Communications BA News Media

Program Purpose


The Department 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 (Comms 239 for Journalism). Once admitted to the journalism program, students take two additional core courses: Media Ethics, Law and Responsibility (Comms 300) and Research Methods for Journalism (Comms 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.

Journalism

  1. Complete the following: Comms 101, 211, 239.
  2. Apply to the major.
  3. Complete the following: Comms 300, 308.
  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. After consulting with a faculty advisor, complete the following: Comms 321 or 322; Comms 324 or 325 or 328 or 365; Comms 383 or 384 or 385 or 388; Comms 420 or 486 or 487 or 488.

Catalog Information

Major Academic Plan Communications Journalism Emphasis

Learning Outcomes


Effective Communication

Students will be able to 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 239 COMMS 308 COMMS 310 COMMS 311 COMMS 312 COMMS 313 COMMS 314 COMMS 316 COMMS 324 COMMS 325 COMMS 328 COMMS 329 COMMS 365 COMMS 384 COMMS 385 COMMS 388 COMMS 406 COMMS 420 COMMS 422 COMMS 486 COMMS 488 COMMS 490
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 239 COMMS 308 COMMS 314 COMMS 315 COMMS 316 COMMS 324 COMMS 325 COMMS 328 COMMS 329 COMMS 360 COMMS 365 COMMS 384 COMMS 385 COMMS 388 COMMS 406 COMMS 420 COMMS 422 COMMS 481 COMMS 486 COMMS 488 COMMS 490
Linked to BYU Aims: Communicate effectively, Competence
Mass Communication Process

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 239 COMMS 301 COMMS 308 COMMS 314 COMMS 315 COMMS 329 COMMS 360 COMMS 365 COMMS 381 COMMS 385 COMMS 388 COMMS 406 COMMS 420 COMMS 422 COMMS 481 COMMS 482 COMMS 486 COMMS 488 COMMS 490
Linked to BYU Aims: Quantitative reasoning, Human knowledge
Applying Gospel-Centered Values

Students will be able to 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 239 COMMS 301 COMMS 308 COMMS 311 COMMS 313 COMMS 325 COMMS 360 COMMS 365 COMMS 381 COMMS 384 COMMS 385 COMMS 420 COMMS 422 COMMS 481 COMMS 482 COMMS 486 COMMS 488 COMMS 490
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

The following may be used as direct measures of student 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).

Indirect Measures

The following may be used as indirect measures of student learning:

  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


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: