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

    480.600.51 - Research & Writing Methods

    Jennifer Bishop

    Tuesday 5:00 - 7:40; 9/10 - 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.

    480.602.51 - Changing Behavior through Communication

    Jennifer Bishop

    Tuesday 7:45 - 10:30; 9/10 - 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

    480.606.51 - Persuasion

    Mark Story

    Tuesday 5:00 - 7:40; 9/10 - 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

    480.669.51 - Emergency & Risk Communication

    LaKesha Anderson

    Wednesday 4:30 - 7:10; 9/4 - 12/11

    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.

    480.670.51 - Law for Communication Professionals

    Andrew Schwartzman

    Monday 7:45 - 10:30; 9/9 - 12/16

    Communication professionals encounter the law in many ways. They need to know what they can put on a website, what they can say about private citizens and public figures, what they have to say in political commercials, and what claims they can make about products they advertise. This course explores the laws communication professionals need to know about to do their job effectively. Students will learn how to evaluate slander, libel and defamation issues. Copyright, trademark and privacy law will be addressed, including the “fair use” right to excerpt materials on and off the Internet. First Amendment issues to be covered include regulation of advertising and other government regulation of speech, as well as its impact on the rights of parents and children. Campaign finance issues will also be considered, including “equal time”, independent expenditures and candidates’ speech rights. The course also covers issues raised by broadband deployment, including spectrum management and “open internet” issues.

    480.675.51 - Public Policy Management & Advocacy

    Sean Luechtefeld

    Wednesday 7:45 - 10:30; 9/4 - 12/11

    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.

    480.680.51 - Nonfiction Filmmaking

    William Creed

    Thursday 7:45 - 10:30; 9/5 - 12/12

    Today’s communication environment calls for a good understanding of the process and methods of nonfiction filmmaking. This course introduces students to nonfiction storytelling in the motion picture medium, from conceptualization to writing to production. Using smartphones, simple production equipment and editing software, students will produce their own videos and be prepared for real-world production with professional crews.

    480.685.51 - Argument & Public Address

    Taylor Hahn

    Wednesday 5:00 - 7:40; 9/4 - 12/11

    Argument construction, engagement, and analysis are critical skill sets for communication professionals. Whether substantiating your own position or refuting claims made by others, it is important to understand how arguments function, interact, and effect action and policy. This course prepares students to understand and construct arguments by exploring how they are developed and communicated to diverse audiences. Students will learn to analyze, critique, and fashion arguments through written and speech-based exercises.

  • Online Courses

    480.600.81 - Research & Writing Methods

    James Lyle

    Online 9/4 - 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: $200.00

    480.600.82 - Research & Writing Methods

    James Lyle

    Online 9/4 - 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: $200.00

    480.601.81 - Introduction to the Digital Age

    Thomas McCloskey

    Online 9/4 - 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: $200.00

    480.601.82 - Introduction to the Digital Age

    Thomas McCloskey

    Online 9/4 - 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: $200.00

    480.602.81 - Changing Behavior through Communication

    Kristen Willett

    Online 9/4 - 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: $200.00

    480.602.82 - Changing Behavior through Communication

    Kristen Willett

    Online 9/4 - 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: $200.00

    480.603.81 - Communication in Practice

    Danielle Leek

    Online 9/4 - 12/17

    (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

    Julian Teixeira

    Online 9/4 - 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: $200.00

    480.605.81 - Organizational Communication

    Jennifer Todd

    Online 9/4 - 12/17

    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

    Jessica Kurr

    Online 9/4 - 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: $200.00

    480.606.82 - Persuasion


    Online 9/4 - 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: $200.00

    480.622.81 - Branding by Motion Picture

    Debra Davenport

    Online 9/4 - 12/17

    Branding by Motion Picture is a course for those who want to use the motion picture medium to promote brands. It’s a writing course, not a production course, on the art of expressing a brand in linear form—as a 30-second commercial for television and the Web or a longer, branding video for the Web. We study commercials and branding videos for what they can tell us about brands, audience desires and watchability. Students also choose and develop brands and write scripts in the commercial and branding video formats. Branding by Motion Picture gives students the understanding and the tools that have traditionally belonged to a small cadre of creatives in advertising agencies.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.629.81 - Public Relations in the Age of Digital Influence

    Shonali Burke

    Online 9/4 - 12/17

    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.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.632.81 - Digital Political Strategy

    Michael Cohen

    Online 9/4 - 12/17

    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.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.636.81 - Web Writing and Content Strategy

    Sean Luechtefeld

    Online 9/4 - 12/17

    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

    Danielle Leek

    Online 9/4 - 12/17

    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

    480.646.81 - Managerial Communication

    Jennifer Todd

    Online 9/4 - 12/17

    Writer and historian James Humes said, “The art of communication is the language of leadership.” It is that simple comment that forms the foundation of this course. Here students explore the role of communication with stakeholders including subordinates, superiors, internal and external customers, suppliers and the community. Students examine effective communication in hiring and promoting, in conflict, in community interaction and in the internal communication of an organization. The class is built around three precepts or questions: With whom does one communicate, what does one communicate and how does one communicate effectively?

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.660.81 - Media Relations

    Megy Karydes

    Online 9/4 - 12/17

    Media outreach is a critical piece of any strategic communication effort. This course prepares students to build, implement, and measure earned media programs that achieve policy, business and philanthropic objectives. Class lectures, guest speakers, readings and assignments give students an understanding of the priorities and expectations of various types of contemporary media, and how to successfully engage them through research-based strategies and tactics designed to reach key audiences.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.663.81 - Integrated Marketing Communication

    Shawn Ghuman

    Online 9/4 - 12/17

    Integrated marketing communication breaks down the traditional advertising, public relations and marketing silos by challenging practitioners to apply the optimum mix of media and message to motivate the target audience to act. The rise of the internet and now Web 2.0 support the need to embrace integrated marketing communication as a comprehensive approach to reach target audiences. In this course students learn to evaluate audience demographics and apply the appropriate communication channels and messages based upon the audiences’ needs and the business realities of marketing campaigns. During the semester, students develop a tool kit of steps to follow to attain marketing success. Through simulation exercises, case study analysis and self-directed reading, students develop a results-oriented and measurable marketing campaign proposal.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.665.81 - Speech Writing

    Mary Walker

    Online 9/4 - 12/17

    Speech writing is one of the most important but least instructed skills for Washington professionals. Through hands-on practice, students learn to write speeches for diverse clients, occasions and contexts including corporate and political speeches, keynote addresses, Congressional testimony, as well as informal remarks such as eulogies and toasts and how to coach speakers for more effective delivery. The course integrates speech writing with public relations skills in areas such as campaign messaging, investor relations and crisis management.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.665.82 - Speech Writing

    Mary Walker

    Online 9/4 - 12/17

    Speech writing is one of the most important but least instructed skills for Washington professionals. Through hands-on practice, students learn to write speeches for diverse clients, occasions and contexts including corporate and political speeches, keynote addresses, Congressional testimony, as well as informal remarks such as eulogies and toasts and how to coach speakers for more effective delivery. The course integrates speech writing with public relations skills in areas such as campaign messaging, investor relations and crisis management.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.682.81 - Health Psychology & Behavior Change

    LaKesha Anderson

    Online 9/4 - 12/17

    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.

    Technology Fee: $200.00

    480.806.81 - Practicum: Independent Study

    Debra Davenport

    Online 9/4 - 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: $200.00

    480.888.81 - Thesis Continuation

    Taylor Hahn
    Kristen Willett

    Online 9/4 - 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.