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University of South Alabama
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USA Undergraduate/Graduate Bulletin 2007-2008


Chair: James L. Aucoin (251) 380-2800
Professors: Aucoin, Wilson
Associate Professors: Mark, Murphree, Rockwell, Ward
Assistant Professors: Glover, Kimball, Lunceford, Moody, Toelken
Senior Instructors: Dardeau, Dupree Taylor
Instructors: Bush, Huling, Rigsby, 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, organizational communication, 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 six tracks 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 six tracks, or concentrated areas of study, offered in Communication are: Advertising, Interpersonal Communication and Rhetoric, Journalism (Print Journalism and Broadcast Journalism), Organizational Communication, Public Relations, and Digital Cinema and Television. In brief, the Department’s commitment to a broad-based study of communication activities permits a more intelligent choice of career fields. In addition, it provides a more meaningful classroom experience during the junior and senior years. 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 Public Speaking requirement (CA 110) and 39 semester hours in one of the department’s six tracks listed below.
At least five communication classes must be numbered 300 or higher and must be taken at USA. Only three hours of credit from CA 394 or CA 494 can be used to satisfy this requirement.
At least 80 hours in courses outside the Department of Communication are required, with at least 65 semester hours being completed in the College of Arts and Sciences.
General Education Requirements for Communication are specified in the College of Arts and Sciences Section.
Minors in Communication must complete a total of 21 hours to include 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:
  • Advertising
  • Account Services: CA 221, 300, 310, 321, 322
  • Visual Communication: CA 101, 221, 322;
            choose 2 from CA 340, 360, 366, 381, 440
  • Branding : CA 221, 230, 300, 321, 436
  • Broadcast Journalism
  • Broadcast News: CA 220, 250, 350, 450, 451
  • Documentary News: CA 451, 452; choose 1 from CA 220, 250, 350
  • Interpersonal Communication: CA 211, 275, 315, 330, 411
  • Media/Film Studies: CA 101, CA 222; choose 3 from CA 343, 344, 351, 352
  • Organizational: CA 220, 230, 330, 430, 435
  • 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: 210, 222, 422, 424; choose 1 from CA 310, 410, 425
This concentration focuses on all aspects of advertising in American society, including creative, media and research, as well as its impact on audiences and institutions. Students in this track will be prepared to develop and implement advertising campaigns.
Required: CA 101, CA 200, CA 221, CA 300, CA 310, CA 321, CA 322, CA 381, CA 445, CA 476, CA 478
Choose Two: CA 360, CA 366, CA 440, CA 455, CA 496
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 101, CA 200, CA 220, CA 241, CA 340, CA 356, CA 440, CA 445
Choose One: CA 343, CA 344
Choose Four: CA 244, CA 260, CA 288, CA 300, CA 320, CA 343 (if not selected above), CA 344 (if not selected above), CA 350, CA 352, CA 360, CA 382, CA 441, CA 452, CA 453, CA 455, CA 460, CA 496
This area is the traditional speech communication track, providing an opportunity to gain a broad understanding of communication and rhetorical theory. This track provides students with skills that will serve them well in any chosen career, such as critical thinking skills and an awareness of how we construct meaning through speech, images, and action. Some possible career paths with this concentration include training, sales, speechwriting, and the ministry. This track also provides a firm base for those who wish to pursue graduate studies.
Required: CA 100, CA 200, CA 211, CA 222, CA 310, CA 315, CA 411, CA 422, CA 424, CA 445
Choose Three: CA 210, CA 230, CA 360, CA 366, CA 410, CA 425, CA 430, CA 453
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 101, CA 200, CA 220, CA 445, CA 455
Print Journalism:
Required: CA 281, CA 370, CA 472
Choose One: CA 385, CA 387
Choose Two: CA 288, CA 300, CA 381, CA 382, CA 453, CA 481, CA 496
Choose Two from Group One or Group Two:
Group One: CA 241, CA 244, CA 250, CA 340, CA 350, CA 452
Group Two: CA 260, CA 360, CA 366, CA 460
Broadcast Journalism:
Required: CA 250, CA 350, CA 450, CA 451, CA 452
Choose One: CA 244, CA 288, CA 300, CA 382, CA 453, CA 496
Choose Two from Group One or Group Two:
Group One: CA 281, CA 370, CA 387
Group Two: CA 260, CA 360, CA 366, CA 460
The study of organizational communication involves the understanding of four interlocking perspectives: theoretical analysis of interconnections between social/organizational structures and symbolic action; contextual analysis of external and internal environments; structure analysis of human patterns of relationships and interdependence; and process analysis of communication behaviors. This track provides students with both theoretical and practical opportunities: students develop analytical, critical, and systems thinking; students also develop tangible artifacts, such as modules and surveys. Possible career paths include consulting, managing, recruiting, selling, and training. This track provides a solid foundation for those who wish to pursue graduate studies.
Required: CA 100, CA 200, CA 230, CA 275, CA 300, CA 330, CA 430, CA 435, CA 436, CA 445
Choose One: CA 210, CA 211, CA 221
Choose Two: CA 260, CA 360, CA 381, CA 411, CA 460, CA 496
The Public Relations track includes a comprehensive series of course requirements designed to give students a broad understanding of public relations and related fields, as well as current theories and ethical principles surrounding the profession. Talented and skilled public relations professionals are in great demand in disciplines such as employee relations, speechwriting, financial public relations/investor relations, educational public relations, fundraising, international public relations, government public affairs, federal, state or local government, political public relations, healthcare public relations and sports public relations.
Required: CA 101, CA 200, CA 220, CA 286, CA 300, CA 386, CA 445, CA 484, CA 486
Choose Two: CA 221, CA 230, CA 381
Choose Two: CA 210, CA 221 (if not selected above), CA 230 (if not selected above), CA 241, CA 244, CA 260, CA 288, CA 310, CA 320, CA 321, CA 350, CA 360, CA 370, CA 381 (if not selected above), CA 435, CA 455, 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, 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 - 1000 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 21 semester hours in communication. 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.
  • 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 - 800 or better 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 21 semester hours in communication.
    Provisional students will be eligible for regular standing after accruing at least nine 500-level semester hours (usually three 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 15 credit hours. Provisional students who do not have a 3.0 GPA after completing 15 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 at least three hours for thesis or project work. A minimum of 24 semester hours must be completed at the University of South Alabama. At least 24 semester hours must be taken in communication. All students are required 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 four courses.
  • CA 500, Introduction to Graduate Studies in Communication. Students must take CA 500 before or concurrently with the first 500-level class.
  • CA 501, Communication Research Methods (generally offered in the spring 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 nine 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 one and three credit hours in CA 594 courses with course requirements determined accordingly.
  • The student may take a maximum of six 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 seven calendar years.
  • Most students who take nine hours per semester complete the degree within a two-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.

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    Date last changed: March 3, 2011 1:56 PM

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