Communication Studies coordinates three distinct approaches to the media: practical application, historical study, and critical analysis. Practical application combines basic training in equipment operation, communication skills, production design, organizational skills, and professional internship. Historical study focuses on the evolution of the mass media, the relationship of the mass media and society, and public relations. Critical analysis explores media ethics, and the analysis and evaluation of specific mediated texts using qualitative and quantitative methods.
Students are encouraged to develop a specific advisory plan with the assistance of a faculty advisor. Advisory plans, based on the student’s specific interests, may focus on:
areas such as:
• public relations
media such as:
• radio, television
• audio recording
career roles such as:
• sports announcer
•preparation for graduate school
The department emphasizes internships that provide students with real-world insights into the media. Students are advised to gain the practical experience and skills needed in the media marketplace by participating in a variety of internships. The department has developed professional media internships with community organizations, radio and television stations, newspapers, magazines, and other media groups.
All on-campus media operate in conjunction with Communication Studies classes.
On-campus media offer a variety of opportunities for students. They include the Star, the student newspaper; SSU-TV, a student-run campus television station; and World Wide, an internet radio station that can be heard at KSUN.
Facilities available to students include: recording studio, photography darkrooms, computer labs, a state-of-the-art theatre, a videotape/digital editing facility, an equipped studio for multi-camera video production, a newspaper production facility, and a cablecast radio station.
Communication Studies majors are employed in either the public or private sector. Students aim toward such entry-level positions as media craftsperson in video, audio, film, graphics, or radio; newspaper, radio or TV reporter; radio announcer; sports broadcaster; magazine writer, scriptwriter, advertising or public relations copywriter; graduate-level study in professional career preparation programs.
For additional information, please contact the Communications Studies Department.
Mission Statement of the Communication Studies Department
The Department of Communication Studies at Sonoma State University provides a first-class education in the art, craft, and analysis of communications media to undergraduates preparing to work in the communications industries. The Department achieves this end by offering courses that allow students to fuse the theory and the practice of communications. The faculty encourages and facilitates critical-analytical thinking, advanced written and oral communication, the mastery of media technologies, and both individual and group projects, all of which prepares students to work creatively in the communications industries and to be discerning citizens and consumers.
To realize its mission, the Communication Studies Department pursues the following goals in student learning:
- Awareness of the economic and political power and potential influence of
the communications industries.
- An understanding of the historical development of communication, from
human speech to the Internet.
- The ability to analyze and evaluate media messages and meanings.
- A solid grasp of—and the ability to apply—key social scientific theoretical
approaches to the study of communications media.
- Advanced competency in written and oral communication, and mastery of
current media technologies, platforms, and programs.
- An appreciation of ethical guidelines in the communications industries,
and knowledge of the fundamentals of media law.
- An internship facilitating the application of the student’s classroom
knowledge to communications industry work, and a more promising,
smoother transition from undergraduate academic life to a career.
The COMS Department strives to improve faculty teaching and training by:
- Supporting faculty who adopt and learn new technologies.
- Encouraging faculty to teach new classes and to keep pace with changes in the communications media field.
- Sending faculty members to conferences, festivals and workshops.
- Hiring faculty members who work in the communications industries.
- Rewarding research, scholarship and creative projects.
- Maintaining a program of student teaching and research assistants.
The COMS Department serves the University, the community, and the profession of communications by:
- Publishing The Star, the campus student-run newspaper.
- Broadcasting KSUN, the campus student-run radio station.
- Airing SSU-TV, the campus student-run TV station.
- Educating and supporting students who work as interns in Media Services, the campus Office of Public Information, and who add significantly to Project Censored.
- Coordinating an internship program that provides a bridge between the Department, the University and the communications industries.
- Supporting faculty members who make films, broadcast TV documentaries, write screenplays, publish books, write for newspapers, magazines, and websites, and serve as consultants with community groups about communications issues, among many other creative and public service endeavors.