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

  • Washington DC Center

    480.604.51 - Theory of Mass Communication Practices

    Julian Teixeira

    Wednesday 5:30 - 8:40; 6/5 - 8/21

    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

    480.614.51 - Communication Strategies for the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary Debates

    Robert Guttman

    Wednesday 5:30 - 8:40; 5/29 - 8/21

    The Democrats are planning a dozen primary debates for the 2020 candidates with the first debate to be held this June televised by NBC/MSNBC. The second debate will be held this July hosted by CNN. With a field of presidential candidates that could surpass more than 20 people the Democrats will hold their debates on two consecutive evenings. With such a large field, the Democratic presidential hopefuls are busy planning a communications strategy for the debates and a media plan for the long campaign for 2019/2020. Our lively, timely and interactive class will focus on all of the presidential candidates, their policies, their debate strategies, their overall media and social media plans. We will look at the history and future of presidential debates in American politics. The class will analyze, observe and discuss how the media in all its many forms cover the upcoming debates and how they are covering the many presidential candidates. We will be watching the first two debates as part of our class assignment discussing how the candidates performed and if their communications strategy is helping or hurting their hoped for goal of becoming the Democratic presidential nominee and America's next president.

    480.687.51 - Intercultural Communication

    Julian Teixeira

    Tuesday 5:30 - 8:40; 6/4 - 8/20

    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 5/29 - 8/21

    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 5/29 - 8/21

    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 5/29 - 8/21

    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 5/29 - 8/21

    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 5/29 - 8/21

    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 5/29 - 8/21

    (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

    Debra Davenport

    Online 5/29 - 8/21

    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

    Shonali Burke

    Online 5/29 - 8/21

    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 5/29 - 8/21

    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

    480.624.81 - Public Affairs Communication

    Mark Story

    Online 5/29 - 8/21

    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

    480.636.81 - Web Writing and Content Strategy

    Sean Luechtefeld

    Online 5/29 - 8/21

    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

    Megan Tucker

    Online 5/29 - 8/21

    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

    480.637.82 - Using Social and Digital Media

    Megan Tucker

    Online 5/29 - 8/21

    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

    480.638.81 - Utilizing Images: Media Literacy In Practice

    Taylor Hahn

    Online 5/29 - 8/21

    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: $200.00

    480.638.82 - Utilizing Images: Media Literacy In Practice

    Taylor Hahn

    Online 5/29 - 8/21

    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: $200.00

    480.654.81 - Strategic Communication Program Management

    Jennifer Todd

    Online 5/29 - 8/21

    This course covers strategic leadership and communication program development, management and evaluation. It emphasizes basic communication research, strategic communication objectives and message design, selection of media, development of materials, management of teams and impact evaluation. Crisis and issues management as well as the use of new communication technologies are also covered. The course focuses on a step-by-step design of a communication program using the highly acclaimed SCOPE (Strategic Communication Planning and Evaluation) Web learning and planning software. Students develop two strategic communication programs, one as individual work and another as part of a team. Lectures and discussions utilize case studies to illustrate key points and desired learning. This course combines reality-based and conceptual approaches to provide students with the intellectual tools needed to assume senior management or outside counsel roles in developing and implementing fully integrated communication programs.

    Technology fee: $200.00

    480.659.81 - Crisis Communication

    LaKesha Anderson

    Online 5/29 - 8/21

    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

    480.660.81 - Media Relations

    Megy Karydes

    Online 5/29 - 8/21

    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

    480.806.81 - Practicum: Independent Study

    Debra Davenport

    Online 5/29 - 8/21

    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 5/29 - 8/21

    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: $200.00