Program Overview and Description

The Communications Studies major deepens students’ study and experience of all of the fields within the School of Media and Communication in order to meet the needs of a diverse, changing marketplace. Additionally, students may gain exposure to the fields of Film and Media Arts, and Theater. The Communications Studies program proudly gives students the greatest amount of choice and flexibility for class choices within the School, while also giving students a chance to specialize in either Media Environments, Public Advocacy, Global Communication, or the Arts.  Additionally, students may earn a Major of Distinction through advanced study. Transfer credits from a variety of curricula often apply. Advanced requirements for the major can be completed through the SMC Study Away Programs in New York City, London, Dublin, and South Africa. The entire Program is also offered in Tokyo at Temple University Japan.  Recent graduates and current students have been placed in graduate and law school, media outlets and publications, and governmental organizations.

Mission Statement

Designed to ensure student flexibility and choice as well as academic expertise, the Communications Studies Program allows students a chance to fully investigate multiple fields in the communications discipline. Emphasis is placed on providing students an overview of the field while also accentuating civic and global communication.

Curriculum Changes 2014

As you may know, the Communication Studies (CMST) program had proposed a series of program changes. These changes included the following:

  1. The insertion of Public Speaking (STRC 1111) into the Analysis core.
  2. The insertion of Global Leadership (STRC 2672) into the Cultural Communication core.
  3. The deletion of courses that are not part of the School of Media and Communication (SMC) (eg, courses in Theater, as well as Film and Media Arts being removed, while courses in Advertising, Journalism, Media Studies and Production, and Strategic Communication remain.)
  4. A great increase in the amount of courses being offered from the four SMC departments in the individual tracks.
  5. The replacement of the Arts in the Public Sphere track with a new track that links Communication and Entrepreneurship. This track can be combined with a minor in the Fox School of Business.

All of these proposed changes were accepted by Temple’s Board of Trustees last week. Attached, you may find a copy of these changes.

Please note:

All students in the current Communication Studies major will be able to complete that major as it is currently defined.

Students entering the program from the Fall of 2014 or later will only be able to enter the Communication Studies major.

There will be no impact on any student currently in or wishing to enter the Communication Studies through fall, 2014.

Students currently in the Communication Studies major may follow the new curriculum. The Director and SMC Advising Center will determine how already completed courses will transfer to the new program.

I want to thank all of the students involved in this process, particularly those that formed the Communication Studies Work Group that looked at all of the possible options for this design. I also thank the chairs and deans of the School of Media and Communication for their kind assistance.

New Initiative for Student Success

Temple proudly announced its new program “Fly in Four,” a financial program to ensure that students graduate in four years.

This initiative will blend well with the flexibility that is offered through the CMST program, highlighting student applicability to several post-graduate positions while also accentuating student learning. CMST is proud to be a part of this new undertaking.

More information on the Fly in Four initiative http://news.temple.edu/news/2014-02-03/temple-creates-fly-4-initiative-help-students-control-debt


The Year in Review

Some highlights from COMM/CMST from the entire year. I have only included student work as that is the focus of the program:1) Mike Busza, in a collaborative project with Jaime Sweet a current FMA student, won an Emmy in the college web series division. Michael was also nominated for a Grammy for his web based program “One of the Guys,” a web series investigating straight and gay male relationships.

2) Justin Dowdall was awarded a Fulbright fellowship as an alternative, hopefully being used to study at Leeds University.

3) Michael Busza was again recognized as the recipient of the MarcDavid scholarship for advancing LGBTQ inclusion on campus and awareness within the community. Michael’s award was extended in light of his ongoing accomplishments and service.

4) The students of the CMST program created a semester long awareness and service project with the Morris Home, a service organization dedicated to Transgender needs and addiction recovery. Issues related to LGBTQ inclusion formed a major plank of the CMST’s chapter of Lambda Pi Eta throughout the year.

5) Justin Dowdal also had numerous papers accepted at national and regional conferences over the past year, including being selected for the prestigious Harvard Undergraduate Conference, the National Undergraduate Honors Conference, and the National Communication Association, where he presented research on campus outreach to the LGBTQ population.

6) In January, the CMST Program has had its first graduate from its Major of Distinction Program, which recognizes outstanding undergraduate scholarship and research through an undergraduate thesis. Daharis Pesantez (language proficiency: Spanish) completed the requirements for the program and her thesis, a research and creative work on the role of the High Line in New York City.

7) In May, CMST will graduate two more Major of Distinction students, including Megan Carter (language proficiency: French) whose thesis is a play script and Tyler Treml (language proficiency: German) who completed a study on narrative themes in video games.

8) COMM student Darragh Friedman has been received national recognition for her work with the national Girl Scout Association and has been selected to sit on the board of the National Association for Media Literacy Education.

9) CMST will welcome 23 new members into Lambda Pi Eta, the National Communication Association Student Honorary, recognizing outstanding student academic achievement. The CMST chapter of Lambda Pi Eta currently has 22 members.

10) First year student Kara Milstein was awarded a Keystone Award for her photographs of the Temple Mens’ Crew Team. Kara presented her work at the Undergraduate Research Symposium and Creative Works Symposium and plans are being created to showcase her work at a crew function.

11) CMST helped host the 21st annual Temple Undergraduate Research Forum and Creative Works Symposium.

12) Graduating senior Mike Busza was selected as a finalist for the university commencement speaker.

13) In conjunction with a STRC student, CMST helped coordinate the school wide efforts for the “Edie Windsor: An Unlikely Activist,” recognizing Edie Windsor’s advocacy for marriage inclusion.

14) Eight students took part in the Eastern Communication Association (ECA) conference, including two first year students and first time conference presenters (Lauren Rhunke, Rhiannon Wright, and Jessie Panick). Additionally, students Julie Seidman and Tamas Mizsei were awarded the top undergraduate paper award by the conference. Other students presented on educational models of mentorship and peer involvement to increase academic achievement.

15) Julie Seidman was awarded a nationally competitive internship through the US State Department to work with matters related to Russian policies and administrative outreach.

16) Mike Busza was awarded a Deans Memorial Scholarship by the Office of the Dean of Students.

17) Three CMST students were awarded Diamond Awards, including Justin Dowdall, Mike Busza, and Darragh Friedman. The Diamond Awards are the highest award given to a undergraduate student by the Office of Student Affairs and the Dean of Students Office.

18) First year/freshman student Jemie Fofanah was accepted for an internship in the State House of Sierra Leone, under President Koroma.


The curriculum of the Communication Studies Program (previously Communications Major) has been updated.


Communication Studies Program News

Alumna opens West Coast Make-Up Academy


Alumna Makeup in the Spotlight 

Clifton Heights native Erica Johnson was one of the first students in the Communications program at the (then) School of Communications and Theater. When she started at Temple at 23 years old, she never dreamt her story would unfold to a future as a makeup artist and co-founder of a West Coast makeup academy.

Read more on Alumna opens West Coast Make-Up Academy…