MSU Billings Catalogs

Graduate Studies Course Descriptions

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COMT ― Communication & Theatre


COMT 502 Research Methods

3 cr. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. (F)  Surveys qualitative and quantitative research methods utilized in the field of communication.  Reviews principles and purposes of social science research, engaging students in critical discussions of measures, methods, theory, and research design.


COMT 510 Advanced Interpersonal Communication

3 cr. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. (alternating Sp)  Considers major concepts relevant to the study of interpersonal communication, explores some of the most important and recent research in the area of interpersonal communication, and provides experiences for the practical application of these ideas.  The content centers on such issues as self-disclosure, interpersonal conflict, perception of self and others, empathic listening, and the study of various specific types of interpersonal relationships such as inter-personal guidance and loving relationships.  Graduate students will be required to present an extensive research paper/project.


COMT 514 Issues in Organizational Communication

3 cr. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. (F, Su)  Covers climate, leadership, and conflict issues related to organization.  Includes assessment center process, communication training, managing work team effectiveness, functional managerial metaphors, communication audits, communication ethics, planned change in organizations, cognitive mapping as a managerial skill, dealing with ambiguity, and managerial creativity.  Graduate students will be required to present an extensive research paper/project.


COMT 516 Leadership and Communication (crosslisted with COMX 426)

3 cr.Offered ONLY Online. (every other Sp & Su)  Presents material related to leadership theories, leader-participant relations, vision/mission/goals, structure and design, culture, capacity building and social responsibility.


COMT 520 Advertising, Media, and Culture

3 cr. (every other year)  Provides a critical look at the role(s) of advertising in a market economy, its contributions to and influences upon the mass media, and its powers as a mirror and a shaper of society and culture.  Students will acquire insights into the methods, policies, problems, opportunities, and ethical issues of advertising as a business, as a cornerstone of Western-world media systems, and as a socio-cultural force.  Assignments will include the development of original creative work as well as critical assessments of current advertising.


COMT 521 Communicating Online (crosslisted with COMX 431)

3 cr. (every other year)  Examines the major principles influencing the construction and dissemination of online communication.  May address topics such as the conventions of web page design, effective utilization of the internet as a communication channel, differentiating useful messages from spam, and identifying the strengths and limitations of online communication.


COMT 522 Issues in Public Relations (crosslisted with COMX 452)

3 cr. (Su)   Explores advanced public relations strategies and the role of public relations in society.  Topics may include (but are not limited to) Corporations and their publics, Not-for-profit public relations, Socially responsible marketing, Public relations theory, Crisis communication, and Public Relations for Multicultural Audiences.


COMT 525 Media Criticism (crosslisted with COMX 435)

3 cr. (every other year)  Engages students in the in-depth exploration, analysis, and criticism of the media as foundational components of democracies, as economic institutions, as producers of text (rhetoric), and as meaning-making systems.  Students will learn a variety of critical methods and apply them to the analysis of pressing contemporary issues of media and society.


COMT 526 Case Studies in Public Relations (crosslisted with COMX 456)

3 cr. (alternating Sp)  Uses actual cases to assess strategic decisions concerning internal and external publics and appreciate the accompanying ethical, legal, economic, psychological, organizational, political, and media impact of such decisions.


COMT 527 Public Relations Ethics (crosslisted with COMX 457)

3 cr. (alternating Sp)  Explores ethical issues in public relations from a case study approach.  Students will critically examine the structures, work and business of the public relations industry, and discuss the implications of ethical standards applied to the field.


COMT 529 The Law of Public Communication (crosslisted with COMX 429)

3 cr. (alternating F)  Examines major principles in communication law that influence media and public relations professionals.  Students will become familiar with landmark court decisions and contemporary issues in first amendment jurisprudence.


COMT 530 Public Influence

3 cr. (odd Sp)  Examines the leading theories of persuasion/rhetoric and argumentation—including their nature and history—with special time and attention given to contemporary perspectives on rhetorical theories of influence.


COMT 531 Political Communication (crosslisted with COMX 434)

3 cr. (even F)  Explores communication methods and strategies employed by political campaigns to influence voters.  Students will analyze political discourse produced by national, state, and local campaigns in order to understand the communication patterns and interactions that occur.


COMT 540 Popular Culture and Cultural Studies (crosslisted with COMX 436)

3 cr. (every other year)  Provides an introduction to the history, theory, and practice of studying popular culture.  Explores a variety of theoretical approaches to pop culture, including classical Marxism, the Frankfurt School, structuralism, feminism, and postmodernism.  Throughout the course, theoretical methodologies will be illustrated through their ability to interpret and/or decode cultural objects ranging from HBO television to science fiction to hip hop.  Students will be encouraged to take these applications as models for their own work in choosing, reading, and analyzing specific instances of pop culture.


COMT 561 Multicultural Mass Communication (crosslisted with COMX 438)

3 cr. (every other year)  Explores and critically analyzes mass mediated communication in a multicultural world and the U.S. as a multicultural nation.  Provides an understanding of the roles of media corporations and media texts in the construction of cultural, subcultural, and individual identities.  Considers media as transnational businesses, as expressive forms, and as mirrors and shapers of culture.  Investigates theories, practices, and outcomes of mediated cultural imperialism and the unique role played by U.S. media organizations and U.S.-produced texts.


COMT 565 Communication Theory

3 cr. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. (F, Sp)  Provides the student with a theoretical/conceptual framework for understanding human communication.  Graduate students will be required to present an extensive research paper/project.


COMT 570 Applied Communication Studies

3 cr. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. (F, Sp, Su)  Provides the opportunity to develop an applied graduate-level professional and/or academic communication project that explores how people apply their knowledge of communication in practical contexts.  Addresses applied topics such as dealing with conflict, conducting meetings, leading effectively, managing rumors, advocacy, political communication, and the practices of the media.  Students will base their course work upon an independent project or communications-related internship that they identify and complete.  Class does not meet regularly.


COMT 580 Health Communication (crosslisted with COMX 480)

3 cr. (every other year)  Explores key findings in health communication research and practice, focusing on a wide range of media (e.g., brochures, posters, radio, television, telephone hotlines, Internet) and a wide range of health objectives (e.g., STD/HIV prevention, smoking cessation, cardiovascular disease prevention).  We will examine the literature and key health communication campaigns to determine what are the key ingredients of successful or effective approaches in each medium, for different types of messages and target audiences.


COMT 581 Media for Social Change (crosslisted with COMX 481)

3 cr. (every other year)  Examines the application of commercial campaign technologies to the analysis, planning, execution, and evaluation of programs designed to influence the voluntary behavior of target audiences in order to improve their personal welfare and that of their society.


COMT 582 Women, Media and Society

3 cr.  Provides students an opportunity to become familiar with feminist rhetorical scholarship, to be able to apply academic research to an original research project on a contemporary issue of topical importance, and to evaluate local community organizations and/or campaigns that appeal to women on the bases of ethicality and effectiveness.


COMT 587 Applied Communication Theory

9 cr. Prerequisite: master’s degree. (Su)  Addresses some of the subfields of communication studies, and introduces graduate students to graduate-level study of persuasion, rhetorical theory and criticism, public address, and mediate communication theories.


COMT 589 Professional Development

V1-3 cr.  Designated course number for professional development credit bearing courses offered by Extended Campus.  These credits do not count toward any degree at MSU Billings.


COMT 590 Internship

3 cr. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.  Provides graduate students on-site observational and involvement opportunities.


COMT 591 Independent Study

3 cr. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.  Provides graduate students of outstanding ability an opportunity to explore material not covered by regular Communication courses.


COMT 592 Seminar

3 cr. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.  This course may be offered ONLY Online. Provides graduate students an opportunity to investigate topics pertinent to the field of Communication.


COMT 593 Workshop

3 cr. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.  Provides graduate students an opportunity for experimental study in areas of Communication.


COMT 595 Comprehensive Exams

3 cr. Prerequisites: COMT 502, COMT 514, COMT 525, COMT 527, COMT 565, and consent of instructor. (F, Sp)  Serves as the culmination of the MSPR.  Students choosing this option will answer a series of questions that correspond to core courses in the program and will write a paper, in conjunction with the supervising professor, that demonstrates their mastery of the ability to research and write in their area of specialty.  Must be taken during or after the final semester of coursework.


COMT 596 Cooperative Education/Internship

V1-9 cr. Provides university credit for graduate work experience in the area of Communication and Theatre, supervised by faculty.  Learning agreement must be completed prior to registration (restricted).