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Course Catalog

Communication and Theatre

Students in Communication and Theatre study the process by which messages are devised and disseminated. Attention is given to the various roles and stages in the communication process. The contexts of communication, including rhetoric, interpersonal communication, media, and theatre, are analyzed and distinguished. As a crossroads discipline, communication is studied from the humanities, artistic, and social science perspectives. The study of communication is built around a framework that allows for an understanding of theory, opportunity for criticism of messages and practice and research in the discipline. Students study a wide range of communication areas, including rhetoric, interpersonal communication, media and theatre. Communication students can apply their understanding of this vital process in a variety of fields, such as corporate communication, public relations, personnel, advertising, marketing, law, mass media, sales, public service and the performing arts. Most communication students participate in co-curricular activities, such as debate, theatre (DePauw Theatre) and student mass media (WGRE-FM radio and D3TV cable access television). Two majors and three minors are offered in Communication and Theatre.


Requirements for a major

Communication

Total courses required Nine
Core courses COMM 200
Other required courses

Students majoring in communication must take coursework in the three areas of the department (rhetoric and interpersonal communication, media studies and theatre).

To meet the theatre coursework requirement students must take one of the following: COMM 111, COMM 117, COMM 210, COMM 211, COMM 213, COMM 214, COMM 311, COMM 314, or COMM 315.

To meet the media studies coursework requirement students must take one of the following: COMM 233, COMM 235, COMM 237, or COMM 334.

To meet the rhetoric and interpersonal coursework requirement students must take one of the following: COMM 223, COMM 225, COMM 227, COMM 322, COMM 323, COMM 325, COMM 326, COMM 327 or COMM 328.

Substitution of a departmental topics course for one of these other required courses may be approved by the department chair.

Number 300 and 400 level courses Four
Senior requirement and capstone experience

The senior capstone experience in Communication and Theatre is where majors intentionally integrate, interpret, and create knowledge in their chosen area of focus through scholarly or artistic exploration and expression. This is both the challenge and the reward of their years spent in the intellectual life of the department and discipline. Capstone experiences also prepare students for the intellectual, ethical, interpersonal, and professional challenges that lie ahead after graduation, whether or not they go on to formal graduate study. These capstone experience options are described in detail below.

Most seniors will complete their capstone experience through a department Senior Seminar experience. In Communication and Theatre the Senior Seminar is the culmination of students' discipline-specific studies. The seminar challenges majors to integrate their learning in and understanding of the diverse sub-divisions of Communication and Theatre even as they may complete a very specialized and discrete thesis or artistic project. Seminar's ultimate goal is to challenge majors to produce a substantial scholarly or artistic work that reflects their learning in the major as supported by their broad liberal arts coursework.

Seniors who meet the stated academic eligibility requirements may apply for the opportunity to conduct a departmental or interdisciplinary independent senior capstone thesis or artistic project by contacting a department faculty member of their choice and completing the necessary application materials. Details of the requirements and proposal procedure and application forms are located on the Communication and Theatre Department website.

In preparation for these options, all students are required to take one of the following 300-level courses prior to enrolling in senior seminar: COMM 314 Theatrical Theory and Criticism, COMM 315 Topics in Theatre History and Criticism, COMM 322 Rhetorical Theory and Criticism, COMM 323 History of Public Discourse, COMM 326 Communication in Organizations, COMM 327 Communication and Cultural Identity, COMM 334 Media Criticism, COMM 335 Media Law, COMM 337 International Media, or COMM 350 Research Methods. Priority for placement in a fall seminar is determined in three ways: 1. Completion of all other required courses in the major; 2. Completion of at least two of the required 300 level courses with priority given to those students who've completed one of the required seminar preparation courses within the major; 3. The existing university registration sequence. Coursework completed in meeting the senior requirement can be applied toward meeting the 300-400 level course requirement.

Majors will fulfill this Senior Capstone requirement through the successful completion of a department Senior Seminar course or through an independent Senior Capstone Thesis or Artistic Project with a minimum grade of C- (1.67).

Recent changes in major Effective for Fall 2011, COMM 100, Foundations of Communication, was renumbered COMM 200. COMM 125, Interpersonal Communication, was renumbered COMM 225. COMM 100 and COMM 291, Communication Theory, will satisfy the core requirement for COMM 200. Many courses were added to those that satisfy the area requirements in the Communication major.The number of 300-400 level courses required was increased from 3 to 4.

Effective Fall 2013, the number of required 300 level or above courses to complete the major was increased from three to four. Provision was made for the opportunity to complete an Independent Senior Capstone Experience Thesis or Artistic Project. All majors are now required to take one of the specifically listed 300 level courses prior to registering for a Senior Seminar. The list of 300 level courses that count as one of the required courses majors must take prior to Senior Seminar has been increased. The minimum grade required for satisfactory completion of the Senior Seminar or an Independent Senior Capstone Experience Thesis or Artistic Project is now a C- (1.67).

Writing in the Major

The writing requirement for the majors in Communication and Theatre can be satisfied in the following courses offered in the major. All majors are required to take at least one of these courses.

  • COMM 213 Theatre History I
  • COMM 214 Theatre History II
  • COMM 225 Interpersonal Communication
  • COMM 227 Intercultural Communication
  • COMM 235 Electronic Journalism
  • COMM 237 Film and Culture
  • COMM 314 Theatrical Theory and Criticism
  • COMM 315 Topics in Theatre History and Criticism
  • COMM 322 Rhetorical Theory and Criticism
  • COMM 326 Organizational Communication
  • COMM 334 Media Criticism

Additionally, the following courses specifically include writing components designed as preparation for the kind of writing majors are expected to do in the senior capstone experience.

  • COMM 314 Theatrical Theory and Criticism
  • COMM 322 Rhetorical Theory and Criticism
  • COMM 334 Media Criticism
  • COMM 350 Research Methods

In each of these writing intensive courses in the major, students will participate in discussions about writing in the major and writing as a process. Students will also submit substantial written work for evaluation. These courses promote improvement in students' writing though a variety of methods including peer reviews, sequenced assignments, multiple drafts, and/or writing conferences. Students will be expected to revise written work in response to feedback received from peers and their instructor. The department strives to teach majors how to write as a media studies scholar, a rhetoric scholar, an interpersonal communication scholar, or a theatre scholar. Specific writing assignments will encourage students to develop their skills in summarizing, synthesis, analysis, criticism, and proper attribution of both primary and secondary sources.

Majors are required to pass at least one of the writing in the major courses with a grade of C (2.0) or above to fulfill the primary writing in the major requirement. Majors are also required to submit a substantial written project of original research or creative expression as part of their senior capstone experience to fulfill the remainder of the writing in the major requirement.

Theatre

Total courses required Nine
Core courses COMM 200, COMM 111 or 211, COMM 117, COMM 314, COMM 001 (0 credit)
Other required courses

One course in the rhetoric/interpersonal area from the following: COMM 223, COMM 225, COMM 227, COMM 322, COMM 323, COMM 325, COMM 326, COMM 327 or COMM 328.

One course in the media studies area: either COMM 233, COMM 235, COMM 237 or COMM 334.

One of the following two theatre history courses: COMM 213 or COMM 214

Two additional 300-level courses from the following: COMM 310, COMM 311, COMM 315, COMM 316, COMM 317, COMM 319 or a 300-level communication course or a 300-level course in a related department with permission of the department chair.

Number 300 and 400 level courses Four
Senior requirement and capstone experience

The senior capstone experience in Communication and Theatre is where majors intentionally integrate, interpret, and create knowledge in their chosen area of focus through scholarly or artistic exploration and expression. This is both the challenge and the reward of their years spent in the intellectual life of the department and discipline. Capstone experiences also prepare students for the intellectual, ethical, interpersonal, and professional challenges that lie ahead after graduation, whether or not they go on to formal graduate study. These capstone experience options are described in detail below.

Most seniors will complete their capstone experience through a department Senior Seminar experience. In Communication and Theatre the Senior Seminar is the culmination of students' discipline-specific studies. The seminar challenges majors to integrate their learning in and understanding of the diverse sub-divisions of Communication and Theatre even as they may complete a very specialized and discrete thesis or artistic project. Seminar's ultimate goal is to challenge majors to produce a substantial scholarly or artistic work that reflects their learning in the major as supported by their broad liberal arts coursework.

Seniors who meet the stated academic eligibility requirements may apply for the opportunity to conduct a departmental or interdisciplinary independent senior capstone thesis or artistic project by contacting a department faculty member of their choice and completing the necessary application materials. Details of the requirements and proposal procedure and application forms are located on the Communication and Theatre Department website.

In preparation for these options, all students are required to take a 300-level course designed to prepare students for senior seminar prior to enrolling in senior seminar. All Theatre majors are required to complete COMM 314 Theatrical Theory and Criticism as a requirement for the major, but a student may complete preparation for the seminar in any of the following courses: COMM 314 Theatrical Theory and Criticism, COMM 315 Topics in Theatre History and Criticism, COMM 322 Rhetorical Theory and Criticism, COMM 323 History of Public Discourse, COMM 326 Communication in Organizations, COMM 327 Communication and Cultural Identity, COMM 334 Media Criticism, COMM 335 Media Law, COMM 337 International Media, or COMM 350 Research Methods. Priority for placement in a fall seminar is determined in three ways: 1. Completion of all other required courses in the major; 2. Completion of at least two of the required 300 level courses with priority given to those students who've completed one of the required seminar preparation courses within the major; 3. The existing university registration sequence. Coursework completed in meeting the senior requirement can be applied toward meeting the 300-400 level course requirement.

Majors will fulfill this Senior Capstone requirement through the successful completion of a department Senior Seminar course or through an independent Senior Capstone Thesis or Artistic Project with a minimum grade of C- (1.67).

Recent changes in major Effective Fall 2011, COMM 100, Foundations of Communication, has been renumbered to COMM 200. COMM 100 and COMM 291, Communication Theory, will continue to apply to the core courses. The lists of course that can count toward various areas has been expanded. There is a new description of the senior capstone. The number of 300-400 level courses has been increased from 3 to 4.

Effective Fall 2013, the number of required 300 level or above courses to complete the major was increased from three to four. Provision was made for the opportunity to complete an Independent Senior Capstone Experience Thesis or Artistic Project. All majors are now required to take one of the specifically listed 300 level courses prior to registering for a Senior Seminar. The list of 300 level courses that count as one of the required courses majors must take prior to Senior Seminar has been increased. The minimum grade required for satisfactory completion of the Senior Seminar or an Independent Senior Capstone Experience Thesis or Artistic Project is now a C- (1.67).

Writing in the Major See Writing in the Major requirement for Communication.

Requirements for a minor

Media Studies

Total courses required Four
Core courses COMM 233
Other required courses Three courses selected from COMM 235, COMM 236, COMM 237, COMM 332, COMM 334, COMM 335, COMM 337.
Number 300 and 400 level courses One

Rhetoric and Interpersonal Communication

Total courses required Four
Core courses
Other required courses Four courses selected from COMM 123, COMM 223, COMM 225 (formerly COMM 125), COMM 227, COMM 322, COMM 323, COMM 325, COMM 326, COMM 327, COMM 328.
Number 300 and 400 level courses One

Theatre

Total courses required Four
Core courses COMM 117
Other required courses
  • COMM 111, COMM 210, or COMM 211
  • One course selected from COMM 213, COMM 214 , COMM 314, COMM 315
  • One course selected from COMM 310, COMM 311, COMM 314, COMM 316, COMM 317, COMM 319.
Number 300 and 400 level courses One

Courses in Communication and Theatre

COMM 001

Co-Curricular Activities

A. DePauw Theatre; B. Debates; C. WGRE-FM; D. D3TV.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
0 credit

COMM 110

Introduction to Theatre

This course offers an overview and introduction to the understanding and appreciation of theatre arts by examining foundations of drama as a communicative act. The course also addresses dramatic theory and literature, collaborative theatre artists, and basic production techniques. Students will gain insight into the imaginative and creative process that makes up the art of theatre.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 111

Acting I

Grounding in American acting technique, paying particular attention to objective, obstacle, playable action, character analysis, improvisation, and understanding and development of the vocal and physical instruments.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

COMM 117

Theatre Production and Design I

The theory and practice of technical production and design including: scenery construction, lighting, properties, costume construction and make-up. Laboratory work on University productions.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 123

Public Speaking

This course examines the attitudes, methods, and techniques used in effective public speaking. Effective performance required in a variety of speaking situations.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 183

Off-Campus Extended Studies Course

Winter or May Term off-campus study project on a theme related to communications and theatre.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
variable

COMM 184

On-Campus Extended Studies Course

An on-campus course offered during the Winter or May term. May be offered for .5 course credits or as a co-curricular (0 credit). Counts toward satisfying the Extended Studies requirement.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Variable

COMM 197

First-Year Seminar

A seminar focused on a theme related to the study of communication. Open only to first-year students.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 200

Foundations of Communication Studies

This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of communication studies. Drawing on primary and secondary source material, the course encourages students to explore a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of human communication. Emphasizing the department's commitment to an integrated program of study, this course provides students with the foundational concepts and skills necessary for successful completion of majors in Communication and Theatre through the study of primary and secondary source material.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 210

Performance Studies I

Performance Studies seeks to broaden the definition of performance and the texts upon which they are based. This course investigates literature, discourse, image, gesture and the body through analytical and artistic applications.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 211

Voice and Movement

The use and training of the human voice and body. Developing and deepening flexibility and responsiveness of vocal and physical instruments for performance and public presentation.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 213

History of the Theatre I: PreHistory to Early 18th Century

Historiographic, cultural and theoretical investigations of theatre and drama from the earliest human records to the early eighteenth century.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

COMM 214

History of the Theatre II: Early 18th Century to Present

Historiographic, cultural and theoretical investigations of theatre and drama from the early eighteenth century to the present.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

COMM 223

Public Communication and Controversy

An exploration of the nature and methods of persuasive communication, including motivational theories, attention, logical argument, audience analysis and the role of personality, integrated with practice in public speaking.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

COMM 225

Interpersonal Communication

An introduction to the theories and skills involved in two-person interactions. Attention will also be given to the development of competencies and skills relevant to various interpersonal contexts.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Social Sciences 1 course

COMM 227

Intercultural Communication

A consideration of the influence of such cultural variables as language values, institutions, traditions, customs and nonverbal behavior on the communication process.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 233

Media, Culture, and Society

A basic orientation to the history, theory and process of media. Particular emphasis is given to the relationships among the various media and their audiences,free speech and ethics, media law and other regulatory controls, news and information, media effects, emerging communication technologies and future trends.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 235

Electronic Journalism

Critical analysis of the role of electronic news gathering and dissemination in modern society, including ethics and responsibilities. Study and practice in preparation, reporting and disseminating of news emphasizing documentary production, news analysis and public affairs reporting.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 236

Television Production and Televisual Literacy

An introduction to the basic concepts and processes of television production. Emphasis is placed on the creation and analysis of ideas communicated through the medium of television, including aesthetic, ethical and technical influences on message construction. Students learn studio and field production: basic scripting, lighting, audio, camera/picturization, editing, directing, etc. Televisual literacy is developed, and assignments apply the critical skills needed to interpret and analyze visual imagery and television programming.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 237

Film and Culture

This course is a critical examination of motion pictures as a medium of communication. In addition to looking at the films as texts to be "read," this course considers the institutional contexts in which films are produced, as well as the various reception contexts in which audiences see films. As a course in communication, we begin from the perspective that motion pictures are an important and meaningful part of the way we produce and re-produce our culture. Importantly, the course is not only concerned with how film texts communicate, but also how we communicate about films, as both fans and critics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 291

Inquiries into Communication

Designated topics in communication and theatre are explored. May be repeated with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 292

Project in Communication

A. Interpersonal Project, B. Interpersonal Course Teaching Assistant, C. Theatre Project, D. Theatre Course Teaching Assistant, E. Media Studies Project, F. Media Studies Course Teaching Assistant, G. Rhetoric Project, H. Rhetoric Course Teaching Assistant, J. Communication Course Teaching Assistant. Prerequisite: permission of department. No more than two course credits may be taken as projects. Not open for Pass/Fail credit.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Variable

COMM 299

Internship in Communication

A. Media Studies; B. Rhetoric and Interpersonal Communication; C. Theatre. An experiential course for those students who will intern with an agency outside the University. This course does not satisfy departmental distribution requirements.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1/4-1/2-1 course

COMM 310

Performance Studies II

Application of Performance Studies approach (see COMM 210) to a specific area of study or artistic expression. Prerequisite: COMM 111, COMM 210 or COMM 211, or permission of instructor.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
COMM 111, COMM 210 or COMM 211, or permission of instructor. 1 course

COMM 311

Acting II

Monologue, scene work and audition preparation concentrating on objective, obstacle, playable action, character analysis, improvisation and understanding and development of the vocal and physical instruments. Prerequisite: COMM 111 or COMM 211 or permission of instructor.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
COMM 111 or COMM 211 or permission of instructor. . 1 course

COMM 314

History of Theatrical Theory and Criticism

The principles of dramatic criticism from Aristotle to the present, utilizing theories of dramaturgy and techniques for the production of historical plays. Prerequisite: COMM 213 or 214 or permission of instructor.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
COMM 213 or COMM 214 or permission of instructor 1 course

COMM 315

Topics in Theatre History and Criticism

While refining students' analytical and interpretive skills, this course offers intensive examination of specific issues in theatre history and performance theory, often those at the center of current critical interest. Recent sections have focused on Women and Theatre, Gender and Theatre, and African-Atlantic Theatre. Repeatable for credit with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 316

Stage Directing

The theories of techniques and styles of acting and directing, including laboratory practice in selecting, casting, acting and directing. Prerequisite: COMM 111 or COMM 211, COMM 117, and COMM 213 or COMM 214, or permission of instructor.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
COMM 111 or COMM 211, COMM 117, and COMM 213 or COMM 214, or permission of instructor. 1 course

COMM 317

Theatre Production and Design II

More complex applications of theater technology and design in the areas of scenic, lighting, and costume design. Concentration on design process into production, including drafting and rendering. Prerequisite: COMM 117 or permission of instructor.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
COMM 117 or permission of instructor 1 course

COMM 319

Writing for Stage, Screen and TV

A workshop approach to creative story making in the three forms of media. Emphasis is on the relationship between form and content, dramatic structure and critical response. Students are expected to complete a full length stage play, screenplay or teleplay.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 322

Rhetorical Theory and Criticism

The development of rhetorical theory, with an introduction to speech criticism, based on readings from classical, medieval, and contemporary rhetorical theorists.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 323

History of Public Discourse

Analysis of selected speakers and their speeches, with reference to the social, political, and intellectual milieu within which they have appeared.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 325

Topics in Advanced Interpersonal Communication

While refining students' analytical and critical skills, this course offers intensive examination of specific issues in interpersonal communication theory. Possible topics may include relational communication, family communication, health communication, communication across the lifespan, friendship, communication in the workforce, and communication and aging. Repeatable for credit with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 326

Communication in Organizations

An examination of the role of communication in coordinating, integrating and regulating human activity in organizations. This course examines and applies methods of doing research in organizational contexts.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 327

Communication and Cultural Identity

This course examines the ways in which communication shapes, and is shaped by culture, ethnicity, gender, class and/or race. Topics include how language empowers and oppresses, how social institutions and media influence issues of cultural identity and the ways various social identities are constructed through communication.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 328

Topics in Conflict Communication

While refining students' analytical and critical skills, this course offers intensive examination of specific issues related to conflict and communication at interpersonal, social, and cultural levels. Possible topics may include environmental communication, alternative dispute resolution, civil rights and communication, and political communication. Repeatable for credit with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 332

Electronic Media Management

A critical analysis of management practices in broadcast, cable and satellite industries. Audience research, program strategy, federal regulation and advertising issues are addressed. Prerequisite: COMM 233 or permission of instructor.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
COMM 233 or permission of instructor 1 course

COMM 334

Media Criticism

Justification and application of various approaches to critiquing and analyzing media messages. Insight into the ethical burdens, social and moral, of the media and its institutions. Topics may vary. Prerequisite: COMM 233 or permission of instructor.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
COMM 233 or permission of instructor 1 course

COMM 335

Media Law

Inquiry into media law, including responsibility and free speech issues, libel, privacy, fair trial, copyright, obscenity, the FCC, shield laws, censorship, management and operating regulations, newsperson privileges, political communication and advertising regulation. An analysis of the political and economic forces affecting the development of media law. Prerequisite: COMM 233 or 237 or permission of instructor.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
COMM 233 or COMM 237 or permission of instructor 1 course

COMM 337

International Media

Analysis of structures and content of international media (newspapers, TV, film, and Internet) and the role of culture in globalization, in order to increase understanding of the politics and economics of media systems in specific regions of the world and the societies in which they function. This course aims to explore key developments in information technologies, international relations, the free flow of information, interpretations of free expression and intellectual property, aggregated regional networks, and the influence of Western media and consequent forms of resistance located in historical and cultural perspectives of different genres of media programs including news, entertainment, advertising and PR.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 350

Communication Research Methods

A course in methods of research (quantitative and qualitative). Covers problem statement construction, strategies of research design, literature review, methods of observation, questionnaires, content analysis and interpretation of data (statistical and humanistic). Not open for pass/fail credit.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

COMM 401

Special Topics in Communication

Recent topics have included Public Relations, International Media, Family Communication, Conflict Resolution, American Theatre and the Vietnam War, Human Communication Theory, American Film and Culture and Writing for Stage, Screen and TV. This course number may be repeated for credit with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1/2-1 course

COMM 450

Senior Seminar

The integrated conclusion of the departmental curriculum with emphasis on research methodology and writing. Prerequisite: permission of the department. Not open for pass/fail credit.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Permission of department 1 course

COMM 491

Projects in Communication

A. Interpersonal Project, C. Theatre Project, E. Media Studies Project, G. Rhetoric Project, K. Co-Curricular Project, M. Senior Capstone Thesis or Project. Prerequisite: permission of department. No more than two course credits may be taken as projects. Not open for Pass/Fail credit.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Permission of department 1/2-1 course