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Degree Info

Bachelor of Arts in Communication

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Ottawa University’s Communications degree program can help you master the concepts and methods of communication in a wide array of settings. You will develop knowledge and skills for effective communication to achieve desired outcomes with specific audiences.

About Our Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication

Communication majors in the Bachelor’s degree program at Ottawa University can learn analytical, critical and practical skills that will help students to understand and improve communication skills and systems in all types of social settings. Students learn to recognize and understand communication issues and systems in order to make decisions effectively and to solve problems.

Our online Bachelor's degree in Communication can enhance your critical-thinking skills and an awareness of cultural, social, intergenerational and political diversity as it relates to communication. The courses are designed to help you relate marketing communication and business communication insights to your personal and professional life as you become a skilled problem-solver. 

Communication Career Outlook

The ability to communicate effectively is important in your professional and personal life. Upon graduation of our Communications degree program, your career opportunities can include:

  • Public relations
  • Advertising
  • Mass media
  • Technical writing
  • Arts communication
  • Government
  • Law

Learn more about our online Bachelor's degree in Communication - contact us now.

For curriculum and course descriptions please download a program overview.

Communication Major Courses

PROMOTIONS AND CAMPAIGNS

Participation in target marketing, selling advertisement, sponsorship and producing advertisements for multiple forms of media. May be repeated for a total of eight credit hours (cumulative with COM 30051).

INTERCOLLEGIATE FORENSICS

Provides students with active training in speech communications and includes traveling on the competitive speech and debate teams. May be taken up to eight semesters. Prerequisite: Instructor permission.

INTRO TO HUMAN COMMUNICATION

Provides an example-based overview of interpersonal communication skills, including how these skills affect individuals and groups in society. Emphasis is on personal and interpersonal strategies for understanding, appreciating, and managing communication skills in personal and career relationships.

RADIO BROADCASTING

Provides opportunity to work with the campus radio station to develop an "on air" radio show to learn radio operations.  May be repeated for a total of 8 credit hours (cumulative with COM 30061).

SPEECH PREPARATION AND DELIVERY

Provides instruction in speaking before a group. Development of speech content, organization, research, and delivery is emphasized. Includes practice of impromptu, persuasive, and informative speeches.

MEDIA PRODUCTION

Laboratory brings together student skills in order to produce content appropriate for a 21st century convergent media environment.  Students work collaboratively to create and disseminate information and culture.  Coursework includes journalism, videography, photography, web and graphic design, and audio engineering.

DIGITAL MEDIA PRODUCTION

Students participate in media production, editing, design, publication of various digital media including web writing, web design, as well as video and sound for online media outlets. Course may be repeated for a total of 8 semester credit hours.

COLOR, LAYOUT AND TYPOGRAPHY

Introduction to journalism editing skills, newsroom leadership and  design of newspapers and magazines, including typography, graphics and photographs.  Work related to production of web-based news pages.  Cross-listed with ART 20123 Color, Layout & Typography.

MEDIA WRITING

Covers fundamentals of news reporting and writing for broadcast media, public relations, advertising, and the Internet.

ARGUMENTATION AND DEBATE

Studies the principles of argumentation and practice in debate techniques with special emphasis on reasoning and research, case construction, refutation and rebuttal. Use of the collegiate debate question to give practical experience in various forms of debate. Prerequisite: COM 11023 Speech Preparation and Delivery.

NEWSPAPER PRODUCTION

Participation in news gathering, production, editing and publication of the campus newspaper. May be repeated for a total of eight credit hours (cumulative with COM 30361). Prerequisite/Co-requisite: COM 23263 News and Feature Reporting or consent of instructor.

PERFORMANCE STUDIES

Develops the understanding that performances are a separate paradigm of communication. Class emphasizes the use of performance as a cultural artifact, a tool for persuasion and a method for processing information. Students research and analyze performances; they develop and create their own.

VIDEO PRODUCTION

Participation in pre-production, production, and post-production of film and visual media, video web streaming, broadcasting, pod casts, and other original video projects. May be repeated for 8 credit hours (cumulative with COM 40561). Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

HISTORY OF DESIGN

History of Design traces the discipline of design from prehistory through the modern era as correlative to societal progress and as integral to the fabric of human communication and relationship. Themes focus on experienced needs and their reflection/expression in early forms of craft and symbol as well as the technologies developed to promulgate the migrations and movements of ideas they represent (ed). Cross-listed with ART 23020 History of Design.

NEWS AND FEATURE REPORTING

Instruction in basic print news gathering, reporting and writing techniques. Emphasis given to methods of research and dissemination for twenty-first century news styles and delivery modes.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Introduction to basic photographic techniques with emphasis on technical skills and aesthetic principles.

LANGUAGE OF FILM

Examines the elements of cinema, terminology of film production, and introduces the field of film analysis. Focuses on film literacy including the awareness of the development of this medium and its genres, the audio and visual process of film-making, trends in the film industry and the analytic tools to learn to read films as informed and framed viewers.

CRITICAL LISTENING

Course examines how environments are constructed to inhibit listening.  Poor listening habits lead to poor interpersonal and intercultural skills in both relational and leadership roles.  This course does not address the biological process of listening (i.e. hearing) but topics instead focus on the social and communicative nature of how we come to know, embody, and share meaning as well as research in Listening Studies to discover factors that cause information to be passively back-grounded.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR COMMUNICATION FIELDS

Introduces career strategies in the discipline.  Supports the development of professional tools such as Communication-specific student resumes and cover letters, portfolios and e-portfolios.  Applies theories of the discipline to practical strategies for job-pursuing, networking, internships, mentoring, etiquette and interviewing.

MEDIA LITERACY 

Course approaches the role of media in contemporary and historical lives. Students learn to discern how the different modes and methods of communication inform, entertain and persuade. Special attention is paid to how the entrenched role of media effects individual minds and culture, writ large.

ADVANCED PROMOTIONS AND CAMPAIGNS

Participation in target marketing, selling advertisement, sponsorship and producing advertisements for multiple forms of media. May be repeated for a total of 8 credit hours (cumulative with COM 10051). Prerequisite: Consent of instructor or two credit hours of COM 10051 Promotions and Campaigns.

ADVANCED INTERCOLLEGIATE FORENSICS

Provides students with in-depth training in speech communications and includes a commitment to traveling on the competitive speech and debate team. May be repeated for a total of 8 credit hours (cumulative with COM 10121). Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION

Examines models of relational interaction, verbal and nonverbal messages, language use, critical listening, relational dynamics, self-concept, identity-management, disclosure, intimacy, defensiveness, supportiveness, perceptual processes, emotional influences, interpersonal conflicts, and the impact of gender, race and culture on communication.

SMALL GROUP COMMUNICATION

Examines task and social dimensions of group interaction, problem-solving, decision-making, roles, norms, leadership skills, cohesiveness, communication climates, conflict management, stages of group development, ethical behaviors, observation techniques, and analytic methods for evaluating group dynamics and accomplishments.

ADVANCED NEWSPAPER PRODUCTION

Participation in news gathering, leadership, production, editing, and publication of the campus newspaper. May be repeated for a total of 8 credit hours (cumulative with COM 20361). Prerequisite/Co-requisite: COM 23263 News and Feature Reporting, consent of instructor, or two semesters of COM 20361 Newspaper Production.

ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION

Theory and practice of communication within organizations including interpersonal factors, motivation, change and conflict resolution and communication audit practices and procedures. Participate in communication audit of a local organization. Prerequisite: COM 30163 Interpersonal Communication or consent of instructor.

VISUAL COMMUNICATION

Survey of the theory and practice of visual communication. Includes theoretical explanation, visual grammar and laboratory opportunities to apply and develop visual communication literacy. Provides strategies for effective visual communication.  Cross-listed with ART 30563 Visual Communication.

PUBLIC RELATIONS

Survey of public relations, including goal setting, attitude and opinion research, planning, implementation, evaluation and change. Emphasis on communication theory as an integral part of the public relations process.  Cross-listed with OAD 40563 Public Relations.

ADVANCED PUBLIC SPEAKING

Theory and practice in delivering common forms of verbal presentations to the community, organizations and at work. Development of speech content, organization and delivery. Practice of broadcasting, impromptu, persuasive, humorous, and informative speeches and presentations.

IDENTITY SYSTEMS

Evaluates the ever-increasing library of (inter)national, organizational and corporate visualizations (standards, logos, guide sets, info-graphics) as realized through design practice, and their influence upon the manifold disciplines that require their existence and benefit from their use. Students move beyond conceptions of branding to engage in best practice creation and evaluation of multi-sensory identities as well as the development of client briefs that objectively codify their decisions. Prerequisites: ART 23023 Design I; ART or COM 23020 History of Design; and ART or COM or ITS 35505 Production 1.  Cross-listed with ART 33050 and ITS 33050.

ADVANCED REPORTING & EDITING

Instruction in intermediate and advanced news-gathering, reporting and writing techniques, editing for associated press style, grammar, quality, and elements of newspaper design and layout. Other topics include communication law and ethics. Work on campus student newspaper and/or yearbook provides laboratory component. Prerequisite: COM 23263 News and Feature Reporting.

PRODUCTION

A course emphasizing the practical and conceptual use of industry-related software in graphic design. Includes use of the Adobe Suite. Prerequisites: ART 23023 Design I and ITS 12063 Introduction to Information Technology or consent of instructor. Cross-listed with ART 35505 Production and ITS 35505 Production.

SPECIAL TOPICS IN COMMUNICATION

Designed around special theories, practices or interests of an individual or group of students.

LEADERSHIP AND COMMUNICATION

Focus on leadership as action and understanding others and interpersonal theory as the connection between leadership and communication in an organizational context. Both didactic and experiential teaching methods used. Cross-listed with OAD 36364 Leadership and Management.

PRINCIPLES OF ADVERTISING

Overview of advertising function and its role in the marketing mix. Examines advertising objectives and strategies, client-agency relationships and production techniques for various media. Cross-listed with OAD 36964 Principles of Advertising.

ONLINE COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES

An introduction to basic concepts and tools used in online information research. Emphasis is placed on effective techniques for accessing and searching research databases, subject specific databases, and other specialized online resources. Strategies for critically evaluating information will also be discussed.

MANAGING CONFLICT

Focus on leadership as action and understanding others and interpersonal theory as the connection between leadership and communication in an organizational context. Both didactic and experiential teaching methods used. Cross-listed with OAD 39664 Managing Conflict.

CRISIS COMMUNICATION

Following a strategic approach for public relations, students explore the different communication activities taken in the different stages of a crisis, including precaution, planning-prevention, crisis coping, and post-crisis.

PUBLIC RELATIONS WRITING

Overview of advertising function and its role in the marketing mix. Examines advertising objectives and strategies, client-agency relationships and production techniques for various media. Cross-listed with OAD 36964 Public Relations Marketing.

ADVANCED DIGITAL MEDIA PRODUCTION

Provides student the opportunity to lead and manage the media production, editing, design, and publication of various digital media including media websites. Course may be repeated for a total of 6 semester credits.

COMMUNICATION LAW AND ETHICS

Examines the law governing mass media as well as ethical dilemmas in media. Explores the process of establishing high standards as well as understanding choices to be made when faced with legal and ethical decisions regarding mass media.

INTERNATIONAL/INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION 

Examines the impact of national and regional cultures, ethnicity, race, and additional cultural components on human communication in a variety of domestic and global contexts.

PERSUASION AND PROFESSIONAL PRESENTATIONS

Emphasizes central role of persuasion in developing professional presentations for live and media audiences.

STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION

Focuses on advertising from a managerial viewpoint. Includes administration, advertising research agency relationships, media selection, budget regulation and campaign planning. 

PERSUASIVE COMMUNICATION

Study of assertive communication skills to diagnose and solve personal and professional communication problems, develop persuasive interviewing skills, listen and respond creatively, give and take productive criticism and use feedback to analyze and enhance communication.

ADVANCED VIDEO PRODUCTION

Participation in pre-production, production, and post-production of film, audio, visual media, video web streaming, broadcast, pod cast, and leadership in original video production. May be repeated for a total of 8 credit hours (cumulative with COM 20561). Prerequisite:  Consent of instructor or 2 credit hours of COM 20561 Video Production.

INTERNSHIP:COMMUNICATION I

Broadcast, public relations, communication or other appropriate and relevant internship with a commercial or public radio, television station or at other businesses or services concerned with mass media, public relations, or an aspect of business communication. Provides opportunities to apply concepts, ideas and techniques acquired in class. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

INTERNSHIP:COMMUNICATION II

Continuation of COM 41063 Internship: Communication. Broadcast, public relations, communication or other appropriate and relevant internship with commercial or public radio, television station or at other businesses or services concerned with mass media, public relations, or an aspect of business communication. Provides opportunities to apply concepts, ideas and techniques acquired in class. Prerequisite: COM 41063 Communication Law and Ethics and consent of instructor.

COOPERATION AND COLLABORATION

Course applies concepts of speech and conflict theory.  Topics include enhancing skills in group facilitation, democratic deliberation, advanced argumentation strategies, and working with real communities to solve real problems through dialogue and deliberation.

SEMINAR IN APPLIED COMMUNICATION

Capstone course that guides student in applying key communication theories and research to students' chosen specialization. Emphasis on pivotal role of communication professionals in organizations.

SENIOR COMPREHENSIVE

Capstone course culminating in a project or paper fulfilling senior comprehensive examination requirements for a specific communication emphasis area. Must be taken in final semester of attendance.

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