ComS 168 serves two main functions in our curriculum. First, it provides undergraduates with an advanced course in message analysis that develops ideas, theory, and skills first encountered in ComS 100B. Given the centrality of message analysis skills to any occupation that is primarily communication (e.g. teaching, clergy, law, sales, consulting, government, community service, etc.), this course provides a place to refine communication skills that are basic to all communication process; competence as a critic is central to competent practice of communication in all contexts. Second, ComS 168 serves a scholarly function by preparing students who intend to enroll in or are conditionally enrolled in our graduate program with strong writing skills and a solid basis for understanding the foundational activity of our discipline: message analysis.