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  Academic Programs / Communications & Theater

Communication Studies

Scott Gratson, Ph.D., Program Director
9C Annenberg Hall




Communication Studies is a studies-based interdisciplinary major. It features the academic (aesthetic, analytical, critical, historical, theoretical) and interdisciplinary study of communication as represented by the departments included within the School of Communications and Theater.

Designed to ensure flexibility and choice, Communications Studies allows students a chance to fully investigate multiple fields in the communications discipline. Emphasis is placed on providing an overview of Communication while also accentuating personal academic growth. Personal choice and options allow students a chance to complete the degree in a timely manner. In this interdisciplinary program, Communication Studies students will select Policy, Regulation and Advocacy; Contemporary Media Environments; Global Civil Society; or Arts in the Public Sphere as a distinctive area of investigation. A Major of Distinction track is also available for advanced scholars. The flexibility of the Communications Studies program offers students access to the field experiences, internships, and study away experiences vital to a comprehensive education. Students with a number of skill sets and academic interest areas are often drawn to this innovative program and graduates are poised for a number of professional and academic possibilities, such as graduate, law, or professional school. Graduates of this program will be well-suited to pursue a variety of positions across numerous aspects of the Communications field.

Students receive cross-curricular expertise through foundation and core courses. Academic rigor and student choice are at the very core of the program. Choices allow a student flexibility and curricular oversight ensures a solid, academically robust education. Courses are designed to allow student progress to be monitored at yearly intervals. Experiential learning is promoted, particularly during the junior and senior years. Cross cultural exchanges and experiences are integral aspects of the program's design. Advanced scholars have a distinct and individualized track.

Program Requirements

The Bachelor of Arts degree requires completion of all University requirements:

  • New students starting in the 2011-2012 academic year are required to complete the General Education (GenEd) curriculum;
  • All students must take a minimum of two writing-intensive courses. The specific writing-intensive courses required for this major are identified with the code "WI" in the Attribute column; and School requirements, with a minimum of 124 semester hours. There is a maximum of 71 s.h. allowed in SCT.  Students must earn a "C" or better in all courses required for the major, including selected courses to fulfill major core (#2 below) and tracks (#3 below), and a minimum 2.0 GPA in the major.

The major requires completion of 42-43 s.h. in the Communication Studies major:

1) All Communication Studies majors must take the following two foundation courses (6 credits):

  • CMST 1111: Communication and Public Life
  • BTMM 1021: Media & Society

2) All majors will take five additional core courses. Students will select one course each from the categories below (15 credits). Students should plan to meet the prerequisites for courses in their selected tracks (see below) by taking appropriate core courses.

  • CMST 2111: Communications Seminar
  • Communication Theory (select one from list below)

ADV 1101: Introduction to Media and Society

ADV 1102: Introduction to Advertising

BTMM 1011: Introduction to Media Theory

JRN 1111: Journalism and Society

  • Research Methods (select one from list below)

ADV 1141: Introduction to Advertising Research

BTMM 2141: Media Research (Prerequisite: BTMM 1011)

JRN 2101: Journalism Research

  • Analysis (select one from list below)

ADV 2151: Visual Communication

BTMM 2421: Media Popular Culture (Prerequisite:  BTMM 1021)

THTR 1002: Theater: The Collaborative Art

THTR 1096: Introduction to Theater Process (Writing Intensive)

  • Cross-Cultural Perspectives (select one from list below)

FMA 1171: Media and Culture

STRC 3801: Intercultural Communication


3) After completing the Foundational and Core Courses, students may continue with the major (A) or apply for the Major of Distinction (B, described below).

A) Major

In consultation with a faculty advisor, a student must take seven courses from those listed under each of the tracks below. Within the track, a student must take at least one course from at least three different departments.

At least four courses in the track must be taken at the 3000 or 4000 level. At least one of these four must be taken at the 4000 level.

Students must have met the prerequisites for courses in their selected tracks by taking the appropriate core courses (see above).

1) Policy, Regulation and Advocacy Track

This track focuses on citizen advocacy in the field of communication as related to and shaped by communication policy and regulation. Students are introduced to historical and recent examples of citizen advocacy in communication policy through the examination of social movements, civic journalism, art and performance, and special interest groups tied to issues of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and the environment.

Course list:

ADV 4196: Morality, Law & Advertising (Writing Intensive)

BTMM 3471: Media & Cultural Differences (Prerequisite BTMM 1011)

BTMM 4226: Public Media (Prerequisite BTMM 1021)

BTMM 4454: Public Information Media Campaigns (Prerequisite BTMM 1011)

JRN 3101: Journalism and the Law

STRC 2112: Strategy and Tactics of Persuasion

STRC 2222: Argumentation

STRC 2296: Campaigns & Movements in America (Writing Intensive)

STRC 3323: Political Communication

STRC 3333: Rhetorical Theory

STRC 3396: Analysis of Public Discourse (Writing Intensive)

THTR 3052: Theater of Protest

THTR 3057: Queer Theater

2) Contemporary Media Environments Track

This track provides an historical overview of communication technologies - from papyrus to moveable type, from the rotary press to broadcasting and the Internet - and the ways that they shape public life. It will introduce theories on the relationship between technology and society, focusing on the intersection between communication technologies and the public sphere.

Course list:

BTMM 4296: History of Electronic Media (Prerequisite BTMM 1021) (Writing Intensive)

BTMM 4445: Media Images and Analysis (Prerequisite BTMM 1021)

BTMM 4453: Information Society (Prerequisite BTMM 1021)

FMA 3671: Theory and Practice of Media Culture

FMA 4674: Anthropological Film/Media

FMA 4675: Women Film/Video Artists

FMA 3677: American Film

FMA 4673: International Cinema

JRN 2301: Introduction to Magazines

JRN 3701: Contemporary Media Issues

JRN 3702: Race and Racism in the News

JRN 3703: History of Journalism

JRN 3704: Ethical Issues in Journalism

JRN 3705: Gender and American Mass Media

JRN 3707: Visual Communication

JRN 3708: Newsroom Management

THTR 3052: Theater of Protest

3) Global Civil Society Track

This track will survey evidence on the emergence of global civil society including social movements, historical development, and the growing international public sphere. Courses will address such topics as public diplomacy, global mediascapes, international and public opinion.

Course list:

BTMM 3296: Travel Writing (Permission of SCT Study Away Director or Assistant Director) (Writing Intensive)

BTMM 3473: Media and the Environment (Prerequisite BTMM 1021)

BTMM 3572: Communication and Development (Prerequisite BTMM 1011)

BTMM 4496: Global Media (Prerequisites BTMM 1011 & BTMM 1021) (Writing Intensive)

BTMM 4571: Foreign Studies in BTMM (Permission of SCT Study Away Director or Assistant Director)

BTMM 4572: British Media and Telecommunication (Permission of SCT Study Away Director or Assistant Director)

FMA 4673: International Cinema

FMA 4674: Anthropological Film/Media

JRN 3706: International News Communication

JRN 3751: Foreign Studies in Journalism

STRC 2672: Global Communication and Leadership

STRC 2696: Diverse Communication and Leadership (Writing Intensive)

THTR 3053: Women in Theater

THTR 3054: African American Theater

THTR 3057: Queer Theater

THTR 3611: Visual History I

THTR 3612: Visual History II

4) Arts in the Public Sphere Track

This track will examine the history and theory of the performative and media-based arts, with a focus on the interplay between aesthetic expression, cultural context, and social change. Study will include courses on both artistic works that address explicit social issues and those that use innovative formal elements to suggest change.

Course list:

BTMM 3196: Writing Workshop (Writing Intensive)

FMA 2670: Topics in Film Study

FMA 2674: History of Photography

FMA 3670: Topics in Media Culture

FMA 3671: Theory and Practice of Media Culture

FMA 3770: Topics in Film Study

FMA 4670: Topics in Film Study

FMA 4674: Anthropological Film/Media

JRN 3707: Visual Communication

THTR 2210: Special Topics

THTR 3001: History of Theater I

THTR 3002: History of Theater II

THTR 3051: Modern Directions

THTR 3052: Theater of Protest

THTR 3053: Women in Theater

THTR 3054: African American Theater

THTR 3057: Queer Theater

THTR 3070: Seminar in Drama

THTR 3080: Special Topics

THTR 3082: General Study

THTR 3191: Research

THTR 3611: Visual History I

THTR 3612: Visual History II

THTR 4003: Production Dramaturgy

THTR 4097: World of the Play (Writing Intensive)

B) Major of Distinction (Communication Studies Thesis Track)

The Major of Distinction is an academically rigorous program for students who wish to construct an interdisciplinary curriculum that meets their individual interests across the SCT departments. In the Major of Distinction, each student works individually with a faculty advisor from a relevant SCT department to build a curriculum that goes beyond that offered by the tracks above. The student completes five courses, four of which must be at the 3000 or 4000 level, and in the senior year completes a two-semester thesis. A student in the Major of Distinction must have completed three semesters of a foreign language (or equivalent with the approval of the Director of Communication Studies) by the time of graduation. If appropriate to the student's research, an advanced methods or theory course may be required by the student's faculty advisor.

Students apply for a Major of Distinction in the second semester of their sophomore year. To be considered, students must be on schedule to complete their Foundational and Core Communications courses by the end of their sophomore year. Also, students must have earned at least a 3.5 cumulative grade point average (GPA). Students must submit an application to the Director of Communication Studies that includes a statement of student's interest, a proposed curriculum, and a support letter from a full-time SCT faculty member willing to act as student's faculty advisor.

Once accepted into the Major of Distinction and in consultation with his or her faculty advisor and the Director of Communication Studies, each student constructs his or her own curriculum. The curriculum must contain five courses, four of which must be at the 3000 or 4000 level, and include courses from at least three of the SCT majors. Courses selected should be designed to lead to the senior-year thesis.

  • No more than 8 s.h. in Kinesiology (physical education activity) may be credited toward the degree.
  • Students may participate in study away programs.
  • Transfer students are required to complete a minimum of 24 s.h. of major courses at Temple.
  • A maximum of 4 s.h. of Internship credit may be counted toward the degree.
  • A maximum of 8 s.h. combined of Independent Study and/or Special Projects may be counted toward the degree.

Communication Studies majors may minor in established SCT minors subject to the policies of the individual department. The Communication Studies student who declares a minor must complete the entire program requirements for both the major and the minor, with only the Communication Studies Major introductory required courses listed above fulfilling both the major and minor requirements. Courses in a minor department above the minimum minor requirement may be used to fulfill Communication Studies Major degree requirements.


Suggested Semester By Semester Plan

Please note that this is a suggested academic plan. Depending on your situation, your academic plan may look different.

Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies

Requirements for New Students starting in the 2011-2012 Academic Year


Year 1 - Fall
Subject Course # Course Title Hours Attribute
CMST 1111 Communication and Public Life 3  
Select one of the following Communication Theory courses: 3  
Introduction to Media and Society
Introduction to Advertising
Introduction to Media Theory
Journalism and Society
English 0802, 0812 or 0902 Analytical Reading & Writing 4 GW
GenEd 08xx or 09xx Quantitative Literacy 4 GQ
COMM 1001 Freshman Seminar 1  
Semester Total     15  
Year 1 - Spring
BTMM 1021 Media and Society 3  
Select one of the following Research Methods courses: 3  
Introduction to Advertising Research
Media Research (prerequisite:  BTMM 1011)
Journalism Research
GenEd 08xx or 09xx U.S. Society 3 GU
GenEd 08xx or 09xx Human Behavior 3 GB
GenEd 08xx or 09xx Global/World Society 3 GG
Semester Total     15  
Year 2 - Fall
CMST 2111 Communications Seminar 3  
Select one of the following Analysis courses: 3  
Visual Communication
Media Popular Culture (prerequisite: BTMM 1021)
Theater: The Collaborative Art
Introduction to Theater Process
Intellectual Heritage 0851 or 0951 Mosaic: Humanities Seminar I 3 GY
GenEd 08xx or 09xx Arts 3-4 GA
GenEd 08xx or 09xx Science & Technology I 3 GS
Semester Total     15-16  
Year 2 - Spring
Select one of the following Cross-Cultural Perspectives courses: 3  
Media & Culture
Intercultural Communication
Track Course any level Select One 3  
Intellectual Heritage 0852 or 0952 Mosaic: Humanities Seminar II 3 GZ
GenEd 08xx or 09xx Science & Technology II 3 GS
GenEd 08xx or 09xx Race & Diversity 3 GD
Semester Total     15  
Year 3 - Fall
Track Course any level Select One 3  
Track Course any level Select One Writing-Intensive Track Course 3 WI
Electives     10  
Semester Total     16  
Year 3 - Spring
Track Course 3000-4999 Select One 3  
Track Course 3000-4999 Select One 3  
Electives     10  
Semester Total     16  
Year 4 - Fall
Track Course 3000-4999 Select One Writing-Intensive Track Course 3 WI
Electives     13  
Semester Total     16  
Year 4 - Spring
Track Course 4000-4999 Select One 3  
Electives     12-13  
Semester Total     15-16  
Total Hours for Communication Studies: 124 (minimum)
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