In the first year of your program, you will take Introduction to Communications (COMN 1000). This course will introduce you to the key approaches in the field, focusing on the ways in which media and communication have shaped the development of contemporary society. Here you will learn about different types of media, the policies that shape their use, the emergence of new media and communication technologies, and the ways in which we can understand them better. The course will also give you the opportunity to explore your own capabilities in conducting original research, writing up your findings, and applying academic approaches to the real world.
Following COMN 1000, you will take three courses, each focusing on one of the department’s streams. These include:
Introduction to Politics, Policy and the Media (COMN 2200)
This course addresses the political dimensions of the media, and the ways in which our media and communication systems are shaped by economic, social, and cultural forces and by the decisions that we make. Here you will learn about the significance of policy-making, and the various ways in which media have and can be organized, including for-profit media and public broadcasting.
Information and Technology (COMN 2500)
This course focuses on new media technologies and the ways in which they work to transform our lives and cultures in myriad ways. This course provides you with a detailed understanding especially of digital media and the massive impact that new technologies, the rise of big data, the emergence of social media, and a host other changes have had on our everyday lives and on the nature of our societies.
Media, Culture and Society (COMN 2700)
This course gives you the opportunity to explore the complex and ever-changing ways in which cultures are shaped by and through the media. You will gain an appreciation of the complexity of ‘culture’ as a concept and a lived reality, and the ability to engage critically in many areas of cultural production. These range from looking at how we ourselves are producers of culture to the impact of larger media systems, advertising, or forms of identity on cultural development.
In addition to these required courses, you can choose from a range of courses at the second, third, and fourth year levels in Communication Studies (including 12 credits at each of the third and fourth year levels), as well as electives in other departments. These cover a wide range of approaches, including: specific media (film, television, the internet); key themes (popular culture, youth culture, identity, gender and feminism, advertising, public broadcasting, social movements); issues in policy and political economy; studies of technology; research methods; theory; and global media.