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Department ofCommunication

Senior Thesis & Capstone

All Communication majors complete a senior thesis or capstone course in their senior year.

Thesis students complete substantial papers based on their original research.

Capstone students make films, write feature-length magazine articles, or create public relations materials for a real-world client. Students emerge from thesis or capstone with an example of their best work, suitable for including in applications for jobs and graduate school

Prerequisite Information

All students enrolled in any section of thesis/capstone must complete the following required courses before taking thesis/capstone:

  • COMM 1 (Introduction to Interpersonal Communication)
  • COMM 2 (Media in a Global World) or 2GL (Introduction to Global Media Studies)
  • COMM 12 (Technology & Communication)
  • COMM 20 (Public Speaking)
  • COMM 30 (Introduction to Digital Filmmaking)
  • COMM 40 (Introduction to Journalism) or 40 EL (Introduction to Journalism- Experiential Learning)
  • COMM 110 (Quantitative Research Methods)
  • COMM 111 or 111G (Qualitative Research Methods)
  • There are additional prerequisites for each thesis/capstone section. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have completed them before the quarter in which you plan to take thesis/capstone. Enrolling in a prerequisite during the same quarter as thesis/capstone doesn’t count.
  • Acceptance into any thesis/capstone section is contingent upon the student successfully completing all prerequisites prior to the quarter in which the student is enrolled in thesis/capstone. A student who drops or fails a prerequisite will not be eligible to take thesis/capstone and will forfeit their slot in a thesis/capstone section.

Fall 2020

In this seminar, students will explore the intersections between their personal lives and the social scientific literature on interpersonal communication. Students will conduct research on interpersonal topics meaningful to them, including but not limited to: negotiating condom usage in dating relationships, communication between divorced parents sharing child custody, communication between coaches and athletes, conflict between co-workers, sexual harassment, cross-sex or cross-cultural friendships, communication among step-siblings or half-siblings, maintaining long-distance relationships, mentoring relationships, coming out to friends and family about LGBTQ+ identities, doctor-patient communication, communicating support and comfort to loved ones, and gendered communication styles. Students will each construct an individual thesis project that will include both a critical literature review and an original arts-based research product (e.g., short story, photo essay, several poems, painting, digital story, performance)./p>

Prerequisites: at least one interpersonal course from among the following: 100A, 101A, 102A, 103A, 104A, 106A, 107A, 108A, 109A, 118A, 119A, 151A, 176A, 177A, 178A.

The course will address the depiction of disability in different genres of popular media, including cinema, art, literature, and or graphic novels. Course materials will be drawn from different cultural, geographical, and historical contexts, including Iranian new wave cinema and American superhero comics. The course will consist of three related dimensions. One, we will evaluate theoretical definitions of disability, types of disability, ideas of the normal body and self, and general notions of difference. Two, we will analyze the representation of disability in specific media texts, such as the X-Men comics, with reference to the theoretical framework. And three, we will pay close attention to how the languages and idioms of representation in these texts reproduce or challenge notions of disability.

Prerequisites: at least one list A course

Winter 2021

The Strategic Communication Capstone will entail the completion of an applied campaign project as well as the collection and analysis of campaign evaluation data. In other words, students will design a campaign and then collect data to see if their campaign was successful in achieving the objectives of the campaign. The campaign will target a health behavior (try to get people to change a health-related behavior) among a target population, which may include fellow SCU students. For projects that target students, we will be working in close partnership with campus partners (e.g., the SCU Wellness Center, Office of Student Life, Residence Life) to implement projects that will directly contribute to the health of fellow students on campus. There is also the potential to implement projects for an off-campus partner that focuses on health. Using data and theory-driven strategies, the campaigns will be designed in the prerequisite course, COMM 154A, Foundations of Strategic Campaigns (previously called Public Health Campaigns); thus, the Capstone class itself will focus on the hands-on implementation of the campaign and the evaluation of it's effectiveness. To design an evaluation plan, students will draw from the research skills they learned in COMM 110 and COMM 111. The knowledge and skills learned in this course will help students develop experience applicable to careers in a wide range of strategic communication areas, including public relations, advertising, and public health.

Prerequisites: COMM 154A

Using the Industrialization of Culture Framework (introduced in COMM 171), we will explore the relationship between politics, economics, culture and media industries. Students will conduct in-depth research on a media company of their choosing using a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods. Student projects will investigate how a particular media company serves the public while navigating the political and economic constraints of the culture in which it operates. Students can choose to study industries from anywhere in the world.

Prerequisites: COMM 171

How do we communicate who we are in a new environment? What drives us to do so? What happens when our self-identifications are misunderstood or dismissed? This thesis seminar will explore identity negotiation processes in action. We will examine identity formations from an interdisciplinary perspective. With relevant literature reviewed from communication, sociology, theater/performance studies, and anthropology, we will engage in conducting original research to examine ways in which identities are managed in the work environment. You will produce and deliver an independent research report at the end of the course.

Prerequisites: Any two upper-division COMM courses

Spring 2021

Digital Filmmaking is a workshop designed to provide Seniors the context in which they produce their Capstone films and reflect on how the courses in history, theory, and criticism they have taken in the Communication Department have informed their work and filmmaking vision. Digital Filmmaking Capstone entails the production of a 10-minute film and the writing of an 8- to 10-page reflection paper in which students discuss the relationship between theory and practice as it relates to their projects and who they are as filmmakers. Students will work in groups to pre-produce, shoot, and post-produce an original film, and to write an individual vision statement. The goal of Digital Filmmaking Capstone is to give students the chance to refine the technical and aesthetic skills they have learned in the film production sequence and to deepen their understanding of the relation between the practice of filmmaking and film/video theory and criticism.

Prerequisites: 130B (English Screenwriting is accepted); Two List B courses in film/TV production (131B, 132B, 133B, 134B, 135B); and at least one from the following list: COMM 187A, COMM 188A, COMM 139A, COMM 136A, COMM 137A, COMM 138A, COMM 171A

Journalism has never been more important, and our ability to gather information and share it with readers has exploded with technology. The skills we use in journalism prepare students for a future in professional communication of all kinds. The journalism capstone allows students to show off their ability to deliver accurate information to a specific audience, in a way that people can quickly and easily understand.

Students in the journalism capstone produce compelling individual work as part of an overall thematic group project on a relevant issue facing our community. This capstone entails students demonstrating solid information gathering skills, clear and focused writing, and the effective use of a variety of multimedia elements (text, video, audio, graphics, etc). The needs of the story should drive the presentation.

Students will pitch and execute a feature-length story with appropriate companion media elements, as well as contribute to the overall strategy, problem-solving and production of the project. Stories must be approved in advance, and students will move forward through prescribed deadlines and benchmarks, with the support of peers, faculty and, occasionally, professionals.

In addition, students will create reflection pieces, in which they share how their education and knowledge of theory and practice has informed their work on the project.

Prerequisites: Two upper-division journalism courses and at least one of the following: COMM 170, COMM 147A, COMM 121A, COMM 185A, COMM 147A

Time is central to the human experience. We use time as a way to measure, pace, reward, and punish. But most issues related to time are taken for granted in human communication research. In this course, we will explore many of the social conceptions of time that affect the way we live on a daily (and weekly, and monthly, and yearly) basis. We will also examine how time affects relationships within groups and organizations, as well as how agency plays a role in our relationship with time.

This course starts in seminar format and proceeds with the production of team research projects. Students will be asked to investigate a question relating to time and communication, and will then produce a website and presentation showcasing their findings.

Prerequisites: No additional required