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Course Clusters

Communication students are advised to choose a cluster of upper division courses that form a coherent program in their major. Students have the freedom to choose courses that support individual programs of study leading to specific careers and graduate programs. While students are not required to choose their courses from among the following clusters, many students do.

Journalism matters more today than ever before. As rapidly evolving technologies profoundly change the way people get information, journalists pursue stories around the world in new and creative ways. But the fundamentals of journalism — great writing, in-depth reporting, a strong ethical foundation, and the ability to think critically about the profession itself — remain essential to uncovering the truth and informing the public. That's why the journalism program at Santa Clara University offers students in-depth courses in print, broadcast and digital media, as well as a comprehensive liberal arts education. Our goal: graduates who are both highly skilled journalists and thoughtful, responsible individuals.

Santa Clara offers a wide range of courses to help students develop the skills that will translate into jobs with newspapers, magazines, online media, and radio and television stations.

Journalism education at Santa Clara is integrated with the University's Core, a rigorous liberal arts curriculum that all students complete. The Core seeks to create an environment that enables students to achieve intellectual excellence, live as responsible citizens, and create a more just and humane society.

In addition to the journalism-related courses, the Communication curriculum offers students a grounding in various research-oriented courses that can further inform their work: interpersonal theory, media and multicultural studies, and the impact of technology on communication.

Many students combine their journalism coursework with majors or minors in other disciplines such as political science, business or modern languages, adding another layer of expertise to their journalism education.

Students interested in a career in journalism or writing intensive professions should choose from among the following courses:

  • 141B - Advanced Journalism
  • 142B - Online Journalism
  • 143B - Special Topics in Journalism (A project-based advanced journalism course that changes each year and may be retaken for course credit)
  • 144B - Television Journalism
  • 146B - Magazine Journalism
  • 147A -Theory of News
  • 148B - Multicultural Journalism
  • 149B - Political News
  • 164A - Race, Gender, and Public Health
  • 168A - Race, Gender, and Politics in the News
  • 170A - Communication Law
  • 182A - Global News Issues

These students may want to aim for a journalism capstone in lieu of a thesis.

Students interested in preparing for law school and subsequent careers in legal fields, including the courtroom, could choose from the following courses, which emphasize both interpersonal skills, relational issues, and writing skills:

  • 100A - Advanced Interpersonal Communication
  • 102A - Persuasion
  • 103A - Communication and Conflict
  • 104A - Group Communication
  • 105A - Multicultural Folktales and Storytelling
  • 106A - Gender, Health, and Sexuality
  • 122A - Media and Advocacy
  • 141B - Advanced Journalism
  • 170A - Communication Law
  • 175A - Theology of Communication

These courses prepare students to work in film and video:

  • 30 -  Intro to Digital Filmmaking
  • 130B- Global Screenwriting
  • 131B- Short Fiction Production
  • 132B- Short Documentary Production
  • 133B- Expanded Cinema Production
  • 134B- Master Shot/Studio Production
  • 135B- Editing & Cinematography
  • 136A- Genre, Auteur, & Narrative Strategies
  • 137A- American Film History & Theory
  • 138A- Television History & Theory
  • 139A- Global Cinema History & Theory
  • 187A- Cinema in the Age of Globalization
  • 188A- The Fantastic in Film and Literature

These students may want to consider a Filmmaking Capstone.

Students interested in a career in computer-intensive areas of communication are encouraged to take courses numbered 130-139 in video/filmmaking along with these:

  • 142B- Online Journalism
  • 161B - Communication Media and Technology in Education
  • 163A- Internet Communities
  • 169A- Special Topics in Comm Technology
  • 185A- New Media and Communication
  • Up to two courses in Computer Graphics and Web Design offered through the Art Department can be counted toward the Communication major.

Teaching-scholars who focus on interpersonal communication are interested in the complex dynamics of how we relate to other people in our lives.  

We study the way people talk and behave toward one another, including the effects of culture, gender, expectations, perceptions, emotions, and attitudes.  We are interested in two-person relationships, as well as how members of teams, families, groups, and organizations communicate.

Students intrigued with issues involving relational communication, in a variety of real world contexts, might consider the following courses. These courses could be of specific interest to students who plan careers dealing with the public or service to others, graduate school, or are interested in understanding more about their own relationships with other people:

  •  001- Interpersonal Communication Studies
  • 100A- The Science of Happiness
  • 101A- Vocation and Gender
  • 101B- Interviewing
  • 102A- Persuasion
  • 103A- Communication and Conflict
  • 104A - Group Communication
  • 105B - Multicultural Folktales & Storytelling
  • 106A - Gender, Health & Sexuality
  • 107A - Intercultural Communication
  • 108A - Communication & Gender
  • 109A-  Friendships & Romances
  • 151A - Organizational Communication
  • 176A - Biology of Communication
  • 186B - Global Interpersonal Communication

Studying abroad experiences are valuable. Click here to see samples of students’ websites from Comm 186(B): Global Interpersonal Communication integrating their engagement with another society into their SCU education.

The study mass communication in print, radio, video, and the Internet, which prepares students for work or graduate school in the area of the field, are covered in:

  • 121A- Minorities & Media
  • 122A- Media & Advocacy
  • 124A- Information Campaigns
  • 125A- Media Audience Studies
  • 126A- Violence & Communication
  • 163A- Internet Communities
  • 170A- Communication Law
  • 175A- Theology of Communication
  • 185A- New Media & Communication

Strategic communication is the study of purposefully-created messages to accomplish a specific objective. ​It includes persuasive messages designed to help an organization accomplish its mission or convince someone to modify a behavior or idea and encompasses a variety of disciplines including public relations, political communication, management, technical communication, information/social campaigns, and health communication. Students who are interested in careers in public relations, marketing, health campaigns, or as public information officers may find courses within the strategic communication cluster helpful.

  • 102A - Persuasion
  • 107A - Intercultural Communication
  • 120A - Environmental Communication
  • 122A - Media & Advocacy
  • 124B - Information Campaigns
  • 125A - Media Audience Studies
  • 127A - Intercultural Communication
  • 141B - Advanced Journalism
  • 150B - Public Relations Theories
  • 151A - Organizational Communication
  • 152B - Public Relations Strategies
  • 183A - Communication, Development & Social Change

Students interested in careers or graduate study in global and cross-cultural communication are well-served by taking:

  • 105A - Multicultural Folktales & Storytelling
  • 107A - Intercultural Communication
  • 126A- Violence & Communication
  • 130B - Global Screenwriting
  • 170A - Communication Law
  • 139A - Global Cinema History & Theory
  • 180A - Global Audiences
  • 181A - Global Media Industries
  • 182A - Global News Issues
  • 183A - Communication, Development & Social change
  • 184A - Postcolonial Identity & Communication
  • 186B - Global Intercultural Communication