Capstone Courses

Capstone courses provide our students with the opportunity to explore advanced study in a particular area of Communication. Students are typically required to take prerequisite courses to be sure they are ready for more specialized capstones. 

These are the capstones Communication students can take their junior or senior years:

COMM 330 Capstone: Apology and Crisis Communication (4)

An advanced course in rhetoric studying the genres of apology, image repair, and crisis communication. Students will analyze speeches and statements of apology and self-defense and assess the effectiveness, ethics, and meaning of such appeals in several case studies.  In addition to other requirements, students will generate a critical essay for public presentation. Prerequisites: 102, 103, 105, 201, at least one course in each department learning goal area (message design, analysis of communication, and communication & community), and JN or SR standing. A-F grading only.

COMM 333 Capstone: Rhetorical Criticism (4)

In this course students will deepen the understanding of rhetorical behavior learned in lower division coursework in rhetoric and strengthen their ability to generate insights into particular rhetorical moments. The focus of this course is to enable students to produce well researched, articulate, and sophisticated judgments about public expression. Prerequisites: 102, 103, 105, 201, at least one course in each department learning goal area (message design, analysis of communication, and communication & community), and JN or SR standing. A-F grading only.

COMM 334 Capstone: Rhetorical Theory (4)

The Sophist Gorgias noted that, "speech is a powerful lord" and likened language use to magic or spell-casting. Indeed, many thinkers have observed that public performance of language is a powerful activity: For some, this power is "truth creating," for others rhetoric is powerful because it can move people to action, and still others just think it's pretty. The study of this activity, rhetoric, has been a fundamental element of both philosophy and education in the Western tradition. In this course we will study how prominent thinkers from ancient Greece to modern times have conceptualized the nature of rhetorical behavior, and we will explore the utility of a rhetorical perspective for understanding our contemporary world. Prerequisites: 102, 103, 105, 201, at least one course in each department learning goal area (message design, analysis of communication, and communication & community), and JN or SR standing. A-F grading only.

COMM 343 Capstone: Critical Analysis of News (4)

This course will provide advanced study in the critical analysis of news.  Students will examine the relationship of news to the construction of shared beliefs that shape human community.  Prerequisite: 102, 103, 105, 341, at least one course in each department learning goal area (message design, analysis of communication, and communication & community), and JN or SR standing. A-F grading only.

COMM 344 Capstone: Media Aesthetics (4)

This course will provide advanced study in the creation and critique of mediated messages.  Students will learn to make cogent production choices to create effective media messages and will learn to defend those choices both orally and in writing. Prerequisites: 102, 103, 105, 240, at least one course in each department learning goal area (message design, analysis of communication, and communication & community), and JN or SR standing, or permission of instructor. A-F grading only.

COMM 346 Capstone: Strategic Communication Campaigns (4)

This course provides an opportunity for majors to apply what they have learned about strategic communication campaigns, persuasive theory, oral, and written communication, message analysis, and community, by creating strategic communication campaigns for a client. This course is a service learning course and will count toward the experiential learning requirement.  Prerequisites: 102, 103, 105, 336, at least one course in each department learning goal area (message design, analysis of communication, and communication & community), and JN or SR standing. A-F grading only.

COMM 347 Capstone: Media Effects (4)

This course will provide advanced study in the effects of media on adults.  By taking a social scientific approach, students will examine the theoretical underpinnings of mass media effects research, with a focus on the effects of media on individuals and on society. This course will include independent research and public presentation. Prerequisites: 102, 103, 105, at least one course in each department learning goal area (message design, analysis of communication, and communication & community), and JN or SR standing. A-F grading only.

COMM 353 Capstone: Intercultural Health Communication (4)

This capstone course explores the communication about cultural health beliefs and practices as well as health disparities and how communication contributes to, but also may help alleviate, these. Some topics include traditional health beliefs among Latino, Asian, African, and Native American cultures; and relationship between health disparities and race/ethnicity, socioeconomic class, obesity, and differing abilities. Students will conduct original research as well as complete a series of analysis papers. Prerequisites: 102, 103, 105, at least one course in each department learning goal area (message design, analysis of communication, and communication & community), at least one of: COMM 350, 351, or 352 and JN or SR standing. A-F grading only.

COMM 360 Capstone: Language, Gender and Culture (4)

This course will examine the relationship between language, gender, and culture in a variety of contexts and cultures.  The mutual influences of language and culture, and their role in the creation of gendered roles and identities within and across cultures will be explored. This course satisfies requirements for the GWST major/minor. Prerequisites: 102, 103, 105, at least one course in each department learning goal area (message design, analysis of communication, and communication & community), at least one of: 205, 350, or 351, and JN or SR standing. A-F grading only.

COMM 368 Capstone: Love, Sex & Commitment (4)

An advanced relational communication course focusing on the intersections of love, sexuality, commitment, and communication in close relationships.  Students review current research findings from a variety of perspectives (e.g., socio-psychological, cultural, evolutionary) and conduct original research. This course satisfies requirements for the GWST major/minor. Prerequisites: 102, 103, 105, 201, at least one course in each department learning goal area (message design, analysis of communication, and communication & community), and JN or SR standing. A-F grading only.

COMM 395 Capstone: Research Paper (4)

Student proposed research project not ordinarily available in standard courses. Prerequisites: 102, 103, 105, at least one course in each department learning goal area (message design, analysis of communication, and communication & community), and JN or SR standing. A-F grading only. Additional prerequisites may vary according to topic.

COMM 398 Capstone: Honors Thesis/Senior Thesis (1-4)

Independent project required for graduation with "Distinction in Communication." Prerequisites: 102, 103, 105, 201, at least one course in each department learning goal area (message design, analysis of communication, and communication & community), SR standing, HONR 396 and approval of the department chair and the director of the Honors Thesis Program. For further information see HONR 398.