Department of Communication Studies


The Department of Communication Studies develops creators, connectors, and change makers in a spiritually and intellectually transformative learning community rooted in Truth.

Department Overview

At the graduate and professional level, the department offers a Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and a professional bachelor’s degree completion program in digital media and communication. 

COMM 500, Strategic Communication Theory and Practice, 3 Units

This course examines the history, theory, research, trends, tools, and practices of strategic communication, with special attention given to the use and influence of social and digital media. Students analyze realistic case studies as the applied understanding of how they design and execute strategic communication plans, and explore the role of strategic communication in business, government, not-for-profit organizations, and agencies.

Prerequisite: Acceptance into the Master of Arts in Strategic Communication program.

COMM 502, Writing and Media Content Development, 3 Units

This course examines the foundational and essential tools of writing across multimedia platforms, emphasizing effective content development and precision in writing strategically. The course encompasses principles and applications for branding, advertising, integrated marketing communication, public relations, and crisis communication, and the technologies for producing and disseminating effective content and engaging key publics. Students are required to master writing strategy, design fundamentals, typology, research, terminology, production techniques, pitching, digital platform development, and portfolio construction for actual clients and/or community partners.

Prerequisite: Acceptance into the Master of Arts in Strategic Communication program.

COMM 503, Research Methods and Analytics [Proposed], 3 Units

This course examines how professionals utilize research and data. Student will gather, review, analyze, explain and apply the methods and practices of popular and academic research in order to effectively achieve organizational goals and build relationships with publics. The course will also focus on the understanding and use of social and digital media data analytics.

COMM 504, Business and Organizational Fundamentals for Strategic Communication [Proposed], 3 Units

This course will explore the fundamentals of business functions in organizations of all sizes. Students will learn how to effectively integrate basic knowledge of finance, marketing, management, human relations, professional development, and strategic communication in the real-world business environments.

COMM 505, Ethical, Legal and Social Responsibility in Strategic Communication [Proposed], 3 Units

This course will allow students to better understand the presuppositional thinking and faith-based foundations that will guide their motivations and actions related to legal and ethical principles in the profession of strategic communication. Additionally, students will explore the role of Corporate Social Responsibility and Diversity in various types of organizations in a growing global marketplace.

COMM 506, Crisis, Risk and Reputation Management [Proposed], 3 Units

Issue management in strategic communication involves scanning the public environment, policy advocacy, media relations, local and global mobilization, coalition management, and organizational reputation maintenance. Consequently, students in this course will analyze case-studies, interact with multiple interpretations and thus equip themselves with practical skills need to shape and guide public opinion and advance organizational mission.

COMM 510, Communication Platforms (Social Media +) [Proposed], 3 Units

Course explores the sector of digital media platforms and the online marketplace with a focus on audience usability, content creation and placement, and models for social and commercial impact.

COMM 511, Transmedia Storytelling [Proposed], 3 Units

This course will help students develop the skills and techniques of creating and disseminating single stories across multiple platforms and formats using digital technologies.

COMM 512, Multi-Platform Video Integration [Proposed], 3 Units

This course examines the rapidly changing integration of video in multiple media platforms. Students will learn hands-on content creation and management with a variety of tools for a variety of medium for effective strategic communication impact.

COMM 513, Multi-Media Branding [Proposed], 3 Units

This course will explore the development of organizational identity in terms of standard work products like logos and web pages to the use of search engine optimization, institutional ethos, and aligned verbal and visual brand management.

COMM 520, Conflict Management and Resolution [Proposed], 3 Units

This course will require students to examine the process of communication and the conflict that often arises both at the interpersonal and organizational level. The skills learned in this class will be effective in managing the strategic communication team as well as client relationships.

COMM 590, Internship or Practicum [Proposed], 3 Units

This course provides an opportunity for directed experiences in applying the principles and skills of strategic communication theory while performing specific tasks in a job-related field with an organization. Internships are arranged individually with approval of the department advisor. The internship will be taken for three units which will involve 120 hours of on-site work, related assignments and submission of work product and deliverables that serve the client organization. (This is an option for those students not currently in the strategic communication field).

COMM 596, Strategic Communication Capstone Project, 3 Units

This course enables students to complete the M.A. in Strategic Communication program, and is reserved for students in the program. Capstone students must complete the requisite number of on-site hours and are regularly evaluated by the program director and site supervisor. Projects are presented at a symposium for faculty, industry professionals, and students.

Prerequisite: COMM 500, COMM 502, COMM 503, COMM 505, COMM 506

COMM 599, Readings in Communication, 1-3 Units

This course is an independent study vehicle through which students and their sponsoring faculty members may pursue approved investigations beyond those provided within regular course offerings.

PRCO 111, Public Communication, 3 Units

This course offers practical instruction in how to speak effectively and introduces the basic principles underlying effective communication. Topics range from the study of theoretical models of interpersonal and public communication to the fundamental skills of research, organization, and delivery of informative and persuasive discourse. Meets the General Education Requirement: Oral Communication. 

PRCO 200, Introduction to Mass Communication, 3 Units

This course provides a study of the forms, content, environments, and strategies of the mass media (e.g., newspaper, magazine, radio, television, film, etc.). Emphasis is given to an historical and critical understanding of media structures and functions.

PRCO 210, News Writing and Reporting, 3 Units

This course allows students to practice the basics of newspaper and on-line reporting. The focus is on techniques of researching and writing hard news stories and features.

PRCO 211, Professional Communication, 3 Units

Improves students' professional communication skills and develops an understanding of vocational calling necessary to establish a professional identity. The course provides the structural skills necessary to deliver effective professional presentations using innovative technologies in a variety of contexts.

Prerequisite: PRCO 111

PRCO 230, Small Group Communication, 3 Units

Provides the student with both a theoretical and an active acquaintance with group participation and leadership. It examines the antecedents, processes, and outcomes of group communication, including group development, leadership emergence, norms and roles, performance, cohesion, conflict, and decision making.

PRCO 305, Media and Communication Ethics, 3 Units

This course offers a comparison of the organizations, processes, and functions of local government in the United States, including counties, cities, and special districts.

PRCO 310, Writing 3: Writing for Communication, 3 Units

This course prepares students to participate in the discourse community of communication studies. It transitions students from classroom writing tasks, genres, and audiences to those that will be expected of them once they enter an academic field or profession. This includes researching in the Information Age, synthesizing information from sources, upholding communications industries' standards, and building identities as communication specialists. Portfolio-based assignments focus on writing for advanced study, strategic communication, media, businesses, online platforms, and professional contexts. Meets the General Education Requirement: Writing 3: Writing in the Disciplines. 

PRCO 330, Writing 3: Public Relations Strategies and Techniques, 3 Units

This course helps students develop skills in writing and creative strategy in the public relations profession, with special attention given to news and persuasive writing in print, broadcast, digital, and social media platforms; key message construction; and writing for internal and external audiences. Course content also addresses professional standards, ethical issues, and critical thinking as part of the public relations writing process. Each student produces a personal portfolio of writing samples of public relations products, such as news releases, op-eds, media kits, interviews, scripted interviews, fact sheets, and online materials. Meets the General Education Requirement: Writing 3: Writing in the Disciplines. 

PRCO 335, Leadership Communication, 3 Units

This course provides students with opportunities to understand theoretical, empirical, and practical aspects of leadership communication by taking a distinct communication approach to leadership studies. Topics including leadership and followership communication styles and practices; various leadership theories and perspectives; power and influence; team/group leadership; organizational, crisis, and public leadership; diversity; ethics in leadership, and leadership development are examined.

PRCO 340, Journalism Research Methods, 3 Units

This course allows students to explore the research process, examining how research is planned and designed for journalism and media studies. It introduces students to quantitative and qualitative methods, with an emphasis on the qualitative nature of media research. The course also explores how research data is used in journalistic storytelling, and prepares students to do that.

PRCO 420, Entertainment, Religion, and Specialty Writing and Reporting, 3 Units

Azusa Pacific is located between the greater Los Angeles and San Diego areas, which comprise one of the world's largest media markets and the epicenter of digital entertainment media. This course helps students understand the entertainment and religion media industries, as well as other specialty reporting, focusing on reporting and writing techniques that prepare students to thrive in such specialty areas. Students analyze real cases of writing and journalistic reporting, and produce their own professional samples. Course material also addresses issues of religion and media from a Christian worldview, enabling students to understand and report on these issues.

PRCO 425, Conflict Management, 3 Units

This course examines the process of communication to create, manage, and resolve conflict situations, and analyzes conflict on intrapersonal, interpersonal, group, and organizational levels.

Prerequisite: Junior or Senior standing

PRCO 430, Organizational Communication, 3 Units

Examines the nature and process of communication in and constitutive of modern organizations. Explores the pragmatic implications of organizational communication theories as they relate to understanding, shaping, and participating in organizations.

PRCO 440, Religion and the Media, 3 Units

This seminar in religion and media examines the role of faith in public life and culture. Included in the course is an examination of media that routinely deal with faith and values.

Prerequisite: PRCO 210

PRCO 495, Special Topics, 3 Units

This course allows occasional offerings of diverse topics in communication studies not covered by regular department courses. Performance areas, emerging skills needs, contemporary issues, and trends in the field of communication studies, or special interests of faculty and students, may be targeted under this category. Performance areas such as forensics, as well as subject areas such as leadership communication, urban communication, and health communication, are some topics that may be taught in this course. Course may be repeated, but only 3 units count toward major elective credit. Additional units may be taken for credit toward graduation.

PRCO 499, Thesis/Project, 1-4 Units

This is a senior-level, "capstone" type of independent study/research experience involving the student in a unique project with a sophisticated level of research, synthesis, analysis, and communication. The 1-unit expectation encompasses no fewer than 30 hours of work with accompanying readings, log, instructor discussions, and writing of summary analysis and conclusions. The thesis or project may result in formal thesis, published article, electronic media, annotated recital, or artistic creation of a material form. No more than 1 unit may be used to fulfill preparatory readings requirement. An independent study fee is assessed for each enrollment in this class.


Department Chair

Christopher Leland, Ph.D.


Denise P. Ferguson, Ph.D., APR

Christopher Leland, Ph.D.

Associate Professors

Ishmael Lopez Medel, Ph.D.

Mia L. Anderson, Ph.D., Program Director, M.A. in Strategic Communication

Assistant Professor

Pamela Fisher, M.A.

Adjunct Faculty

David Peck, Ph.D.