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Politics and the Media | PS 312 / CMN 325 / MS 322 | Course Syllabus | Course Site

This upper-division undergraduate course examines the processes of mass-mediated political communication in democratic societies. Although these processes can be studied in a variety of contexts, this course will focus primarily on the interaction between news media, audiences, and strategic communicators in the United States. Special emphasis will be given to the role of news media in democratic theory; the politics of media control; the role of political communication in policymaking and in time of war; the impact of new mass communication technologies; the effects of media messages on audiences; and factors shaping the construction of news such as journalistic routines, media economics, and the strategic management of news by politicians.

Campaigning to Win | PS 411 / CMN 424 | Course Syllabus | Course Site

This bridge course (for both upper-division undergraduates and graduate students) is a hands-on, “how it’s done” course that emphasizes the methods and tactics of modern political campaigns. This course uses a case study approach to illustrate the theories and concepts of persuasion, message targeting, and message delivery in the campaign context. The primary focus of these case studies will be on contemporary campaign practices in the United States, but we also examine important historical cases that illustrate successful and unsuccessful attempts at mass persuasion.

Junior Honors Seminar | PS 494 | Course Syllabus | Course Site

This upper-division undergraduate honors course introduces students to the process of scientific research by engaging them in original academic research projects that have the potential to contribute to current public and scholarly debates. The topics of these projects change from course to course, but all of them offer immersion learning experiences that involve students in real-world social science research using the methods of quantitative content analysis.

Content Analysis Practicum | CMN 529 | Course Syllabus | Course Site

The objectives of this graduate-level methods course on content analysis are threefold. First, to teach a generic and multipurpose method of quantitative content analysis that is commonly employed by scholars of mass communication and political communication to measure trends and discourse elements in news coverage. Second, to give students practical experience in all stages of quantitative content analysis, from protocol design to validity testing, reliability testing, coding, data entry, and data analysis. Third, to produce publishable research papers on the dynamics of public communication.

Political Communication | CMN 529 / PS 519 | Course Syllabus | Course Site

This graduate course is an advanced introduction to theory and research in the field of political communication. Its goal is to acquaint students with the field’s history, research questions, theoretical approaches, empirical accomplishments, and likely future directions.

Public Opinion in the Public Sphere | CMN 529 / PS 519 | Course Syllabus | Course Site

This graduate seminar examines problems in the conceptualization of public opinion as a social phenomenon, in the communication of opinions from mass publics to political elites, and in the interpretation of public opinion as “the will of the people.” It seeks to address what may be the central questions of democratic politics: What is public opinion, how do we know it when we see it, and does it possess the various characteristics that theories of democracy suggest it should? In the process of addressing these questions, the course engages scholarship from multiple disciplines to clarify the roles that “bottom up” communication is supposed to play in the conduct of democratic politics.


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