Communication Graduate Minor

Our graduate minor program is grounded in theory and research concerning human communication, and provides excellent preparation for further graduate study and careers in academia.

Students who wish to pursue a minor in Communication must take 12 units of graduate level Communication courses: any two of the required graduate theory seminars (609, 610, 620, 669) and two other courses at the 500 or 600 level in the department. All courses are to be determined by the student and his or her minor committee. The minor committee consists of one voting member of the faculty who holds at least a .51 FTE appointment in the Department of Communication. Upon completion of the courses, students must take 6 hours of written minor comprehensive exams (3 hours on theory and 3 hours on other course work).

Core Courses (6 units): 

All minor students must complete two of the following courses with a grade of B or better in each.

This course is designed to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the prominent social scientific theories of mass communication. It will address the development of media theories from the early stages to the contemporary models. Particular emphasis will be placed on the most notable theories. Upon completion of the course, students should have extensive knowledge of how media theory and research can be applied to explaining the impact of media exposure on individuals and society.

An overview of theoretical perspectives on the role of verbal and nonverbal communication in the process of generating and understanding development of interpersonal relationships.

An overview of historical and theoretical perspectives on communication strategies used in social influence attempts from interpersonal to mass media contexts.

This course will explore developing an awareness and understanding of the relationship between interpersonal communication and health. It will also work on developing the ability to interpret and discuss some of the existing research/scholarship focusing on aspects of interpersonal communication, relationships, and health. Finally, it will examine ways of investigating health issues in interpersonal contexts.

Communication Minor Electives (6 units):

All minor students must complete two other 3 credit Communication 500+ level courses, selected in conjunction with faculty advisor with a B or better in each.

This is an advanced course aimed at providing a broad overview of the ways in which communication affects, and is affected by, the aging process from birth to death. We will read research articles relating to life-span communication. During the course I wish to convey as much about research methods and how to read technical prose as much as communication and the life-span. The exams will test students understanding of the articles (in terms of their methodological and statistical content and their information about life-span communication) as well as lecture material. In class we will be discussing the articles, clarifying problems etc. Graduate-level requirements include additional in-depth papers, research, readings, exams, etc.

This course focuses on the connections between music and Communication from a social scientific perspective. The course includes three broad sections: 1. Music as communication discusses the definition of music as a form of communication, and its connections to verbal and nonverbal communication. 2. Music as mass communication examines social scientific research on motivations for producing and consuming music, as well as music's content and effects. 3. Music as intergroup communication considers music as a communication phenomenon in the context of intergroup relations, focusing on music's role in exacerbating and ameliorating intergroup conflict. Graduate level requirements include the same requirements as the undergraduate, but with a more extensive research paper involving data collection, and a longer and more analytical short paper.

Theory and research on social control and deviance in groups from the perspective of communication behavior. Graduate-level requirements include an in-depth research paper on a single aspect of macro-communication patterns in groups.

This course employs a developmental perspective to examining the relationship between the mass media and young audience members. Major topics covered include issues related to children and adolescents as a unique audience (e.g., media use habits, attention and comprehension of media content), media and their content (e.g., media violence, advertising, educational programming), media effects (e.g., fear reactions, construction of role and reality perceptions), and intervention issues (e.g., parental mediation of media exposure, media literacy, and relevant public policy). Graduate-level requirements include additional readings, additional papers rather than exams and a research paper that will be a research proposal instead of a literature review..

Focus on issues related to family interaction, functioning, and communication. We will examine research and theories from communication, sociological, and psychological perspectives. Readings and discussions will include coverage of marital, parent-child, sibling, and intergenerational interactions in the family. Research on topics such as marital satisfaction, divorce, courtship, and the impact of the family on its children (and vice versa) will be examined. We will also focus on the nature of family interaction as it is associated with family dysfunction. Graduate-level requirements include different readings, papers, and exams.

Examination of the campaign strategies and tactics of those seeking the nation's most powerful office from 1960 to the present. Graduate-level requirements include an in-depth research project.

Consideration of theory and research pertaining to the handling of conflict across diverse contexts. Graduate-level requirements include an in-depth research paper of communication in some conflict situation.

Theory and research on nonverbal communication codes (kinetics, touch, voice, appearance, use of space.) and social functions (impression formation and management, relational communication, emotional expressions, regulation of interaction, social influence). Graduate-level requirements include an in-depth research project on nonverbal communication.

The relational communication process and messages people use to define interpersonal relationships, including dominance-submissiveness, affection, involvement and similarity in close relationships. Graduate-level requirements include an in-depth research project or theoretical paper on some issue in the management of interpersonal relationships.

Surveys the fundamental laws and regulatory policies governing electronic mass media, with an emphasis on broadcast television. The focus is on structural as well as content-based regulation. The course provides an overview of: - the process by which communication policies are created; - the fundamental regulatory structure for electronic mass media, including the philosophies and goals that undergird it; - the licensing or franchising requirements for broadcasting and cable television; - policies on the ownership and control of mass media; - basic content-related regulations, such as policies on obscenity/indecency, television violence, and requirements for children's television. Graduate-level requirements include extra readings, research papers.

This course explores some enduring research questions concerning mass communication and American public opinion. Important normative and conceptual issues are identified and examined by reviewing some early writings (ca. 1890-1930) in social philosophy and social science. These issues are then investigated further through a review and discussion of relevant research in sociology, political science, social psychology, and mass communication. Graduate-level requirements include additional readings in the public opinion literature and the paper will involve empirical testing of survey data (paper will be 20-25 pages).

Interrelations between human communication and cognitive processes. Emphasis on theory and research in social cognition. Graduate-level requirements include an in-depth research project on a single issue in communication and cognition.

Qualified students working on an individual basis with professors who have agreed to supervise such work. Graduate students doing independent work which cannot be classified as actual research will register for credit under course number 599, 699, or 799.

Issues in measurement and sampling in laboratory and field research in communication.

  • COMM 696A Nonverbal Communication Seminar (3 units)

  • COMM 696E Mass Media Seminar (3 units)

  • COMM 696H Communication and Health Messages Seminar (3 units)

  • COMM 696I Interpersonal Communication Seminar (3 units)

  • COMM 696O Organizational Communication Theory Seminar (3 units)

  • COMM 696P Political Communication Seminar (3 units)

  • COMM 696R Advanced Communication Research Methods Seminar (3 units)

  • COMM 696T Comm and New Technology Seminar (3 units)


Qualified students working on an individual basis with professors who have agreed to supervise such work. Graduate students doing independent work which cannot be classified as actual research will register for credit under course number 599, 699, or 799.