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Courses

Graduate courses at SJMC focus on mass communication theory and research. Our courses refine your intellectual skills and prepare you to conduct research, teach mass communication, and/or advance your professional communication career through theoretical study of the field in which you work.

SJMC’s graduate curriculum is interdisciplinary, allowing you to hone in on your interests. Many of our students combine their mass communication courses with courses in political science, public health, psychology, and more.

Academic MA and PhD Courses

JOUR 8001: Studies in Mass Communication I
Introduction to key concepts, theories and methods in the study of mass communication from a social science perspective; survey of research literature utilizing individualistic and structural approaches to mass communication.

JOUR 8002: Studies in Mass Communication II
Literature on history of the field, cultural and humanistic approaches to its study and legal and ethical issues

JOUR 8003: Digital Media Issues and Theories
Prepares entering graduate students to work in the changing media environment, emphasizing its political, social, economic, legal, ethical and technological implications nationally and globally; students produce scholarly research about changing media.

JOUR 8009: Pro-seminar in Mass Communication
Introduction and socialization into the scholarly discipline of mass communication, mass communication pedagogy, and the pathways to a successful career; developing an action plan for completing graduate school and starting a career in the academy or relevant communication industries; scholarly skills, ethical norms, awareness of funding possibilities, the art of teaching, and academic service.

JOUR 8501: Seminar: The Process of Quantitative Mass Communication Research
Logic of social sciences research. Relationship between theory and research, concept explication, measurement, instrumentation, and design issues.

JOUR 8502: Seminar: Multi-method Research in Mass Communication
Quantitative/qualitative research principles/techniques applied to mass communication and kindred questions. Reliability, generalizability and validity in their classic/contemporary senses. Survey methods, focus groups, interviews, and other methods. Emphasizes “triangulation” of diverse methods.

JOUR 8503: Seminar: Qualitative Methods in Mass Communication Research
Qualitative research methodology/data analysis techniques used in field of mass communication. How to conduct qualitative research to address questions related to mass communication. Ethnography, interviews, focus groups, case study, qualitative content analysis, historical research.

JOUR 8504: Seminar: Analyzing Media Content
Methods of analyzing media content and the application of those methods to theoretically-driven studies of media content. The course also explores conceptual and methodological issues surrounding analyzing media content in today's contemporary digital media environment, including collecting social media data and computer-aided analyses.

JOUR 8513: Seminar: Ethnographic Methods in Mass Communication Research
Theoretical foundations in anthropology/sociology. Field projects.

JOUR 8514: Seminar: Mass Communication Theory
The process of theory development as it relates to mass communication inquiry.

JOUR 8601: Seminar: Methods in Mass Communication History Research
Critical analysis of research in journalism/communication history. Research designs/methods. Development of a research project.

JOUR 8602: Seminar: History of Mass Communication
Research in history/development of US mass media.

JOUR 8603: Seminar: Theories and Models in Mass Communication History Research
Literature on theory in historical research. Uses of theoretical models in historical explanations. Role of theory in historical research, debate about uses. Specific works in journalism/communication history in context of theoretical models. Development of major paper examining models/theories relevant to student’s project.

JOUR 8620: Seminar: Advertising Theory and Research
Advertising as persuasive communication. Current research/theory related to advertising and the consumer decision-making process.

JOUR 8621: Seminar: Public Relations Theory and Research
Study of the theoretical body of knowledge in the public relations field; diverse roles played by public relations in an organization; the current state of public relations research in regard to theory building; how theory informs the professional practice of public relations.

JOUR 8650: Psychology of Media Effects
In-depth study of psychological concepts and theories concerning individual cognitive processing of the content of both traditional and new electronic media. Students will learn how to critically evaluate the latest empirical research concerning how individuals respond to the content of both traditional mass media and the newest electronic digital media.

JOUR 8651: Seminar: Mass Communication, Audiences and Society
Survey of social change research, including study of social movements, cross-cultural comparison, and technological change. Specific emphasis on roles of mass media in these dynamics.

JOUR 8673: Seminar: Media Management
Management issues in media organizations. Relation to dynamics of organization structure, employees, markets, and economics/ finances.

JOUR 8675: Seminar: Issues in Information Access and Communication
Societal, industrial, technological, and policy aspects/developments that affect information access, particularly through mass media.

JOUR 8678: Seminar: Constitutional Law – Theories of Freedom of Expression
Problems of constitutional/tort law affecting the press. Underlying theories.

JOUR 8679: Seminar: Research Methods in Media Ethics and Law
Research at intersection of First Amendment and media ethics.

JOUR 8681: Seminar: Media and Globalization
Main problems/currents. Concepts, research, and policy relevant to global development. Issues of freedom/constraint, media technology, and the role of journalism in world affairs.

JOUR 8720: Seminar: Mass Media and Health
Theories, methods, and research that characterize the field of health communication; mass media influence on health, including the use of mass media to promote health behaviors; theoretical frameworks that inform health communication scholarship, as well as methodological approaches to studying health communication issues. 

JOUR 8721: Seminar: Communication Agencies as Social Institutions
Influences/effects of mass communication, internal dynamics of media organizations, and criticism/modes of reform. Theoretical frameworks for analysis.

JOUR 8801: Seminar: Comparative Research in Mass Communication, a Cross-National Approach
Comparative research designs/strategies. Analysis of production, presentation, transmission, and consumption of mass media products/services (particularly news, entertainment, and information) across national borders. Theoretical concerns, empirical problems, and policy. Ethical issues involving research on form/content of mass communication within/between countries.

JOUR 8990: Special Problems in Mass Communication
Topics specified in Class Schedule.

Professional MA in Strategic Communication Courses


JOUR 8200: Communication Strategy Research in Rapidly Changing and Complex Media Environments 
Concepts, analytical techniques, and methods to analyze audiences, target markets and social trends affecting communication strategy in context of complex and rapidly changing media environments.

JOUR 8201: Factors Affecting Communication Strategy
Literature/research concerning identification/analysis of the media and environmental, regulatory, competitive, and economic factors that affect the development of communication strategy.

JOUR 8202: Generation and Selection of Communication Strategies
Concepts/methods to support analytic/creative processes that lead to development of breakthrough communication strategies. Criteria for selecting among strategic alternatives.

JOUR 8203: Integration of Communication Strategies Across Media
Concepts, analytical techniques, and methodologies used to plan communication strategies and implement communication campaigns utilizing a diverse range of media.

JOUR 8204: Measuring the Effectiveness of Strategic Communication Campaigns
Examination, evaluation, and application of concepts/methods to evaluate effectiveness of strategic communication campaigns and their components.

JOUR 8205: Cases in Strategic Communication
Case study analysis concerning development, implementation and evaluation of communication strategies. Cases cover broad range of organizations and focus on such issues as brand introduction, brand reinforcement, revitalizations, crisis communication, issues management, and legal/ethical considerations.

JOUR 8206: Directed Study:  Development of an Integrated Strategic Communication Campaign
Project to develop a case study analysis concerning development, implementation, and evaluation of a strategic communication campaign.

5xxx-level Courses

JOUR 5501: Communication and Public Opinion
Theories of communication, persuasion, and attitude change. Functions of interpersonal/mediated communication in diffusion of information and in opinion formation.

JOUR 5541: Mass Communication and Public Health
Intersection of mass media, public health, and behavior. Role of theory in understanding intended and unintended campaign effects, the state of health journalism, and decisions that inform media-based interventions.

JOUR 5552: Law of Internet Communications
Whether/how/which traditional media laws/regulations apply to the Internet. Developing law of communication on Internet and global/ethical issues.

JOUR 5601W: History of Journalism
Development of American media, from beginnings in Europe to present day. Rise of film/radio/television/Internet. Relation of communications development to political, economic and social trends.

JOUR 5606W: Literary Aspects of Journalism
Literary aspects of journalism as exemplified in and influenced by works of American/British writers, past/present. Lectures, discussions, weekly papers, and critiques.

JOUR 5615: History of the Documentary
Social history of photography, film and video. Informational, documentary, propaganda, and entertainment functions of visual communication. Rise/influence of visual media industries and of public image making.

JOUR 5725: Management of Media Organizations
Introduction to concepts/principles of media management. Strategic planning, leadership, organizational strategies, and ethical/legal issues. Working in teams. Balance sheets, income statements. Motivating/promoting people.

JOUR 5777: Contemporary Problems in Freedom of Speech and Press
Legal/constitutional derivation of freedom of press/speech. Emphasizes case law, statutes, and judicial theories. Leading cases in privacy torts, prior restraints, and news gathering/dissemination. Access to courts/government, including via the Internet. Legal-research techniques.

JOUR 5991: Special Topics in Mass Communication: Context
Topics specified in Class Schedule.