Department of Communication


Professors Emeriti
Alan Chartock, Ph.D., New York University
Teresa M. Harrison, Ph.D., Bowling Green State University
Kathleen E. Kendall, Ph.D., Indiana University
Anita Pomerantz, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine
Robert E. Sanders, Ph.D., University of Iowa

Hui-Ching Chang, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Timothy D. Stephen, Ph.D., Bowling Green State University

Associate Professors
Rukhsana Ahmed, Ph.D., Ohio University
Patricia Gettings, Ph.D., Purdue University
Annis G. Golden, Ph.D., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Archana Krishnan, Ph.D., University of Connecticut
Alyssa Morey, Ph.D., Ohio State University
Masahiro Yamamoto, Ph.D., Washington State University (Department Chair)
Alan Zemel, Ph.D., Temple University

Assistant Professors
Kenneth Levine, Ph.D., Michigan State
Piotr Szpunar, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Fan Yang, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University       

Full-time Lecturers
Michael W. Barberich, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh
Lauren Bryant, Ph.D., University at Albany       
William G. Husson, Ph.D., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Adjuncts (estimated): 16
Teaching Assistants (estimated): 6

The Department specializes in studies of communication in each of four particular social contexts: first, communication on an individual level, involving interpersonal or intercultural relations; second, communication at the societal level involving large scale audiences, especially in regard to political action and democratic processes; third, communication in organizations business, governmental, or grass roots organizations — whether business, governmental, or grass roots organizations — that affects either the organization's internal processes or external relations; and fourth, health communication, the ways that interaction shapes, and is shaped by, people’s health and institutional aspects of health care. All four of these areas have been significantly affected by new communication technologies, the study of which we incorporate into Department course work.

The undergraduate program in Communication has two primary goals. One is to educate students, and expose them to significant writings, about communication processes and media and the critical role they play in the conduct of social life and its quality among individuals, in organizations, and in the larger society.

Our second goal grows out of the first; to help students become able to analyze and improve communication practices in particular settings and instances. This involves developing a basis for judging whether or not specific communication processes are meeting the needs of the people involved. It also involves learning about ways to measure the effectiveness of specific communication practices, and gaining experience analyzing and designing solutions to communication problems.

Studies in the major are organized so that students enrolled in 100- and 200-level courses are exposed to foundational ideas and research findings in the field of Communication, as well as provided with research methods and analytic tools. Students are also required to become more practiced as communicators, either through a public speaking or debate course. Course work at the advanced (300 and 400) level is intended to provide students with in-depth knowledge of current research and theory about interpersonal/intercultural communication, organizational communication or public communication.

Careers in Communication
The program in Communication is intended to help students become knowledgeable about communication processes and their influences on the interpersonal, intercultural, organizational, political, and health aspects of our societies. By focusing on development of analytical and critical skills, the program helps students become able to analyze and effectively participate in, and improve communication practices in diverse settings and instances. Having completed their degree in communication, the students will have a basis for judging whether or not specific communication processes are meeting the needs of the people involved. They will also be able to evaluate the effectiveness of specific communication practices, devise ways of improving them, and provide solutions to communication problems. These competencies have recognized value in the workplace as well as in one's personal life.

Graduates of the Communication program have pursued careers in sales, media relations, marketing, training, commercial production, film, editing, media planning, publishing, journalism, financial advisement, budget analysis, legislative assistance, radio programming, advertising, television production, medical care, insurance, and internal communication in not-for-profit, governmental, and business organizations.

Some have college teaching or advisement positions. Others have gone on to law school, or to work on their master's degree or doctoral degrees in Communication and related fields.

Special Programs and Opportunities
The Department provides research opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students, an honors program, and an exceptional internship program. The Department also provides a combined B.A./M.A. Program in Communication. We encourage all students to become active members of the local student club of the National Communication Association. We invite outstanding communication majors to be inducted into Lambda Pi Eta, the local chapter of the national honor society for communication.

Although not officially associated with the UAlbany student media, the Communication Department encourages its majors to participate in Albany Student Press, Albany TV and WCDB radio station.

Internship Program
The Communication Internship Practicum, which requires enrollment in both A COM 392 for 9 credits (these credits are general electives and do not apply toward the major or minor) and A COM 393Z for 6 credits, is a full-time internship offered in fall and spring for juniors and seniors who have an overall grade point average of 2.50 or higher. It includes a weekly seminar meeting, and places students in communication related professional settings including, but not limited to, radio, television, public relations, the state legislature, hospitals, and corporate communication. Students accepted in this internship are not allowed to take any other course work during the semester. Acceptance into the program is competitive.

The part-time Internship in Communication (A COM 290, formerly A COM 390, for 1-6 lower-level credits) is for undergraduate majors and minors who wish to develop on-site experience in one of the communication professions. This part-time internship may be taken in fall, spring, or summer terms. There is no seminar component in this course, and the minimum number of hours at the host agency is proportionately less than the full-time Internship Practicum.

Majors in the Communication Department are required to seek advisement each semester. Advisement is offered by appointment between the end of the add-drop period and the beginning of the advance registration period. Majors who have been advised during that period are given priority for enrollment for the next semester's Communication classes. Students newly admitted to the major are required to complete an online orientation before they are advised for the following semester’s courses. Reach our Academic Advising Assistant at [email protected] or 518-442-4875.

Advisement is under the direction of the Director of the Undergraduate Program. Advisement meetings each semester are generally conducted by an advising staff composed of graduate assistants overseen by our Academic Advising Assistant. However, undergraduate majors are encouraged to seek out a meeting with their assigned faculty mentor when they begin their studies in the Department to discuss their goals, and devise an overall plan of study supportive of those goals in the Department, in their minor or second major, and in their General Education requirement courses and electives.

Course Progression Restrictions
A COM 100 must be completed to register for A COM 265X.

Registration in Upper Level Courses
Students must be a declared Communication major or minor to register for upper level (300-499) classes. A declared Communication major must also complete a statistics/logic course (A MAT 108, A SOC 221, R CRJ 281, A PSY 210, or A PHI 210) to register for upper-level (300-499) classes.

Degree Requirements for the Major in Communication updated 8/30/2023

General Program B.A.: A minimum of 39 credits including: A COM 100; a statistics course from A MAT 108 or A SOC 221 or R CRJ 281 or A PSY 210 or logic A PHI 210; A COM 265X; one course from A COM 201 or 203Y (if not selected within core) or 204 or 212 (if not selected within core) or 238 or 260 or 297 or T COM 250Z; additional 24 credits of 300-400 level Communications courses excluding A COM 392 or 18 credits of 300-400 level Communications courses excluding A COM 392 and 6 credits of individually approved 300-400 level courses from outside the department: A ANT 424, A ENG 300W, A ENG 309, A JRL 308, A LIN 325, A PHI 415, A PSY 341, 365, A SOC 342, A WSS 380/A JRL 381, A WSS 381, B MGT 341, B MKT 310, C INF 301, R PAD 303, R PAD/R POS 329, R POS 332, 334.

A COM 265X is restricted to A-E grading for intended and declared Communication majors and for Communication minors.

Course offerings are listed below in groupings according to the following headings:

  • General Foundation
  • Public and Mass Communication
  • Interpersonal Interaction/Cultural Practices
  • Organizational Communication
  • Applied Studies

General Foundation courses offer students an introduction to the practice and social consequences of communication in a variety of settings, and an overview of traditional and contemporary thought on human communication.

Courses in Public and Mass Communication create a basic understanding of the process of communication in the political process, and public life more generally. This includes attention to communication and media issues in political participation, legislative processes, social movements, and election campaigns. This also includes attention to the speaker-audience setting typical of argumentation and persuasion in social and political life.

Courses in Interpersonal Interaction/Cultural Practices provide for a basic understanding of the process of communication in face-to-face interaction. These include attention to language use and strategy in personal relationships, health care, and work relationships of various kinds. Other courses include attention to cultural differences in face to face and group communication practices, and the role of communication in everyday life.

Courses in Organizational Communication address communication processes within and between organizations that affect their internal operations, development, climate, productivity, and social acceptance. These courses include a concern for the effect of new information technologies on organizational communication.

Applied Studies courses provide an opportunity for students who have achieved a grounding in the appropriate theoretical and research literature of the field, to apply this knowledge in independent projects or internships.

Honors Program

The Honors Program in Communication is designed to provide opportunities for the most talented and motivated students to work closely with each other and with the faculty.

Students may apply for admission at any point during a semester and may reapply if rejected after the close of that semester or thereafter. Decisions of the Honors Committee on admission are final and not subject to review or appeal.

Applications for admission will be approved if the student meets the following criteria: the applicant is a major in the Department, with a 3.50 average in the required courses for admission to the major; the applicant has completed at least two full-time semesters of college study at Albany, with an overall average of at least 3.50, or the equivalent in the case of transfer students.

Admission to the program will be on a provisional basis for any student with fewer than 12 credits in Communication. Upon completion of 12 credits, admission will be finalized.

Students in the honors program are required to complete a minimum of 39 credits, meeting all requirements of the major, except for a special requirement among courses at the 300 level or above as follows: instead of 6 credits of electives at the 300 level or above, students in the honors program must complete either an honors project for 6 credits (A COM 499), or a senior honors project for 3 credits (A COM 499) plus 3 credits in a graduate course in Communication (for undergraduate credit) with approval of the undergraduate director.

Students will be put on program probation by the Honors Committee at the end of any semester in which their cumulative average in the major falls below 3.50 or their term average that semester is below 3.30.

Students will be dismissed from the program if they are placed on program probation in two consecutive semesters, or if they receive a grade below B in A COM 499. Students dismissed from the program cannot be readmitted unless the grades on which dismissal is based were in error and are officially changed. After completion of the requirements above, the records of candidates will be reviewed by the Departmental Honors Committee, who shall recommend to the department candidates for the degree with honors in Communication.

Combined B.A./M.A. Program

The combined B.A./M.A. program in Communication provides an opportunity for students of recognized academic ability and educational maturity to fulfill integrated requirements of undergraduate and master's degree programs from the beginning of the junior year. The program provides an integrated and focused curriculum in Communication that allows the upper-level student exposure to advanced knowledge in theory and substantive areas and opportunities for participation in research. A carefully designed program can permit a student to earn the B.A. and M.A. degrees within nine semesters.

The combined program requires a minimum of 141 credits, of which at least 33 must be graduate credits. In qualifying for the B.A., students must meet all University and college requirements, including the requirements of the undergraduate major described previously, the minor requirement, the minimum 90-credit liberal arts and sciences requirement, general education requirements, and residency requirements. In qualifying for the M.A., students must meet all University and college requirements as outlined in the Graduate Bulletin, including completion of a minimum of 33 graduate credits and any other conditions such as a research seminar or guided research project, professional experience, and residency requirements. Up to 12 graduate credits may be applied simultaneously to both the B.A. and M.A. programs.

Students who have completed a minimum of 6 credits of course work in Communication may apply for admission to the combined degree program in Communication at the beginning of their junior year or after the successful completion of 56 credits. A cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher and three supportive letters of recommendation from faculty are required for consideration.

Affiliated Program
The Journalism Program is an affiliated program with the Department of Communication. Please see the Program in Journalism section of this bulletin for further information.