Courses in Communication Studies (Division 352)

101. The Mass Media. (4). (SS).

This course is designed to provide an introductory overview of contemporary mass media systems and an examination of the various factors historical, economic, political, and cultural that have shaped their development. The course begins with a description of present print and electronic media and examines their evolution. Attention is given throughout to the legal and ethical implications of mass communication systems and to comparisons between American media systems and those elsewhere in the world. Finally, it considers the probable future course of the media and examines possible alternatives. Cost:2 WL:1 (McLaughlin)

102. Media Processes and Effects. (4). (SS).

This course introduces students to the contemporary research on mass communication processes and effects. Basic processes involved in the production, dissemination, reception, and impact of media messages are examined. The course investigates a variety of effects on individuals' knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors, as well as influences on the functioning of larger social systems. It proceeds in general from investigations of individual-level to societal-level impact. Critical reading and evaluation of research on media processes and effects, and of its application to social policy debates, is encouraged and developed. Cost:2 WL:1 (Oshagan)

111. Workshop on Managing the Information Environment. (1). (Excl).

Hands-on workshop intended to develop student mastery of the rapidly developing and expanding electronic information environment. Skills developed include the use of electronic communication systems, data base searching, word processing, data management, and various research uses of computer networks. The course introduces students to a range of campus computing resources, including local area networks and available software, and remote access to the Internet. Problem-solving assignments are designed to teach concepts in data management and strategies for finding information and evaluating its validity and utility. Cost:2 WL:1 (Phillips)

211(206). Evaluating Information. Comm. Studies 111. (4). (SS). (QR/1).

This course teaches the fundamental thinking skills necessary for critical evaluation of research-based arguments, especially those based on quantitative information. Such skills are required for one to be a competent mass communicator of information, a critical consumer of information relayed by the mass media, or an intelligent scholar of media processes and effects. The course introduces generic logical and statistical concepts through analysis and discussion of specific cases drawn from research reported in the mass media (e.g., health and business news, public opinion polls), research on the media (e.g., the impact of media violence), and research for the media (e.g., audience research). Students logical and quantitative reasoning skills are improved through a variety of "hands-on" exercises and projects (many involving computerized spreadsheet programs). The course is introductory in nature, and no prior statistical expertise is required. Cost:2 WL:1 (Traugott)

321(450). Undergraduate Internship. Junior standing, concentration in Communication Studies, and permission of instructor. (2). (Excl). Offered mandatory credit/no credit. May not be used to satisfy communication electives in a communication concentration plan. No more than eight credits combined of Comm. Studies 321 and 322 may be elected. (EXPERIENTIAL). May be elected for a total of six credits.

The internship is designed to provide Communication Studies concentrators limited credit for appropriate practical work experience. Time requirement for a 2-credit internship is approximately 12-15 hours per week for a 14-week term. Student evaluation is based on satisfactory completion of the internship and written recommendation of the internship sponsor. Internship credit is not retroactive and must be pre-arranged. Registration is by permission of instructor only. Cost:1 WL:3 (Craig)

322. Practicum. Permission of department. Practicum credit is not retroactive and must be prearranged. No more than eight credits combined of Comm. Studies 321 and 322 may be elected. (2). (Excl). Offered mandatory credit/no credit. May not be used to satisfy communication electives in a communication concentration plan. No more than eight credits combined of Comm. Studies 321 and 322 may be elected. (EXPERIENTIAL). May be elected for a total of six credits.

The practicum is designed to provided Communication Studies concentrators limited credit for appropriate practical experience gained in other than an employment setting. Time requirement for a 2-credit practicum is approximately 12-15 hours per week for a 14-week term. Student evaluation is based on satisfactory completion of an analytical evaluation (e.g., research-based paper) of the experience, under direction of the practicum supervisor. Practicum credit is not retroactive and must be pre-arranged. Registration is permitted only with approved faculty supervision. Cost:1 WL:3 (Craig)

351. Structure and Function of Media Systems. Comm. Studies 101 or 102 strongly recommended. (4). (SS).

Examines research and scholarship focused on existing media institutions, their genesis and current lines of development, institutional arrangements, organization and operation, economic structure, and characteristic communications "output." Course topics may include: the history of media systems; media and government, including legal, regulatory and free-expression issues; media economics; international media systems; technologies; media organizational routines; and the values and behavior of media professionals. The course investigates the ways in which institutional, economic, and organizational arrangements affect professional behavior and media content, with attention to media system changes over time and in comparative contexts. Cost:2 WL:1 (Stevens)

361. Processes of Mediated Communication. Comm. Studies 101 or 102 strongly recommended. (4). (SS).

This course examines general phenomena involved with the creation, dissemination, and reception of mediated information. Course topics may include: information processing, including message encoding and decoding; media priming and framing of evaluations and decisions; influences of message structure and communication modalities on processing; media use and reception, including interpretive processes; information flow and control, focusing on influences of communication networks, message diffusion, and information gatekeeping; and communicative processes of learning, persuasion and social influence. The emphasis is on the development and testing of general theories explaining how mediated communication works, even though research examined will center on particular cases (e.g., studies of priming in political communication). Cost:3 WL:1 (Price)

371. Media, Culture, and Society. Comm. Studies 101 or 102 strongly recommended. (4). (SS).

This course focuses on the historical origins and evolution of the relationships between the mass media, cultural practices and values, and society. We will read a range of work by media historians and critics who have sought to analyze and explain how media imagery and messages shape our "common sense" notions about identification and behavior, including one's sense of self, attitudes towards success and happiness, gender identification, racial stereotypes, and youth culture. We will review different theoretical conceptions of the audience and of the powers of the mass media. We will consider the debates over whether mass culture has been a negative or positive influence in American culture. Examples of the mass media that we will study include advertising, the news, television programming, and popular music. Our goal is to provide you with a sense of the history of the mass media in America, and to provide you with the critical tools and language to deconstruct their assumptions and techniques. Cost:2 WL:1 (Douglas)

381. Media Impact on Knowledge, Values, and Behavior. Comm. Studies 101 or 102 strongly recommended. (4). (SS).

This course critically evaluates research and scholarship focused on the impact of mass communication in a variety of substantive domains. Media impact is treated both in theoretical and applied terms. The research examined spans levels of analysis, including effects on individuals as well as society at large. Topics to be covered include media impact on: social values; educational development; political behavior; violence and aggressive behavior; consumer behavior; and public opinion. Research on the use of mass communication in public information campaigns is also reviewed, as is the role of media research in providing guidance for social policy makers and media professionals. Cost:2 WL:1 (Salomonson)

451. Media Professionals. Comm. Studies 351 or 371 strongly recommended. (3). (Excl).

This course reviews the literature dealing with the institutional, structural, and individual factors affecting the conduct of media professionals. The impact of media workers' behavior on message construction is given special attention. Topics include: newsroom socialization; organizational structure of the media; and the professionalization of mass communicator roles. The course also examines professional standards of performance and ethical and legal codes of conduct for journalists and other media professionals. Cost:2 WL:1 (Craig)

453(400). The Media in American History. Comm. Studies 351 or 371 strongly recommended. (3). (SS).

This course places the development of American mass media in historical perspective. It surveys the evolution of the mass media from colonial times to the present, focusing on the development of contemporary forms: the newspaper, magazine, broadcasting, and motion picture. Changes in the structure of the media are examined in connection with historical and economic trends in American society. While there are no specific prerequisites, a general grounding in American history is recommended. Cost:2 WL:1 (Stevens)

454(404). Media Economics. Comm. Studies 351 or 371 strongly recommended. (3). (Excl).

This course examines economic theory and its applications to media systems. It focuses on problems in the economics of the information industry, including market structure, concentration of ownership, pricing policies, and economic performance. Special attention is given to the interaction of economic conditions, media practices, and the development of media technologies. Topics will include the globalization of economic and media systems, media convergence, information as an economic good, and the domestication of information work. Cost:2 WL:1 (Phillips)

459. Seminar in Media Systems. Comm. Studies 351 or 371 strongly recommended. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of 6 credits.
Section 001 Interest Groups, Social Action, and the Mass Media.
Politics today, both at the level of individual policy debates and at the level of broad social movements, is in large part a product of two powerful trends which began in the 1960s: the enormous rise in the number and activity of public interest groups working to affect public attitudes and public policy; and the tremendous increase in the power and reach of the mass media and other means of communication. These trends, we will discover, are intimately related. To understand how groups like the Sierra Club, the NRA, the Christian Coalition, or even the AFL-CIO operate, how they influence politics and policy, and what they mean for American democracy, we must understand how they relate to the mass media. This course will begin with a discussion about the role of interest groups in American politics, then examine how news organizations cover interest group activities, how groups attempt to use the media to their own advantage, and how successful interest group media strategies have been in the recent past by looking at case studies ranging from the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s to the failed Clinton health care plan of the 1990s. Cost:2 WL:1 (Thrall)

462. Social Influence and Persuasion. Comm. Studies 361 or 381 strongly recommended. Students who have taken Communication 310 in a previous term should not enroll in this course. (4). (Excl).

This course examines the capability of the mass media to persuade, and the basic processes involved. Both cognitive and social-psychological theories of influence are examined in detail, and in connection with a variety of persuasive phenomena, including advertising, media campaigns, and propaganda. Conditions that facilitate or impede the persuasive influence of media messages are investigated, as are the ethical implications of employing the mass media to influence audiences. Students who have taken Communication 310 in a previous term should not enroll in this course. Cost:2 WL:1 (Allen)

471. Gender Issues in the Media. Comm. Studies 351 or 371 strongly recommended. (3). (Excl).

This course examines a variety of important connections between gender and mass communication, including the role of the media in shaping notions of gender in society. The course explores the representation of women in the mass media, and critically analyzes the historical roles of women as media images, producers, and audiences. Feminist theories and their applications to the study of media are examined in detail. The male and female "image" in popular media is studied in its social and historical context, along with broader explorations of the social construction of masculinity and femininity and their relationships to class, race, and status in society. Cost:2 WL:1 (McLaughlin)

481. Media and Violence. Comm. Studies 351 or 371 strongly recommended. (3). (Excl).

This course examines the theoretical and empirical connections between mass communication and human aggression. The course is designed to explore in-depth the literature on the prevalence of violent themes in television, film, and other popular media, and to investigate the psychological and social mechanisms through which media portrayals might influence attitudes and behavior. The main focus is on media and violence in contemporary American culture, but cross-national comparisons and historical trends are examined as well. Critical attention is given to the linkages between the research literature and issues of media policy. Cost:2 WL:1 (Huesmann)

482. Children and the Media. Comm. Studies 361 or 381 strongly recommended. (3). (Excl).

This course examines the influences of the mass media on children in American society. The course is designed to explore in-depth the literature on media effects, emphasizing the interaction of mass media, psychological development, and social behavior. The focus is interdisciplinary. Course readings examine both methodological and theoretical issues, drawing from work in communication, psychology, human development, and public policy. Cost:2 WL:1 (Salomonson)

484(420)/Pol. Sci. 420. Mass Media and Political Behavior. Comm. Studies 361 or 381 strongly recommended. (4). (Excl).

The road to the White House runs through the newsrooms. The central proposition of this course is that the mass media have become an increasingly critical element of modern presidential elections. Accordingly, understanding how news coverage of the campaign is generated, how candidates try to shape that news, the use and impact of political advertisements, and how campaign information reaches and influences the voting public is essential to a complete picture of modern presidential elections. This course aims to give students an appreciation of the dynamics of the mass media election, how it is waged by journalists and politicians, its effects on the public, and its consequences for American democracy. Campaign 96 will provide the real-world backdrop for each of the central issues discussed during the term. Cost:2 WL:1 (Thrall)

485(463)/Soc. 463. Mass Communication and Public Opinion. Comm. Studies 351 or 371 strongly recommended. (3). (SS).

This course explores enduring research questions concerning mass communication and public opinion. Important normative and conceptual issues (e.g., the role of the press in a democratic society; the susceptibility of citizens to media influence; the differentiation of mass, crowd, and public; the relationship of attitudes to opinions) are first identified and examined by reviewing writings in social philosophy and social science. These issues are then investigated further through a review of relevant research in sociology, political science, social psychology, and mass communication. Emphasis is given to recent research dealing with the impact of the media on public opinion. Cost:2 WL:1 (Craig)

489. Seminar in Media Effects. Comm. Studies 361 or 381 strongly recommended. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of 6 credits.
Section 001 Societal Effects of Mass Media.
The purpose of this course is to investigate and develop the macrosocial perspectives on communication processes. The social system is the context which both shapes and is affected by the mass media, and a more complete understanding of communication effects needs to be aware of explanation at extra-individual levels. The first part of the course will be an overview of the fundamentals, the problems, and the tools of social science, as well as the domain of the macrosocial. This will be invaluable later in the course when we have to grapple with the evaluation of macrosocial theories. We will then examine areas of mass communication research that may further our understanding of how media and society interact. The course will end with an effort to summarize a more coherent systemic view. Students who have taken Communication 552 in a previous term should not enroll in this course. Cost:2 WL:1 (Oshagan)


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