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Major & Minor Information

A Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication may be obtained from Hope College by completing 42 hours in Communication coursework according to the following specifications. Click here for Major Requirement Checklist to print (requires Adobe Acrobat).

NOTE: Only 100- and 200-level courses can transfer to Hope and be counted toward the Comm major; 300-level courses may be accepted, but only credited at the 200-level. All 300-level courses must be taken in the Department of Communication, with the exception of Comm 399, which can be taken as a work experience or part of a domestic or foreign off-campus study program.

Click here for a 2-, 3-, or 4-year plan of study to complete a major or minor

100 level: 14 credits, all required

  • COMM 101 - Introduction to the Communication Process (4 credits)
  • COMM 140 - Public Presentations (4 credits)
  • COMM 151 - Media and Society (2 credits)
  • COMM 160 - Analytic Skills in Communication (4 credits)
200 level: 12 credits with Comm 260 and Comm 280 required
  • COMM 210 - Interpersonal Communication (4 credits)
  • COMM 220 - Task Group Leadership (4 credits)
  • COMM 231 - Communication and Conflict (4 credits)
  • COMM 240 - Intergroup Dialogue (4 credits)
  • COMM 251 - Media Production I (4 credits)
  • COMM 255 - Writing for Media (4 credits)
  • COMM 257 - Communication for Public Relations (4 credits)
  • COMM 260 - Rhetoric and Public Culture (4 credits)
  • COMM 280 - Research Methods (4 credits) Prerequisite: MATH 210 department policy on exemption for double majors
  • COMM 290 - Independent Media Project (1-2 credits)** Application (pdf)
  • COMM 295 - Topics in Media Production (1-4 credits)

**Does not fulfill major/minor requirement.

300 level: 12 credits* with Comm 399 or Study Abroad required

  • COMM 320 - Family Communication (4 credits)
  • COMM 330 - Organizational Communication (4 credits)
  • COMM 335 - Leadership Skills & Perspectives (4 credits)
  • COMM 340 - Intergroup Dialogue: Facilitation Practicum (4 credits)
  • COMM 354 - Digital Cinema (4 credits)
  • COMM 356 - Advanced Media Writing (4 credits)
  • COMM 357 - Documentary Theory & Practice (4 credits)
  • COMM 360 - Persuasion (4 credits)
  • COMM 371 - Intercultural Communication (4 credits)
  • COMM 372 - Gender Communication (4 credits)
  • COMM 390 - Independent Study (1-4 credits) Application (pdf)
  • COMM 395 - Topics in Communication (4 credits)
  • COMM 399 - Communication Internship (4 Credits)*

400 level: 4 credits

  • COMM 451 - Media Theories: Critical Perspectives (4 credits)
  • COMM 460 - Communication Theory (4 credits)
  • COMM 463 - Rhetorical Theory (4 credits)
  • COMM 470 - Cultural Communication Theory (4 credits)
  • COMM 480 - Communication Honors Course (4 credits) Does not fulfill 400-level major requirement.

Communication Minor --The communication minor consists of six regularly offered courses in communication for a total of at least 22 credits.

The following 100-level courses are required:

  • COMM 101-The Communication Process OR COMM 160-Analytic Skills (4 credits)
  • COMM 140-Public Presentations (4 credits)
  • COMM 151-Intro to Mass Communication (2 credits)

Three additional courses are required at the 200, 300, or 400 level, with no more than two courses at any one level. Substitutions, waivers, and internships are not allowed in the communication minor.

[Course Descriptions]

The following is a list of the courses offered through the Department of Communication at Hope College. Each course description is followed by the number of credit hours awarded for completion of the course, the faculty who lead the course, and the semesters during which the course is normally offered.

101. The Communication Process - This course focuses on communication competence. Readings and exercises explore and develop relational communication skills and media literacy. This course also addresses how filters of self, relationships, culture, gender, race, and ethnicity affect communication processes. Four Credits - Anderson, Dibble, Johnston, Quist - Each Semester

140. Public Presentations - This course introduces students to the theory and practice of public speaking. Topics covered include audience analysis, methods of organizing a speech, the types and uses of supporting material, and the effective use of visual aids. Students will learn how to write and deliver effective informative, persuasive, and ceremonial speeches. Four Credits - DeWitt-Brinks, Pocock - Each Semester

151. Media and Society - This course explores the impact of media in society. The format and function of different types of contemporary media will be introduced. Two Credits - Doshi, Han, Jahng - Each Semester

160. Analytic Skills in Communication - This course seeks to develop the analytic skills involved in effective reasoning and communication. In developing these skills, the course introduces students to various types of arguments, the tests to which each is susceptible and the characteristics of a reasonable argument: validity, evidence, and linguistic consistency. Analysis of sample arguments is stressed throughout. The course also considers the ethics of advocacy, and the qualities of a reasonable person. Four Credits - Herrick, Kornfield - Each Semester

210. Interpersonal Communication - Interpersonal communication is the study of dyadic interaction and the creation of meaningful relationships. Much of the focus is on close interpersonal relationships, including romantic relationships, e.g., perception, uncertainty reduction, social exchange, attraction, falling in and out of love, deception, and communication effectiveness. An overarching goal is for students to be able to apply this material so they can better manage their communication within their own personal and professional interpersonal relationships. Four Credits - Dibble, Johnston - Fall Semester

220. Task Group Leadership - This course focuses on understanding and developing communication competence in small groups. This involves learning how to function effectively as part of a team, as well as exercising appropriate leadership. Topics include group development, competitive vs. cooperative climates, decision-making and problem-solving, power resources, and conflict management. Four Credits - Anderson - Fall Semester

231. Communication and Conflict - This course adopts a communication perspective to address the theory, research, and practice associated with the issues of conflict and conflict management. Conflict and its related concepts (e.g., power, constructive/destructive conflict behaviors) will be examined on the many levels at which they occur, to include conflict between individuals, groups, organizations, and nations. Conflicts and disputes at any level are always tied to context; thus a broad range of contexts will be examined. Examples include personal friendships, family relationships, business relationships, and political settings. Four Credits - Dibble - Spring Semester

240. Intergroup Dialogue
Intergroup Dialogue involves learning specific communication skills that guide a group in interaction across cultural identity differences (sex, gender, race, religion, ethnicity, social class, sexual identity, etc.). These skills emphasize understanding over persuasion; dialogue can be understood in contrast to the practices of discussion or debate. This means that group members seek to understand each other without evaluating or judging each other; they learn the process of validating each other without necessarily agreeing with or condoning each other’s behavior or beliefs. In addition, participants learn how to communicate their own feelings, experiences and beliefs, without imposing their experience on others. They learn to support each other, yet confront and challenge each others’ views. In the process of learning the communication skills of dialogue, participants also learn about the historical and structural inequalities, oppression, privilege and power associated with different social identities. The goal of intergroup dialogue is to increase intergroup understanding, effective collaboration and positive relationships. Four Credits - Johnston - Fall Semester

251. Media Production I - This course introduces students to digital multimedia production from theoretical, aesthetic, and practical perspectives. The course aims to familiarize students with the basic tools and processes of multimedia production so that they can communicate their ideas creatively and effectively using various forms of media. The course is divided into seminar and workshop components. In the seminars, students will discover different theoretical approaches to media representation that inform the practice of media production. In the workshops, students will gain the practical knowledge required for production, including the use of camera, sound recording, lighting, graphics, non-linear editing, and creating video for the web. All students will undertake a series of exercises which demonstrate their understanding, skills, and creativity. Four Credits - Han - Each Semester

255. Writing for Media
Students taking this course will develop the writing and reporting skills needed to be a successful media professional in our converging media environment. Fundamental skills such as researching, editing, and developing content such as news and features for various media platforms will be covered along with relevant theories. Students will craft and critique news stories, feature stories, podcasts, and slideshows. In addition, students will learn how to use social media such as Twitter for professional purposes. Four Credits - Doshi - Fall Semester

257. Communication for Public Relations - This course provides an introduction to basic communication practices among a variety of organizations in both the public and private sectors. In addition to the study of public relations theories, students will simulate public relations and management situations using practical experiences and case studies. Four Credits - Pocock - Each Semester

260. Rhetoric and Public Culture - This course explores the rhetorical strategies, argumentative approaches, and definitional techniques embedded in the texts of popular culture. Contrasting current theories of rhetorical analysis and cultural studies with those of the classical period, the course aims to familiarize students with the rhetorical elements in the symbolic world we inhabit and to sharpen their critical skills as consumers of persuasive messages. The course will also introduce students to some of the basic qualitative research approaches commonly employed in the field of communication studies, including Burkean analysis, culture-centered criticism, and narrative criticism. Four Credits - Herrick, Kornfield - Each Semester

280. Research Methods - This course is an introduction to the social science research process used to study human communication. It provides students with the skills to read, understand, and perform basic communication research. Such skills include conducting a review of literature, designing both quantitative and qualitative methods, calculating and interpreting results, and addressing the implications and ethical considerations of research. Prerequisite: Math 210-Stats or AP Stats. Four Credits - Dibble - Each Semester

290. Independent Media Project [does not fulfill major/minor requirement] - This course provides an opportunity for Communication majors to develop media skills by producing a media project under the supervision of a faculty member. Credit for this course is elective and may not be applied to fulfill the requirements of the major. Students are expected to maintain approximately 4 hours of project work per week for each credit granted. Prerequisites: COMM 255 and 356 or COMM 251 and 352, Junior standing, submission of departmental Independent Media Project Application, approval of instructor, and final approval of media project proposal by department. One to Two Credits - Each Semester

295. Topics in Media Production - This is a technical course focusing on developing skills in media or new media production. One to Four Credits - Occassionally

320. Family Communication - We create families through communication: by sharing meanings with others, socializing children, making decisions, handling conflict, and developing family rituals. This course focuses on the various communication processes that shape families, blending academic and personal perspectives. Four Credits - Anderson, Johnston - Spring Semester

330. Organizational Communication - This course introduces students to the basic concepts of how communication processes work in organizations. The first section of the course focuses on theories of organizations, including classical theory, humanistic theories, systems theory, cultural theories, and critical theories. The second section focuses on the challenges and misunderstandings that face organizations, such as recruitment and socialization of members, conflict management, and superior-subordinate communication. Four Credits - Anderson - Spring Semester

335. Leadership Skills & Perspectives - This course examines the complex and rich process of leadership in two main ways: 1) by studying the main theories of leadership, including traits, skills, styles, situational and transformational leadership, as well as leadership ethics; and 2) by teaching the essential competencies leaders need to be effective, through personal assessment and group projects. This course helps students develop leadership skills, practice critical thinking, engage the local community, and integrate their faith with their understanding of leadership. Prerequisites: Junior standing or permission of instructor. Four Credits - Anderson - Fall Semester

340. Intergroup Dialogue Facilitation Practicum
The Intergroup Dialogue Practicum is the culmination of the Intergroup Dialogue experience for those students seeking to continue their personal growth in the dialogue process and to enhance their dialogue facilitation skills through practical experience leading intergroup dialogue groups. Intergroup Dialogue involves learning specific communication skills that guide a group in interaction across cultural identity differences (sex, gender, race, religion, ethnicity, social class, sexual identity, etc.).

The course materials are designed to deepen understanding of diversity and social justice in society through reading, dialogue, reflection and practical experience as an intergroup dialogue facilitator. We will explore theory and practice of group dynamics, conflict transformation, consensus-building, restorative justice and peace-building. For six weeks of the semester, students will lead an intergroup dialogue ‘course’ as part of a regularly offered Hope College course, or for an off-campus organization. The class will guide students in their preparation of weekly dialogue facilitation sessions. Through this hands-on experience, students develop facilitation communication skills, as well as deepen their personal understandings of diversity issues and social processes. The intergroup dialogue facilitation skills developed in this course have many applications in life as a means to promote positive social and personal change among families, friends, and work colleagues, and within communities. This course prepares students to create dialogue in interpersonal situations as well as create formalized dialogue-centered workshops or programs. Four Credits - Johnston - Spring Semester

354. Digital Cinema - This course helps students become familiar with narrative film as a form of art, storytelling, and communication. It provides theoretical and practical foundations of cinema including ontological position, narrative construction, directing and audio-visual aesthetics. Digital film technology will be utitlized as students will engage in narrative film projects. Through a broad survey of films and employed aesthetics students will learn to appreciate and practice cinematic expressions of human conditions. Camera and lens technology, cinematography, lighting, sound, compositing, and editing will be practiced at a higher level during production practices. Students can develop their own stories and audio-visual plans to produce short films. 4 Credits - Han - Spring Semester

356. Advanced Media Writing - Students in this course will create content for digital spaces such as websites and social media and manage audience engagement with these spaces. In order to develop skills necessary for contemporary media professionals, such as managing one's digital identity, creating and curating online content by using a content mangement system, and facilitating audience engagement, students will create, manage, and promote a topic-focused website. The website will include feature stories, multimedia story packages, infographics, and editorials. This course builds on the basic writing, reporting, and editing skills students learned in Comm 255 by shifting the focus from short news stories to features and emphasizing engagement of online audiences through content and design. Prerequisite: COMM 255 . Four Credits - Doshi - Spring Semester

357. Documentary Theory and Practice - This course introduces students to documentary from both theoretical and practical perspectives. By combining theoretical approaches with a series of production exercises, the course encourages students to develop a critical understanding of the analytical, creative, and practical dimensions involved in the representation of human conditions through documentary. Students will learn about different modes and genres of documentary storytelling along with the diverse categories of messages documentary films carry. The course will cover the technical and practical aspects of production to enable students to produce their own projects independently. Students will gain confidence in producing a documentary that is compelling in message, artistic as a visual storytelling, and technologically sound. Prerequisites: Multimedia Storytelling or permission of instructor. Four Credits - Han - Fall Semester

360. Persuasion - In this course you will learn to enhance your skills as a producer of ethical persuasive messages, and also as a critical receiver of persuasive messages. This course provides a comprehensive theoretical and research-based view of persuasion, social influence, and compliance gaining by analyzing how these concepts operate at both an interpersonal and a social level. You will improve your communication competencies related to effective persuasion in written, spoken and visual channels. You will also learn to identify and analyze persuasive messages to improve your ability to scrutinize and resist the influence of persuasion. We will study the process of persuasion in many different contexts, including: health care, films, advertising, family and friend interaction, news media, government rhetoric, social movements, public information campaigns, politics, and advocacy. Four Credits - Dibble, Johnston - Spring Semester

371. Intercultural Communication: Communicating Across Differences - This course addresses the social construction of inequality, specifically focusing on how communication processes are the means by which race, class, nationality, culture and ethnicity are created, and are also the means by which individuals can resist personal participation in perpetuating systems of inequality. Through encountering multicultural experiences, interviewing people in different social positions, and engaging in exercises and simulations, we will learn to broaden our self-identities, and our understanding of others by learning about the experiences, feelings and views of people in social situations different from our own. NOTE: This course is cross-listed with Ethnic Studies and with Women's Studies. Four Credits - Doshi, Johnston - Fall Semester

372. Gender Communication
Gender Communication explores communication differences related to identity, power, and social constructions of gender. The impact of gender on communication in various contexts will be explored, including: media, educational settings, workplace cultures, family, and personal relationships. The purpose of this course is to increase our ability to recognize how we construct meanings associated with sex and gender, how culture and social power shape these meanings, and how media and social institutions perpetuate these meanings. In addition, we will explore whether gender affects verbal and non-verbal communication styles and rituals. This course will include an international connection with college/university peers in another culture. The objectives of this international connection are to gain appreciation for the impact of culture and society on gender identity, and to gain understanding of how gender is performed and communicated cross-culturally. Four Credits - Doshi, Johnston - Spring Semester

390. Independent Study - An independent study is a program providing advanced students in Communication an opportunity to conduct research in a communication area of unique interest. Prerequisites: Junior standing, submission of departmental Independent Study Application, approval of instructor, and final approval of research proposal by department. One to Four Credits - Each Semester

395. Topics in Communication - A seminar in a special topic of the discipline offered for majors in the department and other interested/qualified students. The course will focus on a particular aspect of the discipline and reflect theory, research and application to the extent expected for the course level and credits assigned. Topics occasionally offered include: Film Criticism, New Media, Black Images in Film, Political Communication, and Advanced Research. Students may enroll in more than one topics course to fulfill major requirements. Two to Four Credits - Occasionally

399. Communication Internship - Students secure an internship with an organization, agency, or communication media industry to observe, assist, and assume regular duties, or engage in special projects under the supervision of skilled professionals. In addition to academic coursework, students are expected to maintain approximately 3 hours on the job per week for each credit hour earned. Students desiring a Communication Internship must attend a department specific internship workshop prior to submitting a department-specific internship application no later than the fall semester of their junior year. Prerequisites: Communication major, junior standing, 2.7 overall GPA, approval of Internship Application, and approval of internship placement by the Career Development Center and the department. Students may enroll in COMM399 more than once and complete multiple internships, but a maximum of 4 credits will count toward the major. One to Four Credits - Each Semester

451. Media Theory - Social Scientific Perspective - This course is designed to familiarize you with the prominent theories of mass communication from a social scientific perspective. We will address the development of media theories from the early stages to the contemporary models involving digital media. Particular emphasis will be placed on the most notable mass media effects theories on human cognition, emotion, and behavior. Upon completion of the course you should have an extensive understanding of how social scientific theories and research can be used to explain the influence of media on individuals and society and how such effects of the mass media are studied empirically. Prerequisites: COMM 101, 151, 260, and 280. Four Credits- Jahng - Fall Semester

460. Communication Theory - This seminar considers interpretive and social science theories of communication. These theories concern communication, persuasion, relational development, group processes, media affects, and culture and diversity. Prerequisites: COMM 101, 160, 260, and 280. Four Credits - Dibble, Johnston - Fall Semester

460. Rhetorical Theory
This course surveys the history of rhetoric, the oldest of several disciplines making up the field of communication. Public persuasive discourse has exerted an unparalleled influence on the western world's direction and development. Philosophers, politicians, lawyers, theologians, poets -- all have tried to determine what takes place when one person sets out to persuade another by the use of symbols, and in particular by means of rational aesthetic and emotional appeals. The tradition of their thought on the subject makes up the discipline known as "rhetoric," a discipline dating back more than 2,000 years, and a topic of study currently undergoing an important renaissance. Prerequisites: COMM 101, 160, 260, and 280. Four Credits - Herrick - Spring Semester

470. Cultural Communication Theory - This seminar examines theories of how power is expressed symbolically and embedded in cultural texts. Students will develop skills in the interpretation and analysis of cultural meaning. Prerequisites: Communication 101, 160, 260, and 280. Four Credits - Fall Semester

480. Communication Honors Course
The Communication Honors Course is designed to give advanced students an opportunity to explore an area of communication studies in more depth, to gain research experience, and to explore and prepare for possible graduate study. The Honors Course provides an opportunity to engage in a discussion seminar with a small group of students to address a particular communication topic in depth. The Honors Course topic will change each fall. Honors students, as part of this course, will develop an individual research project and submit an abstract of their project to the National Conference for Undergraduate Research or similar undergraduate research venue. Prerequisites: Declared communication major; Communication 160, 260; Junior or Senior status as of fall semester for which you are applying; Major GPA of 3.5 or above; Submission of application by deadline. NOTE: This course does not fulfill the 400-level major requirement. Four Credits - Fall Semester