Communication Theory

Instructor:Maria Lukanina
Updated:4 February, 2016

Course Summary

The Communication Theory course lays the foundation for a solid educational base in communication studies. The course offers an in-depth understanding of communication process, types and kinds of communication, and gives a brief overview of the history and evolution in communication. Practical seminars not only allow to apply theory to practice through practical assignments but also develop relevant communication skills (discussions, team work, presentations, round-tables, Internet-based research, etc.).

Course Format

Hours of lectureHours of discussionHours of independent studyTotal numbers of hours

Please note that the time spent on independent study exceeds hours of lecture and discussion.

Course Content

The course will cover the following topics:

  1. Introduction to communication theory (4 hours)
    • definition of communication theory
    • forms of human communication
    • elements of communication process
    • principles of human communication.
  2. Models of communication. Main stages of communication theory development (4 hours).
  3. Types of communication (6 hours)
    • verbal communication
    • denotative and connotative meaning
    • context
    • forms and styles of verbal communication
    • nonverbal communication: definition and functions
    • channels of nonverbal communication: body and facial communication, eye and space communication, artifactual and touch communication, paralanguage, silence, time and smell communication.
  4. Forms of communication (2 hours)
    • interpersonal communication
    • communication competence
    • small group communication
    • small groups and teams
    • small group formats, stages, culture
    • types of groups
    • mass communication.
  5. Organizational Communication. Public speaking. Intercultural communication (2 hours).
  6. Internet communication. Media communication: specific features of each communication channel (2 hours).

Reading List

Required reading and listening:

  1. Devito, Joseph A. (2011). Human Communication: The Basic Course, 12th edition. Pearson.
  2. Marianne Dainton, Elaine D. Zelley (2014). Applying Communication Theory for Professional Life. Sage Inc.
  3. Rutger de Graaf. Introduction to Communication Science. MOOC course by the University of Amsterdam. (audio/video files, scripts).
  4. Studies in Communication Sciences. Elsevier.

Recommended reading:

  1. Fiske, J. (2010) Introduction to Communication Studies. Taylor&Francis.
  2. Gavra, D. (2011) Osnovy teorii kommunikatsii. St-Petersburg (in Russian).
  3. Goihman, O. (2013) Osnovy teorii kommunikatsii. Infra-M (in Russian).
  4. Gnatuk, O. (2012) Osnovy teorii kommunikatsii. Knorus (in Russian).
  5. Kojem’akin, E. (2014) Osnovy teorii kommunikatsii. Infra-M (in Russian).
  6. Nahimova, E., Chudinov, A. (2013) Osnovy teorii kommunikatsii: uchebnoe posobie. Moscow: Flinta. Nauka (in Russian).
  7. Osnovy teorii kommunikatsii (2007) edited by Vasilik, M. Moscow: Gardariki (in Russian).
  8. Sharkov, F. (2012) Kommunikalogia. Osnovy teorii kommunikatsii. Dashkov&Co (in Russian).
  9. Vikulova, L. (2008) Osnovy teorii kommunikatsii. Praktikum. AST (in Russian).
  10. Language and Communication. Elsevier. science/journal/14751585/21

Online resources:

  1. Claude Shannon’s Mathematical Model of Communication

  2. The Interpersonal Web at Northern Virginia Community College

  3. Kachkine, V. (2007) Communication Theory — electronic book—2007

  4. Models of communication

  5. Lectures in PowerPoint

Homework Assignments

Homework will be assigned weekly. You will be expected to study the books from the reading list, listen to lectures from native speakers, perform small tests. You will be required to prepare one presentation (mini-lecture) throughout the course, be ready for discussions and question-answer sessions.


It is a graded course of study. You should complete all the assignments and take an exam.