Program Overview

An online communication degree for a shifting media landscape.

The exceedingly transfer-friendly major in Mass Communication gives students the skills to deal with an ever-changing field. Social media and the internet have fundamentally altered the communication process, and skilled professionals need to understand both the tools and the reasons we use them. Enter an online bachelor’s degree in communication. Now, gain the knowledge you need to become an effective communicator who uses tried-and-true strategies as well as new technology with the online Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication from Point Park University.

Curriculum Overview

This fully online program is designed for communication professionals by communication professionals. Each course is created and taught by professors with years of experience in the industry. With courses in broadcasting, media ethics, communication law and more, our online bachelor’s degree in communication will give you the advanced expertise and real-world knowledge you need for a productive and exciting career. The program is designed with your success in mind, from the flexible scheduling of fully online classes to personal support from application to graduation. Discover how an online bachelor’s degree in communication can transform your career — and your life.

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  • Next Start Date:January 7, 2018
  • Est. Program Length:2-4 Years
  • Credit Hours:125
  • Course Length:8 Weeks
  • Cost Per Credit:$433
 
Thematic Core Courses (42 credits)
  • COMM 101 – Oral Comm. & Pres.
  • ENGL 101 – College Composition
  • UNIV 101 – City-University Life
  • Explore the World
  • Investigate Science
  • Investigate Mathematics
  • Interpret Creative Works
  • Understand People
  • Succeed in Business
  • Appreciate & Apply the Arts
  • Discover Technology – JOUR 103 – Graphic Design I
  • Senior Capstone
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Course Description
This course included communication theory, as well as speech preparation, delivery, and communication technology. Student learning focuses on researching, composing, and delivering formal and impromptu speeches and presentations. Topics include research, analyzing and adapting audiences, message construction, outlining, delivery of messages and effective use of visual aids and technology. This course will develop each student’s ability to communicate effectively with respect to audience and purpose. The major emphasis is on the preparation and delivery of presentations ranging from one-on-one pitches, and small group discussion, to large audience speeches.
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Course Description
Students will write argument-based assignments leading to an independently researched project based on academic and professional goals. Students will be required to 1.) find and integrate a variety of sources, 2.) read and analyze these sources, 3.) develop strong thesis statements that reflect perspectives on topics or issues, and 4.) construct persuasive arguments that engage with the viewpoints of experts and commentators. As the term progresses, students will have the opportunity to re-think or revise the ideas and perspectives they explored in earlier writing assignments by engaging with peer feedback and revising earlier drafts. Placement recommendations will require students to take ENGL 101 as a three credit course OR in conjunction with an additional credit of lab or studio instruction. Students who earn F or NP grades in ENGL 101 will be required to re-take the course in conjunction with a one-credit Writing Studio course.*One Writing Intensive course in addition to ENGL 101 is required for graduation.
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Course Description
This course introduces students to the kinds of communities that people construct for themselves (e.g. social, political, artistic, etc.) and the values and dynamics that define such communities (e.g. cooperation, civility, tolerance, responsibility, etc.). The notion of what it means to be a responsible member of the “community” will actively be explored and discussed by engagement and analysis of multiple communities: the classroom community, the Point Park University community, and the Pittsburgh community. Students will also examine the responsibilities they have to their personal academic development.
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Choose two of the following courses:

  • ECON 201 – Principles of Macroeconomics
  • GCS 175 – Intro to Global Cultural Studies
  • GCS/MLNG 205 – Languages of the World
  • HIST 201 – Western Civilization I
  • HIST 202 – Western Civilization II
  • PADM 210/POLS 204 – Public Administration
  • POLS 205 – World Geography
  • POLS 250 – Intro to Study of Gov’t Systems
  • PHIL 215 – World Religions
  • SOC/MLNG 260 – Japanese Culture
  • THEA 225 – History Theatre I
  • THEA 226 – History Theatre II
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Choose one of the following courses:

  • CHEM 101 – General Chemistry I
  • NSET 110 – Intro to Natural Sciences I
  • NSET 111 – Intro to Natural Sciences II
  • NSET 120 – Environmental Science
  • NSET 122 – The Science of Light
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Choose one of the following courses:

  • MATH 150 – The Mathematical Experience
  • MATH 175 – Elementary Statistics
  • MATH 180 – College Algebra
  • MATH 190 – Calculus I
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Choose one of the following courses:

  • EDUC 252 – Children’s Literature
  • ENGL 120 – Introduction to Literary Studies
  • ENGL 251 – World Lit: Novels
  • ENGL 252 – The Art of Creative Nonfiction
  • ENGL 253 – The Art of Poetry
  • ENGL 254 – The Art of Short Story
  • ENGL 255 – Theoretical Approaches to the Study of Literature
  • JOUR 225 – Deconstructing the Story
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Choose two of the following courses:

  • EDUC 220 – Family and Community Diversity
  • EDUC 228 – Educational Psychology
  • HIST 206 – Foundations in Feminism: Women’s History in Western World
  • PSYC 150 – Psychological Foundations
  • PSYC 203 – Theories of Personality
  • PSYC 214 – Psychology of Emotion
  • PSYC 230 – Characterological and Psychotic in Film and Fiction
  • SOC 150 – Sociological Foundations
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Choose one of the following courses:

  • BMGT 271 – The Money Thing: Life and Finances During and After College
  • BUS 404 – Business Ethics
  • CMPS 330 – Electronic Commerce
  • ECON 202 – Principles of Microeconomics
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Choose one of the following courses:

  • ART 100 – Intro to Visual Arts
  • CINE 170 – Intro to Screenwriting for Non-Majors
  • COMM 290 – Seminar in Media Studies
  • COPA 250 – Exploring the Arts
  • EDUC 251 – Art and Music in Teaching
  • ENGL 200 – Creative Writing
  • ENGL 252 – The Art of Creative Nonfiction
  • ENGL 253 – The Art of Poetry
  • ENGL 254 – The Art of Short Story
  • MLNG 220 – French Literature in Translation
  • PHOT 101 – Photography for Non-Majors
  • THEA 230 – Introduction to Theatre
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Course Description
This course serves as an introduction to the theory and practice of visual communication design for print and screen-based media. Emphasis is placed on visual communication of ideas, information and messages. Students learn the fundamentals of digital imaging, page layout and web design. Upon completion of this course, students will produce a series of visual communication artifacts to add to their portfolios.
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Choose one of the following courses:

JOUR 433 – Advertising Competition
Students prepare an IMC campaign and present it at the National Student Advertising Competition of the American Advertising Federation. Campaigns have been for a car, credit card company, airline and a magazine publisher, all of which sponsored the annual competition. Students assume job titles and descriptions and produce a comprehensive IMC plan, involving research and all forms of the Integrated Marketing Communications process, including media. Prerequisites: Completion of all School of Communication and PRAD required core courses.JOUR 445 – Editing & Producing the News
Traditional and transitional principles of news value, news selection, and news presentation will be discussed in class. Applying these principles, students will serve as gatekeepers and decision makers (assignment editors, chief photographers, web producers, head writers, segment producers, anchors and program producers) for a weekly newscast and other student multimedia news efforts. The instructor and students will discuss journalistic, ethical, legal, societal and professional perspectives and challenges presented by these real-world journalistic decisions. Prerequisite: JOUR 304.

JOUR 447 – Electronic Media Management
This course will introduce students to the fundamental theories and concepts of management in the media industry. Students will demonstrate their understanding of these concepts through projects, case studies and management simulations. Prerequisites: Junior or Senior Standing

JOUR 455 – Multimedia Capstone
This course will serve as a capstone to those in the Multimedia major. The course will be conducted in a workshop format, with students producing an interactive multimedia project as a final portfolio piece. Components of the project may include text, Web design, video, audio, graphic design and interactive media design. Prerequisite: 75+ Credits , JOUR 215, JOUR 220, JOUR 280, JOUR 307, JOUR 365 or permission.

JOUR 490 – Journalism Capstone
Students apply their cumulative skills in the creation of long-form, well researched, multiple-source journalism for web and/or multiplatform delivery. During the course, students work in consultation with the instructor to create their individual projects. Students also finalize their individual portfolios that includes the projects created for this class. Prerequisite: Senior Standing.

JOUR 497 – IMC Agency
Students will work in a student-run agency model to plan, research and construct integrated communications campaigns for local nonprofit, business or civic organizations utilizing advertising, public relations, direct communications and promotions. Students will assume agency job titles and descriptions and will demonstrate mastery of communications theory/practice, processes and techniques, and agency management. The course will also serve as a valuable portfolio for employment. The major goal of the course is to put to work learned advertising, public relations and marketing principles and theories with an emphasis on researching, writing and producing solid integrated marketing communications plans and tactics. Prerequisites: Completion of all School of Communication and PRAD required core courses.

PHOT 470 – Documental Photography
Students will work on photo documentary projects based on the established methodology to reduce the fast paced world to a set of still images that convey life and world experiences by creating a distinctive and compelling sense of reason, place and time. Students will gain a basic understanding of documentary photography history and principles through writing reactions to assigned books and films about documentary principles. Students will establish personal methods to focus on the meaning and content of their pictures, the quality of their pictures and the way they observe the world around them. Prerequisites: PHOT 107 or PHOT 108, PHOT 205.

PHOT 481 – Senior Thesis I
This self-directed senior seminar is designed to bring seniors together to discuss and develop their thesis projects, research paper and exhibition plans. The seminar encourages teamwork on developing an exhibition and the ensuing professional practice in photography, continuing education, pricing strategies, presentation formats, and artist statements. In preparation for their career, students visit local artists’ studios and visiting artists provide feedback of work in progress. Prerequisite: ENGL 368, PHOT 310, PHOT 390, PHOT 400 & Passing JR Portfolio Review.

Departmental Major Requirements (29 credits)
  • JOUR 101 – Survey of Mass Communication
  • JOUR 150 – Journalistic Writing & Editing
  • JOUR 151 – Broadcast Writing & Editing
  • JOUR 202 – Intro to Broadcasting
  • JOUR 206 – Intro to Advertising & PR
  • JOUR 260 – Reporting
  • JOUR 300 – Career Prep Seminar
  • JOUR 308 – Publications Production
  • JOUR 311 – Practicum
  • JOUR 412 – Media Ethics & Responsibilities
  • JOUR 418 – Communication Law & Regulation
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Course Description
A study of basic communications principles and the emergence of the concept of mass communication. Explores responsibilities of newspapers, magazines, radio, television, public relations, advertising and Internet sources in the modern social system. This survey course aids students in deciding upon their major area of concentration.
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Course Description
A survey of the law as it relates to business transactions including the law of sales, the Uniform Commercial Code, consumer law, commercial papers, partnerships, corporations, antitrust, labor, environmental, secured transactions, bankruptcy, insurance and administrative law. Prerequisite: BMGT 201.
×
Course Description
This course serves as an introduction to the theory and practice of visual communication design for print and screen-based media. Emphasis is placed on visual communication of ideas, information and messages. Students learn the fundamentals of digital imaging, page layout and web design. Upon completion of this course, students will produce a series of visual communication artifacts to add to their portfolios.
×
Course Description
This course will introduce students to professional-level writing and editing skills and techniques. Students will learn to recognize news, conduct interviews, report and collect information, and then write in a variety of formats, including news, feature and narrative, opinion and news feature, all of which are applicable to information provided in the traditional mass media, advertising and public relations, and multimedia applications. Students will learn how to edit and prepare copy for publication and dissemination in those formats. Students must pass with a C- or better to progress in the major.
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Course Description
This course will introduce students to professional-level broadcast writing and editing skills and techniques. Students will conduct interviews, report and collect information, and then write scripts in a variety of formats, understanding the relationship and importance of audio and video in broadcast formats. Students will learn how to edit and prepare copy for broadcast and dissemination in accompanying multimedia formats. Students must pass with a C- or better to progress in the major if this is a required major course. Prerequisite: JOUR 150.
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Course Description
A general overview of the broadcasting industry, key historical events and people and study of the existing economic and regulatory forces acting upon it.
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Course Description
Students explore the background and fundamentals of how organizations use persuasive communication to reach target audiences. A study of successful case studies and exercises in program writing will build the foundation and basic understanding of how advertising and public relations can advance the mission and growth of organizations in our contemporary society.
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Course Description
This course offers advanced training in reporting techniques, record searches, computer-assisted research and other skills. After students learn how to find interesting stories, they will be schooled in specific writing structures and how to organize, write, and publish stories for a portfolio that will be presented at the end of the semester. Prerequisite: JOUR 150.
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Course Description
A combination lecture, discussion and critique of student work. The goal is to enable students to make educational and professional choices early in their college years. Surveys entry requirements, duties and job-satisfaction in professions of the J&MC concentrations. Topics include recommended electives, internships, networking, resumes, interviewing, portfolios and research sources. Required of majors and planned for the sophomore level.
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Course Description
This course introduces basic networking and security concepts. It serves as a precursor to the more advanced and specialized networking and security courses. Coverage of topics focuses on identifying and understanding the nomenclature of hardware and software use in modern networks.
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Course Description
Students apply management, news writing, feature writing, copy editing, desktop publishing, photography, and advertising skills learned in other J&MC classes to produce The Pioneer, the University news magazine. For more than 30 years, The Pioneer has been a laboratory for students to enhance and develop their practical journalistic skills. With the addition of The Pioneer Online, students will continue to position themselves for work within a changing industry. (Note: Jour 308 or 310 can be taken in any order or singly. One is not dependent on the other.) Prerequisites: JOUR 103, JOUR 150. Upon completion of this class, students will have two issues of this award-winning magazine to add to their portfolios.
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Course Description
School of Communication majors complete a practicum in a concentration of their choice. The goal is that students gain practical, hands-on experience through working as apprentices for various University media and applicable offices. Faculty supervise all students who complete an agreed-upon list of assignments at sites such as the campus newspaper, broadcast studios, tasks in appropriate school offices and endeavors involving advertising, marketing, sports information, public relations, alumni affairs, or admissions and recruitment. A site supervisor will evaluate the student’s minimum 70 hours effort for the semester. The site list is approved by the faculty, and will be expanded or reduced as needed. The practicum should be completed by the junior year to prepare students for internships at outside media, advertising and public relations agencies or appropriate corporate, governmental or community organizations. The practicum is pass/fail only and may be repeated one time.
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Course Description
Examines the ethical issues presented in the modern media, including their historical context and practical ramifications. The course compares and contrasts ethical standards and systems with professional processes and practices and legal principles. Students will write a position paper in which they defend an ethical choice they make and a longer term paper. Prerequisite: 75+ Credits.
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Course Description
Study of contemporary and classic cases related to state and federal law of freedom of the press and freedom of speech. Problems caused by efforts by government to control mass media and freedom of government/public information are also addressed. Students will write a term paper. Prerequisites: JOUR 101, JOUR 150 and 75+ credits. Dual listed with JOUR 518.
Departmental General Requirements (21 credits)
  • Humanities
  • English Literature
  • Language Sequence
  • ECON 201, ECON 202 OR ECON 421
  • HIST 203 OR 204
  • POLS 102, 202, 205, 209, 250, 308, 372, OR 402
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Course Description
Three credit hours from Humanities.
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Course Description
Three credit hours in English Literature, not writing at the 300+ level.
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Course Description
A two course sequence in the same foreign language (courses in translation excluded).
Course Descriptions
An introductory analysis of economic theory as applied to fiscal and monetary policy affairs.
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Course Descriptions

ECON 201 – Principles of Economics/Macroeconomics
An introductory analysis of economic theory as applied to fiscal and monetary policy affairs.
ECON 202 – Principles of Economics/Macroeconomics
An introduction to the pricing and allocation mechanism of the classical market economy.OR

ECON 421 – International Economics
A study of international trade covering topics such as absolute and comparative costs, factor movements, balance of payments, barriers of trade, the impact of exchange rate fluctuations on trade and multinational corporate issues. Prerequisite: ECON 201 or ECON 202.

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Course Descriptions
HIST 203 – History of the United States I
The historical, political and social movements of the United States and Pennsylvania from the Colonial period through 1865. The identification of individual rights and responsibilities as citizens is an integral part of this course. Prerequisite: History 150 or permission of the instructor.
OR
HIST 204 – History of the United States II
A continuation of HIST 203. The developments in the United States and Pennsylvania from 1865 to the present. Prerequisite: History 150 or permission of the instructor.
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Course Descriptions
POLS 102 – American National Government
Examines basic principles, institutions and functions of American national government and the operation of the American political system and government. Identifies individual rights and responsibilities as citizens of local, state and national communities.

POLS 202 – State and Local Government
Basic principles, institutions and functions of American government at the state and local levels. Emphasis on Pennsylvania.

POLS 205- World Geography
World Geography is the study of the geographic nature of the world’s major social, political, and economic processes and problems. A central component of this class will be an analysis of the ways in which power has unevenly spread across the regions of the globe. This course starts and ends with an analysis of commodity chains as a means to understand the connections between colonialism, post-colonial imperialism, and the geographies of capitalism; environmental geographies of exploitation and destruction; the ways in which the global economy is governed; the relationships between race and geography; the production of gendered geographies; the production of specifically sexualized spaces; and conflicts that arise over and in various spaces, places, territories, and borders. By the end of the semester, students should have a firm grasp of geography’s principal concepts and a solid orientation to the geographic nature of the world’s major power inequalities and processes.

POLS 209 – Law and Society
A study of the problems of law in society and an introduction to criminal justice.

POLS 250 – Intro to the Study of Government Systems
An introduction to significant issues of politics that have been identified by noted political scientists of the past and present. Designed as an overview of the discipline of political science for students who would otherwise have limited exposure to these issues

POLS 308 – Principles of Criminal Justice
An examination of the doctrine and principles involved in criminal law through analysis of cases and statutes. Prerequisite: POLS 209.

POLS 372 – International Relations
An examination of the major elements and persistent problems in the world community of states. Prerequisites: POLS 250 or HIST 202 or permission.

OR

POLS 402 – Constitutional Law
The interpretation and application of the Constitution of the United States. Emphasis on constitutional law. Writing-in-disciplines class. Prerequisites: POLS 102 or POLS 250 or permission.

Departmental Major Electives (18 credits)
  • Choose 18 JOUR or PHOT credits with advisor.
General Electives (15 credits)
  • Free electives provide students with the opportunity to study content areas that meet personal, professional, or vocational interests.

Students applying for entry into Point Park University’s B.A. in Mass Communication program must meet the following requirements:

  1. Degree admission requires a satisfactory transcript from either a high school or postsecondary institution. Transcripts from postsecondary institutions must include a minimum of 12 earned credits or six months of training. A cumulative minimum GPA of 2.0 is required. Students with a lower GPA may be considered for admission by the program director based on additional information in support of the application.
  2. The university reserves the right to require an interview or supplementary materials for any applicant (degree or non-degree) and use these as a means for making an admission decision.

Career Outcomes

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for communications careers was $53,530 annually in 2015. Our communication degree can prepare you for a variety of careers, including:


Public Relations Specialist

Public relations specialists are responsible for managing the public images of companies and organizations. As part of their role, they may create press releases, write speeches for executives, evaluate public opinion, communicate with the media and more. PR specialists should be fluent in all media outlets including radio, television, newspapers, magazines and digital sources.

News Reporter

News reporters work to provide news and information to the public. They may research and update stories, conduct interviews, write articles and scripts regarding the news, analyze audience opinions of the news and other relevant duties. News reporters may work on the local, state, national or international levels.

Advertising Account Executive

Advertising account executives work to create and maintain client relationships within the advertising and marketing field. They may be responsible for promoting products and services, working toward sales goals, strategizing with clients, negotiating contracts and placing advertisements for clients in media outlets, among other tasks. These professionals require exceptional interpersonal skills.

Graphic Designer

Graphic designers create visual designs using both text and images, often for advertising and marketing purposes. They may be responsible for determining client needs, creating visual items such as logos, illustrations and other images, designing layouts and typefaces, incorporating client feedback and more. Graphic designers often work with software and technology specifically built for their field.

Broadcaster

Broadcasters are journalists who work in television and radio. They may read the news, serve as anchors or hosts for news broadcasts, announce at sporting events, write and select content for shows, interview subjects and other relevant duties. These media professionals must notably possess the ability to speak in front of audiences in a clear and effective manner.

Technical Writer

Technical writers are responsible for creating instruction manuals, how-to guides and various other documents designed to explain technical processes and information to the public. They may study products; collaborate with technical staff; create, standardize and update written works; and more. These writers must possess an excellent ability to translate technical know-how into highly accessible content.

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