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

Com Arts Major Course Requirements.pdf

Com Arts Major Course 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
  • 372 Intercultural Communication & Rhetoric
  • 374 Rhetoric of Religion
  • 402 Psychology of Communication
  • 470 Contemporary Political Discourse
  • 472 Rhetoric & Technology
  • 476 Nature of Criticism
  • 478 Rhetoric & Power on the Internet
  • 509 Digital Media and Political Communication
  • 522 Digitally Documenting Everyday Communication
  • 525 Media, Deliberation, and Public Issues
  • 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 605/614/615

 

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
  • 458 Global Media Cultures
  • 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 605/614/615

Honors in the Communication Arts Major (Effective Fall 2017)

Communication arts honors in the major is intended for students who are eager to undertake an in-depth examination of the field’s historical foundation, fundamental theories, and modes of criticism. Honors in the major is especially appropriate for students who are considering graduate work in communication. Communication arts offers two honors tracks:

  • Communication Science and Rhetorical Studies
  • Radio, Television, and Film

Declaring Honors in the Major

Students who wish to pursue honors in the major in communication arts must first declare the standard communication arts major and then apply for admission to the department honors program.

To be accepted into an honors track, students must have

  • Completed the Fundamentals course for their track:
    • Com Arts 250 for the Radio, Television, and Film track
    • Com Arts 260 for the Communication Science and Rhetorical Studies track
  • Completed the two core courses for their track
  • Earned at least a at least a 3.5 grade point average in their communication arts coursework

To earn honors in the major in communication arts, students must satisfy the both the standard major requirements and a set of additional requirements:

Major Coursework Requirements:

  • Complete the standard requirements for the declared major option, noting that the theory, history, criticism requirement must be met with courses numbered 400 and above for the honors track.
  • Complete an additional theory, history, criticism course numbered 400 and above from the declared track.
  • Three of the theory, history, criticism courses must be completed on campus. Communication arts online courses meet this requirement.
  • Complete a minimum of 11 courses, 33 credits.

Capstone senior honors thesis experience: Com Arts 681, Senior Honors Thesis, and Com Arts 682, Senior Honors Thesis.

  • Submission and approval of the senior thesis proposal. Students should meet with the communication arts honors advisor for specific details.
  • Approval of the completed thesis by the thesis advisor and a second communication arts faculty member.

GPA requirements: Achieve a GPA of 3.5 in all communication arts courses and an overall GPA of at least 3.3 in courses taken at UW-Madison at the time of graduation.

 

Communication Science & Rhetorical Studies Honors

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

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

4 Courses: Theory-History-Criticism

  • 402 Psychology of Communication
  • 470 Contemporary Political Discourse
  • 472 Rhetoric & Technology
  • 476 Nature of Criticism
  • 478 Rhetoric & Power on the Internet
  • 509 Digital Media and Political Communication
  • 522 Digitally Documenting Everyday Communication
  • 525 Media, Deliberation, and Public Issues
  • 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: Honors Thesis

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

 

 

Radio, Television, Film Honors

1 Course: Fundamentals

  • 250 Survey of Contemporary Media

2 Courses: Radio-TV-Film Core

  • 350 Intro. to Film
  • 351 Television Industries

1 Course: Production

  • 355 Intro. to Media Production

4 Courses: Theory-History-Criticism

  • 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
  • 458 Global Media Cultures
  • 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: Honors Thesis

  • 681 Senior Honors Thesis (semester 1)
  • 682 Senior Honors 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.