Course Schedule

The courses below are those offered for the Fall 2016 term. (To view the course description, class dates & times, touch on accordion tab by the title.)

State-specific Information for Online Programs

Note: Students should be aware of additional state-specific information for online programs. For more information, please contact an admissions representative.

  • Washington DC Center

    480.600.51 - Research & Writing Methods

    $3853

    Alexandra Merceron

    Wednesday 5:10 - 7:40; 8/31 - 12/14

    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.

    480.603.51 - Communication in Practice

    $3853

    Susan Allen

    Wednesday 5:10 - 7:40; 8/31 - 12/14

    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 form a personal brand portfolio designed to showcase their talents and skills in communication. This course is designed for students who are provisional or have obtained advisor approval.

    480.604.51 - Theory of Mass Communication Practices

    $3853

    Jennifer Anne Bishop

    Tuesday 7:45 - 10:15; 8/30 - 12/13

    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

    480.607.51 - Introduction to International Development Communication

    $3853

    Stella-Monica Mpande

    Thursday 5:15 - 7:40; 9/1 - 12/17

    This course explores the foundations of international development communication. It examines the multifaceted role that communication plays in shaping or addressing development priorities and/or outcomes across countries and sectors. The course looks at the roles of various international actors, including, policymakers, civic groups and institutional stakeholders. The course will also address the intersection of communication, culture, media and (digital) ICT in the era of globalization and their impact on international development communication strategies.

    480.624.51 - Press Secretary:Theory & Practice

    $3853

    David Helfert

    Tuesday 5:10 - 7:40; 8/30 - 12/17

    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.

    480.636.51 - Web Writing and Content Strategy

    $3853

    Sean Luechtefeld

    Thursday 7:45 - 10:15; 9/1 - 12/15

    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.

    480.662.51 - Opinion Writing

    $3853

    Eric Rosenberg

    Wednesday 7:45 - 10:15; 8/31 - 12/14

    The world of Washington revolves around opinion, and access to the nation’s editorial and op-ed pages is key to making sure your opinions (or those of your employer) are successfully shared with the policy makers and opinion leaders who shape public policy. Opinion pieces carry far more impact than news; consequently, the editorial and op-ed pages are much more difficult markets to crack than the news pages. The editorial and op-ed pages have their own writing style and standards of news judgment; once a writer knows them, though, opinion writing is some of the most rewarding journalism, personally and professionally. Students in this class learn to understand the anatomy of good editorial writing; how to write for opinion sections of newspapers, magazines, and other news outlets; how to pitch op-ed and opinion pieces; and how to sell ideas to editorial boards.

    480.699.51 - Politics, Media, and the Race for the Presidency

    $3853

    Robert Guttman

    Monday 5:10 - 7:40; 8/29 - 12/12

    This course will examine the role of media in shaping the race for the presidency in 2016.

  • Online Courses

    480.600.81 - Research & Writing Methods

    $3853

    Taylor Hahn

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    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: $175.00

    480.600.82 - Research & Writing Methods

    $3853

    Kimberly Henderson

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    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: $175.00

    480.601.81 - Introduction to the Digital Age

    $3853

    You Jin Hur

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    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: $175.00

    480.601.82 - Introduction to the Digital Age

    $3853

    Mark Story

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    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: $175.00

    480.602.81 - Changing Behavior through Communication

    $3853

    Anna Armstrong

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    The goal of many communication initiatives is to encourage some type of behavior change. Communication professionals who understand how people change their behavior can create more successful campaigns. This course surveys major theories used to predict when and under what circumstances individuals are most likely to change their behavior. Behavior change includes a variety of actions, such as voting for a candidate, purchasing a product, joining a social networking group, or adopting a new health habit. Individual-level, interpersonal level, and community-level models of change are covered. By becoming familiar with specific theories and the empirical support for those theories, students learn how to use social science based models to guide their communication strategies effectively. Prerequisite: Research and Writing Methods

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    480.602.82 - Changing Behavior through Communication

    $3853

    Kimberly Henderson

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    The goal of many communication initiatives is to encourage some type of behavior change. Communication professionals who understand how people change their behavior can create more successful campaigns. This course surveys major theories used to predict when and under what circumstances individuals are most likely to change their behavior. Behavior change includes a variety of actions, such as voting for a candidate, purchasing a product, joining a social networking group, or adopting a new health habit. Individual-level, interpersonal level, and community-level models of change are covered. By becoming familiar with specific theories and the empirical support for those theories, students learn how to use social science based models to guide their communication strategies effectively. Prerequisite: Research and Writing Methods

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    480.603.81 - Communication in Practice

    $3853

    Veronica Marshall

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    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 form a personal brand portfolio designed to showcase their talents and skills in communication. This course is designed for students who are provisional or have obtained advisor approval.

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    480.604.81 - Theory of Mass Communication Practices

    $3853

    Jennifer Anne Bishop

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    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: $175.00

    480.605.81 - Organizational Communication

    $3853

    Veronica Marshall

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    This course explores the complexities and strategies of internal and external communication in public, private, and non-profit organizations. As a leadership tool, communication serves a political, informational, symbolic and influential function. Organizational theory and research are core components of this course. Specifically, this course equips students to critique and develop the fundamentals of: vision and mission statements, strategic plans, white papers, annual reports, crisis communication, and marketing and promotional communication.

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    480.605.82 - Organizational Communication

    $3853

    Alexander Markov

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    This course explores the complexities and strategies of internal and external communication in public, private, and non-profit organizations. As a leadership tool, communication serves a political, informational, symbolic and influential function. Organizational theory and research are core components of this course. Specifically, this course equips students to critique and develop the fundamentals of: vision and mission statements, strategic plans, white papers, annual reports, crisis communication, and marketing and promotional communication.

    Technology Fee: $175

    480.606.81 - Persuasion

    $3853

    Stella-Monica Mpande

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    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: $175.00

    480.606.82 - Persuasion

    $3853

    LaKesha Anderson

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    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: $175.00

    480.608.81 - Applied Quantitative Research

    $3853

    Katrina Serrano

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    This hands-on course guides students through the various types of quantitative research they may need to perform on the job, such as, analyzing an audience, testing a message, doing a media audit, or demonstrating the effectiveness of a department. Students learn how to develop and design good surveys, experiments, and quantitative content analyses, and how to run basic statistics on their data including the following: chi-square, t-test, and correlation. Students also learn how to write up and present the results of their research. Students should take this course prior to the semester in which they begin their research for Thesis or Practicum. Prerequisite: Research and Writing Methods.

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    480.609.81 - Applied Qualitative Research

    $3853

    Jennifer Todd

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    Communication professionals use qualitative methods to craft messages that resonate with audiences. This hands-on class exposes students to qualitative research methods that can be used on the job to guide communication efforts more strategically. Students learn how to design and conduct studies to gain insight into audience perceptions on a variety of issues. Specific techniques covered include in-depth interviews, focus groups, qualitative content analyses, and case studies. Through applied activities, students learn how to collect, analyze, and present qualitative research data. Students should take this course prior to the semester in which they begin their research for Thesis or Practicum. Prerequisite: Research and Writing Methods.

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    480.634.81 - Journalism & Publishing in the Digital Age

    $3853

    Mary Kane

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    Publishing and journalism were once separate domains, but the internet and new media have radically changed that. The rise of so-called civic journalism and the ease of “publishing to the ‘net” raise pressing questions such as who is a journalist, and what does it mean nowadays to “publish” something. Is print dead? Is Google making us stupid? Will the iPad save publishing? Through lectures, readings, discussions and individual projects, this research seminar will attempt to answer such questions. We’ll also examine recent or ongoing controversies such as Wikileaks and the Google book project. We’ll explore the impact of new media (e.g. citizen journalism, social networking sites, online video, and mobile technologies) on both the publishing industry and the practice of journalism, and what the new media environment implies for communications professionals.

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    480.638.81 - Utilizing Images: Media Literacy In Practice

    $3853

    Kristin Hocevar

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    This course will teach you how to critically evaluate media, create effective visual communication by identifying key elements of a visual message, and apply relevant theory as it relates to visual message design. This course provides an overview of the approaches and strategies communication practitioners use to incorporate media literacy in their practices. This course will address the following questions: What is media literacy and how does it relate to visual communication? How can visual media be used effectively to promote strategic messages or positive change? How can we critically evaluate the quality of visual messages and create effective and ethical visual communication?

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    480.638.82 - Utilizing Images: Media Literacy In Practice

    $3853

    Kristin Hocevar

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    This course will teach you how to critically evaluate media, create effective visual communication by identifying key elements of a visual message, and apply relevant theory as it relates to visual message design. This course provides an overview of the approaches and strategies communication practitioners use to incorporate media literacy in their practices. This course will address the following questions: What is media literacy and how does it relate to visual communication? How can visual media be used effectively to promote strategic messages or positive change? How can we critically evaluate the quality of visual messages and create effective and ethical visual communication?

    Technology Fee: $175

    480.639.81 - Advanced Social Media Management

    $3853

    You Jin Hur

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    In today’s complex digital media environment, companies and organizations expect communication practitioners to possess advanced social media management skills. Students in the Advanced Social Media course will gain in-depth knowledge in social media ecosystems, social business models, and digital media policy and law. In addition, students will have an opportunity to analyze quantitative and qualitative data to extract audience insights; develop and implement strategies; create engaging content and messages; and ultimately become skilled social media practitioners. Prerequisite: 480.637 Using Social and Digital Media

    Technology Fee: $175

    480.657.81 - Introduction to Public Relations

    $3853

    Liane Jacobs

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    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.

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    480.658.81 - Public Relations Writing

    $3853

    Shonali Burke

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    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: $175.00

    480.668.81 - Understanding Markets and Audiences

    $3853

    Debra Brittain Davenport

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    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: $175.00

    480.669.81 - Emergency & Risk Communication

    $3853

    Sandra Moore

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    Emergency and risk communication are an emerging set of practices that convey credible, accurate and real-time information about adverse events and the degree of risk they pose. In a post-Katrina, post-9/11 environment, communication professionals must be familiar with best practices in emergency and risk communication to effectively work with government, industry, the media, and the general public during crises and longer-term threats involving health, safety, security, and the environment. In this course, students become familiar with the core principles of emergency and risk communications and risk perception and have an opportunity to apply strategic communication approaches to real-world risk scenarios. Students learn to apply strategic communication approaches used in emergency preparedness, environmental health, food security, national security and financial security.

    Technology Fee: $175.00

    480.681.81 - Communication Evaluation

    $3853

    Kisha Coa

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    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: $175.00

    480.800.81 - Thesis

    $3853

    -STAFF-

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    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: $175.00

    480.804.81 - Practicum

    $3853

    Debra Brittain Davenport

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    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: $175.00

    480.888.81 - Thesis Continuation

    $3853

    LaKesha Anderson

    Online 8/29 - 12/17

    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.

    Technology Fee: $175.00