Course Descriptions

Course work in the MA COMM program five core courses, four cross listed electives, and then two options for a final "capstone" culminating experience.  The core courses are designed to build mutually complimentary competencies that are complemented by the electives and brought together in either a comprehensive exam or an International Externship (additional cost applies) in the final June. Students are encouraged, though not required, to focus their four electives on an area of emphasis, such as Intercultural Communication, Media Studies, or Media Production. All MA courses have an applied component.


Core Courses

COMM 300: Theories of Communication

This course investigates the relationship between theories of communication and culture. Students will use case studies to apply a range of communication theories to analyze problems that typically arise in “real world” settings. Students are expected to make a clear connection between a communication phenomenon (e.g., current social issues) and  communication theories as they work toward critical engagement with professional communication competencies.


COMM 302: Strategic Mediated Communication

This course examines media and mediated forms of communication as they intersect with cultural, economic, political or social contexts.  The focus is on both the analysis and strategic use of mediated communication for various occasions, including development, social change, crisis response, corporate/organizational digital presence, and social justice. The course integrates both critical and practical approaches to understanding effective mediated communication. By the end of this course, students will have completed a digital portfolio that will highlight all of their work in the program as a case study in strategic mediated communication at the individual micro level.

COMM 305: Applied Research Design

This course is designed to focus on methods of data gathering. In this course, students will learn designs of quantitative and qualitative research, such as experiment, survey, interview, participant observation, and ethnography. Students gain research design experience by designing a project to address a particular intercultural communication phenomenon, and the importance of proper research design for professional applications, including project or training assessment and evaluation. Each student’s proposed research project will be executed in Applied Research Methods course. This is an on-campus course, offered during the regular work week. Students must take this course in the Fall semester in the +1 year. This is the first course of the Applied Research Certificate sequence.


COMM306: Applied Research Methods

This course prepares students to collect data for a research project using both quantitative and qualitative methods. The primary foci include experiment, survey, interview, participant observation, and ethnography. Continuing from Applied Research Design course, students will collect data from the previous semester’s project designs, gaining experience in a variety of methods as well as how to work in research teams.


COMM 307: Applied Research Analysis

This course prepares students to analyze a research project using both quantitative and qualitative data analysis. The primary foci of data analysis include (M)ANOVA, regression, and mediation and moderation analysis for quantitative survey data and coding based on the grounded theory approach for the qualitative data. Continuing from Applied Research Methods course, students will analyze the data and interpret and report the results. This is an on-campus course, offered during the regular work week. Students must take this course in the Spring of their +1 year. This is the third course of the Applied Research Certificate sequence.


Electives (sample)

COMM 301: Communication and Conflict

This course examines communication that creates, manages, and resolves conflict in various relational and workplace contexts. The focus is on theoretical understanding of conflict and its management and practical skills applying non-violent communication. Students learn and examine the sources of conflict, optimal communication skills to facilitate the conflict to resolution, and relational implications for the parties involved in the conflict.


COMM 310: Group Facilitation and Leadership

This course focuses on the development of group facilitation and critical thinking skills for making ethical decisions in diverse organizational, professional, and personal settings. Topics covered in this course include leadership and communication theories of power and interpersonal dynamic in teams and groups, listening abilities and perspective-taking, practical discussion facilitation skill building, and understanding organizational structure and decision-making processes.


COMM 311: Identity and Intercultural Communication

This course aims to develop a critical cultural consciousness. Students begin by examining their own cultural identities and then learn how to view interactions with others through the lenses of intercultural communication. Through self-awareness and understanding how identity, culture, and communication work together, students learn critical skills to enhance their intercultural competence. Students work in groups to apply these insights by developing a diversity training activity grounded in theories of identity and intercultural communication.


COMM 312: Intergroup Communication

In this course, students conceptualize culture as a branch of larger conversation of social groups. This course is designed to examine the dynamic of intergroup relations and its cyclical impact on human communication, perceptions, and relationships. Applying theories and perspectives of communication, social psychology, sociolinguistics, and history, students explore the relationship between communication and social group membership.


COMM 334: Digital Cultures

This course is a humanities-based exploration of the fundamental concepts of digital culture. The “digital” will be examined as technology, as communicational and expressive medium, as philosophical precept and paradigm, and as political, social, economic, and psychological force. Students will explore key concepts and theories through the close reading of fundamental texts, study of representative examples of digital work (e.g. websites, gaming, networked and immersive environments, media art), and engage in complementary design and production assignments. As a significant force shaping life in the contemporary world, it is important that students learn how to examine the effect of the digital.  


Capstone Options

International Externship

This final experience works as a “capstone” that synthesizes and builds upon the competencies learned in the MA courses.  Students choosing this option spend two weeks on campus and two weeks traveling to a site (international unless global health and safety measures requires a domestic site) to conduct an applied research project as a group. Site preference, whenever possible, is given to Lasallian partner organization(s) working in international settings. Students act as consultants and assist the client organization in the development and execution of a data-driven research project. The cost of travel for this course is not included in tuition.

Comprehensive Exam

Students who choose this option complete their "capstone" requirement by completing a 6 hour exam in June split between questions drawn from the core classes and a bibliography of texts chosen by the student that reflect the elective courses and areas of emphasis completed by the individual student for the degree.  Students will defend the answers to their exam in a one hour presentation with faculty from the program. There is no extra cost for this option.