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Speech Communication

(Administered by the Department of English)

The Speech Communication major provides students opportunities to develop their understanding and appreciation of the human communication process and to enhance their oral and written communication practice. Speech communication students develop an awareness of the importance of oral communication and listening for success in their personal, civic, and professional lives; become familiar with behavioral research in persuasion; understand how language is used to create social change; develop competent delivery skills; assess the quality of arguments; evaluate information found in research and public discourse; and cultivate rhetorical sensitivity in order to better connect with individuals and audiences. In this way, the program contributes to the humanistic, aesthetic, and critical development of liberally educated students in order to prepare them for full and effective participation in society.

Undergraduate Study

The cross-disciplinary program in speech communication offers courses designed for all students as part of their general education and as a complement to their professional training. It also offers a major or minor in speech communication as well as an additional endorsement for secondary teachers who already have an endorsement in another content area.

Students who major or minor in speech communication will prepare themselves for a wide variety of employment opportunities in business, industry and government, as well as in non-profit and educational organizations. With their effective oral communication, listening, teamwork, problem-solving and leadership skills, speech communication students find positions in general business management: human resources, benefits, financial services, retail, sales and marketing and serve various organizations as recruiters, trainers, promotions managers, communication specialists, community outreach personnel and event planners. The program also prepares students for the study of law, theology, and for graduate level work in speech communication and related disciplines.

The program participates in the following interdisciplinary undergraduate minor programs: the interdisciplinary program in linguistics and the interdisciplinary program in technology and social change. Speech Communication also offers a core course and several optional courses in the Undergraduate Certificate Program in Community Leadership and Public Service.

Speech Communication Major

A student electing to major in speech communication must earn at least 120 credits with 45 credits at the 300/400 level. A minimum of 33 of those credits must be earned in Speech Communication courses where the student earns a grade of C or better. Our flexible curriculum with few prerequisites can help you meet the 33 hour requirement in a timely way.

Core Requirements (18 credits)

SP CM 110Listeningarr †
SP CM 212Fundamentals of Public Speakingarr †
SP CM 327Persuasionarr †
SP CM 412Rhetorical Criticismarr †
SP CM 416History of American Public Addressarr †
SP CM 497Capstone Seminararr †
† Arranged with instructor.

Additional Coursework (Choose at least 5 of the following for 15 credits)

SP CM 205Popular Culture Analysisarr †
SP CM 305Language, Thought and Actionarr †
SP CM 312Business and Professional Speakingarr †
SP CM 313Communication in Classrooms and Workshopsarr †
SP CM 322Argumentation, Debate, and Critical Thinkingarr †
SP CM 323Gender and Communicationarr †
SP CM 324Legal Communicationarr †
SP CM 350Rhetorical Traditionsarr †
SP CM 404Seminararr †
SP CM 417Campaign Rhetoricarr †
† Arranged with instructor.

See also the 4-year plan of study grid showing suggested courses by semester.

Credits in SP CM 290 Special Projects or SP CM 499 Communication Internship cannot be applied toward the minimum required credits for the major.

The Communication Proficiency requirement may be met by (1) completion of ENGL 150 Critical Thinking and Communication, ENGL 250 Written, Oral, Visual, and Electronic Composition (or ENGL 250H Written, Oral, Visual, and Electronic Composition, Honors), or its equivalent, with a grade in each of C or better; (2) one additional writing course beyond ENGL 250 Written, Oral, Visual, and Electronic Composition with a grade of C or better from the following approved list:

ENGL 302Business Communicationarr †
ENGL 303Free-Lance Writing for Popular Magazinesarr †
ENGL 304Creative Writing--Fictionarr †
ENGL 305Creative Writing--Nonfictionarr †
ENGL 309Report and Proposal Writingarr †
ENGL 314Technical Communicationarr †
ENGL 415Business and Technical Editingarr †
JL MC 201Reporting and Writing for the Mass Mediaarr †
† Arranged with instructor.

Speech Communication Minor

Students from any major can complement their studies with a Speech Communication Minor . The requirements for a minor in speech communication may be fulfilled by credit in SP CM 212 Fundamentals of Public Speaking plus at least 15 additional hours from the lists above, of which 9 credits are in courses numbered 300 or above.

Speech Communication Education

Students working toward a primary teaching endorsement in another discipline may add a speech communication endorsement as an additional area. Coursework prepares students to teach speech, dramatic arts, and media at the secondary school level. In addition, they prepare to direct co-curricular and extracurricular activities such as drama, speech and debate.

Each student seeking an additional endorsement in speech communication must meet a 29 hour requirement by taking the following courses:

SP CM 110Listeningarr †
or COMST 102 Introduction to Interpersonal Communication
SP CM 212Fundamentals of Public Speakingarr †
SP CM 313Communication in Classrooms and Workshopsarr †
SP CM 322Argumentation, Debate, and Critical Thinkingarr †
SP CM 412Rhetorical Criticismarr †
SP CM 495ADirecting Speech Activitiesarr †
SP CM 495BTeaching Speecharr †
THTRE 358Oral Interpretationarr †
JL MC 101Mass Media and Societyarr †
One of the followingarr †
Introduction to Theatrical Production
Directing I
† Arranged with instructor.

Graduate Study

The program offers courses for a graduate minor in speech communication as well as supporting work for other disciplines. The requirements for a graduate minor in Speech Communication include:

SP CM 412Rhetorical Criticismarr †
9 additional hours selected from the followingarr †
Language, Thought and Action
Gender and Communication
Legal Communication
History of American Public Address
Campaign Rhetoric
Proseminar: Teaching Fundamentals of Public Speaking
Special Topics
† Arranged with instructor.

The Program of Speech Communication also participates in the interdepartmental program leading to a master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies.


Courses primarily for undergraduates:

SP CM 110. Listening.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.
Theory, principles, and competency development in comprehensive, therapeutic, critical, consumer, and appreciative listening. The impact of listening in relationships and partnerships.

SP CM 205. Popular Culture Analysis.

(Cross-listed with ENGL). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.S. Prereq: Credit in or equivalent of 250
Analysis of how information and entertainment forms persuade and manipulate audiences. Study of several forms that may include newspapers, speeches, television, film, advertising, fiction, and magazines. Special attention to verbal and visual devices.

SP CM 212. Fundamentals of Public Speaking.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.SS.
Theory and practice of basic speech communication principles applied to public speaking. Practice in the preparation and delivery of extemporaneous speeches.

SP CM 223. Intercollegiate Debate and Forensics.

Cr. 1. Repeatable, maximum of 6 credits. F.S. Prereq: Permission of instructor
Participation in intramural and intercollegiate debate and other forensic events.

SP CM 290. Special Projects.

Cr. 1-2. Repeatable, maximum of 4 credits. F.S.SS. Prereq: 3 credits in speech communication; permission of department chair

SP CM 305. Language, Thought and Action.

(Cross-listed with LING, COMST). (3-0) Cr. 3. Prereq: ENGL 250
The study of symbolic processes and how meaning is conveyed in words, sentences, and utterances; discussion of modern theories of meaning; and an exploration of relationships among language, thought and action. Nonmajor graduate credit.

SP CM 312. Business and Professional Speaking.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S. Prereq: SP CM 212
Theory, principles, and competency development in the creation of coherent, articulate business and professional oral presentations.

SP CM 313. Communication in Classrooms and Workshops.

(3-0) Cr. 3. Prereq: SP CM 212
Principles of communicating information: training in classroom and workshop-oriented communication activities; use of recording for analysis of presentations.

SP CM 322. Argumentation, Debate, and Critical Thinking.

(3-0) Cr. 3. Prereq: SP CM 212
Practice in preparing and presenting arguments and debates; emphasis on critical thinking and ethical and logical duties of the advocate; analysis, evidence, reasoning, attack, defense, research, case construction, and judging.

SP CM 323. Gender and Communication.

(Cross-listed with W S, COMST). (3-0) Cr. 3.
Examines how understanding and enactment of gender identities is shaped by communication. Verbal and nonverbal communication across various contexts including personal relationships and the media. Explores discourse of social movements aiming to transform cultural definitions of gender. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Meets U.S. Diversity Requirement

SP CM 324. Legal Communication.

(3-0) Cr. 3. Prereq: SP CM 212
Speech communication in the legal system inside and outside the trial process: interviewing and counseling, negotiating and bargaining, voir dire, opening statements, examination of witnesses, closing arguments, judge's instructions, jury behavior, and appellate advocacy. Nonmajor graduate credit.

SP CM 325. Nonverbal Communication.

(Cross-listed with COMST). (3-0) Cr. 3. Prereq: COMST 101, COMST 102, COMST 203, COMST 301
Approaches to studying nonverbal communication; nonverbal functions and aspects of social interaction such as facial affect, body language, touch, gaze, and use of space.

SP CM 327. Persuasion.

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.SS. Prereq: SP CM 212
Examination of persuasive theories, strategies and research in persuasion. Emphasis on application and analysis; logical, emotional, and ethical proofs. Nonmajor graduate credit.

SP CM 350. Rhetorical Traditions.

(Cross-listed with CL ST, ENGL). (3-0) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: ENGL 250
Ideas about the relationship between rhetoric and society in contemporary and historical contexts. An exploration of classical and contemporary rhetorical theories in relation to selected topics that may include politics, gender, race, ethics, education, science, or technology.

SP CM 404. Seminar.

(Dual-listed with 504B). Cr. 3. Repeatable, maximum of 9 credits. Prereq: 15 credits in speech communication

SP CM 404A. Speech Communication.

(Dual-listed with 504). Cr. 3. Repeatable, maximum of 9 credits. Prereq: 15 credits in speech communication

SP CM 404B. Speech Education.

(Dual-listed with 504). Cr. 3. Repeatable, maximum of 9 credits. Prereq: 15 credits in speech communication

SP CM 412. Rhetorical Criticism.

(3-0) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: SP CM 212 and 6 credits in speech communication
Development of rhetorical theory and practice from Corax to modern times. Application of principles of criticism to current public speaking practices. Nonmajor graduate credit.

SP CM 416. History of American Public Address.

(3-0) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: SP CM 212
Relationship between public discourse and social change; selected speakers and discourse as linked with political or historical events. Nonmajor graduate credit.

SP CM 417. Campaign Rhetoric.

(Cross-listed with POL S). (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. F., offered 2012. Prereq: SP CM 212
Backgrounds of candidates for state and national elections; selected speeches and issues; persuasive strategies and techniques of individual speakers. Nonmajor graduate credit.

SP CM 490. Independent Study.

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable, maximum of 9 credits. F.S.SS. Prereq: 18 credits in speech communication, junior classification, permission of department chair
Only one independent study enrollment is permitted within the department per semester.

SP CM 495A. Directing Speech Activities.

(1-0) Cr. 1. S. Prereq: C I 301; 9 credits in speech communication; minimum grade point of 2.5 in speech communication courses
Problems, methods, and materials related to directing speech activities in secondary schools.

SP CM 495B. Teaching Speech.

(Cross-listed with C I). (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: SP CM 313; 9 credits in speech communication; minimum grade point average of 2.5 in speech communication courses
Problems, methods, and materials related to teaching speech, theatre, and media in secondary schools.

SP CM 497. Capstone Seminar.

(3-0) Cr. 3. Prereq: 15 credits in speech communication; junior or senior classification
Students synthesize relevant theory and research about contemporary communication practice culminating in a multi-modal capstone project.

SP CM 499. Communication Internship.

Cr. 1-3. Repeatable, maximum of 6 credits. F.S.SS. Prereq: 18 credits in speech communication courses, other courses deemed appropriate by faculty adviser; 2nd semester junior or senior standing; cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 overall and 3.0 in speech communication; and permission of the internship committee
Applications should be submitted in the term prior to the term in which the internship is desired. Supervised application of speech communication in professional settings.

Courses primarily for graduate students, open to qualified undergraduates:

SP CM 504. Seminar.

(Dual-listed with 404B). (3-0) Cr. 3. Repeatable, maximum of 9 credits. F.S.SS. Prereq: Junior or above classification
Topics may include the following:.

SP CM 504A. Speech Communication.

(Dual-listed with 404). (3-0) Cr. 3. Repeatable, maximum of 9 credits. F.S.SS. Prereq: Graduate classification
Topics may include the following:.

SP CM 504B. Speech Education.

(Dual-listed with 404). (3-0) Cr. 3. Repeatable, maximum of 9 credits. F.S.SS. Prereq: Graduate classification
Topics may include the following:.

SP CM 513. Proseminar: Teaching Fundamentals of Public Speaking.

(1-0) Cr. 1. Repeatable, maximum of 3 credits. F. Prereq: Permission of program chair.
Required of all new Speech Communication 212 teaching assistants. Introduction to the teaching of public speaking. Support and supervision of teaching assistants of SP CM 212. Discussion of lesson planning, teaching methods, development of speaking assignments, and evaluation of student speaking.

SP CM 590. Special Topics.

Cr. 1-4. Repeatable, maximum of 12 credits. Prereq: Permission of program chair

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