2011-2012 Academic Catalog 
    Sep 19, 2019  
2011-2012 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Communication and Culture Major


Undergraduate Program

The communication and culture major is designed to engage students in focused inquiry into the cultural foundations of communication in its various forms. As a liberal-arts major, the program of study emphasizes the development of a conceptual framework for understanding the role of communication in both transmitting and creating culture through practices of verbal and nonverbal communication. Through an interdisciplinary approach involving faculty from different fields of expertise in the humanities and social sciences, students study media, discourse, and global influences and developments in communication. The curriculum covers historical and current topics, and the range of communicative forms considered includes visual and graphic images, everyday discourse, literary works, journalistic writing, music and material productions. Although not a production-oriented or preprofessional major, students have opportunities for practicum and internship learning. The faculty is committed to providing the type of sound critical and conceptual grasp of communication that is essential for intelligent participation and leadership in the various fields of communication.

For details regarding the major, students should consult the Majors’ Handbook, which is available online, in the Communication and Culture Program Office, and at the Academic Advising Center.

The major is organized into three paths of emphasis: (1) media dimensions, (2) discourse dimensions and (3) global dimensions, which includes courses in both media and discourse studies that emphasize some aspect of global communication. Most courses are cross-referenced with the departments in which they originate.


Program Requirements

Requirements for the Major (11 course units minimum)

Each student selects, in consultation with her or his adviser, a path of emphasis from the three available options. Within that path, students concentrate their elective courses and build further specialization through choices of advanced seminars and internships. No exceptions will be made to the structure listed below.

2. Elective Path of Emphasis Course

Seven elective courses, 7 units (additional courses may be taken)

  • 4-5 courses must be in path of emphasis
  • 2-3 courses must be outside path of emphasis (2 in path of emphasis)
  • Minimum of 3 courses must be at the 200 level

Optional: Maximum of 2 practicum courses, which must be in an approved sequence.  These will be counted as 2 of the 7 courses.

3. One Integrative Seminar (200 level), 1 unit

 Students must complete an Integrative Seminar before taking the senior capstone.

4. Approved internship or project, 1-2 units

5. Senior Capstone

One of the Following:

  • Senior Capstone Seminar or Project in path of emphasis, 1-2 units
  • Students must complete an integrated seminar before taking a senior capstone
  • Course prerequisites are listed for specific courses; students should consult semester schedules carefully to determine prerequisites.

Students must earn a grade of C or better in all courses contributing to the major program of study.

For more information about the communication and culture major, call 508-793-7180.


PATH 1: Media Dimensions

Electives in Media Dimensions:

PATH 2: Discourse Dimensions

Electives in Discourse Dimensions:

PATH 3: Global Dimensions

Electives in Global Dimensions:

Integrative Seminars

Integrative seminars are courses at the 200 level that treat a particular topic through different disciplinary perspectives or that bring together two or more topics from different domains of communication and cultural analysis. These seminars are listed separately below. At least one integrative seminar is offered each semester and new topics may be added. Interested students may petition the director of the program to substitute a second integrative seminar for an elective course.

Senior Capstone

The senior capstone in communication and culture requires that each student participate in original research or creative activity or produce an individual project related to some aspect of his or her path emphasis. At the end of the junior year, majors receive information about options available for the senior capstone. Based on this information, each student selects one of the senior capstone seminars, proposes an independent study project or, if qualified, proposes an honors thesis project. All projects and theses must be supervised by a member of the communication and culture faculty. For honors theses, a second faculty member, who will serve as an evaluator, is selected through a consultation process between the student and his or her thesis adviser. Information regarding honors theses, which are yearlong projects, is contained in the Majors’ Handbook.

Courses that have been offered as senior capstone seminars are listed below. New courses are added from time to time. Note that a student who takes a designated capstone seminar earlier than the senior year may count this course toward major elective requirements but may not use the course to fulfill the capstone requirement.