Communications BA Advertising

Program Purpose


The School of Communications exists to help students become professional and scholarly communicators whose messages contribute to a better society by benefiting the organizations for which they work and the audiences they reach.

Curricular Structure

Students majoring in Communications complete 40 hours in the department with an emphasis in a particular area of study. Our accrediting body requires students complete 80 hours outside of the department, with at least 65 hours in the liberal arts and sciences. Students take complementary courses in theory and application. Students complete three courses before applying to the Communications program: Comms 101, Comms 211, and the introduction course of their intended emphasis. Once admitted to the program, all students take two additional core courses: Comms 300 and Comms 319/308. Students then must complete the required courses in their emphasis and three electives that focus more on the broader theories and concepts of mass media and society. All students, except those in Communications Studies, are required to complete an internship. Students may take supplemental courses provided they have met all of the other requirements.

Advertising Emphasis

  1. Complete the following: Comms 101, 211, 230.
  2. Apply to the major.
  3. Complete the following: Comms 300, 319.
  4. After consulting with a faculty advisor, complete an internship in conjunction with 4 hours of the following: Comms 399R.
  5. Complete 9 hours from the following departmental electives: Comms 301, 351, 352, 360, 381, 382, 401, 402, 406, 411, 412, 449, 480.
  6. Complete one of the following tracks:
    1. Management Track:
      1. Complete the following:Bus M 340. Comms 332, 432, 489.
      2. Complete one course from the following: Comms 330, 345.
    2. Creative Track:
      1. Complete the following: Comms 331, 433, 489.
      2. Complete one course from the following: Comms 330, 345.
    3. Complete a minor in advertising design (15 hours).

Note: Twelve students will be admitted to the creative track each year based on a screening and portfolio work. Portfolios must be submitted to the department's main office by the twelfth week of winter semester. Late portfolios will not be considered. It will take from four to five semesters to complete the design minor. Students interested in this track should qualify and apply early.

Catalog Information
Major Academic Plan Advertising Communications Emphasis

Learning Outcomes


Effective Communication

Students will communicate effectively with their audiences

Specifically, students will do so by planning and preparing mass communication messages in the appropriate style, using the appropriate research methods and appropriate technologies to best serve audience needs.

Courses that Contribute: COMMS 101 COMMS 230 COMMS 309 COMMS 330 COMMS 331 COMMS 335 COMMS 337 COMMS 372 COMMS 399R COMMS 417 COMMS 433 COMMS 489 COMMS 496R COMMS 695R
Linked to BYU Aims: Communicate effectively, Quantitative reasoning
Professional Practice

Students will act professionally in their practice

Specifically, students will be able to practice communication within legal boundaries, while exhibiting standards of professional behavior and demonstrating sensitivity to ethical behavior. Students will also be literate in the language of the media industries.

Courses that Contribute: COMMS 101 COMMS 230 COMMS 309 COMMS 330 COMMS 331 COMMS 337 COMMS 345 COMMS 372 COMMS 395R COMMS 399R COMMS 416 COMMS 433 COMMS 480 COMMS 481 COMMS 489 COMMS 496R COMMS 695R
Linked to BYU Aims: Communicate effectively, Competence
Mass Communication Processes

Students will be scholars of the mass communication process

Specifically, students will be able to apply relevant theory to communication practice, understand factors that shape their profession, value freedom of speech in the marketplace of ideas, and think critically about the relationship between mass media and society.

Courses that Contribute: COMMS 101 COMMS 230 COMMS 309 COMMS 330 COMMS 331 COMMS 337 COMMS 372 COMMS 382 COMMS 395R COMMS 399R COMMS 411 COMMS 416 COMMS 417 COMMS 480 COMMS 489 COMMS 496R
Linked to BYU Aims: Quantitative reasoning, Human knowledge
Applying Gospel-Centered Values

Students will apply Gospel-centered values as they contribute to society

Specifically, students will respect diversity and agency in a global society, be able to exercise moral reasoning when faced with ethical dilemmas, and show a commitment to making a difference within their sphere of influence.

Courses that Contribute: COMMS 101 COMMS 230 COMMS 309 COMMS 330 COMMS 331 COMMS 337 COMMS 372 COMMS 395R COMMS 399R COMMS 417 COMMS 489
Linked to BYU Aims: Gospel knowledge, Lifelong service

Evidence of Learning


  1. One-on-one faculty mentoring, advisement, and interviews.
  2. One-on-one faculty and staff mentoring in media production labs.
  3. Instructor assessment at the course level include: written quizzes, written exams, production evaluations, research papers, skill proficiency exams, portfolio examinations, homework that strengthens student skill development, student self-assessment, peer reviewed media production, and production post mortem evaluations.
  4. External assessment of student skills through participation in various regional and national competitions.
  5. Program applications after students have completed their pre-major course work.
  6. Alumni surveys and placement data.
  7. Formal evaluations from internship providers on preparation and abilities of students.
  8. Benchmarks and follow-up assessments (to be implemented).
  9. Electronic portfolios of embedded assignments for external review and self-assessment (to be implemented).

Direct Measures

Goals will be assessed on two levels: student achievement and program achievement.

1. Students will demonstrate effective communication with their audiences. a. Student achievement of this goal is assessed directly by instructors in Comms 211 and emphasis writing and production courses. b. Program achievement is assessed by third party evaluation of student produced media such as newspapers, broadcast programs, advertising and public relations campaigns. c. Program achievement of this goal will be assessed by portfolio review of student materials by a third party, and student self-reflection papers.

2. Students will act professionally in their practice. a. Student achievement of this goal is assessed by instructor evaluations in Comms 101, 211, 300, and emphasis courses. b. Program achievement is assessed by internship supervisor evaluations, student self-evaluation of internship, and onsite internship visits.

3. Students will be scholars of the mass communication process a. Student achievement of this goal is assessed by instructor evaluations in Comms 101, 300, and emphasis courses. b. Program achievement of this goal will be assessed by portfolio review of research papers by assessment committee and self-reflection papers. c. Program achievement will also be assessed by student participation in faculty scholarship.

These measurements will be accomplished through differing methodologies and instruments of assessment. Among theses will be the sneior survey, focus groups, alumni survey and Aims survey.

Indirect Measures

  1. University senior surveys
  2. National Survey of Student Engagement
  3. Student evaluations
  4. Discipline-specific focus groups
  5. Alumni survey

Learning and Teaching Assessment and Improvement


During 2014-2015 we completed the second part of a curriculum readjustment that stemmed from assessment that suggested the need to address massive, ongoing structural change in the mass media environment. The first part addressed an unevenness in students meeting all program learninig outcomes through the elective courses. It was determined that elective "cluster" courses would no longer be relied upon to meet program-level learning outcomes. 

Additionally, alumni and intern surveys in 2013 suggested an urgent need to introduce social media metrics into the curriculum. During 2014-2015, these skill sets were added to existing curricula.

Meanwhile, data gathered by the Teaching and Learning Committee in 2012-2013, revealed a dissatisfaction among students and faculty with Comms 211, our basic Media Writing course. This was originally a news writing course. It was required of all Communications students, in the belief that good writing is universal to all our professional areas. However, address the dissatisfaction of advertising and public relations students, the course was later reconstituted as Media Writing, with the aim of teaching distinct writing forms for print and broadcast journalism, advertising, and public relations-all inone class. However, assessment activities suggested student learning was uneven. Video lectures proved ineffective and administrators found it difficult to find instructors who could effectively teach all four writing forms.

In Winter 2013, the department conducted an assessment retreat to examine the effectiveness of the core writing class, Comms 211. Faculty examined syllabi and learning material to identify strengths and weaknesses of the learning experience (detailed below).

Various activites have taken place to improve teaching and learning and to close the assessment loop on previous assessments: