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Communication & Media Studies

Program Director:  Joel Nathan Rosen
Affiliated faculty:  C. Fodrey, G. Kaskowitz, M. Mikovits, S. Morelock, C. Murphy, D. Wetcher-Hendricks
Adjunct faculty:  C. Egging, A. Kilburg, T. Molchany, J. Walczer

Communications is the study of how to effectively communicate different types of information in various fields such as journalism, media studies, business, politics, and law.  The  study of communications is, by nature, interdisciplinary. At Moravian University, students wishing to pursue a major in communications do so by completing a 6-course core of courses in communication and media studies, paired with courses in another area to align with their specific interests.  Common combinations include communications with graphic design, management, psychology, sociology, and English, but any field of study can be effectively combined with communications.

Students who graduate from Moravian University with a degree in communication and media studies will be able to demonstrate: 1. a critical understanding of popular communications theories; 2. write and speak effectively; 3. familiarity with common practices in media organizations; 4. recognition of the role that mass media has played historically and is playing currently in a given society; 5. development of articulation skills through writing and speaking, technologies, and design deemed necessary to those considering a future in a communications or media-related field; 6. development of foundational technology and design skills necessary to those considering a future in a communications or media-related field; and 7. knowledge of and practitioner competence in the theories and practices of their respective area of focus, as defined by the complementary area of study (ex., marketing, English, psychology, etc.).

Students who earn a degree in communication and media studies often pursue jobs in areas such as writing and editing, publishing, journalism, event coordination, public relations, marketing, media, advertising in a variety of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, as well as a number of evolving fields, including online-based communications, social media, and marketing.

Students are encouraged to use electives to enhance their achievement of these learning outcomes.

The Minor in Media Studies

The interdisciplinary Media Studies minor combines courses from a variety of disciplines to provide students with knowledge and familiarity about the public’s use of and responses to mass communication. Courses promote critical thought about the impact that media has upon culture, including aspects of individual and community behavior, law, economics, history, politics, technology, and public appeal. Students can focus their attention either on Mass Media or on Media Marketing. Regardless of the track that they choose, students must attain a minimum GPA of 2.00 in five designated courses to complete the minor.

Each track consists of three required courses and two minor elective courses. Human Communications serves as the introductory course and Communications in Practice serves as the capstone course for both tracks.

Requirements and electives for each track are listed below.

Mass Media Track

Required courses:

  • COMM 111 Human Communications
  • One special topics course in rhetoric approved by the English Department for this requirement
  • COMM 370 Communications in Practice

Elective courses:

Choice of two listed below. Only one may be a 100-level course.

  • ART 131 Introduction to Graphic Design 
  • ENGL 230 Public Speaking
  • ENGL 312 News and Feature Writing (or equivalent)
  • POSC 130 The First Amendment
  • POSC 330 Politics and Popular Culture
  • SOC 115 Introductory Sociology (M4)
  • SOC 350 Media Technology and Society (U1)
  • COMM Special Topics
  • COMM Independent Study
  • COMM Honors

Marketing Media Track

Required courses:

  • COMM 111 Human Communications
  • MGMT 251 Marketing Management
  • COMM 370 Communications in Practice

Elective courses:

Choice of two listed below. Only one may be a 100-level course.

  • ART 131 Introduction to Graphic Design 
  • ENGL 230 Public Speaking
  • HIST 237 Popular Culture in Medieval and Early Modern Europe
  • MGMT 227 Consumer Behavior
  • MGMT 228 Telling and Selling Your Brand
  • MGMT 311 Marketing Research (WI)
  • SOC 113 Cultural Anthropology (M4)
  • COMM Special Topics
  • COMM Independent Study
  • COMM Honors

Communication & Media Studies Major

Students who pursue Communication & Media Studies complete a major that includes the core courses below in communication & media studies and 6 courses from another field.  These pre-approved tracks are listed below. Tracks presently available are Graphic & Interactive Design, Photography & Media, Sociology, Marketing, and Writing for Public Audiences.  Students who wish to create a track that does not include one of these tracks must submit an interdepartmental major application to the Academic Standards Committee.

The six-course core in communication and media studies is composed of the following courses:

1) COMM 111 Human Communication


ENGL 230  Public Speaking

ENGL 216. Professional Communication

3) COMM 240 Communication Theory and Research

4) COMM 155 Communicating with Social Media


COMM 355.  WI: Topics in Media Studies

ENGL 316. Rhetorics of Everyday Life


COMM 376.  Capstone in Communication and Media Studies

COMM 370. Communications in Practice

Students then must complete one of the following tracks: 

A. Graphic and Interactive Design :

  1. ART 142: Visual Foundations
  2. ART 131: Introduction to Graphic Design 
  3. ART 230: Typography 
  4. ART 346: Interactive Design I 
  5. Two of the following:
  • ART 231: Publication Design
  • ART 356: Interactive Design II 
  • ART 358: User Experience and User Interface Design
  • ART 374: Portfolio Seminar 
  • ART 373: Graphic and Interactive Design Internship 

B) Photography/Digital Media:

1. ART 142: Visual Foundations

2. ART 268: Digital Photography I

3. ART 368:  Digital Photography II

4. ART 220: History of Photography

5. ART 254:  Digital Video

6. One of the following:

  • ART 167: Black and White Photography I
  • ART 265: Alternative Photographic Processes

C) Marketing 

  1. ECON 156:  Economics and Business Statistics
  2. MGMT 251:  Marketing Management
  3. MGMT 227:  Consumer Behavior
  4. MGMT 228:  Telling/Selling Your Brand
  5. MGMT 311:  Marketing Research (WI)
  6. MGMT 386:  Internship

D) Sociology 

1. SOC 113: Cultural Anthropology

2. SOC 115: Introductory Sociology

3. SOC 246: Basic Research Methods

4. One of the following:

  • SOC 258: Power and Conflict (WI)
  • SOC 355: Sociology of Gender (WI)
  • SOC 357: Racial and Ethnic Inequality (WI)

5. SOC/IDIS 350: Socio-History of Media Technology

6. SOC 386: Internship

E) Writing for Public Audiences 

  1. ENGL 216 Professional Communication OR
    ENGL 230 Public Speaking *whichever was not taken in Communication and Media Studies core
  2. ENGL 218 Digital Rhetoric and Writing
  3. ENGL 224 Introduction to Journalism
  4. ENGL 312 News and Feature Writing in the Digital Age
  5. One of the following:
  • ENGL 211 Creative Nonfiction 
  • ENGL 242 Environmental Writing 
  • ENGL 263 Writing as Activism 
  • other writing courses as deemed suitable (to be approved by the Director of Writing)

6. ENGL 386: Internship

Course descriptions:

COMM 111. Human Communication.  This course focuses upon the functions and processes of communication as well as the various communication techniques used in modern society. Students explore basic theories and examine the characteristics and social effects of verbal and non-verbal human interaction. Application of theoretical concepts include observation and analysis of communication methods used in interpersonal, group, and media forums. (M4)  

COMM 155.  (also ART 155.) Communicating with Social Media.  An entry-level course where students will explore the history and role of social media in public relations, marketing, advertising and other related fields. Students will develop knowledge and skills relevant to digital communication with a focus on social media marketing. Students will investigate professional, theoretical, cultural and societal aspects of social media while gaining tactical skills to produce digital content for a semester-long social media campaign project.  

COMM 230.  (also ENGL 230)  Public Speaking.  Basic theory of public speaking with emphasis on developing skills essential to effective interpersonal communication in industrial, business, and academic settings. Fall. 

COMM 240.  Communication Theory and Research.   Students evaluate major theories and develop the skills to critically interpret data pertaining to communication.  Course topics include cognitive processes involved in communication, social standards of communication, systems of communications, and media environments. Through guided field interactions, students apply relevant principles and analyses to communication contexts. By focusing upon the interrelationship between communication theory and research, this course prepares students for courses in specialized areas of communication and media studies and for upper-level general communications courses. Prerequisite: COMM 111 with a grade of C or better and/or permission of instructor. 

COMM 259. (also IDIS 259) Sport and Its Cultural Legacy. A critical examination of the changing relationship between sport and culture, particularly as it pertains to Western sport. The course will include an historical overview of sport as cultural marker and its resultant industries before moving toward a range of specific socio-political dimensions, including issues of inequality, labor, marketing, and socialization schemes, paying particular attention to the narratives expressed through various media forms. Writing-intensive.

COMM  266. (also IDIS 266).  The Blues. Considers the social, political, and cultural record of black country music styles, i.e. ‘the blues,’ that initially takes shape in the years following the end of Reconstruction before it is commercialized and standardized through the efforts of a burgeoning recording industry in the early 1920s. We will look to analyze and demythologize many of the pre- and ill-conceived assumptions regarding its development, diffusion, and role as a chronicler of post-Reconstruction African American life by initially examining its place in the rural and agrarian American South before it pivots toward its more modern iterations in Chicago and other industrialized and urban northern and western settings resulting from The Great Migration. Open to juniors and seniors only. (U2)

COMM 355.  WI: Topics in Media Studies. Topics will focus upon particular concepts and theories in media studies, important scholars, notable  developments and contributors to the various fields, as well as relevant debates and controversies.Prerequisite COMM 111 with a grade of C or better and/or permission of instructor. (Repeatable). (WI).

COMM 358. (also IDIS 358) Segregation in America: The Language of Jim Crow. A more grounded approach for tracing and interpreting the wide reach of legalized and enforced segregation in American life focusing primarily on the post-bellum period of the 19th century through the civil rights struggles of the 1960s and 1970s. Looks past many of the more commonly understood (and misinterpreted) elements of the so-called Jim Crow edifice by looking at all regions of the country during this period in a more comparative frame. Examines the social, historical, economic, and political forces that fueled the construction of segregation then while attempting to make sense of discussions relative to race, class, and power in America today. Open to juniors and seniors only. (U2)

COMM 370. Communications in Practice. Students shadow employees and participate, when requested, in the operations of a local marketing or mass media agency (or the marketing or public relations department of a large organization) for two hours each week.  Through this experience, students become familiar with the media industry. The course also includes two 50-minute classroom sessions per week as well as presentations and written work that demonstrate recognition of principles applied in professional settings.

COMM 376.  Capstone in Communication and Media Studies.  This course is designed to help students reflect and/or synthesize knowledge gained throughout the communication and media studies major. The underlying objective of the course is to get students thinking about reviewing and applying concepts covered in their previous classes through the construction of a senior project that demonstrates students’ mastery over the subject matter based on individual student interest.Required of all communication and media studies-related majors. Intended to be taken in the Spring semester of the senior year. Prerequisite(s): Completion of or concurrent enrollment in an internship in communication and media studies; senior standing; and/or permission of the instructor.

COMM 190-199, 290-299, 390-399. Special Topics.
COMM 286, 381-383. Independent Study.
COMM 384. Independent Research.
COMM 288, 386-388. Internship.
COMM 400-401. Honors.