Communication and Media Studies 613

COMS 613: Applied Political Communication and Public Policy

Credit hours (3)

This course will address the contemporary theories and practices of political communication. Topics to be discussed in this course will include the structure and function of political messages, the strategic dissemination of political messages and the effects of those messages on corporate, social, professional and cultural institutions. Additionally, this course will provide an extensive overview of how the political climate influences the creation of public policy. 

Detailed Description of Course

Major topics discussed in this course will include:
    1) The role of communication in representative government
    2) Influential theories of political communication and how various theoretical traditions have shaped the study of political communication
    3) Major genres of political communication, such as advertising, debates, speeches, social media, and direct mail
    4) How campaigns strategically use communication to win elections
    5) The role of news and entertainment media in politics
    6) How political communication functions at various levels, including interpersonal, public, and media communication
    7) How communication shapes public policy   

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Instructional strategies for this course will typically include the following:
    1) A mix of traditional lecture-based format and student-led seminars related to the course material.  
    2) Class discussions focused on the critical analysis of political communication theories and research
    3) Guest speaker discussion aimed at informing students about political communication strategies currently being used by professionals.

Goals and Objectives of the Course

At the end of this course, students should be able to:
    1) Identify the major types of political communication
    2) Explain the role served by each type of political communication in the political process
    3) Evaluate the effectiveness of specific communication strategies used in political campaigns
    4) Apply communication theories to political contexts
    5) Understand the effects of political communication on individuals and society
    6) Understand the relationship between political communication and public policy

Assessment Measures

Student learning outcomes will be assessed through a variety of methodologies, some of which may include:
    1) Written course assignments related to course content, research articles, and guest speakers
    2) Regular in-class examinations (using both essay and objective formats)
    3) Participation in class discussions
    4) A major research project applying political communication theories and research to a specific problem or context.

Other Course Information


Review and Approval

March 14, 2016