Major in Communication & Theatre!

Communication

The Communication Program at PLU believes a solid foundation of communication theory is crucial to adapt to constantly changing media. The program focuses on developing marketable skills and knowledge domains; necessities of professional communicators. Communication offers major concentrations in:

  • Communication Studies
  • Conflict & Peacebuilding
  • Media, Mass Communication & Journalism
  • Strategic Communication

For curriculum information for the above degrees please click here. For general advising and academic pathway click here.

Course Listing

COMA 101: Introduction to Communication

Introduces the study of human communication. Students will learn and apply a wide array of analytical theory and techniques across diverse human experiences from interpersonal to public communication and mass communication contexts to become more aware and effective communicators. (4)

COMA 120: Introduction to Media Studies - AR

This course combines the study of visual media theories and analysis with the processes of actual media production. Initially, the class examines contemporary and classical genres of creative media, such as television, narrative and non-narrative film, advertising, PR, marketing and promotional campaigns to explore meanings, values and the ways in which media have become major parts of human existence, experience and expression globally. Reflecting ongoing developments in media, the course also provides an overview of the languages of creative media, exploring topics such as: fundamentals of scriptwriting, cinematography, editing, the soundtrack, directors, and the numerous and varied tasks involved with production, all culminating in student-generated creative works. (4)

COMA 190: FYEP190: Inquiry Seminar

A four-credit seminar to introduce students to the methods and topics of study within a particular academic discipline or field. Students practice the academic skills that are at the center of the General Education Program. (4)

COMA 211: Debate

This course introduces the practice of academic and political debate. It introduces principles and theories of argument. Students will have opportunities for in-class and public debates. May be repeated for credit. (2)

COMA 212: Public Speaking

Introduces the basic techniques of public speaking. Students complete several speeches and learn the basic skills of speechmaking, including topic selections, research, organization, audience analysis, and delivery. Required of all Design/Tech majors. (2)

COMA 214: Group Communication

Studies how people interact in groups. Introduces theoretical constructs regarding the role of groups in organizational and social settings. Provides experience in analyzing and improving group performance and interaction. (2)

COMA 215: Writing in Communication Careers

Introduces students to the fundamental standards and expectations in communication writing. Includes styles and formats routinely used in both academic and professional communication writing and research. Also includes writing for multiple audiences. Reviews basic grammar, sentence and paragraph structures. This course will conclude with an EXIT EXAM (grammar/syntax/clarity) that must be passed to proceed to any major/concentration in the department. (4)

COMA 242: Mediation

This course focuses on the formal process of mediation. Students learn the concepts, principles, and practices of mediation, and engage in mediation activities so as to learn the key skills. (4)

COMA 287: Special Topics in Communication

To provide undergraduate students with new, one-time, and developing courses not yet available in the regular curriculum. The title will be listed on the student term-based record as ST: followed by the specific title designated by the academic unit. (1 to 4)

COMA 288: Special Topics in Communication

To provide undergraduate students with new, one-time, and developing courses not yet available in the regular curriculum. The title will be listed on the student term-based record as ST: followed by the specific title designated by the academic unit. (1 to 4)

COMA 289: Special Topics in Communication

To provide undergraduate students with new, one-time, and developing courses not yet available in the regular curriculum. The title will be listed on the student term-based record as ST: followed by the specific title designated by the academic unit. (1 to 4)

COMA 301: Media and Cultural Criticism

This course examines the role of media in producing systems of meanings and artifacts that shape popular culture and ideology. Students learn to use critical perspectives as lenses for studying texts of popular culture and for writing cultural criticism for popular and specialized audiences. (4)

COMA 303: Gender and Communication - A

This course examines the relationship between gender and communication in human interaction and media representations. Comparison and contrast of male and female communication styles, language usage and speech practices. Role of media in shaping gender ideals and possibilities. Prerequisites: COMA 101 or consent of instructor. (4)

COMA 304: Intercultural Communication - C

Studies the nature of communication among people of diverse cultures. The course examines contemporary theory and research and examines a variety of cultural variables including: cultural backgrounds, perception, social organization, language, and nonverbal aspects of messages. Prerequisites: COMA 101 or consent of instructor. (4)

COMA 305: Argumentation and Advocacy

Studies how people use reason giving in social decision-making. Analysis of genres, forms, and techniques of arguers. Focus is on methods of creating, understanding, and criticizing arguments. (4)

COMA 306: Persuasion

The study of persuasion as a means of personal and social influence through rhetoric. Examines both rhetorical and social scientific traditions of study, ethical and social implications of contemporary persuasion in political, commercial, and other contexts. Opportunity for original research projects. Prerequisites: COMA 101, 120, or consent of instructor. (4)

COMA 313: Dialogue

Explores the process of using dialog as a way of facilitating conflict resolution. Focus is on creating supportive communication climates and methods for listening. Prerequisites: COMA 101, 212, or consent of instructor (2)

COMA 315: Facilitation

This course teaches students how to effectively facilitate meetings, workshops and residential gatherings. Students learn the communication theories, concepts, principles and practices necessary to effective facilitation. Students will learn facilitation styles, formats, and designs. (4)

COMA 340: Conflict and Communication

Studies the role of communication in the development and management of human and global conflict. Research and theories of prominent conflict and peace scholars along with significant case studies are used to analyze and understand sources of conflict and methods for building peace. Prerequisite: COMA 101 or consent of instructor. (4)

COMA 341: Journalism and Conflict

Surveys the theories, practices and ethical considerations for reporting on conflicts throughout the world. Conflict-sensitive (sometimes called Peace Journalism) journalism is an alternative journalistic paradigm which seeks to enhance public understanding of conflicts by broadening the coverage of conflict from a war journalism model which emphasizes the roles of governmental decision-makers, and battle-related news reporting to a conflict-sensitive model which emphasizes understanding the roots of conflict; the perspectives of all sides in the dispute; and the need for on-going coverage after the cessation of hostilities. (4)

COMA 342: Applied Research

An investigation of research methods critical to professional and academic communication. Key methods and constructs include informational interviewing, database search, survey and focus group design and administration, and basic data analysis. Prerequisite: COMA 215 or consent of instructor. (4)

COMA 343: Multimedia Writing and Reporting

Introduces students to various professional methods of writing across multimedia platforms. Students will engage in research, organization and presentation of non-fiction multimedia stories. In addition, students will learn to evaluate various multimedia products. Prerequisite: COMA 215 or consent of instructor. (4)

COMA 344: Multimedia Production

Course incorporates contemporary methods, styles and formats used in production and editing for multimedia products. Students will oversee development and design of non-fiction multimedia presentations while adhering to professional standards of media structure. Prerequisite: COMA 101, 215 or consent of instructor. (4)

COMA 360: Public Relations Writing

Introduces principles and processes involved in writing for an organization's diverse publics. Integrates persuasive techniques and communication theory with writing and production practice. Prerequisites: COMA 101, 212, 215, or consent of instructor. (4)

COMA 361: Public Relations: Principles and Practices

Introduces the theories, methods, and practice of public relations. Emphasizes technical and analytical skills. Prerequisites: COMA 101, 212, 215, or consent of instructor. (4)

COMA 362: Principles of Advertising

Introduces advertising theories and principles. Focuses on case studies and skills required in advertising practice. Prerequisites: COMA 101, 212, 215 or consent of instructor (4)

COMA 387: Topics in Communication

Special topics in communication s intended for unique opportunities to explore communication issues, methods, and viewpoints outside the normal curriculum. (1 to 4)

COMA 388: Topics in Communication

Special topics in communication is intended for unique opportunities to explore communication issues, methods, and viewpoints outside the normal curriculum. (1 to 4)

COMA 389: Topics in Communication

Special topics in communication is intended for unique opportunities to explore communication issues, methods, and viewpoints outside the normal curriculum (1 to 4)

COMA 391: Communication Study Away

Exploration of communication systems and environments beyond the university in international cultural contexts. (1 to 4)

COMA 392: Communication Abroad

Exploration of communication systems and environments beyond the university in international cultural contexts. (1 ro 4)

COMA 393: Communication Study Away

Exploration of communication systems and environments beyond the university in international cultural contexts. (1 to 4)

COMA 399: Career Exploration

Introduces students through the process of educational planning. Focus is on internship preparedness and initial development of portfolio or other capstone projects. (2)

COMA 401: Contemporary Issues in Media and Visual Culture

Examines the central role of visual representation in contemporary culture and the ways in which we use, understand and are used by images. Emphasis on photography, film, television, new media, and commemorative art and architecture in the realms of advertising, politics, news, public advocacy and popular culture. Students will conduct research projects that analyze elements of visual culture. Prerequisites: COMA 101, 212, 215, or consent of instruction. (4)

COMA 421: Media and Communication Law

Focuses on the principles of communication law and its application to various communication practices. Examines court cases, federal and state statutes, and First Amendment theories. Prerequisites: COMA 101, 120, 212, 215, or consent of instructor. (4)

COMA 426: Application Seminar: MediaLab

Students engage in all aspects of multimedia productions for various student media outlets. Professional standards of production and ethics will be used to evaluate all productions. May be repeated for credit. (0 to 4)

COMA 429: Student Media Participation, Leadership, and Management

This course offers students who participate in student media outlets vast opportunities to rigorously reflect on their collective and individual projects. Each student will develop her/his own list of student media products and design deadlines and outcomes for her/his work. Students will routinely discuss the ethical and production issues involved in student media productions. Any student participating in student media is welcome to take this course. May be repeated for credit. (0 to 4)

COMA 431: Application Seminar: Advanced Forensics

Students produce multimedia projects for various student media outlets. Professional standards of production and ethics will be used to evaluate all productions. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisites: COMA 211, 212, or consent of instructor. (1 to 4)

COMA 441: Approaches to Peacebuilding

This course focuses on communication theory central to conflict and peacebuilding. The course presents various case studies of conflict from domestic to global and what peacebuilding entails in those cases. Importantly, the course distinguishes Peacemaking (political agreements) from Peacebuilding (citizen, municipal, NGO efforts). This course focuses on, analyzes, and develops approaches for conflict and peacebuilding in interpersonal, community, and global contexts. Prerequisite: COMA 340 or consent of instructor. (4)

COMA 461: Strategic Communication Campaigns

Examination of issues such as campaign planning, issue management, crisis communication, global public relations, grassroots mobilization, message strategy, and design. Integrates theoretical foundations and ethics. Focus on measurement and evaluation techniques. Prerequisite: COMA 361. (4)

COMA 487: Topics in Communication

Special topics in communication is intended for unique opportunities to explore communication issues, methods, and viewpoints outside the normal curriculum. (1 to 4)

COMA 488: Topics in Communication

Special topics in communication is intended for unique opportunities to explore communication issues, methods, and viewpoints outside the normal curriculum. (1 to 4)

COMA 489: Topics in Communication

Special topics in communication is intended for unique opportunities to explore communication issues, methods, and viewpoints outside the normal curriculum. (1 to 4)

COMA 491: Independent Studies

Investigations or research in area of special interest not covered by regular courses; open to qualified junior or senior students. A student should not begin registration for independent study until the specific area for investigation has been approved by a departmental sponsor. May be repeated for credit. (1 to 4)

COMA 495: Required Internship

Fulfills the internship requirement for Communication majors with concentrations in Media, Mass Communication, and Journalism, Strategic Communications, and Conflict Peacebuilding. The course meets formally to combine communication theory, career development skills and practical application through job-related experiences. Prerequisite: COMA 399. (2 to 12)

COMA 496: Supplemental Internship

This is for students pursuing additional internships beyond the COMA 495 internship requirement for receiving a B.A.C. degree. This course has a curriculum and requires independent meetings with the faculty internship advisor. Prerequisite: COMA 399. (1 to 12)

COMA 499: Capstone - SR

The capstone focuses on integrating student-learning objectives with student experience through development and presentation of portfolio or projects. Students will make a public presentation of their capstone. Prerequisite: COMA 399. (2)

COMA 591: Independent Study

To provide individual graduate students graduate-level study not available in the regular curriculum. The title will be listed on the student term-based record as IS: followed by the specific title designated by the student. (1 to 4)

Theatre

The Theatre Program prides itself in its intimate and challenging curriculum. The program strives to train students in all aspects of theatre art – from acting and directing to technical theatre and design. Theatre offers major concentrations in:

  • BA or BFA Acting & Directing
  • BA or BFA Stage Design & Technology

For general advising and curriculum information for the above degrees please click here.

THEA 160: Introduction to Theatre - AR

This introductory course to theatre surveys the general nature of dramatic presentation; including elements of dramatic structure, types of drama, and the contributions of the actor, director, designer, technician, and audience. (4)

THEA 190: FYEP190: Inquiry Seminar

A four-credit seminar to introduce students to the methods and topics of study within a particular academic discipline or field. Students practice the academic skills that are at the center of the General Education Program. (4)

THEA 215: Voice and Movement I - AR

This course introduces Fitzmaurice Voicework, which is a combination of modified yoga, Shiatsu, and Reichian bodywork combined with classical voice training techniques, to promote awareness of an actor's voice and body. Material is explored through partnered work, observation, and discussion. (4)

THEA 225: Theatre Practicum

One semester hour credit may be earned each semester, but only 4 semester hours may be used to meet university requirements. Students put classroom theory to practical application by individually completing a project relating to an aspect of theatre. An instructor in the area of interest must approve the project and agree to provide guidance. Required of all Design/Tech Majors. (1)

THEA 250: Acting I - Fundamentals AR

This is an introductory course to acting. Students perform several scenes and monologues and learn the basic skills of scene selection, memorization, imagination, character, presentation, and delivery. (4)

THEA 255: Theatrical Production - AR

Basic theory and procedure of all backstage elements in the theatre, costumes, scenery, props, lights, makeup, and management. (4)

THEA 260: Stagecraft - AR

This course will be a combination of lecture and hands on experience in the execution of scenic designs for the stage. It will provide students with instruction on safety procedures, construction techniques and materials, theatrical rigging, welding, and organizational planning of theatrical production. (4)

THEA 265: Fundamentals of Design - AR

This course introduces the basic skills needed for scenic, lighting, and costume design. Students will learn to apply the elements of design and composition to exercises in research, hand drafting, renderings, and model building, for the express purpose of communication and collaboration. (4)

THEA 271: China Through Film - AR, C

An exploration of the history and recent directions of Chinese cinema, the relationship between film and other Chinese media, film and the Chinese government, and the particular appeal of Chinese film on the international market. No prior study of Chinese required. Cross-listed with CHIN 271. (4)

THEA 275: Scenic Painting

Students will learn the color theory and techniques used for painting scenery in theatrical applications. (2)

THEA 280: Computer-Aided Drafting

Introduces the use of Vectorworks to create light plots or scenic draftings for theatrical applications. Prerequisite: THEA 265. (2)

THEA 287: Special Topics in Theatre

To provide undergraduate students with new, one-time, and developing courses not yet available in the regular curriculum. The title will be listed on the student term-based record as ST: followed by the specific title designated by the academic unit. (1 to 4)

THEA 288: Special Topics in Theatre

To provide undergraduate students with new, one-time, and developing courses not yet available in the regular curriculum. The title will be listed on the student term-based record as ST: followed by the specific title designated by the academic unit. (1 to 4)

THEA 289: Special Topics in Theatre

To provide undergraduate students with new, one-time, and developing courses not yet available in the regular curriculum. The title will be listed on the student term-based record as ST: followed by the specific title designated by the academic unit. (1 to 4)

THEA 290: Stage Management

Introduces the study and practice of stage management with an emphasis on understanding the basic functions of the stage manager in the theatrical production phase. (2)

THEA 315: Voice and Movement II

Builds on the basics of Voice and Movement I, as new methods of voice and movement are explored for creative inspiration and character development. Aspects of speech and text are an integral part of the course, as the student studies the International Phonetic Alphabet. Prerequisites: THEA 215. (4)

THEA 320: Makeup I

This course will familiarize the student with the basic techniques in theatrical makeup application. (2)

THEA 321: Makeup II

Builds on techniques introduced in Makeup I. Specialized work in planning and application of techniques, from straight makeup through aging, three-dimensional and special effects. Prerequisite: THEA 320. (2)

THEA 330: Script Analysis

Students engage in intensive discussion of the major theories of drama and apply those theories to the analysis of selected plays and productions from a number of historical periods. (4)

THEA 346: The Audition

Teaches audition techniques necessary to successful auditions for work in professional theatre productions. Audition material, techniques and research into challenges and opportunities in a professional career in the theatre and related fields are studied. (2)

THEA 350: Acting II - Scene Study

The students gain practical experience in the art of the actor through performance of partnered scenes from modern and contemporary theatre. This course focuses on the importance of analysis and the examination of current acting theory. Prerequisite: THEA 250 or consent of instructor. (4)

THEA 355: Lighting Design - AR

Examines the controllable properties of light and to apply them to the functions of theatrical lighting. Students will learn to express their ideas through research, critical analysis, presentation, and practical lab exercises. (4)

THEA 360: Theatre History I - AR

This course surveys the history of theatre from its origins through the end of the 18th century. Students will examine theatre as an institution that both reflects historical moments and participates in the forming of social values and ideas. (4)

THEA 365: Theatre History II - AR

This course surveys the history of theatre from the end of the 18th century through the present day. Students will examine theatre as an institution that both reflects historical moments and participates in the forming of social values and ideas. (4)

THEA 380: Directing I

Introduces the process of making choices about scripts, script analysis, casting, focus of scenes, and the mood, rhythm, pace and main idea of productions. This is a participatory course that includes readings, attendance at plays, exercise work, and scene direction. Prerequisite: THEA 250. (4)

THEA 387: Topics in Theatre

This course will be offered as needed, and it will allow the faculty and guest artists to explore areas of expertise and interest that are not normally taught as part of the curriculum. Concentrated study of a major theatrical period, movement, author, theme, genre, performance style, culture, or technology (2 to 4)

THEA 388: Special Topics in Theatre

To provide undergraduate students with new, one-time, and developing courses not yet available in the regular curriculum. The title will be listed on the student term-based record as ST: followed by the specific title designated by the academic unit. (1 to 4)

THEA 389: Special Topics in Theatre

To provide undergraduate students with new, one-time, and developing courses not yet available in the regular curriculum. The title will be listed on the student term-based record as ST: followed by the specific title designated by the academic unit. (1 to 4)

THEA 390: Visual History: Period Costume and Décor

Surveys the architecture, interiors, clothing, culture, and aesthetic of the western world from the Greek era to the present. Students will be able to identify period through exposure to art, historical documents, and popular perspectives. (4)

THEA 425: Theatre Practicum

One semester hour may be earned each semester, but only four semester hours may be used to meet university requirements. Students put classroom theory to practical application by individually completing a project relating to an aspect of theatre. An instructor in the area of interest must approve the project and agree to provide guidance. Required of all design/tech majors. (1)

THEA 450: Acting III - Shakespeare

This is an advanced course in acting designed to focus on language, interpretation, and enhancing audience appreciation and understanding. Advanced techniques in text analysis, focusing on scansion, the study of Shakespeare's folio, and in-depth scene study and performance. Prerequisites: THEA 220 and THEA 250, or consent of instructor. (4)

THEA 453: Costume Design - AR

Development of artistic and technical abilities in the field of costume design incorporating history, patterns, and renderings. (4)

THEA 455: Scenic Design - AR

Studies the process used by scenic designers to create a physical environment for the stage. Students will learn to analyze a theatrical text, formulate and express an approach through research, and execute their ideas through models and simple drafting. Prerequisite: THEA 265. (4)

THEA 480: Directing II

Builds on techniques learned in Directing I to develop stage productions. This includes interpreting text, analyzing premise, developing visual concepts, translating words and concepts into actions, and the process of communication between actors and designers. The course culminates in the direction of a one-act play. Prerequisite: THEA 370. (4)

THEA 487: Special Topics in Theatre

To provide undergraduate students with new, one-time, and developing courses not yet available in the regular curriculum. The title will be listed on the student term-based record as ST: followed by the specific title designated by the academic unit. (1 to 4)

THEA 488: Special Topics in Theatre

To provide undergraduate students with new, one-time, and developing courses not yet available in the regular curriculum. The title will be listed on the student term-based record as ST: followed by the specific title designated by the academic unit. (1 to 4)

THEA 489: Special Topics in Theatre

To provide undergraduate students with new, one-time, and developing courses not yet available in the regular curriculum. The title will be listed on the student term-based record as ST: followed by the specific title designated by the academic unit. (1 to 4)

THEA 491: Independent Studies

Investigations or research in area of special interest not covered by regular courses; open to qualified junior or senior students. Requires pre-registration approved by a departmental sponsor. (1 to 4)

THEA 496: Advanced Scenographic Design

Each student will assume the role of lighting, scenic, or costume designer and collaboratively work to develop a design concept for a theatrical work. The students will complete a design process with advanced renderings, models, drafting, paperwork, and documentation. Prerequisites: THEA 265, THEA 453, and either THEA 355 or 455. (4)

THEA 499: Capstone - SR

This will serve as the culminating project for the theatre major. With approval and guidance from the theatre faculty, the student will develop and execute a substantial individual project that will reflect both the academic and practical knowledge gained through the study of the art of theatre. (2)

Minors

Additionally, Communication and Theatre knowledge can be supportive and crucial to major areas of study. The department offers minors concentrations in:

  • Communication
  • Theatre
  • Dance Performance
  • Specialized Business Minor in Marketing for Communication and Theatre Majors