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Communication

Department Overview

102 Communications

Communication is a process that creates and reveals meanings, relationships, and cultural patterns.

Undergraduate Program

Adviser
118 Communications, Box 353740
(206) 543-8860

The Department of Communication offers the following programs of study:

  • The Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in communication
  • The Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in communication: journalism

Bachelor of Arts

Suggested First- and Second-Year College Courses: COM 201, COM 202.

Department Admission Requirements

  1. Minimum 15 credits of COM credits, including minimum 2.5 grade in both COM 201 and COM 202.
  2. Minimum 2.50 cumulative GPA in all COM coursework
  3. Minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA for all college coursework, including transfer credits
  4. Admission is competitive, based on information in the application packet, cumulative GPA, and COM GPA. Completion of the above requirements does not guarantee admission.
  5. Students are admitted quarterly - autumn, winter, and spring. Applications are due two weeks after the quarter begins, autumn, winter, and spring quarters. Applications and additional information are available on the web. Students are notified of acceptance by the end of the fifth week of the quarter. If accepted, they can register for the next quarter as majors.
  6. Applications are available from the department website on the first day of the quarter. Applications should include application form, copies of transcripts and grade reports, selection of the standard or journalism option, and an essay explaining what led applicants to apply to the major.

Major Requirements

Communication: 50 credits, to include the following:

  1. Introductory courses (10 credits): COM 201 and COM 202.
  2. Methods in inquiry (5 credits): Examples of courses that apply include COM 382, COM 405, and COM 485. For full list, see department adviser or website.
  3. Area concentration (15 credits) in one of the following: communication and culture, communication technology and society, international communication, political communication, rhetoric and critical studies, or social interaction. See advising office or website for description of each area and lists of qualifying courses.
  4. Electives (20 credits) from the Department of Communication and from selected courses outside the department. See advising office or website for electives list.

Of the 50 required credits specified above, at least 20 must be Communication courses at the 300 level or above, and of those 20, at least 10 must be Communication courses at the 400 level (excluding COM 498/COM 499).

Journalism Option: A minimum of 55 credits, including the following:
  1. Introductory courses (10 credits): COM 201 and COM 202.
  2. Methods of Inquiry (5 credits): See advisor for approved list
  3. Skills/Competencies core (19 credits): COM 360, COM 361, COM 362, COM 364, and COM 457.
  4. Law and Ethics core (10 credits): COM 440 and COM 468.
  5. Advanced Skills/Competencies (10 credits minimum): See advising office or department website for list of qualifying courses.

Student Outcomes and Opportunities

  • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes: The Department of Communication prepares students for the challenges of a society that is informed, entertained, persuaded, and shaped by communication. The department seeks out and appeals to students from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives. It nurtures socially responsible, literate citizens who can interpret and evaluate images and messages they create and receive. It teaches students to think critically, respect diversity, communicate effectively, and develop the skills needed for the life-long learning that is central to successful careers and rewarding lives. Undergraduate study in communication has four pedagogical emphases: communication literacy, communication inquiry, theory and concepts, and community engagement.
  • Instructional and Research Facilities: The Department of Communication has the following labs: Media Lab. News Lab. Observation Labs. It also has an Instructional Resources Center and video-editing facilities. Additionally, the department manages the following centers: The Dart Center, the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement, and the Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies. See the department Website for further information.
  • Honors Options Available: With College Honors (Completion of Honors Core Curriculum and Departmental Honors; With Honors (Completion of Departmental Honors requirements in the major). See adviser for requirements.
  • Research, Internships, and Service Learning: See adviser for details.
  • Department Scholarships: None offered
  • Student Organizations/Associations:
  • Society of Professional Journalists
  • Public Relations Student Society of America

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
221 Communications, Box 353740
(206) 543-7269
cominfo@uw.edu

Graduate study in communication engages students in the complexity of modern communication and its centrality to society and, in doing so, prepares them to become thoughtful scholars, teachers, practitioners, and leaders related to this field. The Department of Communication offers graduate programs leading to the degrees of Master of Arts, Doctor of Philosophy, and Master of Communication (MC).

Graduate study in the Department of Communication is guided by four related principles: intellectual and cultural pluralism, interdisciplinary theorizing, collaboration, and public scholarship. Coursework brings together humanistic and social scientific intellectual traditions through a unified core curriculum and a wide selection of graduate seminars. Research and teaching in the department focus on six interrelated areas: communication and culture, communication technology and society, international communication, social interaction, political communication, and rhetoric and critical studies.

The MA degree program provides training in research and scholarship and can be either preparation for doctoral study or a terminal degree. The MA degree requires a minimum of 45 credits of approved coursework and a research thesis. The PhD degree program develops conceptual and methodological capabilities in a substantive area of communication. The PhD degree requires completion of a minimum of 45 post-master credits, general examinations, and a dissertation demonstrating an original scholarly contribution to the field.

The Department of Communication also offers three MC degrees, each of which has specific requirements tailored to that degree. The general MC degree is targeted for mid-career communication professionals who seek to develop an understanding of communication theory related to a special area of interest. The MC in digital media is a professional degree focused on digital media content creation, management, and policy. Native Voices is an MC degree offered in conjunction with American Indian Studies. It is designed for documentary filmmakers who focus their work on subjects relevant to the Native American Community.

Master of Arts

Admission Requirements

  • Minimum 3.00 or B GPA over the two most recent years guarantees consideration. However, average GPAs for students admitted have been higher.
  • MA applicants must show proof of completion of a bachelor's degree prior to starting the program, though it is common for applicants to be in their senior year of college when they apply to the MA program.
  • Full-time status is strongly encouraged, but domestic U.S. residents who do not receive assistantships can enroll half-time.
  • Students who wish to continue directly into the UW PhD program after completing the UW MA program should apply to the MA/PhD program.
  • Note to U.S. permanent residents/immigrants (green card holders): Applicants who are not native speakers of English must submit TOEFL scores taken within the past two years. Only the following applicants are exempt from the TOEFL requirement: citizens of the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom and non-United States citizens who have received a bachelor's degree or higher from a U.S. institution or from institutions in the countries listed here. Applicants who are not U.S. citizens must also submit a TSE score to be considered for departmental funding. Permanent residency/immigrant status or a degree from the United States does not exempt one from this TSE requirement.

Degree Requirements

45 credits minimum, to include:
  • Two core courses (COM 500 and COM 501) during the first year of study.
  • One additional methods course beyond COM 501
  • Up to 5 credits of COM 594 in five different topics may count toward total, although COM 594 credits are not required for master's students.
  • Up to 3 credits of COM 596 may count toward total. These credits are required for students with assistantships and optional for all others.
  • Completion of the thesis (minimum 10 credits in COM 700) and oral defense.
  • Specific courses should be selected in consultation with the Supervisory Committee.

Master of Communication

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements are the same as for the Master of Arts program (above).

Degree Requirements

45 credits minimum, as follows:
  • At least 12 credits in Communication courses at the 400 and 500 level.
  • At least 15 credits outside the Department of Communication in a coherent substantive area of specialization.
  • 10 credits in COM 600 to produce a professional project in an area of specialization for broadcast or publication.
  • Passage of an oral defense of the project.
  • The remaining credits necessary to meet the 45 credits for the degree should be selected in consultation with the Supervisory Committee.
  • At least 21 credits must be at the 500- or 600-level.
  • Up to 5 credits of COM 594 may count toward total, although COM 594 credits are not required for MC students.
  • Up to 3 credits of COM 596 may count toward total. These credits are required for students with assistantships and optional for all others.

Digital Media

The Master of Communication (MC) in Digital Media is a professional degree focused in three concentrations: digital media content creation, management, and policy. 45 credits minimum as follows:

  1. Three core courses: COM 529, COM 546, and COM 558
  2. Students may choose either to complete 45 credits of coursework or to complete 40 credits of coursework (including three core courses) and a final project worth 5 credits. Specific courses should be selected in consultation with the Supervisory Committee.

Native Voices

45 credits, as follows:

  1. 20 credits in the Department of Communication:
    1. 10 credits of 500-level communication courses, typically two 500-level seminars.
    2. COM 600: 10 credits in documentary research and production, taken for completion of the final project.
  2. 25 credits in American Indian Studies/Native Voices: GWSS 443 (5), AIS 501 (5), AIS 502 (5), AIS 503 (5), AIS 504 (5)

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements

  1. Minimum 3.00 or B GPA over the two most recent years guarantees consideration; however, GPAs for students admitted have been higher.
  2. PhD applicants must show proof of completion of a master's degree prior to starting the program, though applicants are commonly working on their master's thesis the year during which they apply.
  3. Full-time status is strongly encouraged, but domestic U.S. residents who do not receive assistantships can enroll half-time.
  4. U.S. permanent residents/immigrants (green card holders): Applicants who are not native speakers of English must submit TOEFL scores taken within the past two years. Only the following applicants are exempt from the TOEFL requirement: citizens of the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom and non-U.S. citizens who have received a bachelor's degree or higher from a U.S. institution or from institutions in the countries listed here. Applicants who are not U.S. citizens must also submit a TSE score to be considered for departmental funding. Permanent resident/immigrant status or a degree from the United States does not exempt one from this TSE requirement.

Degree Requirements

Minimum 45 post-master credits, to include:

  1. Two core courses (COM 500 and COM 501) during the first year of study.
  2. Two additional methods courses beyond COM 501.
  3. 5 credits of COM 591 or COM 592
  4. 3 credits of COM 594 in three different topics, to be taken before the general examinations (up to five credits in five different topics may be taken).
  5. Up to 3 credits of COM 596 may count toward total. These credits are required for students with assistantships and optional for all others.
  6. Completion of the general examination. COM 600 credits do not count toward the 45 required post-master credits (unless student is a UW Communication MA).
  7. Completion of the dissertation (minimum 27 credits in COM 800 over at least three quarters) and final examination. These 27 credits do not count toward the 45 required post-master credits (or 30 required post-master credits for UW Communication MA students).
  8. Specific courses should be selected in consultation with the Supervisory Committee.

Students who completed their MA in Communication at the UW do not repeat the core courses, and need only 30 post-master credits, which can include COM 600 credits, and 3 credits of COM 594 in three different topics. Such students are required to take two methods courses beyond the minimum methods course requirements for the MA degree. COM 594 credits and additional methods courses beyond the minimum MA requirements taken during MA work may be used to fulfill the COM 594 and methods requirements for the doctoral program, but may not be applied to the 30 post-master credits.

Research Facilities

In addition to the University's research facilities available to all students, the Department of Communication houses a collection of specialized research laboratories, including the Digital Media Lab, Graduate Computer Lab, Observational Research Facility, Instructional Resources Center, and Video Editing Lab.