School of Leadership and Professional Advancement

705 Libermann Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15282
Phone: 412.396.5600
Fax: 412.396.5072

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Professional Communication Course Descriptions

Required Courses

COMM 201 - Human Communication in a Technological Age

This course engages ethical and practical implications of an increasingly technologically mediated society in which people create, use, and are influenced by technological change in every sphere of human communication. Students explore ethical questions concerning new communication technologies and applications—learning to ask not “can it be done?” but “should it be done?” Students learn to build communicative practices in which technology assists rather than controls human communication.

COMM 206 - Communication in the Marketplace

This course provides an introduction to communication in marketplace contexts, with particular attention to professional discourse with internal and external audiences.  Topics may include an introduction to advertising and public relations/integrated marketing communication, professional communication in the workplace, and sales and service communication.

COMM 407 - Intercultural Communication

This course provides a foundation for improved intercultural communication. Exploring Intercultural Communication studies the influence of cultural diversity on interpersonal (one on one) interactions, but resists the temptation to trivialize intercultural communication by reducing it to a set of "do's and don'ts" of another culture. Instead, this course fosters understanding and respect for disparate worldviews. Second, the course transcends a limited "skills" approach and looks instead toward theory that grounds understanding of differences in belief, cultural practices, values, and ethics and their influence on intercultural engagement in interpersonal settings. This course meets the requirements for the Global Diversity Theme Area Core Requirement.

COMM 494W - Communication Ethics

This course explores theoretical and applied issues surrounding ethical decisions in relational, organizational, and public communication contexts. Emphasis is placed on identifying “the good” that underlies various approaches to communication ethics and that emerge in narratives that guide personal and professional life.

COMM 495W - Capstone Project in Comm

Integrates knowledge obtained in previous coursework and builds on that conceptual foundation through communicative praxis, employing integrative analysis, narrative-driven thinking, application, and ethical reflection. Students assemble and analyze a portfolio showcasing outcomes of their coursework in the major. Grade is based on critical analysis and reflective engagement of segments of the portfolio representing various elements of communicative praxis and of the portfolio as a whole. Students receive formative feedback on each segment of their writing project for purposes of revision. Students must have completed the bulk of their coursework before enrolling in this class.

Choose 3 of the following:

COMM 350 - Communication and Community Relations

This course explores community relations efforts as they are implemented by IMC/public relations professionals in nonprofit, corporate, agency, and governmental organizations. Community relations are a vital part of corporate communications’ management function to lead, motivate, persuade, and inform its various publics. Hence, it is an important facet of the public relations function of integrated marketing communication.

COMM 418W - Conflict Management in Organizations

This course examines the role of communication in managing and regulating interpersonal and organizational conflict.  Application to conflict in everyday interpersonal and professional communicative interaction is explored.

COMM 427 - Communication Management

This course introduces the communication professional to the principles of managerial communication.  Theory and application of managerial best practices are discussed.  Students focus on scholarship of managerial communication and discuss differing managerial styles in relation to different corporate structures.

COMM 436 - Integrated Marketing Communication: Coordinating Advertising and Public Relations

This course covers the principles and practices of marketing communication and emphasizes a comprehensive, integrated approach to the total marketing communication mix including advertising, public relations, sales, promotion, personal selling, and interactive strategies.

COMM 456W - Organizational Communication

This course examines current research in organizational communication.  Topics including organizational socialization, decision-making, leadership, functionalist, interpretive, and cultural perspectives, systems and information processing approaches, communication networks, structure and environment, and other classic and contemporary issues.

COMM 463 - Strategic Corporate Communication

This course examines theoretical and applied strategic management of communication in profit and not-for-profit corporate settings critical for organizational success at all levels. Topics include strategic message production for internal and external audiences, including employees, investors, and other stakeholders.

Choose 2 of the following

COMM 102 - Public Speaking

This course develops communicative skills necessary to analyze verbal discourse and to perform effectively in public speaking situations that confront the educated person and emphasizes the importance of standpoint and worldview in understanding, developing, and articulating positions. This course meets the requirements for the Faith and Reason Theme Area Core Requirement

COMM 202 - Business and Professional Communication

This course focuses on multiple modes of communication in business, government, industrial, and not-for-profit or service organizations ranging from routine messages, memos, and e-mail to letters and professional presentations. Course highlights persuasion as a key component of all business and professional messages.

COMM 303 - Presentational Communication

This course prepares students to grasp the dynamics and constraints of addressing people with oral communication in professional performance contexts. From a base in rhetorical theory and philosophy of communication, the course equips students to handle a range of oral presentations with agility, including principles and practices of audio-visual support.

Additional Professional Communication Elective Courses

COMM 103 - Exploring Interpersonal Communication

This course introduces interpersonal communication praxis (theory-informed action) in personal and professional relationships. The course develops communication skills in a variety of personal and professional relationships, including friendships, romantic relationships, work relationships, and family relationships and explores how interpersonal justice, a requirement for social justice, both stemming from and contributing to its action, requires reflection and care. This course meets the requirements for the Social Justice Theme Area Core Requirement

COMM 304W - Persuasion

This course examines theory and practice of the influence of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors through communicative praxis.

COMM 402 - Argumentation

This course applies the methods and principles of argumentation theory and practices, including deliberative rhetoric and emphasizes creating, advocating, defending, and refuting social propositions and claims.

COMM 418W - Conflict Management in Organizations

This course examines the role of communication in managing and regulating interpersonal and organizational conflict.  Application to conflict in everyday interpersonal and professional communicative interaction is explored.

COMM 445 - Nonprofit Development and Philanthropy Communication

This course identifies the components of a strategic plan, comprehensive development initiatives, income-producing initiatives, and non-profit organizational structure, history, and ethics from the perspective of theory-informed action, or praxis. Students will develop grant-writing skills and learn to analyze the stakeholder context of non-profit organizations from a corporate communication perspective.

COMM 455 - Small Group and Team Communication

This course examines communication processes in small groups.  It includes discussion of group formation, structure, decision-making, errors in decision-making, interaction models, conflict, and methods of doing research in and about small groups and teams.