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

    480.604.51 - Theory of Mass Communication Practices

    Julian Teixeira

    Monday 5:00 - 7:40; 1/27 - 5/4

    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

    480.606.51 - Persuasion

    Mark Story

    Tuesday 5:00 - 7:40; 1/28 - 5/5

    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

    480.620.51 - Becoming a Press Officer

    Melissa Schwartz

    Tuesday 5:00 - 7:40; 1/28 - 5/5

    Becoming a sought-after press officer takes practice, but it also takes a very specific set of learned skills. This class uses current events and interactive discussions to put into practice skills learned through AAP courses and to focus on what is required to be an effective press officer, press secretary, and communications advisor. It examines the roles, duties and responsibilities of press officers in a variety of settings: on Capitol Hill, in federal agencies, the White House, industry associations, non-profit and advocacy organizations, domestic and international political campaigns, and on the global stage. The course includes engaging guest lectures that share insight from journalists, press officers, and communications professionals in the field about effective techniques and lessons learned. Students will engage in real-time exercises that deal with typical situations that a press officer faces in the course of a day, and participate in discussions on the complex environments in which a press officer works. In addition to gaining valuable skills, students will complete this course with a portfolio of writing samples that mimic what would be expected from a press officer.

    480.632.51 - Digital Political Strategy

    Alan Rosenblatt

    Wednesday 6:00 - 8:40; 1/22 - 4/29

    No president will ever be elected again without an internet strategy. Mobile phones and Facebook are being used to organize mass protests. Thanks to YouTube, two Senators lost elections, and bloggers took down former CBS anchor Dan Rather and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott. Clearly, the world of political and issue campaigns has changed in the digital age. In this course students explore new strategies possible in a networked world and learn what it takes to be a digital political strategist.

    480.643.51 - Branding and Advertising

    Kellie Cummings

    Thursday 6:00 - 8:45; 1/23 - 4/30

    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.

    480.687.51 - Intercultural Communication

    Julian Teixeira

    Wednesday 5:00 - 7:40; 1/22 - 4/29

    This course examines the meaning and importance of intercultural communication as it applies to individuals, groups, organizations and nations. Students examine the meaning of “culture” and how “culture” can affect personal, national and international understanding and communication, beliefs and behaviors. The course examines the difficulties and dangers that can result from cultural misunderstanding. In a modern world with diverse communication methods, there is an ever-increasing need for intercultural understanding and communication. The course investigates the various ways in which cultures differ and the necessity of understanding and respecting other cultures. The course assists communication professionals to be more effective with external communication campaigns in other countries and internal communication within a diverse workplace. The course emphasizes clear and logical spoken and written expression to enhance individual ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures.

  • Online Courses

    480.600.81 - Research & Writing Methods

    James Lyle

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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.

    480.601.81 - Introduction to the Digital Age

    Thomas McCloskey

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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

    480.602.81 - Changing Behavior through Communication

    Shawn Ghuman

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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

    480.603.81 - Communication in Practice

    Danielle Leek

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    (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.

    480.604.81 - Theory of Mass Communication Practices

    Sean Luechtefeld

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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

    480.606.81 - Persuasion

    Jessica Kurr

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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

    480.609.81 - Applied Qualitative Research

    Jennifer Todd

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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. Prerequisite: 480.600 Research and Writing Methods.

    480.629.81 - Public Relations in the Age of Digital Influence

    Shonali Burke

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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, sparking a digital conversation is just as important as crafting messages, forming partnerships, and driving media coverage. Call it influencer marketing or brand stewardship in the network age; it’s all public relations. This class covers how to design impactful public relations strategies in the age of digital influence and, ultimately, how to support business imperatives more effectively through public relations.

    480.633.81 - Interactive Marketing and Advertising

    You Jin Hur

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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.

    480.642.81 - Corporate Social Responsibility Campaigns

    Mary Walker

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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.

    480.643.81 - Branding and Advertising

    Debra Davenport

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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.

    480.657.81 - Introduction to Public Relations

    Nancy Mayes

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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.

    480.658.81 - Public Relations Writing

    Shonali Burke

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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.

    480.659.81 - Crisis Communication

    LaKesha Anderson

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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.

    480.668.81 - Understanding Markets and Audiences

    Danielle Leek

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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.

    480.682.81 - Health Psychology & Behavior Change

    LaKesha Anderson

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    This course provides an overview of health psychology: the scientific study of behaviors and cognitive processes related to health states. It addresses the mind/body connection, the influence of social and physical environments on our health, cognitive processing of health information, health belief models, and the link between personality traits and health. Understanding the interactions between these biological, psychological, and social influences on individuals’ health states is a key element in developing effective health communication and intervention programs. Students approach all course topics from both theory-driven and applied perspectives.

    480.806.81 - Practicum: Independent Study

    Debra Davenport

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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.

    480.888.81 - Thesis Continuation

    Taylor Hahn
    Kristen Willett

    Online 1/22 - 5/5

    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.