apply skills in reporting, still photography, audio, video, and written communications via mobile devices, social media, and other internet platforms.
Prerequisite: COM 220 and COM 232

COM 323 Broadcast Journalism, 3 credits

News reporting, writing, editing and production of news for the electronic media.
Prerequisite: COM 220 and COM 232, or instructor permission

COM 325 Magazine and Feature Writing, 3 credits

Instruction and practice in writing long form pieces for newspapers and magazines.

COM 332 Video III, 3 credits

Advanced work in production emphasizing non-linear editing and long-form productions.
Prerequisites: COM 232 (prerequisite change approved 10/2/2014, effective for Spring 2015 semester)

COM 335 Multimedia Post Production, 3 credits

This course is designed to expand upon and develop students’ skills in multimedia postproduction. Students will study multimedia delivery (including the web), video and audio encoding, audio post-production and DVD authoring.
Prerequisite: COM 215 and COM 232

COM 339 Media Performance, 3 credits

Instruction and practice in on-air performance techniques for television, video, and radio. Includes vocal enunciation and diction, interview preparation, and physical movement. Performance formats include: news, commercials, interviews, radio announcing, and vocal characterization.
Prerequisites: COM 232 or instructor permission

COM 340 Brand and Logo Development, 3 credits

Students will create visual designs that construct and communicate corporate identities. Students will learn how to develop professional company logos and collateral pieces, based upon client needs and marketing research, and incorporate them into marketing and public relations products on multiple media platforms. The focus of this course is visual design through the use of computer related applications.
Prerequisite: COM 215

COM 352 Advanced Public Relations, 3 credits

Case studies in public relations; experiences creating press kits and in event planning.
Prerequisite: COM 251

COM 360 Media Management, 3 credits

Practices, problems and issues in managing a media outlet.
Prerequisite: COM 101, Junior Status

COM 361 Media Programming, 3 credits

Instruction and practice in programming electronic media outlets using a framework of industry structures and public demand.
Prerequisite: COM 101

COM 370 Campus Media Internship, 3 credits

Supervised, hands-on media experience on the Misericordia campus in radio, video, newspaper, or public relations.
Prerequisite: Junior status

COM 460 Integrated Communications Campaigns, 3 credits

Student teams organize and create communication campaigns by integrating advertising, public relations, sales promotion, direct response and other integrated market communications tools.
Prerequisite: Junior status

COM 470 Professional Internship, 1 credit per 45 hours of site work

Directed experiences at a professional media outlet.
Prerequisite: Junior standing and department permission

COM 480 Independent Study, 3 credits

In-depth study of a specific topic, selected in consultation with a faculty member.
Prerequisite: Department permission

COM 485 Special Topics, 3 credits

Topics will vary from semester to semester and will be announced with pre-registration information.
Prerequisite: Department permission

COM 490 Senior Seminar, 3 credits

Capstone course for the communications degree. Reading and study of mass media issues, exploration of media job options, and development of a senior media project.
Prerequisites: Senior standing and COM 101, 220, 232, 306, 370, 470

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