Expand AU Menu

Politics and Election Courses

Campaigns & Elections: Voter Turnout this November

The Place to Be for 2012 Elections

SOC's Washington, D.C. location and faculty expertise make it ideal for students interested in the intersection of communication and politics; never more so than in a presidential election year. This page will continue to be updated with new courses as they are confirmed, and with links to class projects as they are completed.

COMM-275 Dissident Media: Voices from the Underground FA4 (3)

(BJ, CS, PJ)(MS) The evolution and impact of alternative media as forces for social change. How dissident groups have used non-establishment media such as suffragist and Socialist journals, African-American and gay presses, counterculture tabloids, Christian-right newsletters, and the "zines" of the 1990s to organize and bring about reform. Also examines the power of communication, the interplay between media and society, and the complex role of politically dissident media in American History. Usually offered once a year. Offered at the undergraduate level. Taught by Richard Benedetto. Learn more

COMM-628 Proseminar in Political Communication (1)

This introduction to political communication examines the role of communication in politics and the interplay of news, politics, advocacy, and public policy. The course provides students with the opportunity to process, analyze, and discuss current events through a political communication prism. Usually offered every fall. Prerequisite: admission to the MA program in Political Communication. May be taken Pass/Fail only. Offered at the graduate level only. Taught by C. Nelson, D. Lynch, L. Steinhorn, R. Lehrman, L. Feldman Rogers, J. Thurber, J. Lawless, A. Prevost. Learn more

COMM 496 Selected Topics

001 Presidential Campaign 2012: Inside War Room and News Room

The 2012 presidential election is studied up close and person in this intensive current affairs course on the campaign. The course analyzes how the candidates, campaigns, and consultants are reaching voters, cultivating constituencies, creating images, spinning the press, and shaping ideas, and how both mainstream and digital media outlets are filtering it all for the public. The class focuses on media, message, public opinion, advertising, staging, social media, and overall political strategy. It also examines how the election will shape the next four years. Prerequisite: minimum 3.0 GPA and permission of school. Application required- available in MGC 300 or at Survey Monkey. Offered at the undergraduate level. Taught by Leonard Steinhorn. The deadline for this course has passed.

002 Persuasion: Communicating for Influence

This course introduces students to the field of persuasion. It examines both the social and psychology theories and applied practice of how to communicate for influence. Course topics include attitude adjustment and behavioral change through interpersonal communication, advertising, social marketing, propaganda, and media information campaigns. Offered at the undergraduate level. Taught by Leonard Steinhorn.

Learn more

COMM 640 Principles of Strategic Communication (3)

Examines the strategic elements of public communication strategies with focus on communication campaigns, public opinion, the media, the role of research, audience identification, message development, and communicating to various publics. Explores the role of strategic communication in society, politics, culture, business and various other institutions, and examines the ethics of persuasion. Usually offered every fall. Prerequisite: admission to MA in Public Communication or Political Communication. Offered at the graduate level. Taught by Leonard Steinhorn. Learn more

COMM 738-005 Research for Strategic Communication (3)

This course is an introduction to quantitative and qualitative research methods in communication. Students use research for program management, planning, diagnosing, and evaluating public relations programs. Includes development of theoretical rationales and research questions; measurement; sampling; survey and experimental design, content analysis, focus groups and in-depth interviews, data analysis techniques, interpretation of results, and emerging trends in research. Usually offered every fall. Prerequisite: admission to MA program in Publication or International Media or Political Communication. Offered at the graduate level. Taught by Dotty Lynch. Learn more

COMM-535-003 Communicating the 2012 Presidential Election

Learn how candidates shape their messages, how reporters cover an election, and how grassroots constituencies influence the issues and turnout. This course looks at the 2012 Presidential caucuses and primaries using video and online technologies. The class travels to Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina in January and meets on campus bi-weekly during the spring semester. Application due Oct. 24 to Laura Bondurant, Room 300, MGC. Meets with GOVT-596 003. Lynne Perri and Dotty Lynch teaching. Learn more. The deadline to apply for this course has passed.

COMM-330-001 The PR Presidency

This course looks at the way public relations, communications, and the media have defined the modern presidency. Campaigning, governing, building public opinion, addressing the nation, making news--all are built on a foundation of public relations and image making, and all are examined in this course. Special attention is paid to the role of the media, especially television, in shaping the presidency. Usually offered every fall.Prerequisite: minimum 2.5 GPA. Victor Kamber teaching.

COMM-531-001/002 Political Communication

Examines the role of communication in politics and advocacy and applies public communication principles to advocacy and political campaigns. Includes the role of media relations in politics, the impact of television on political discourse, political message development, political advertising, ethics in political persuasion, and the impact of political communication on our democratic institutions, as well as how to interpret public opinion, identify and reach constituencies, and develop political communication strategies. Prerequisite: minimum 2.5 GPA. Dotty Lynch teaching. Section 001 is undergrads only, section 002 is open to all, the sections are crosslisted.

COMM-596-001 Political Advertising

This course surveys the crucial and increasing role advertising plays in political campaigns. It includes analyzing classic case studies such as the 1964 Lyndon Johnson and 1984 Ronald Reagan campaigns as well as exploring trends and changes in the field. Students look at message, technique, voter targeting, and the overall approach of political advertising. Advertising in all media are examined, from broadcast to social media. Guests include political consultants, media buyers, and advertising creatives. During election cycles, students survey real-time campaigns and assess their effectiveness and creativity. Course includes writing and producing speculative radio and television messages for candidates and issues. Drew Babb teaching.

COMM-596-005 Strategic Communication in Government & Public Affairs

Students explore how government, citizens, and special interests communicate on policies, issues, and programs of importance to the nation. The course examines how government leaders and agencies craft messages to reach constituencies, and how interest groups and citizen organizations can best influence government. Other topics include the interplay between government and media, the role of business and trade associations, the power of grass roots, and the way government measures the effectiveness of its communication to the public. The class looks both to historical examples from the twentieth century to cutting-edge twenty-first century social media campaigns, with a focus on current tools, technologies, and tactics. The course also includes appearances from Washington practitioners and experts in the field.

Featured Faculty

Victor Kamber

View Profile

Dotty Lynch

Dotty Lynch, executive in residence, School of Communication

View Profile

Lynne Perri

SOC Lynne Perri

View Profile