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University of South Alabama
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USA Undergraduate/Graduate Bulletin 2014-2015


Chair: James L. Aucoin (251) 380-2800
Professors: Aucoin, Wilson
Associate Professors: Mark, Moody, Rockwell, Ward
Assistant Professors: Anderson, DuPree Taylor, Glover, Sheffield
Senior Instructors: Dardeau
Instructors: Bush, Huling, Rigsby, Sellers, Sparks
Department of Communication web site
The primary objectives of the Communication Department are: to understand and teach the functions, processes, and effects of communication; to attempt to influence communication environments in which we live in a contributory way; and to provide professional preparation for communication-oriented careers, including advertising, communication technology, journalism, public relations, and the mass media of digital cinema and television.
Given these goals, the Department attempts to meet individual performance and career needs with a flexible curriculum. Students select one of the 5 concentrations offered and confer with their advisors to plan their courses of study. These focused areas of study are not a vocational education, but they will help to prepare students for several employment possibilities.
The 5 concentrations of study offered in Communication are: Advertising and Brand Communication, Journalism (Print Journalism and Broadcast Journalism), Communication Studies, Public Relations, and Digital Cinema and Television. Students pursuing a degree in Communication also must have a minor in another discipline.

All first-time freshmen must successfully complete CAS 100: First Year Experience as a degree requirement. Students must enroll during their first term at USA, except for summer-entry students who must enroll in the fall semester following entry.

Communication majors must complete the College of Arts and Sciences Written Composition requirement (EH 101 and EH 102/105H) and the Public Speaking requirement (CA 110) and 5 additional Communication Core classes: CA 101, Introduction to Communication Media or CA 100, Introduction to Communication; CA 220-W, Introduction to Writing and Reporting for the Media (W) or CA 210, Argumentation; CA 260, Digital Writing and Production; CA 300, Foundations of Communication Research; and CA 445, Ethics and Social Responsibility in Communication.
In addition to these 8 courses, all communication majors must complete 27 semester hours in one of the department's 5 concentrations listed below. At least 5 communication classes (15 hours) must be numbered 300 or higher and must be taken at USA. Only 3 hours of credit from CA 394 or CA 494 can be used to satisfy this requirement.
At least 72 hours in courses outside the Department of Communication are required, including general education requirements required by the College of Arts and Sciences.
General Education Requirements for Communication are specified in the College of Arts and Sciences Section. Communication majors and minors may use CA 222, Rhetoric Culture and Society, in the Humanities and Fine Arts Section.
Students in the Department of Communication may take CA 260 or CIS 150 to fulfill the College's General Education Requirement for a technology training course.
The Communication Departmental Honors program offers undergraduate students an opportunity to prepare for a graduate program or professional career. Students in this program will utilize their communication skills to develop a formal research project.
To be awarded department honors in communication, students must:
  1. Complete the standard requirements for the major in communication.
  1. Have an overall institutional GPA of 3.5 or higher (University requirement).
  1. Have a minimum 3.5 GPA in all communication courses (Department requirement).
  1. Complete a communication research method course (CA 300, mass communication concentrations or CA 424, interpersonal & rhetoric concentration) with an earned grade of "B" or higher. This course may be counted toward the communication degree and toward 3 hours of upper division credit.
  1. Complete a minimum of 3 credit hours, and no more than 6 credit hours in the Senior Honors Project, CA 499. Students receiving honors in communication will be required to take a total of 45-48 hours of communication (including CA 110, public speaking).
  1. Successfully defend the final research project during an oral presentation to a faculty committee. It is recommended that the student present a summary of the project during the Department's colloquium series and/or another appropriate public forum.
Application procedure: Students must:
  1. Have earned an overall institutional GPA of 3.5 or higher and a minimum 3.5 GPA in all communication courses.
  1. Apply by April 1 of their junior year.
  1. Receive agreement of a tenure-track faculty member of the Communication Department to serve as mentor, and obtain a letter of recommendation from that faculty member.
  1. Receive permission of the Department Chair.
Minors in Communication must complete a total of 21 hours including CA 110 (Public Speaking), CA 200 (Communication Theory), and 15 additional hours in communication including 9 upper division hours. Students may elect to focus on a communication track as listed below, but no course except CA 110 and CA 200 will be considered as required:
  • Advertising: CA 221, 300, 310, 321, 322
  • Broadcast Journalism
  • Broadcast News: CA 220, 250, 350, 450, 451
  • Documentary News: CA 220, 250, 350, 451, 452
  • Interpersonal Communication: CA 211, 275, 315, 330, 411
  • Media/Film Studies: CA 101, CA 222; choose 3 from CA 343, 344, 351, 352
  • Multimedia Story Telling: CA 220, 350, 370, 382, 482
  • Print Journalism: CA 220, 281, 370, 445; choose 1 from CA 385, 455, 472
  • Public Relations: CA 220, 286, 386, 484, 486
  • Digital Cinema/TV: CA 241, 244, 340, 440; choose 1 from CA 441, 343, 344,
  • Rhetoric: CA 210, 222, 422, 424; choose 1 from CA 310, 410, 425
Advertising & Brand Communication
This concentration focuses on all aspects of advertising in American society, including creative, media and research, as well as advertising's impact on audiences and institutions. Students in this track will be asked to choose a specialization of Account Planning & Management or Visual Communication. Students will be prepared to develop and implement advertising campaigns.
Required: CA 221, CA 310, CA 322-W, CA 476, CA 478
Choose all classes from Group A or Group B :
A. Account Planning & Management: CA 321, CA 384, CA 474; Choose 1 from
CA 455, CA 470, CA 496
B. Visual Communication: CA 271, CA 371, CA 471; Choose 1 from CA 358,
CA 383, CA 496
Communication Studies
The communication studies concentration allows students to analyze, evaluate, and critique human communication practices in a variety of contexts such as the workplace, the family and the community. Students will develop skills that can be used in many fields or careers.
Required: CA 200, CA 222
Choose all classes from Group A or B:
  1. Human and Organizational Communication: CA 211, CA 230, CA 275;
    Choose 4 from CA 310, CA 315, CA 330-W, CA 410, CA 411, CA 430, CA 453, CA 475, CA 496
  2. Rhetoric and Culture: CA 310, CA 422, CA 424-W; Choose 4 from CA 315,
    CA 330-W, CA 343, CA 352, CA 425, CA 453, CA 496
Digital Cinema and Television
This track focuses on the practical aspects of digital television and film production. Students will gain a broad theoretical understanding of media while participating in hands-on field and high definition studio production. Students will also gain an understanding of the historical, aesthetic, and management side of media production.
Required: CA 241, CA 320, CA 340, CA 341, CA 356, CA 440
Choose 1: CA 343, CA 344
Choose 2: CA 240, CA 244, CA 275, CA 284, CA 343 (if not chosen above), CA 344 (if not chosen above), CA 352, CA 382, CA 383, CA 424-W, CA 441, CA 452, CA 496
Backed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, journalism promises to provide citizens with useful information about public issues and be a watchdog on powerful institutions, including government and business. Students in the journalism track choose between print - newspapers, magazines and newsletters - and broadcast news, but also receive cross-training to provide them with as broad a range of skills as possible within the confines of an academic degree.
Required: CA 350, CA 370-W, CA 455
Choose all classes from Group A or B:
Print Journalism: CA 281, CA 382, CA 385/387, CA 472/482; Choose from CA 288,
CA 481-W, CA 496
Broadcast Journalism: CA 250, CA 450, CA 451, CA 452; Choose 2 from CA 288,
CA 382, CA 496
Public Relations
Public relations involves creating and maintaining beneficial relationships between organizations and their audiences. The public relations track provides students an understanding of audience analysis, research methods, ethics, public relations theories and principles; public relations techniques and tactics; and strategic planning. Practitioners counsel organizations in fields such as corporations, non-profit, government, healthcare and media organizations.
Required: CA 286, CA 381, CA 386-W, CA 470, CA 484, CA 486
Choose 3: CA 221, CA 230, CA 271, CA 288, CA 370-W, CA 382, CA 383, CA 455,
CA 482, CA 496
The Master of Arts degree in Communication is a broad-based degree program that integrates theoretical and research components of mass communication and organizational and rhetorical communication. The program is designed to prepare recent graduates and experienced professionals for doctoral studies, professional advancement, and personal enrichment.
The department's graduate faculty combines applied knowledge with communication theory and works to engage students to think critically as they address communication practices and issues. Courses examine how communication creates, sustains, and changes personal lives, organizations, political and cultural institutions, and society.
The program curriculum consists of 34 credit hours, including a 10 hour core, elected courses from the communication and other university departments, a written comprehensive examination, and a final project or thesis.
All applications must receive approval from the Graduate Program Coordinator, the Director for Graduate Studies for the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Graduate Dean. Students are admitted each semester and must meet the following requirements:
Students must submit a satisfactory score on the general portion of the Graduate Record Examination or the Graduate Management Admissions Test. The scores required for regular admission are:
  • GRE - For exams taken after November 1, 2011, the required score is 297 or more combined points on the quantitative and verbal portions. For exams taken prior to November 1, 2011, the required score is 1,000 or more combined points on the quantitative and verbal portions.
  • GMAT - A combined score of 1000 or more when calculated as follows: 200 x undergraduate GPA + GMAT score.
  • Earned graduate degree - An earned graduate degree may substitute for graduate entry exam scores. Students must submit a written request along with evidence of the degree to the graduate coordinator for review.
    Undergraduate requirements
    Students must submit official copies of undergraduate transcripts indicating the following:
  • A minimum grade point average of 3.0.
  • A major in communication or 15 semester hours in communication. A bachelor's degree in a field related to communication or a master's degree earned in a field other than communication may be offered as a substitute for a major in communication. Students must submit written request for review to the graduate coordinator.
    International Students
  • International students must submit documentation of TOEFL test scores of at least 525 (197 on computer based test) or 71 on internet based test..
  • Students who are required to take the English Language Proficiency Examination and whose scores suggest an English language deficiency must take the appropriate English as a Second Language courses. These courses are not counted as part of the 34-hour degree program.
    Students who do not meet the requirements for regular admission may apply for provisional admission if they meet the following standards:
    GRE/GMAT Scores
  • GRE - For exams taken after November 1, 2011, the required score is 286 or more combined points on the quantitative and verbal portions. For exams taken prior to November 1, 2011, the required score is 800 or more combined points on the quantitative and verbal portions.
  • GMAT - A combined score of 800 or better when calculated as follows: 200 x undergraduate GPA + GMAT score.
    Undergraduate requirements
    Students must submit official copies of undergraduate transcripts indicating the following:
  • A minimum grade point average of 2.5 on all undergraduate work or a 2.75 on the last 64 hours of undergraduate work. Students with a GPA below 2.5 may want to consider enrolling in undergraduate classes to increase their GPA average before applying to graduate school. Students with less than a 2.5 undergraduate GPA will not be admitted under any circumstances. USA course work completed after graduation is automatically averaged into the final GPA. The USA Office of Academic Records computes transfer credit averages and can advise students in determining when the minimum GPA has been met.
  • An undergraduate minor in communication or 15 semester hours in communication or a related field.
    Provisional students will be eligible for regular standing after accruing at least 9 500-level semester hours (usually 3 courses) taken for graduate credit toward the degree requirements with at least a 3.0 GPA. Applications for regular status must be submitted prior to completion of 16 credit hours. Provisional students who do not have a 3.0 GPA after completing 16 hours of course work will be subject to dismissal from the program.
    Students may register for and complete up to 15 hours without formal entrance into the program.
    Students must complete a minimum of 34 semester hours of credit in approved 500-level courses. This includes three hours for thesis or project work. A minimum of 25 semester hours must be completed at the University of South Alabama. At least 25 semester hours must be taken in communication. All students are required to pass a written comprehensive examination and to complete a thesis or a final project.
    Core Courses
    For students with an undergraduate degree in communication, the normal requirements consist of the following 4 courses. These courses must be completed at the University of South Alabama.
  • CA 500, Introduction to Graduate Studies in Communication. Students must take CA 500 before or concurrently with their first 500-level classes, or be given permission by the graduate studies coordinator to delay enrollment in CA 500.
  • CA 501, Communication Research Methods (generally offered in the fall semester)
  • CA 502, Communication Theory (generally offered in the fall semester)
  • CA 503, Communication Research Methods II (generally offered in the spring semester)
    Although students are advised to take CA 501, 502, and 503 sequentially, they are not required to do so.
    Remaining Courses
  • With advisor approval, students may take up to 9 of the 34 required graduate hours outside of the Communication Department. Students should work closely with their advisors to develop a plan of study.
    Directed Studies - CA 594
    Directed study courses involve independent study of a communication topic. The purpose is to provide study in an area of specialization not covered by an existing course.
  • The student must submit a topic proposal to a graduate faculty member. Once the topic is approved, both the faculty member and the student must sign a contract describing student expectations and outcomes and grading criteria.
  • The student can register for between 1 and 3 credit hours in CA 594 courses with course requirements determined accordingly.
  • The student may take a maximum of 6 hours in directed study coursework.
    Grade Requirements
  • A minimum of a 3.0 GPA on all work attempted is required for graduation.
  • Courses in which a student receives a "D" or below will not be counted toward the degree program.
  • A maximum of two courses with a grade of "C" will be counted toward the degree program.
  • Students receiving three grades of "C" or below, regardless of the overall GPA, will be dismissed from the program.
  • A student who receives a failing grade in a course for graduate credit may be dismissed from the program.
    Time Limitations
  • All degree requirements must be completed within 7 calendar years.
  • Most students who take 9 hours per semester complete the degree within a
    2-year period.
  • The time required for degree completion depends on how many courses a student can take each semester and the ability of that student to complete the thesis or final project.
    Course Load
  • Two or three courses (6-10 credit hours) per semester constitute a full-time course load.
    All degree candidates must successfully complete a written comprehensive examination at least one semester prior to graduation. The exam may be taken after the student has completed a minimum of 25 graduate hours in the program (including all core requirements). It lasts six hours and covers material from department graduate courses offered during the latest three-year period.
    The examination provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate independent thought and depth of understanding of the discipline. Using examples from the area of specialization, students should be prepared to demonstrate the ability to:
  • Conceptualize problems.
  • Create and critique research designs
  • Evaluate literature, research theories, models, and methodologies
  • Discern, discuss, and explain substantive issues, problems, trends, alternative perspectives and research approaches in both general and specific areas.
    The comprehensive examination may be attempted no more than 2 times. A student who fails this examination must wait until the next, regularly scheduled examination before repeating it. Failure of the examination on the second attempt will result in dismissal from the program.

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    Date last changed: April 8, 2014 10:11 AM

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