Academics MENU


Selected as one of West Virginia State University’s “Peaks of Excellence” and awarded the distinction of being a “Program of Excellence” by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, the communications programs of study are designed to provide the undergraduate student with competencies in the theoretical and practical disciplines within a broadly defined concentration.

Communications is, essentially, an interdisciplinary area of study, utilizing diverse perspectives from the fields of humanities, social sciences, and information technology.

COMM 101. Introduction to Mass Communications
A survey course in mass communications with an emphasis on print and broadcast media and their roles, responsibilities and effects upon American society.

COMM 103. Introduction to Digital Editing
This course is designed as an introduction to digital editing. In class sessions will focus on hands-on techniques and procedures used in creating a variety of digital media formats. Students will be introduced to various editing software including Adobe and Final Cut.

COMM 105. Public Relations Lab (1 credit hour)
The Public Relations lab is designed to introduce students to the creative and technical aspects of planning and executing a PR campaign plan. Students will benefit from the experiential nature of the lab by applying skills and knowledge learned toservicing clients of Tower Communication, a student-run firm. A maximum of eight credits may be earned.

COMM 106. Voice and Diction
A study of the vocal mechanism and production to enable the student to improve the speaking voice and command of general American English.

COMM 111. Radio Laboratory (1 credit hour)
An introduction to radio station management and daily operations at a student station. Credit is earned by serving as a music format producer, the music director, promotions director, news director, production director, training assistant, sports director, or traffic director. A maximum of eight credits may be earned.

COMM 140. Film Appreciation
An introduction to the basic technical and aesthetic elements of the art of film. The class will examine the nature of cinema and its relation to our culture and our lives through analysis of its many components.

COMM 145. Horror and Fantasy Films
Survey of the history and development of the horror/ fantasy and science fiction film genres. Trends in narrative and visual elements will be studied with regard to the genre.

COMM 161. Survey of Broadcasting
Survey of the corporate, regulatory, technical, economic and audience foundations inherent in American commercial and non-commercial broadcasting. The course shall include a study of the interrelationships of these foundations and their subsequent influence on the continuing evolution of modern communications systems.

COMM 162. Television Production/Direction
The principles and methods of producing and directing for television. Students will be given the opportunity to create, produce and direct a minimum of one television program during the period of the course.

COMM 163. Television Laboratory (1 credit hour)
An introduction to television production and news casting. Credit is earned by serving as a reporter, editor, videographer, anchor, or production team member on student television productions. A maximum of eight credits may be earned.

COMM 170. The Art of the Theatre
An introduction to the art of the theatre through observed and participatory activities. The class will examine the nature of theatre and its relation to our culture and our lives through analysis of its many components, including directing, acting, dramatic literature and design. Prerequisite(s): Eligible for ENGL 101.

COMM 171. Theatre Laboratory (1 credit hour)
An introduction to technical theatre, its tools, construction methods and other phases of offstage activities. Credit is earned by working in technical areas on West Virginia State University and Charleston Stage Company productions. A maximum of eight credits may be earned.

COMM 173. American Musical Theatre
The history and nature of American musical theatre from the minstrel shows of the 19th century to the contemporary Broadway stage. Emphasis will be placed on the development of the musical comedy format, a genre which has remained America’s only original contribution to world drama.

COMM 175. Design and Lighting for Stage, Film and Television
An introduction to the basic techniques ofset and lighting design for the media and performing arts. Emphasis will be placed on practical application of theories through work on productions, projects and media/arts events.

COMM 195. Journalism Laboratory (1 credit hour)
Students electing this course assist in the production of the student newspaper. They are expected to attend weekly staff meetings and work a minimum of three hours per week. A maximum of eight credits may be earned.

COMM 205. Public Relations
The basic concepts of public relations and its relationship to mass communication, media, and advertising. Prerequisite(s): ENGL 101.

COMM 206. Introduction to Theatre Production (3 credit hour)
Course provides introduction to theatrical production skills through work on the University’s theatre productions. Students take on introductory positions such as small acting roles; assistants to stage manager, technical director, costume or set designer; or serve on running crews.

COMM 225. Journalism I
A combination lecture-laboratory course which emphasizes the functions of newspapers in society, standards of good newspaper practice, newspaper layout, the principles of gathering news and the composition of various types of news stories. Students will prepare some assignments for publication in the University newspaper. Prerequisite(s): ENGL 102 or consent of instructor.

COMM 227. Copy Editing
A combination laboratory-discussion course in editing copy, writing headlines and designing pages for various types of news publications. Prerequisite(s): COMM 225 or ENGL 225.

COMM 240. Film History: The Narrative Tradition
Survey of American and continental cinema from 1900 to the present, emphasizing humanity’s changing concept of self as mirrored infilm. Prerequisite(s): COMM 140.

COMM 241. Filmmaking
An introduction to the fundamental concepts of single- camera media production. Students will develop their understanding of the filmmaking process by writing, photographing and editing several projects using digital video and non-linear editing systems. Prerequisite(s): COMM 140.

COMM 245. Film History: The Documentary Tradition
A survey ofAmerican and foreign documentary, ethnographic and experimental film representative of major styles, movements and directors in the development of the cinema. Prerequisite(s): COMM 140.

COMM 261. Introduction to Audio Production
The technical and individual performance aspects of professional radio and television announcing. The course emphasizes acquisition of individual competence in all phases of audio production, including voice, style, copywriting and production methods found in the radio and television broadcast station.

COMM 262. Broadcast Management and Operations
A study of radio/TV station management, operations and structure, including on-air operations, programming and local network interrelationships.

COMM 270. Principles and Theories of Acting
A study of the elements of acting, acting techniques, role analysis, group performance and improvisations.

COMM 275. Structure of the Drama
An introduction to theatrical literature from the Greeks to present.

COMM 285. Web Design and Digital Media
An introduction to the strategies and techniques of website design, development, and management for the World Wide Web/Internet, the newest, most important and pervasive mass medium. Site design and management as well as digital image production and manipulation will be studied and practiced.

COMM 299. Special Topics in Communications (1-3 credit hours)
A sophomore-level course designed for a topic of special current interest, including televised courses. Prerequisite(s): COMM 101, 170, 241 or consent of instructor. May be repeated for a maximum of six credit hours. 

COMM 301. Persuasion: Principles and Practices
An advanced theoretical and applied course with emphasis on messages used in public relations, advertising and politics. The course includes critical analyses, discussion of ethics, propaganda and subliminal persuasive methods used in mass communications. Each student will be required to apply principles learned to an original work aimed at one of the mass mediums of print, radio, or TV. Prerequisite(s): COMM 100, 101 and 205.

COMM 305. Communications Research
Applied and theoretical approaches to mass media research. This course will examine the decision-making process of mass media organizations and involve students in the planning, executing and assessing of communication activities with various publics and audiences. Prerequisite(s): COMM 101 and 205.

COMM 307. Writing for the Media
This course is designed to improve student skills and techniques in writing, preparing and distributing public relations material to a variety of media networks aimed at both internal and external audiences. Prerequisite(s): ENG 102 and COMM 101.

COMM 326. Journalism II
This course is a continuation of Journalism I and is designed to provide the student practical experiences in the many areas of newspaper writing and production. Activities in the course include staff organization, the writing of news stories, editorials, drama and musical reviews, personality profiles, headlines, interviews and copy makeup.

COMM 340. New Media
Conventional mass media are rapidly converging with the Internet to create new media forms that accentuate technological advances. This course will teach students how to analyze new media and culture within a deliberative, informed context. Prerequisite(s): COMM 101.
74 West Virginia State University

COMM 341. Advanced Filmmaking
A series of advanced experiences with an emphasis on the directional role in the pre-production, production and post- production phases in film and video image making. Prerequisite(s): COMM 241.

COMM 343. Animation Production
This class consists of screenings, lectures and a series of projects (ranging from flipbooks to computer graphics) that will introduce the student to animation production for film and video. The course focuses on the concepts, techniques and processes of producing an image. The course also surveys the history of the art form, international trends and recent developments in the industry. Prerequisite(s): COMM 241.

COMM 345. Film Theory, Genres and Directors
Detailed analysis of selected contemporary problems in film theory as exemplified through the study of specific film genres and/or the works of specific film directors and authors. Prerequisite(s): COMM 140.

COMM 348. Scriptwriting for Film
The procedures involved in writing scripts for the factual and for the narrative film. Students will study exemplary film in script through the several stages of the scriptwriting process. Prerequisite(s): ENGL 101 and 102.

COMM 360. Advanced Television Production/ Direction I
An advanced theoretical and applied course with emphasis on individual mastery of production and program management methods. Instructional units include: advanced field and studio video, audio, editing, lighting and graphics, program planning, budget development and pre- and post- production management. Each student will be required to produce a minimum of two original works incorporating these advanced elements. All works will be presented for public viewing and/or use. Prerequisite(s): COMM 162, 241, 261.

COMM 362. Advanced Audio Production
Principles and methods of developing, producing and directing representative types of radio programs found in American broadcasting today. The course includes audio production methods for program and non-program matter and direction of program activities. Prerequisite(s): COMM 261.

COMM 370. Principles and Theories of Theatre Direction
Choosing, analyzing and interpreting the script, producing and play directing through the preparation of scenes under rehearsal conditions. Prerequisite(s): COMM 170.

COMM 375. Theatre for Youth
This course will introduce students to the basic principles of creative dramatics for young people. Offered in conjunction with Charleston Stage Company’s Summer Arts Camps, students will have the opportunity to work with young
people (K-12) in developing various theatre activities and production techniques.

COMM 382. Video Postproduction
An introduction to the theory and practice of digital video post-production. The class will consist of screenings, lectures and hands-on video projects designed to provide an overview of film and video editing history, practices and aesthetics. In-class exercises will introduce students to various software packages for editing, titling, image processing, audio processing, 2D animation and compositing and 3D animation. Prerequisite(s): COMM 140 and COMM 241.

COMM 399. Special Topics in Communications (1-3 credit hours)
A junior-level course designed for a topic of special current interest, including televised courses.
Prerequisite(s): COMM 101, 170, 241 or consent of instructor. May be repeated for a maximum of six credit hours.

COMM 400. Communications Field Experience (1-4 credit hours)
Placement of qualified B.S. degree students in radio, television, film, theatre and related media agencies with the purpose of providing supervised work experience in the student’s chosen area, and a minimum of 200 hours with the approved agency for four credit hours. Students must complete internship application prior to registration. Prerequisite(s): 30 credit hours of communications courses and permission of department chair. May be repeated up to eight credits.

COMM 405. Advanced Public Relations
This course emphasizes research/analysis and planning of public relations campaigns. It is intended for students seriously considering careers in the public relations field as members of firms, staff, and/ or aspiring to the role of counselor. Prerequisite(s): COMM 205.

COMM 409. Senior Project in Communications
This course is designed to provide a context in which a senior, along with the assistance of a faculty member, may develop a project based on his/her previous coursework in communications and indicative of his/ her personal interest. Prerequisite(s): Senior standing (92 credit hours) with at least 18 credit hours in Communications, of which 12 credit hours must include 101, 162, 170, 241 and consent of instructor.

COMM 445. Communications Study Abroad (1-3 credit hours)
Study and travel course. An intercultural experience in travel and learning intended to provide students the opportunities to study and enjoy communication experiences abroad. Travel will include tours of various countries and media systems. Prerequisite(s): Permission of the instructor.

COMM 446. International Cinema
This course examines, from a cultural and historical perspective, a variety of international narrative film styles produced outside the Hollywood system. Many of the post- WWII major national cinemas will be explored, including those of West and East Europe, Scandinavia, Asia and some developing countries. Prerequisite(s): COMM 140.

COMM 460. Broadcast Seminar
A terminal course of the graduating senior whose concentration is in radio-television. Emphasis will be placed upon studies and research of contemporary themes and problems in American broadcasting. Prerequisite(s): COMM 111, 162, ENGL 225 or permission of instructor.

COMM 461. Media Law and Regulations
A study of the laws that guarantee and protect privileges and define the responsibilities of the mass media. Addresses issues and areas such as constitutional law, libel, privacy and governmental regulations. Prerequisite(s): COMM 101.

COMM 462. Advanced Television Production/ Direction II
A production course allowing students to make practical application of the skills learned in COMM 162, 241, 261 and 360. The focus of the course is on producing the cable program, Campus Connection. Prerequisite(s): COMM 360.

COMM 470. Advanced Theatre Studies
A co-curricular laboratory course emphasizing advanced skills and individual mastery of one of the following areas: acting, directing, or design and lighting. Prerequisite(s): COMM 170 and 270 or 370.

COMM 475. Theatre Production
An intensive co-curricular course providing for the applications of specific theatre-related skills (acting, management, publicity, scene design, stagecraft, etc.) through practical work with the college’s theatre productions. A maximum of nine credits may be earned. 

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN COMMUNICATIONS -120 hours required for graduation.

GENERAL EDUCATION- 35 to 40 hours

MAJOR- 34 hours*
COMM 101, 140, 162, 170, 205, 241, 261, 340, 400, 461; and 307 or 348

MATH 111

Choose 18 hours from one option; 1 course must be 300 or 400 level:

COMM 195, 225, 227, 326, 462, ENGL 303, 304, 429

Visual Media
ART 101, 209, 217, 252, 310, 352, 452, COMM 227, 285, 343, 382, 446

COMM 106, 171, 175, 270, 370, 470, 475, ENGL 315, 415

COMM 106, 111, 262, 270, 343, 360, 362, 382, 462

COMM 145, 175, 240, 245, 270, 341, 343, 345, 370, 382 ENGL 346

Public Relations
ART 217 (required), 252, COMM 105, 225, 227, 305, 370, 405, ENGL 429

Any three additional courses from the above list.

FREE ELECTIVES - to bring total to 120 hours


Broadcasting/Film- 15 hours
COMM 101, 140; 162 or 241 or 261; 307 or 348; 145 or 240 or 245

Journalism/Public Relations- 15 hours
COMM 101, 205; 225 or 307; 405 or 227 or 326; ENGL 429

Completion of at least 45 credit hours (100 level or above) which must include
COM 100 and 101 and ENGL 101 and 102. GPA must be 2.0 or above. Students
should contact Communications Department for application procedures, deadline
dates, and other information.




1st Semester

ARH 101, Freshman Experience 1 ENGL 101 3 G ED Fine Arts 3 MATH 111 3 G ED 100 3 COM 101 3 TOTAL 16

2nd Semester

ENGL 102 3 COMM 100 3 Elective 3 HHP 122 or 157 2 COMM 140 3 Elective 1 TOTAL 15


1st Semester

G ED 200 1 ENGL 150 3 G ED Nat. Sci 3-4 COMM 170 3 COMM 261 3 TOTAL 15-16

2nd Semester

G ED Soc. Struct 3 COMM 241 3 G ED Nat. Sci 3-4 COMM 162 2 G ED Amer. Trad. 3 COMM 205 1 TOTAL 15-16


1st Semester

G ED Int’l. Persp 3 G ED Nat. Sci 3-4 COMM 307 or 348 3 Emphasis 6 TOTAL 15-16

2nd Semester

G ED Int’l. Persp 3 Emphasis 6 Restricted Elective 3 HIST 201 or 202 3 TOTAL 15


1st Semester

COMM 461 3 COMM 270 or 370 3 Restricted Elective 3 Emphasis 3 Elective 3-6 TOTAL 15-18

2nd Semester

300-400 level emphasis 3 COMM 400 4 Restricted Elective 3 Elective 3 Emphasis 3 TOTAL 15-16



Faculty & Staff

Class photo of the Communications class

Steven A.
Steven A. Gilliland
Chair/Assistant Professor
Fall 2023 Office Hours
Monday 1:00–2:15 p.m. and 4:00–6:00 p.m.
Tuesday 1:00–1:45 p.m. and 3:30–5:30 p.m.
Wednesday 1:00–2:15 p.m. and 4:00–6:00 p.m.
Thursday: 1:00–1:45 p.m.
207B Cole Complex
Phone: (304) 766-3197
Scroll to Top