Undergraduate Curriculum

Courses in Communication & Rhetorical Studies

101.  Debate. 0-6 cr.
The course develops competency in critical thinking, writing, speaking, and synthesizing information quickly and clearly for the purpose of communicating well with others. The end goal is to demonstrate intellectual agility and a commitment to ethical and moral discussion in a complex world. The focus is on formal argument with undergraduate students from other universities. Practicum. Offered fall and spring.

102.  Public Speaking. 3 cr.
Develops communicative skills necessary to analyze verbal discourse and to perform effectively in public speaking situations that confront the educated person. Emphasizes the importance of standpoint and worldview in understanding, developing, and articulating positions. Hybrid Course, Lecture, Online. Theme Area Faith and Reason. Offered every semester.

102C.  Public Speaking. 3 cr.
Develops communicative skills necessary to analyze verbal discourse and to perform effectively in public speaking situations that confront the educated person. Emphasizes the importance of standpoint and worldview in understanding, developing, and articulating positions. Lecture. Theme Area Faith and Reason.

103.  Exploring Interpersonal Communication. 3 cr.
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. Lecture, Online. Theme Area Social Justice. Offered every semester.

103C.  Exploring Interpersonal Communication. 3 cr.
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. Lecture. Theme Area Social Justice.

108. Communicating Empathy and Civility in a Digital Age. 3 cr. 
Communicating Empathy and Civility in a Digital Age invites students to think reflectively about the implications of new communicative technologies for human flourishing. Considers influence of social communication technologies on human interaction with the world and others. Focuses specifically on the influence of new technologies on human empathy and civility. Lecture. Theme Area Social Justice. Offered fall and spring.

114.  Exploring Intercultural Communication. 3 cr.
Provides a foundation for improved intercultural communication. Exploring Interculturral 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. Lecture, Online. Theme Area Global Diversity. Offered every semester.

114C. Exploring Intercultural Communication. 3 cr.
This course will provide 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 "dos and don'ts" of another culture. Instead, this course fosters understanding and respect for disparate world views. 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 is offered for the Orbis learning community. Lecture. Theme Area Global Diversity. Offered fall only.

201. Human Communication in a Technological Age. 3 cr.
Engages ethical and practical implications of an increasingly mediated society in which people create, use, and are influenced by technological change in every sphere of human communication. Students explore theoretical 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. Hybrid Course, Lecture, Online. Offered fall and spring.

202W.  Business & Professional Communication. 3 cr.
Focuses on multiple modes of communication in business government, industrial, and not-for-profit or service organizations ranging from routine messages, memorandums, and e-mail to letters and professional presentations. Course highlights persuasion as a key component of all business and professional messages. Lecture, Online. University Core Writing Intens. Offered every semester.

203W.  Communication & Professional Civility. 3 cr.
Develops communication skills in group and organizational relationships. Course emphasizes the role of professional civility as a communicative ethic in interaction with all organizational stakeholders, with a special emphasis on the health care context engaged by physician assistants. Lecture. University Core Writing Intens. Offered fall only.

204W.  Professional Communication in Integrated Marketing. 3 cr.
Integrates basic oral and written communication skills, and presentational technology skills within a professional communication context. Professional assignments with case studies guide instruction. Lecture. University Core Writing Intens. Offered fall and spring.

205.  Argument in the Global Public Sphere. 3 cr.
Explores structure and content of arguments focused on issues of global concern emerging in the international public sphere. Students conduct research and prepare and present arguments from multiple aspects of these issues. May involve public performance. Lecture. Offered irregularly.

206.  Communication in the Marketplace. 3 cr.
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. Lecture, Online. Offered fall and spring.

207.  Exploring Leadership Communication. 3 cr.
Introduces students to the theory and ethical practice of communicative leadership in the marketplace, the community, and public life. Covers the vocabulary, contexts, and disciplines of leadership in a complex, globalizing society. Valuable for students in any field of study. Lecture. Offered spring only.

220.  Approaches to Rhetoric, Religion, and Society. 3 cr.
Explores intersections between religion and public life in civic contexts through rhetorical principles and practices. The course focuses on the context of American society, history, and practice. Lecture. Theme Area Faith and Reason. Offered spring only.

301W.  History of Communication. 3 cr.
Surveys rhetoric and public communication from the ancient tradition of rhetoric to the rise of mediated and mass delivery systems. Lecture. University Core Writing Intens. Offered fall and spring.

303.  Presentational Communication Skills. 3 cr.
Provides an orientation to corporate presentation and platform skills. Students are coached and drilled through their corporate presentation on current issues in industry and finance. Lecture, Online. Offered irregularly.

304W. Persuasion. 3 cr.
Examines theory and practice of the influence of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. Hybrid Course, Lecture, Online. University Core Writing Intens. Offered irregularly.

305. Undergraduate Research and Development I
Provides opportunity for undergraduate students to conduct research on topics in the field of applied communication, evaluate evidence, construct white papers, and deliver information to clients. The course centers upon delivery of integrated marketing communication (public relations, advertising, and marketing) and corporate communication research in cooperation with clients in the for-profit and not-for-profit marketplace. Lecture.

307. Public Advocacy. 3 cr.
Prepares students for rhetorical and communicative leadership in the professional and public spheres. Explores the theory and practice of oral and written persuasive appeals. Lecture. Theme Area Faith and Reason, Theme Area Social Justice. Offered irregularly.

308. Communication Ethics and New Technologies: Empathy and Civility. 3 cr.
Communication Ethics and New Technologies: Empathy and Civility starts with Charles Taylor's work, Sources of the Self, establishing narrative undergirding for human identity. Invites reflective/critical thinking about implications of new communicative technologies for human flourishing, specifically their influence on perceptions of ourselves, others, and our narratives. Advanced-level focus from media ecology perspective on the influence of new technologies on human empathy and civility. Lecture. Offered fall and spring.

309.  Visual Communication. 3 cr.
Visual Communication explores principles of rhetorical design and analysis of visual messages for professional communication contexts, including integrated marketing and corporate communication. Lecture. Offered irregularly.

330.  Integrated Marketing Communication Functions I:  PR. 3 cr.
Introduces students to public relations functions in Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC). Public relations functions are engaged through case studies and an historical orientation to IMC. Students develop literacy and fluency in public relations practices necessary for internships and entry-level positions in integrated marketing communication. Lecture. Offered fall and spring.

333.  Integrated Marketing Communication Functions II: AD. 3 cr.
Introduces students to Advertising functions in Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC). Advertising functions are engaged through case studies and an historical orientation to IMC. Students develop literacy and fluency in advertising practices necessary for internship and entry-level positions in integrated marketing communication. Lecture. Offered fall and spring.

342. Environmental Communication. 3 cr.
Explores the communicative practices of activists, advocates, consumers, corporations, governmental organizations, and the public about the impact of human behavior on the Earth. Concern with changes in the environment caused by human behavior has permeated all layers of human society. Grounded in a strategic communication/rhetorical approach to environmentalism, the course engages praxis -- theory-informed action -- to examine construction of strategic persuasive messages about the environment designed to bring about behavioral change. Lecture. Offered fall only.

350.  Communication & Community Relations. 3 cr.
Explores community relations efforts as they are implemented by Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC)/public relations professionals in nonprofit, corporate, agency, and governmental organizations. Community relations is a vital part of corporate communication's management function to lead, motivate, persuade, and inform its various publics. Hence, it is an important fact of the public relations function of integrated marketing communication. Hybrid Course, Lecture, Online. Offered every semester.

369. Urban Communication: Engaging the Local Context. 3 cr.
Engages students with the communicative practices of citizens living in local city environments. The course encounters the city as a laboratory to investigate the particular issues of public life in the context of the city. The "local home" finds new meaning within the larger backdrop of an international framework, considering issues of displacement, immigration, and resettlement through a rhetorical approach. Topics may include anti-migrant rhetoric, homelessness and graffiti, and social media practices of city leaders. Lecture. Offered irregularly.

387.  Event Planning: Communication Architecture. 3 cr.
Focuses on designing integrated communciation approaches for implementation in specific contexts such as conferences, professional meetings, celebratory events, and programs for community outreach. Working from a theory-informed action (praxis) approach, students engage the professional, interpersonal, and organizational coordination of information, people and budget(s). Lecture. Offered fall and spring.

388. Corporate and Integrated Marketing Communication Research. 3 cr.
Examines the role of research within corporate and integrated marketing communication activities. Qualitative and quantitative methods, such as processes for structuring and conducting focus groups, sampling, measurement, research design, and basic data analysis, will be addressed. Lecture. Offered spring only.

402.  Argumentation. 3 cr.
Applies the methods and principles of argumentation theory and practices, including deliberative rhetoric. Emphasizes creating, advocating, defending, and refuting social propositions and claims. Lecture, Online. Offered irregularly.

403.  Corporate Communication: Economic and Financial Foundations. 3 cr.
Examines core economics and finances concepts that are essential in understanding the environment of business and making communication management decisions, including financial statement analysis and budgeting. Lecture. Offered spring only.

406.  Political Communication. 3 cr.
Examines the gamut of public political debate in the light of historical origins and development in the context of rhetorical and political theory. Lecture. Offered fall only.

407.  Intercultural Communication. 3 cr.
Exposes the student to the importance of communication among and between politically, culturally, and ethnically diverse people as a bridge to understanding in an increasingly multi-cultural world. This course explores the role of interpersonal perception in communicating with persons from varied cultures, and allows the student to apply these understandings in their own lives. Hybrid Course, Lecture, Online. Theme Area Global Diversity. Offered every semester.

418W.  Conflict Management in Organizations. 3 cr.
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. Lecture, Online. University Core Writing Intens. Offered irregularly.

421.  Communication and Gender. 3 cr.
Examines research addressing differences and similarities in male and female communication styles in a variety of contexts, ranging from personal to social to work relationships, with attention given to philosophical and narrative understandings of what it means to be male and female persons. Lecture. Theme Area Social Justice. Offered spring only.

422.  Communication Research Methods. 3 cr.
Prepares students to interpret and design qualitative and quantitative research in the field of communication. Attention is given to experimental design, surveys/questionnaires, and qualitative methods of research within the context of asking and answering questions about communication processes and preparing research reports. Course may include design of a study and interpretation of results. Lecture, Online. Offered irregularly.

426.  Free Speech & Responsibility. 3 cr. 
Explores the rhetorical interplay between free speech and communicative responsibility. Historical cases and contemporary issues in free speeech are examined from a standpoint of communicative responsibility. Lecture. Theme Area Social Justice. Offered fall only.

427.  Communication Management. 3 cr.
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. Lecture, Online. Offered fall only.

430.  Integrated Marketing Communication Strategies I: PR. 3 cr.
Instructs students in the principles of Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) for Public Relations contexts. Interpersonal, organizational and managerial strategies are integrated through theories of persuasion. Students learn rhetorical versatility and responsiveness in managing dialogue with diverse publics. This versatility is based on principles of persuasion, intercultural communication and crisis communication management for organizations. This course prepares students for advanced internships and employment in integrated marketing communication contexts. Lecture, Online. Offered fall and spring.

433.  Integrated Marketing Communication Strategies II: AD. 3 cr.
Instructs students in the principles of integrated marketing communication for advertising contexts. Advertising is explored as a persuasive, rhetorical activity. Students learn rhetorical versatility and responsiveness in constructing messages for diverse audiences through principles of intercultural communication in the global marketplace. Prepares students for advanced internships and employment in integrated marketing communication contexts. Lecture. Offered fall only.

436.  Integrated Marketing Communication: Coordinating AD/PR. 3 cr.
Covers the principles and practices of marketing communication. Emphasizes a comprehensive, integrated approach to the total coordinated integrated marketing communication mix including advertising, public relations, sales, promotion, personal selling, and interactive strategies. Lecture, Online. Offered fall and spring.

437.  Corporate Communications Marketplace: Local. 3 cr.
Students build business literacy through researching key business and economic issues related to the Pittsburgh regions and presenting their findings to working professionals from throughout the area. Vocational discernment exercises enable students to approach graduate studies more purposefully and direct their professional preparation. Lecture. Offered fall only.

438.  Integrated Marketing Communication: Interactive Strategies. 3 cr.
Examines theoretical and practical communicative strategies behind interactive marketing. This course will challenge students to apply communication theory in order to support and articulate the role of online strategies in integrated campaign planning. In addition, students will gain a comprehensive understanding of how to think about the implementation of strategic interactive tactics through hands-on projects. Lecture. Offered irregularly.

443.  Corporate Communications Marketplace: National. 3 cr.
Students build marketplace literacy through researching key national business and economic issues and presenting their finding to workplace professionals from throughout the area. Students also report on networking activities to build connections and develop their knowledge in their field of interest. Lecture. Offered irregularly.

444.  Integrated Marketing Communication: International Perspectives. 3 cr.
Instructs students in the theories and applications of integrated marketing communication in the global marketplace. Different cultural perspectives and contexts are explored through praxis exemplars. Students learn about the opportunities and challenges of international marketing and develop literacy and fluency necessary for internships and entry-level positions in integrated marketing communication contexts that involve an international dimension. Lecture. Offered irregularly.

445.  Non-Profit Development & Philanthropy Communication. 3 cr.
Identifies the components of a strategic plan, comprehensive development initatives, 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. Lecture. Offered fall only.

446.  Corporate Communications Marketplace: Global. 3 cr.
Students build marketplace literacy through researching key business and economic issues in the global marketplace and presenting their findings to working professionals from throughout the area. Students also report on networking activities to build connections and develop their knowledge in their field of interest. Lecture. Offered irregularly.

452.  Corporate Communication: Economic and Financial Literacy. 3 cr.
Examines core economics and finances concepts that are essential in understanding the environment of business and making communication management decisions, including financial statement analysis and budgeting. Lecture. Offered irregularly.

454W.  Interpersonal Communication. 3 cr.
Examines communication between persons in the context of a variety of public and private human relationships from philosophical and theoretical standpoints. Lecture, Online. University Core Writing Intens. Offered every semester.

456W.  Organizational Communication. 3 cr.
Examines current research in organizational communication. Topics include 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. Hybrid Course, Lecture, Online. University Core Writing Intens. Offered every semester.

457.  Communication, Science & Revolution. 3 cr.
Examines the relationship between the rhetoric of science and the rhetoric of revolution in the context of the modern worldview arising out of the Enlightenment. Lecture. Offered spring only.

458.  Rhetoric of Popular Culture. 3 cr.
Examines documents of popular culture that reinforce through rhetorical means modern and postmodern worldviews as experienced in popular consciousness. Covers the rhetorical-communication theories of the Sophists, Plato, Aristotle, Bacon, Ramus, Burke, Perlman, Ong and Hudson. Lecture. Offered spring only.

459.  Philosophy of Communication. 3 cr.
Explores the assumptions and presuppositions about communication found in philosophical studies of communication. Addresses topics such as meaning, interpretation, representation, and speech acts. Lecture. Offered spring only.

461.  Rhetorical Theory. 3 cr.
Provides a theoretical introduction to classical through contemporary rhetorical theory and action. Examines primary and secondary texts. Lecture. Offered fall only.

463. Strategic Corporate Communication. 3 cr.
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. Lecture. Offered fall only.

484.  Health Communication. 3 cr.
Examines communication theory and research in a variety of health care contexts, including interpersonal, small group, team, organizational, and public communication. Lecture. Offered irregularly.

490.  Special Topics -- Communication. 3 cr.
Check semester class offerings for special classes offered. Lecture. Offered irregularly.

494W.  Communication Ethics. 3 cr.
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. Hybrid Course, Lecture, Online. University Core Writing Intens. Offered spring and summer.

495W.  Capstone Project in Communcation. 3 cr.
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. Concurrent enrollment in 6 credits of communication coursework is permitted. Hybrid Course, Lecture, Online. University Core Writing Intens. Offered irregularly.

496.  Directed Readings. 1-6 cr.
Offers the opportunity for students and faculty to conduct in-depth study of a topic not covered, or covered only briefly, in other departmental courses. Readings. Offered every semester. 

497.  Special Projects. 1-6 cr.
Offers the opportunity for students to practice communication applications commissioned by University or community organizations. Other. Offered every semester. 

498.  Internship. 1-6 cr.
Provides a supervised observation/experience program of study (assignment and performance) in areas such as integrated marketing communication, public relations and advertising, human resources, promotions, event planning, and other related areas of applied communication. Internship. Offered every semester. 

499.  Directed Studies. 1-6 cr.
Offers the opportunity for students and faculty to conduct in-depth study of a topic not covered, or covered only briefly, in other departmental courses. Independent Study. Offered every semester.