Department of Telecommunications

Undergraduate Emphases & Courses

B.A. in Telecommunications (TELCM)
Minimum 120 Credits

Academic Services Advising

Scheduling, and a successful academic career, starts with meeting an adviser.

Eight full-time employees in the Office of Academic Services assist students and all aspects of their academic pursuits.

Please contact them before scheduling, and remain in contact with questions about course selections, major options and anything else all the way until you complete your final meeting with an adviser for your "senior checkout."

The telecommunications curriculum is designed to prepare students for leadership positions within the electronic media industries. Students majoring in telecommunications must take 34 credits of coursework in the major in addition to Penn State’s general requirements for graduation.

Planning Your Curriculum

  1. Review Recommended Academic Plan
  2. Review Core Classes
  3. Review Course Tracks & Options
  4. Schedule your Classes

1. Recommended Academic Plans

The recommended academic plans offer semester-by-semester recommendations for course scheduling and the major checksheet provides a printable list of course options and descriptions. Please note there are two separate plans depending on when students arrived at Penn State.

Recommended Academic Plan (for students at Penn State before 2015)

Checksheet (for students at Penn State before 2015)
 

Recommended Academic Plan (for students at Penn State since summer 2015)

Checksheet (for students at Penn State since summer 2015)
 

2. Required Core Classes - 13-14 Credits

All telecommunications students must take the following required core classes:

  • COMM 160 – Basic News Writing Skills
    Grammar, punctuation, spelling, and word usage skills required of journalists. 1 Credit
  • COMM 180 – Survey of Electronic Media and Telecommunications
    Introduction to telecommunications, covering social, economic, legal and historical aspects of radio, television, telephony and the Internet. 3 Credits
  • COMM 280 – Introduction to Telecommunications Technologies
    Students will evaluate content creation and distribution methods and demonstrate proficiency across emerging digital products and services. 3 Credits
  • COMM 380 – Telecommunications Management
    Introduction to basic principles of management as they apply in electronic media industries. Prereq: COMM 180 3 Credits

Additional Courses
Select 3 credits from the following

  • ECON 102 — Introductory Microeconomic Analysis and Policy
    3 Credits
  • ECON 014 — Principles of Economics
    3 Credits
  • STAT 200 — Elementary Statistics
    4 Credits
  • SCM 200 — Introduction to Statistics for Business
    4 Credits

3. Areas of Emphasis - 21 Credits

The telecommunications major is divided into three areas of emphasis to assist students in choosing courses appropriate to their interests, though they may take courses outside of their area. Students are strongly encouraged to work with their faculty adviser to select the courses most appropriate for their career goals.

In addition to the core classes, telecommunications majors must complete 12 credits of professional courses, three (3) credits of law, three (3) credits of a capstone course and three (3) credits of a social aspects supporting course. These are requirements for the major ONLY, please check the Undergraduate Bulletin for complete degree requirements.

  • Management and EntrepreneurshipOpen or Close

    For students interested in general management, operations for radio, television, cable, telephone or Internet. This includes training in sales, programming and entrepreneurship and is appropriate for students interested in working for any type of telecommunications firm.

    Professional Courses

    • COMM 310/IST 310 – Digital Media Metrics
      Analysis of audience data for traditional and new media to create metrics for advertising, content marketing and audience analysis. Prereq: Fourth semester standing
    • COMM 384 – Telecommunications Promotion and Sales
      Principles of marketing applied to telecommunications; models of customer-focused selling and media sales. Prereq: COMM 180 orCOMM 320 3 Credits
    • COMM 385 – Media Programming Strategies
      Framework, principles and strategies for programming of electronic media outlets including radio and TV stations, cable, satellite and Internet sites. Prereq: COMM 180 3 Credits
    • COMM 479 – Telecommunications Networks
      Economic, regulatory/business issues in the design/operation of large-scale telecommunication networks such as telephone, cable, wireless, and computer networks. Prereq: COMM 180 and ECON 102 or ECON 014 3 Credits
    • COMM 483 – Wireless Communications Industry
      A broad examination of the wireless phone industry including its development, current structure and future. Prereq: COMM 381 and COMM 387 3 Credits
    • COMM 484 – Emerging Telecommunications Technologies
      Overview of technology of electronic media and related societal issues. Prereq: COMM 180 3 Credits
    • COMM 484A – Wireless Devices and Global Markets
      Examination of the global market for smartphones, tablets and other wireless devices. Prereq: COMM 180, COMM 280, COMM 483, or permission of program
    • COMM 486W – Telecommunications Ethics
      Drawing on normative theory and political philosophy, this course explores problems in ethics and social responsibility in telecommunications. Prereq: COMM 180
    • COMM 487 – Telecommunications Administration
      Operation/administration decision-making for broadcasting, broadband, telecommunications, including sales, marketing, programming, customer service, technology adoption, finance and capital investment. Prereq: COMM 387 3 Credits
    • COMM 487W – Advanced Telecommunications Management and Leadership
      Operation/administration decision-making for broadcasting, broadband, telecommunications and information firms, including sales, marketing, programming, customer service, technology adoption, finance and capital investment. Prereq: COMM 387 
    • COMM 490 – Issues in Electronic Commerce
      Analysis of policy, strategic issues, and implications raised by the rapid growth of electronic commerce over the Internet. Prereq: COMM 180 for telecom major; permission of instructor for non-telecom majors 3 Credits
    • COMM 491 – International Telecommunication and Trade Policy
      Development in the law, policy and business of international telecommunications; emphasis on multilateral forums -- International Telecommunications Union and World Trade Organization. Prereq: COMM 180
    • COMM 493 – Entrepreneurship in the Information Age
      Provides students with knowledge/tools to take their innovation/technology idea through the business planning, capital, and operations budgeting processes. Prereq: COMM 387 3 Credits
    • COMM 495 – Internship
      Strongly recommended to provide you with experience before applying for jobs. Prereq: continuing student majors in the College of Communications; departmental approval 1-3 Credits per semester/maximum of 6 Credits
  • Programming and ProductionOpen or Close

    For students interested in audio and video production, producing content for radio, television, online or mobile distribution.

    Professional Courses

    • COMM 282 – Television Field Production
      Field production and editing, management, production and analysis of video programming, emphasis on single-camera field production. 3 Credits
    • COMM 283W – Television Studio Production
      Audio and video production procedures for studio and field production. Prereq: COMM 282 or COMM 242 3 Credits
    • COMM 374 – Audio Production
      Principles of audio and radio production. Prereq: COMM 180 or COMM 251 or COMM 100 or permission of program 3 Credits
    • COMM 383 – Production Administration
      Management, production, and analysis of video programming for mass and submass audiences. Emphasis on single-camera field production. Prereq: COMM 283 3 Credits
    • COMM 383A – Webcast Production
      Explore all aspects of producing a live television show. Final project is streaming a live webcast online. Prereq: COMM 282 or COMM 242 1.5 Credits
    • COMM 384 – Telecommunications Promotion and Sales
      Principles of marketing services applied to telecommunications and information products/services; models of customer-focused selling and their applications to media time sales. Prereq: COMM 180 or COMM 320 3 Credits
    • COMM 385 – Media Programming Strategies
      Framework, principles and strategies for programming of electronic media outlets including radio and TV stations, cable, satellite and Internet sites. Prereq: COMM 180 3 Credits
    • COMM 484 – Emerging Telecommunications Technologies
      Overview of technology of electronic media and related societal issues. Prereq: COMM 180 3 Credits
    • COMM 487 – Telecommunications Administration
      Operation/administration decision-making for broadcasting, broadband, telecommunications, including sales, marketing, programming, customer service, technology adoption, finance and capital investment. Prereq: COMM 387 3 Credits
    • COMM 495 – Internship
      Strongly recommended to provide you with experience before applying for jobs. Prereq: continuing student majors in the College of Communications; departmental approval 1-3 Credits per semester/maximum of 6 Credits
  • Law and PolicyOpen or Close

    For students interested in telecommunications policy or careers in media law, information law, entertainment law and technology law.

    Professional Courses

    • COMM 403 – Law of Mass Communications
      Nature and theories of law; the Supreme Court and press freedom; legal problems of the mass media. 
    • COMM 404 – Telecommunications Law
      Overview of the regulation of electronic media. Prereq: COMM 180
    • COMM 486W – Telecommunications Ethics
      Drawing on normative theory and political philosophy, this course explores problems in ethics and social responsibility in telecommunications. Prereq: COMM 180, COMM 280, COMM 380 or permission of the program.
    • COMM 490 – Issues in Electronic Commerce
      Analysis of policy, strategic issues, and implications raised by the rapid growth of electronic commerce over the Internet. Prereq: COMM 180 for telecom major; permission of instructor for non-telecom majors 3 Credits
    • COMM 491 – International Telecommunication Trade and Policy
      Development in the law, policy, and business of international telecommunications; emphasis on multilateral forums-- International Telecommunications Union and World Trade Organization. Prereq: COMM 180 3 Credits
    • COMM 492 – Internet Law and Policy
      Development in the law, policy, and business of Internet-mediated communications and commerce; emphasis on impact on existing legal, regulatory, and economic models. Prereq: COMM 180 3 Credits
    • COMM 495 – Internship
      Strongly recommended to provide you with experience before applying for jobs. Prereq: continuing student majors in the College of Communications; departmental approval 1-3 Credits per semester/maximum of 6 Credits

Social Aspects Courses

  • COMM 110 – Media and Democracy: This course considers the role of mass media with regard to developing civic awarness and engagement in democratic socieities. 3 Credits
  • COMM 118 – Introduction to Media Effects: Examination of individuals' selection, uses and perceptions of media and teh effects of media on individuals' attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. 3 Credits
  • COMM 205 – Gender, Diversity and the Media: Explores the relationship between media and society through critical analysis of its role in social reality. 3 Credits
  • COMM 304 – Mass Communications Research: Introduction to research methods in mass communications. Prereq: STAT 200; and 3 credits from COMM 100, COMM 110, COMM 118, COMM 150, COMM 180, COMM 251, COMM 260W, COMM 320 OR COMM 370. 3 Credits
  • COMM 403 – Law of Mass Communications: Nature and theories of the law; the Supreme Court and press freedom; legal problems of the mass media. 3 Credits
  • COMM 405 – Political Economy of Communications: Structure and functions of American and other mass communications systems and their relationship to political and economic systems. Prereq: ECON 102. 3 Credits
  • COMM 409 – News Media Ethics: Ethical problems in the practice of journalism; principal public criticisms of news media; case study approach. 3 Credits
  • COMM 410 – International Mass Communications: The role of international media in communication among and between nations and people. Complement to COMM 419. Prereq: Select three (3) credits from the following COMM 100, COMM 118, COMM 150, COMM 180, COMM 251, COMM 260W, COMM 320 OR COMM 370. 3 Credits
  • COMM 411 – Cultural Aspects of the Mass Media: The mass media as creators and critics of mass culture in American life; relationships between the media and mass culture. Prereq: Six (6) credits in the arts or humanities and three (3) credits from the following: COMM 100, COMM 110, COMM 118, COMM 150, COMM 180, COMM 251, COMM 260W, COMM 320 or COMM 370. 3 Credits
  • COMM 412 – Sports, Media and Society: Sport and media relationship in American culture. 3 Credits
  • COMM 413W – The Mass Media and the Public: Social-level and political theories of the relationships between media and public; media influences on public opinion; social pressure on the media; political communications. Prereq: Select three (3) credits from the following: COMM 100, COMM 118, COMM 150, COMM 180, COMM 251, COMM 260W, COMM 320 OR COMM 370. And selecte three (3) credits from the following: COMM 304, COMM 420. 3 Credits
  • COMM 417 – Advertising Regulation and Ethics: Ethical issues in practice of advertising and public relaitons; legal and regulatory issues; case studies. Prereq: COMM 320 or COMM 370. 3 Credits
  • COMM 418 – Media Effects: Theory and Research: Investigation of social and psychological effects of media messages and tehnologies via theories and empiracal evidence pertaining to processes of effects. Prereq: COMM 118 COMM 304 or equivalent. 3 Credits
  • COMM 419 – World Media Systems: Comparative study of modern media systems of mass communications in selected foreign countires. Prereq: COMM 410. 3 Credits

4. Schedule Your Classes

Schedule Your Classes

Page last updated: December 17, 2015