Course Schedule

The courses below are those offered for the term. (To view the course description, class dates & times, touch on accordion tab by the title.)

State-specific Information for Online Programs

Note: Students currently cannot conduct internships in Kentucky. For more information, please contact an admissions representative. Students should be aware of additional state-specific information for online programs.

  • Washington DC Center

    480.601.51 - Introduction to the Digital Age

    $4087

    Thomas McCloskey

    Wednesday 5:00 - 7:40; 1/23 - 5/1

    The digital age is changing how communication professionals communicate with public groups and how people access, understand, and process information. As a result, digital tools are an increasingly important part of the modern communicator’s tool kit. This course examines empirical research that will help communication professionals in the digital age. Topics include creating usable and credible websites and effective internet advertising. The course also examines blogs, social networking, and digital journalism. The digital age is explored through primary research across a range of subjects including public relations, political communication and health communication. Prerequisite: Research and Writing Methods

    480.601.52 - Introduction to the Digital Age

    $4087

    LaKesha Anderson

    Tuesday 5:00 - 7:40; 1/29 - 5/7

    The digital age is changing how communication professionals communicate with public groups and how people access, understand, and process information. As a result, digital tools are an increasingly important part of the modern communicator’s tool kit. This course examines empirical research that will help communication professionals in the digital age. Topics include creating usable and credible websites and effective internet advertising. The course also examines blogs, social networking, and digital journalism. The digital age is explored through primary research across a range of subjects including public relations, political communication and health communication. Prerequisite: Research and Writing Methods

    480.606.51 - Persuasion

    $4087

    Susan Allen

    Tuesday 5:00 - 7:40; 1/23 - 5/1

    This course addresses two questions of vital importance to communication professionals: what aspects of a message make it persuasive (or not), and what attributes of individual people and audiences make them susceptible or resistant to influence. The course examines all varieties of messaging, from individuals communicating one-on-one, to messages communicated via mass media. We study topics such as how the expertise, trustworthiness, and likeability of a spokesperson can enhance or weaken a message’s persuasiveness, and how people’s social groups can affect their willingness to believe. The course draws on both theory and empirical evidence to provide students with a well-rounded understanding of influence and persuasive strategies in today’s world. Prerequisite: Research and Writing Methods

    480.606.52 - Persuasion

    $4087

    Susan Allen

    Tuesday 7:50 - 10:30; 1/29 - 5/7

    This course addresses two questions of vital importance to communication professionals: what aspects of a message make it persuasive (or not), and what attributes of individual people and audiences make them susceptible or resistant to influence. The course examines all varieties of messaging, from individuals communicating one-on-one, to messages communicated via mass media. We study topics such as how the expertise, trustworthiness, and likeability of a spokesperson can enhance or weaken a message’s persuasiveness, and how people’s social groups can affect their willingness to believe. The course draws on both theory and empirical evidence to provide students with a well-rounded understanding of influence and persuasive strategies in today’s world. Prerequisite: Research and Writing Methods

    480.633.51 - Interactive Marketing and Advertising

    $4087

    Jay McCutcheon

    Tuesday 5:00 - 7:40; 1/29 - 5/7

    Understanding the ever-changing world of digital marketing is no longer optional - it is critical. This course is based on real world case studies from known brands that demonstrate best practices for owned, earned and paid digital communications strategies. Students will learn how to define target audiences, establish KPI’s (key performance indicators), measure results and learn how to optimize user experience. We will also gauge the importance of strong and relevant content and choosing the right digital channels. Students will understand how to apply social media, e-mail marketing, SMS, digital advertising, organic search engine optimization, mobile and native apps and others. We will introduce emerging technologies and trends and how they influence digital marketing and advertising practices.

    480.634.51 - Journalism & Publishing in the Digital Age

    $4087

    Mary Kane

    Monday 5:00 - 7:40; 1/28 - 5/6

    From charges of fake news to viral hoaxes that spread on social media after breaking news events, it's crucial to understand and judge the credibility of the news we consume. In what has become a 24-hour news cycle, news consumers need to have the necessary skills to navigate the digital media landscape, assess the credibility of the news organizations that produce stories, determine authenticity on social media, and gain insight into how reporters produce their work. This course aims to provide these skills through a constantly updated guide to a rapidly shifting media landscape. We'll consider current challenges, including journalism's collapsing business model, the role of platforms such as Facebook and Google, and the loss of local news and the impact of the resulting news deserts. We'll also review the guidance of leading media critics, and attempts by news organizations to engage their audiences using newsletters, events, and other methods. And we'll read and assess a wide range of stories and sites, from niche news gatherers like The Information, to upstarts like BuzzFeed and Vox, to legacy sites like the The Atlantic and the New York Times.

    480.657.51 - Introduction to Public Relations

    $4087

    Nancy Mayes

    Thursday 5:00 - 7:40; 1/24 - 5/2

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists public relations as one of the fastest growing professions in the United States. This introductory course, designed for career changers and those new to public relations, details the ideas, skills, and principles that underlie the public relations craft. Students in this class study the role and contributions of public relations practitioners in contemporary society, learn about potential legal and ethical aspects of the practice of public relations, study the communication process and how persuasion is used with various audiences, and learn how to develop a strategic communication plan to achieve specific goals and objectives. The class will also introduce students to specialized practice areas within the public relations field such as business and industry, government, nonprofit and associations, and health care.

  • Online Courses

    480.600.81 - Research & Writing Methods

    $4087

    James Lyle

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    Communication professionals take on diverse and multiple roles within and across organizations, but they share one role in common as strategic problem solvers. This course will teach you how to find, read, interpret, evaluate, and apply scientific research studies to solve practical problems encountered by communication practitioners. Topics covered include how to effectively use library resources to find research that can be of strategic value; how different research methods, including focus groups, case studies, surveys, and experiments are used in communication research; how to evaluate the quality of research reports; how to interpret qualitative and quantitative findings, including statistics; and how to distill the information found in research reports down to what is most relevant and usable. In addition to learning how to become a competent and critical research consumer, you will also be exposed to current research across different areas of the communication discipline.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.600.82 - Research & Writing Methods

    $4087

    James Lyle

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    Communication professionals take on diverse and multiple roles within and across organizations, but they share one role in common as strategic problem solvers. This course will teach you how to find, read, interpret, evaluate, and apply scientific research studies to solve practical problems encountered by communication practitioners. Topics covered include how to effectively use library resources to find research that can be of strategic value; how different research methods, including focus groups, case studies, surveys, and experiments are used in communication research; how to evaluate the quality of research reports; how to interpret qualitative and quantitative findings, including statistics; and how to distill the information found in research reports down to what is most relevant and usable. In addition to learning how to become a competent and critical research consumer, you will also be exposed to current research across different areas of the communication discipline.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.601.81 - Introduction to the Digital Age

    $4087

    Thomas McCloskey

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    The digital age is changing how communication professionals communicate with public groups and how people access, understand, and process information. As a result, digital tools are an increasingly important part of the modern communicator’s tool kit. This course examines empirical research that will help communication professionals in the digital age. Topics include creating usable and credible websites and effective internet advertising. The course also examines blogs, social networking, and digital journalism. The digital age is explored through primary research across a range of subjects including public relations, political communication and health communication. Prerequisite: Research and Writing Methods

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.601.82 - Introduction to the Digital Age

    $4087

    Kristin Hocevar

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    The digital age is changing how communication professionals communicate with public groups and how people access, understand, and process information. As a result, digital tools are an increasingly important part of the modern communicator’s tool kit. This course examines empirical research that will help communication professionals in the digital age. Topics include creating usable and credible websites and effective internet advertising. The course also examines blogs, social networking, and digital journalism. The digital age is explored through primary research across a range of subjects including public relations, political communication and health communication. Prerequisite: Research and Writing Methods

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.603.81 - Communication in Practice

    $4087

    Danielle Leek

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    (This course is reserved only for those students who are admitted to the program with Provisional status. If you are a degree candidate, or are not a Communication student, you can not take this course.) Communication is a fast-changing field that requires practitioners to keep current with trends in technology, audience segmentation, needs of stakeholders, message techniques, evaluation methods, and much more. Equally important, practitioners must master new ways of branding themselves in a competitive job environment. This course covers up-to-date perspectives in communication practice so that students gain a concrete understanding of the practice environment. The content includes strategic management, presentation styles, ethics, branding, campaigns, evaluation, cultural diversity, client tactics, and professional networking. Experts in practice will lecture and lead class activities. Students will create deliverables throughout the semester that will showcase their personal brand, talents, and skills in communication.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.604.81 - Theory of Mass Communication Practices

    $4087

    Jennifer Todd

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    This course surveys major theories and perspectives on how mass media can influence individuals, organizations and society, with a focus on content areas that have the most strategic relevance for public relations practice. The course covers readings on the role media plays in shaping what issues people attend to, how they think about those issues and potential outcomes; how public relations practitioners attempt to use media strategically to meet their objectives; and the implications that current media systems, technologies, and practices have for their media relations efforts. Prerequisite: Research and Writing Methods

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.604.82 - Theory of Mass Communication Practices

    $4087

    Kristen Willett

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    This course surveys major theories and perspectives on how mass media can influence individuals, organizations and society, with a focus on content areas that have the most strategic relevance for public relations practice. The course covers readings on the role media plays in shaping what issues people attend to, how they think about those issues and potential outcomes; how public relations practitioners attempt to use media strategically to meet their objectives; and the implications that current media systems, technologies, and practices have for their media relations efforts. Prerequisite: Research and Writing Methods

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.605.81 - Organizational Communication

    $4087

    Kellie Cummings

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    This course explores the complexities and strategies of internal and external communications in public, private, and non-profit organizations. As a leadership tool, communications serves a political, informational, symbolic and influential function. Topics covered include a competency-based approach of organizational communication, the interplay between internal and external communications, communicating effectiveness through problem-solving, decision-making, managing conflict and mitigating crises, organizational change management, addressing workforce diversity issues and others. Students gain exposure to various dimensions of organizational communication from different industry leaders and field experts and gain first-hand experience in critiquing, crafting and developing communication strategies, tactics and tools, as communication professionals and leaders in the workplace.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.606.81 - Persuasion

    $4087

    Jennifer Bishop

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    This course addresses two questions of vital importance to communication professionals: what aspects of a message make it persuasive (or not), and what attributes of individual people and audiences make them susceptible or resistant to influence. The course examines all varieties of messaging, from individuals communicating one-on-one, to messages communicated via mass media. We study topics such as how the expertise, trustworthiness, and likeability of a spokesperson can enhance or weaken a message’s persuasiveness, and how people’s social groups can affect their willingness to believe. The course draws on both theory and empirical evidence to provide students with a well-rounded understanding of influence and persuasive strategies in today’s world. Prerequisite: Research and Writing Methods

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.606.82 - Persuasion

    $4087


    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    This course addresses two questions of vital importance to communication professionals: what aspects of a message make it persuasive (or not), and what attributes of individual people and audiences make them susceptible or resistant to influence. The course examines all varieties of messaging, from individuals communicating one-on-one, to messages communicated via mass media. We study topics such as how the expertise, trustworthiness, and likeability of a spokesperson can enhance or weaken a message’s persuasiveness, and how people’s social groups can affect their willingness to believe. The course draws on both theory and empirical evidence to provide students with a well-rounded understanding of influence and persuasive strategies in today’s world. Prerequisite: Research and Writing Methods

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.608.81 - Analytic Techniques in Communication Research

    $4087

    Kristen Willett

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    This course will explore quantitative research methods, but will take the next step into quantitative communication research by investigating quantitative tools used by communication practitioners, in particular to measure the effectiveness of campaigns. In addition to standard quantitative methods, you will gain an insight on digital analytics, how to understand them, and how to make important information out of the data to report on the effectiveness of campaigns and messages. This class will satisfy the requirement for Applied Quantitative Research. Students should take this course prior to the semester in which they begin their research for Thesis . Prerequisite: 480.600 Research and Writing Methods.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.613.81 - Communication Ethics in Action

    $4087

    Mary Miscally

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    Have you ever doubted whether you are doing the right thing as a communication researcher or practitioner? Regardless of whether you realize it, you base your professional decisions and subsequent actions on morals, referring to them in different ways. For example, you may turn to your inner compass, organization’s values, or professional codes of conduct. This course will not give you quick and easy solutions; however, it will help you learn how to use an ethics framework with confidence as you move forward in your career. In particular, you will learn how to consider the one or more moral problems related to a situation, facts, options for moving forward, and values to consider throughout the process. Readings will draw from fictional and non-fictional literature, news and popular media, and industry and academic research. Not only the instructor but also other communication professionals will deliver lectures. Throughout the semester, you will work as an individual and in groups to use your critical thinking to complete various activities, including reflection, discussion, presentation, and writing based on current, real-world case studies. Your experience will culminate with a final project.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.624.81 - Public Affairs Communication

    $4087

    Mark Story

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    This class uses current events and interactive discussions to focus on the skills required to be an effective press secretary and communications advisor. It examines the roles, duties and responsibilities of press secretaries in a variety of settings: on Capitol Hill, in federal agencies, the White House, industry associations, non-profits, advocacy organizations, and political campaigns. The course includes engaging guest lectures that share insight from journalists, press secretaries, and communications professionals in the field about effective techniques and lessons learned. Students engage in real-time exercises that deal with typical situations that a press secretary faces in the course of a day, and participate in discussions on the complex environments in which a press secretary works. By the end of the course, students will be able to draft and distribute materials such as media strategy memos, press releases, talking points, and to plan a press conference.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.629.81 - Public Relations in the Age of Digital Influence

    $4087

    Shawn Ghuman

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    Marketing and communication are changing. The levers that we have pulled for years to sell products and services, change behaviors, and advocate for causes no longer work the way they did. As trust in media and marketing plummets, trust in our peers, friends, family, and colleagues rises. Today we recognize new influencers in the people sitting next to us. Now, creating a conversation is just as important as driving media, forming partnerships and crafting messages. Call it influencer marketing or brand stewardship in the network age. It’s all public relations. This class covers how to create comprehensive digital-influence strategies and ultimately how to be an effective public relations professional in this new digital age.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.635.81 - Communication.org:Not-for-Profits in the Digital Age

    $4087

    Shonali Burke

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    Students examine the primary reasons non-profit organizations exist, and the unique communication challenges they face in reaching their audiences and motivating their desired behaviors. They will examine leading trends in 21st century communication, and assess how non-profit communicators can capitalize on these trends for the benefit of their organizations. Finally, they will devise practical solutions to one or more of a non-profit “client’s” challenges, using one or more of a wide variety of communication tools offered in the current media landscape.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.636.81 - Web Writing and Content Strategy

    $4087

    Sean Luechtefeld

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    You have 3.5 seconds to capture a web visitor’s attention. How do you make sure your website entices them to stick around and learn more? This course examines how compelling web content is essential to engaging visitors and driving their behavior. We’ll explore writing styles appropriate for B2B and B2C websites and blogs, and work with a variety of content formats, such as videos, infographics, contests, polls, and more. Using the website as the hub for content, we’ll cover techniques for driving web visitors to your site with inbound and outbound content marketing strategies. We’ll discuss the intersection of search engine optimization, social media and content marketing and the importance of an integrated approach to content creation and distribution. Lectures and exercises draw on real-world examples from a variety of industries. By the end of the semester, students will be able to create and execute a comprehensive content marketing program.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.637.81 - Using Social and Digital Media

    $4087

    Megan Tucker

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    In this class students learn about multiple social and digital media tools, such as blogging, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, along with platforms to manage social media content and understand social media analytics. Students apply what they learn by developing a social media campaign for a company or organization that they choose. Each week, students learn how to use social media tools to effectively tell an organization’s story. Students also learn the theories behind why social and digital media shape the ways that customers, advocates, audiences and consumers are interacting with influencers and organizations. By the end of the semester, students will be able to not just answer, but inspire, the inevitable questions: Why should we care about social media? How can we put social and digital media to work for our personal and organizational brands?

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.642.81 - Corporate Social Responsibility Campaigns

    $4087

    Mary Walker

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) movement is a world-wide phenomenon, and corporations, trade associations and nonprofits are being asked to step up and be accountable. Public relations and communication professionals need to develop the skills to prepare strategic communication plans that reflect their organization's commitment to CSR in order to protect and enhance their employer's reputation in the marketplace. This course examines the global CSR movement, explores the communication challenges it presents and offers practical suggestions and tactics to respond to this trend. The class features in-class activities, outside research and guest speakers from NGOs, communication firms, and major corporations with practical advice on meeting this challenge in the global marketplace.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.643.81 - Branding and Advertising

    $4087

    Debra Davenport

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    Branding and advertising are major components of any business or non-profit organization. Showcasing products and services in creative ways increases visibility and improves sales. This course teaches students how to develop brands, create concepts and develop advertising campaigns. Students also learn practical tips including how to organize a creative department, write a creative brief, create budgets and time-lines, research and purchase visual imagery, and how to determine appropriate media for particular branding and advertising campaigns.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.658.81 - Public Relations Writing

    $4087

    Shonali Burke

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    The primary goal of this course is for students to develop the professional-level persuasive writing skills expected of the best PR practitioners. Students are given weekly writing assignments outside of class and write on deadline during many class periods. The course covers various forms of public relations writing including press releases, op-ed essays, crisis communications and internal communications. Written work is judged using 10 tenets of good writing: organization, persuasion, clarity, focus, flow, tone, proper usage, timeliness, accuracy and relevance.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.659.81 - Crisis Communication

    $4087

    LaKesha Anderson

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    This course provides students with a fundamental understanding of crisis management, risk communication, media relations, and public-opinion research techniques in multiple contexts. It introduces students to crisis management principles, strategies, tactics and communication methods. Course participants work as a team to develop a crisis management plan for analysis and discussion. Successful students are able to transfer to the workplace the knowledge and skills developed in this course. Students learn to predict, manage, and control real-world controversies that they may confront as they pursue their careers. Moreover, students are able to manage effectively, participate in, and control volatile situations involving the news media.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.668.81 - Understanding Markets and Audiences

    $4087

    Danielle Leek

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    This course demonstrates the important role market research—and the use of existing data to better understand audience and environment—plays in the overall campaign process. This course will focus on the integral steps that facilitate target audience definition and how to extract a keen understanding of this audience and its interactions within its environment to develop effective campaign strategy. The course’s structure and various assignments will often mimic a client/consultant relationship to ensure a real-world experience. To that end, the instructors will play the role of “client” in many instances, asking students to articulate how an assignment or deliverable contributes to the overall goals of the campaign.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.672.81 - Polling for Strategic Communication

    $4087

    Jennifer Farmer

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    Polling is more than a snapshot of who is winning and who is losing. Effective analysis is important for any campaign whether one’s object is to elect a candidate for office, position a company or product or advance an issue. This class concentrates on teaching students the best practices for designing, writing and conducting polls, and how to use the results to formulate a successful communication strategy. Students critique existing opinion surveys and learn how to read and interpret polls, including those used in political and health campaigns and by corporations and other issue organizations.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.675.81 - Public Policy Management & Advocacy

    $4087

    Jennifer Todd

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    Washington D.C. is home to thousands of organizations attempting to influence public policy. Associations, foundations, think tanks and private lobbying firms are all competing for the attention of policymakers and the public. These groups invariably need competent communicators who can help them cut through jargon, crystallize their messages and strategically communicate with the key audiences imperative to advancing their policy goals. This course introduces students to the deliberate process organizations undertake to speak out on issues and exert influence over the policies that have the potential to impact them and the way they do business. The class will cover how organizations conduct advocacy efforts and how communication is used as a tool to advance policy change. Students will gain a practical understanding of how policy groups and communications professionals operate in the field.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.681.81 - Communication Evaluation

    $4087

    Jennifer Todd

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    This course will prepare communication researchers to gather evidence that guides the planning, implementation, and refinement of communication campaigns. Throughout the semester, students will practice using evaluation to inform the various stages of a communication effort based on real world conditions. They will draw from behavior theory; and formative (including pretesting), process, and summative evaluation. They also will learn how to ensure the protection of the rights of human research participants.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.686.81 - Behavior Change and Education through Entertainment

    $4087

    Kimberly Henderson

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    This course explores the various ways communication professionals can use entertainment to educate people and encourage them to adopt and enjoy improved life styles. Throughout history, stories, drama, poetry, music, dance, and other entertainment formats have been used to enlighten and educate both adults and children. In today’s society, the channels of communication are ever increasing. This course investigates ways in which education can be subtly but effectively worked into both new and time-honored genres of entertainment to foster positive behavior change.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.800.81 - Thesis

    $4087

    Taylor Hahn
    Kristen Willett

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    This course is designed to guide students though the thesis process. It is the last course students take in finishing their masters’ degrees. Students select a topic for original research and conduct and write up their research in the course of the class. Students are encouraged to select a topic that will be useful in the workplace and that can be part of their professional portfolio. Graduation is subject to approval of the thesis by the thesis committee and completion of a successful defense. Students are encouraged to enter the class with a clear idea of what they would like to research. All core courses must be completed before starting Thesis.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.804.81 - Practicum

    $4087

    Debra Davenport

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    Strategic-planning students complete the Practicum course during their last semester in the MA in Communication program. This optional core course offers a culminating experience that helps students integrate new or enhanced capabilities into a significant evidence-based project relevant to their profession. Each student can identify an organization or individual in need of support for a communication-related project and how to fulfill that need. In addition, the student must prepare (a) a proposal that outlines objectives, scope of work, any deliverables, timeline, and method for evaluating achievement of objectives; and (b) any final deliverables. The student must complete the Practicum course in one semester.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.888.81 - Thesis Continuation

    $500

    Taylor Hahn
    Kristen Willett

    Online 1/23 - 5/7

    Students not finishing the thesis during the term in which they enroll in the Thesis course must enroll in Thesis Continuation in every ensuing semester (including summer) until they complete their degrees. It is not possible to take a semester off or a leave of absence while working on the thesis.