The Major

The Program

Communication as a field of study, as a profession, and as a central component of our everyday lives has grown dramatically in importance through the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. Communication plays an important role in personal relationships, social activities, politics, medicine, business, education, the law, and creative expression, and new communication technologies have given rise to a host of communication-based industries. Graduates of communication departments go into a variety of professions, including the media, law, marketing, sales, corporate communications, counseling, public relations, advertising, and education. The study of communication enriches students' lives as well as providing attractive career paths.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison was one of the first universities to establish a program in communication, and its Communication Arts Department has taken a leading role in the development of the discipline throughout its history. The department offers a variety of courses focusing on the principal media and modes of human communication. Our goal is to help students deepen their appreciation of the communication process and increase their communication skills. Whether a course deals with film, electronic media, rhetoric, or interpersonal communication, it is designed to encourage students to enhance and develop their own capacities for critical appraisal, reflection, and expression, and to expand their capacities for participation in the communication-driven social and civic life of the twenty-first century.

Communication Science & Rhetorical Studies

The Communication Science & Rhetorical Studies concentration deals with social, psychological, and practical aspects of communication and human behavior. Students focus on public, mass, online, organizational, group, and interpersonal communication. They develop qualitative and quantitative research skills, conceptual and analytical thinking, and effective oral and written communication.

Radio, Television, & Film

The Radio, Television, & Film concentration focuses on the history, theory, criticism, cultural uses, and production practices of television, film, radio, and digital media. While there is no production major, students are required to take a media production course in order to gain a concrete understanding of the possibilities of this medium. Emphasis is on critical analysis, creative expression, and an understanding of how media functions in our society.

 

Comm Arts Major Requirements

Communication Arts Major Requirements.pdf

Communication Arts Major Requirements with Digital Studies Certificate Notes.pdf

Communication Science & Rhetorical Studies

10 courses, 30 credits

1 course: Fundamentals

  • 260 Communication & Human Behavior

2 courses: Core Courses

  • 360 Intro. to Rhetoric in Politics and Culture
    or
  • 370 Great Speakers & Speeches
    or
  • 372 Rhetoric of Campaigns & Revolutions
    and
  • 361 Intro. to Quantitative Research in Communication
    or
  • 368 Theory & Practice of Persuasion

1 course: Applied Communication

  • 262 Argumentation & Debate
  • 266 Theory & Practice of Group Discussion
  • 272 Intro. to Interpersonal Communication

3 courses: Theory-History-Criticism

  • 310 Topics in Rhetoric and Communication Science
  • 325 Media & Human Behavior
  • 345 Online Communication & Personal Relationships
  • 360 Intro. to Rhetoric in Politics and Culture
  • 361 Intro. to Quantitative Research in Comm.
  • 368 Theory & Practice of Persuasion
  • 370 Great Speakers & Speeches
  • 371 Communication and Conflict Resolution
  • 372 Rhetoric of Campaigns & Revolutions
  • 374 Rhetoric of Religion
  • 402 Psychology of Communication
  • 470 Contemporary Political Discourse
  • 472 Rhetoric & Technology
  • 476 Nature of Criticism
  • 509 Digital Media and Political Communication
  • 522 Digitally Documenting Everyday Communication
  • 562 Argumentation & Controversy
  • 565 Communication & Interethnic Behavior
  • 570 Classical Rhetorical Theory
  • 571 Contemporary Rhetorical Theory
  • 573 Rhetoric of Globalization & Transnationalism
  • 575 Comm. in Complex Organizations
  • 576 Principles of Rhetorical Criticism
  • 577 Dynamics of Online Relationships
  • 610 Special Topics Course (Rhetoric)
  • 612 Special Topics Course (Comm Science)
  • 616 Mass Media & Youth
  • 617 Health Comm. in Information Age
  • 671 Communication and Social Conflict

1 course: Radio, TV, Film

2 courses: Electives

  • Any Comm Arts courses numbered at the 200 level and above, excluding CA 614/615

 

Radio, Television, & Film

10 courses, 30-31 credits

1 course: Fundamentals

  • 250 Survey of Contemporary Media

2 courses: Radio, TV, Film Core

  • 350 Introduction to Film
  • 351 Television Industries

1 course: Production

  • 355 Intro. to Media Production

Advanced Production Electives:

  • 465 Editing & Post-Production: Video & Film
  • 466 Writing for TV & Film
  • 467 Cinematography & Sound Recording
  • 468 Producing for Internet TV and Video
  • 609 Special Topics in Production
  • 659 Advanced Motion Picture Production Workshop

3 courses: Theory-History-Criticism

  • 313 Topics in Film and Media Studies
  • 346 Critical Internet Studies
  • 347 Race, Ethnicity & Media
  • 352 Film History to 1960
  • 353 Film History Since 1960
  • 354 Film Styles & Genres
  • 357 History of the Animated Film
  • 358 History of Documentary Film
  • 359 Sports Media
  • 375 Ethics of Entertainment Media
  • 400 The Films of Alfred Hitchcock
  • 448 Media and National Identity
  • 449 Sound Cultures: Podcasting and Music
  • 450 History of Broadcasting
  • 451 Television Criticism
  • 454 Critical Film Analysis
  • 455 French Film
  • 456 Russian & Soviet Film
  • 459 New Media & Society
  • 460 Italian Film
  • 462 American Independent Cinema
  • 463 Avant-Garde Film
  • 540 Television Genres
  • 547 Digital Game Cultures
  • 552 Contemporary Hollywood Cinema
  • 556 American Film Industry -- Era of Studio System
  • 557 Contemporary Media Industries
  • 608 Special Topics Course (Media & Cultural Studies)
  • 613 Special Topics Course (Film)
  • 655 German Film
  • 664 Classical Film Theory
  • 665 Contemporary Film Theory

1 course: Communication Science & Rhetorical Studies

2 courses: Electives

  • Any Comm Arts courses numbered at the 200 level or above, excluding CA 614/615

Honors in the Communication Arts Major

Students interested in pursuing Honors in Communication Arts must first declare a Communication Arts major. Comm Arts majors who have achieved at least a 3.5 grade point average in Communication Arts at the end of the semester in which they are completing their third Comm Arts class at the 200 level or above are eligible to pursue Honors in the Major. Eligible students should complete the L&S Honors in the Major Declaration form. The form is available from the Comm Arts Honors Advisor, 6068 Vilas Hall.

Students may pursue Honors in Communication Arts within the following four areas:

Communication Science Honors

1 Course: Fundamentals

  • 260 Communication & Human Behavior

2 Courses: Core Courses

  • 360 Intro. to Rhetorical Theory & Criticism
    or
  • 370 Great Speakers & Speeches
    or
  • 372 Rhetoric of Campaigns & Revolutions
    and
  • 361 Intro to Quantitative Research in Communication
    or
  • 368 Theory & Practice of Persuasion

1 Course: Applied

  • 262 Argumentation & Debate
  • 266 Theory & Practice of Group Discussion
  • 272 Intro. to Interpersonal Communication

1 Course: Radio, TV, & Film

4 Courses: Theory-History-Criticism

  • 525 Media, Public Deliberation & Public Issues
  • 560 Communication Theory
  • 568 Interpersonal Influence
  • 572 Interpersonal Communication
  • 612 Special Topics Course
  • 616 Mass Media & Youth
    (when taught by Comm Science faculty)

2 Courses: Honors Thesis

  • 681 Senior Thesis (semester 1)
  • 682 Senior Thesis (semester 2)

 

Rhetoric Honors

1 Course: Fundamentals

  • 260 Communication & Human Behavior

2 Courses: Core Courses

  • 360 Intro. to Rhetorical Theory & Criticism
    or
  • 370 Great Speakers & Speeches
    or
  • 372 Rhetoric of Campaigns & Revolutions
    and
  • 361 Intro to Quantitative Research in Communication
    or
  • 368 Theory & Practice of Persuasion

1 Course: Applied

  • 262 Argumentation & Debate
  • 266 Theory & Practice of Group Discussion
  • 272 Intro. to Interpersonal Communication

1 Course: Radio, TV, & Film

4 Courses: Theory-History-Criticism

  • 570 Classical Rhetorical Theory
  • 571 Contemporary Rhetorical Theory
  • 576 Principles of Rhetorical Criticism
  • 610 Special Topics Course
  • 667 History of American Public Address
  • 670 Rhetoric & Political Theory
  • 675 Rhetoric-Women's Social & Political Discourse

2 Courses: Honors Thesis

  • 681 Senior Thesis (semester 1)
  • 682 Senior Thesis (semester 2)

Media & Cultural Studies Honors

1 Course: Fundamentals

  • 250 Survey of Radio-TV-Film as Mass Media

2 Courses: Radio-TV-Film Core

  • 350 Intro. to Film
  • 351 Intro. to Television

1 Course: Production

  • 355 Intro. to Media Production

4 Courses: Theory-History-Criticism

  • 450 History of Broadcasting
  • 451 Television Criticism
  • 452 Media & Cultural Policy
  • 458 Global Media Cultures
  • 613 Special Topics Course
    (when taught by Media & Cultural Studies faculty)
  • 662 Media & Cultural Theory I
  • 663 Media & Cultural Theory II

1 Course: Communication Science & Rhetorical Studies

2 Courses: Honors Thesis

  • 681 Senior Thesis (semester 1)
  • 682 Senior Thesis (semester 2)

 

Film Honors

1 Course: Fundamentals

  • 250 Survey of Radio-TV-Film as Mass Media

2 Courses: Radio-TV-Film Core

  • 350 Intro. to Film
  • 351 Intro. to Television

1 Course: Production

  • 355 Intro. to Media Production

4 Courses: Theory-History-Criticism

  • 454 Critical Film Analysis
  • 556 American Film Industry - Era of Studio System
  • 557 Contemporary Media Industries(when taught by Film faculty)
  • 613 Special Topics Course
    (when taught by Film faculty)
  • 664 Classical Film Theory
  • 665 Contemporary Film Theory

1 Course: Communication Science & Rhetorical Studies

2 Courses: Honors Thesis

  • 681 Senior Thesis (semester 1)
  • 682 Senior Thesis (semester 2)

Distinction in the Major

Students who are not honors candidates may earn "Distinction in the Major" with a Communication Arts grade point average of at least 3.75. The advisor will send graduating seniors additional information towards the end of their final semester. The major GPA is calculated in the DARS report.