Dive beneath the surface of the stories we hear and tell ourselves in our culture to discover the way meaning is made. Students will examine cultural messages with a critical eye that doesn't miss the nuances of a profoundly complex society. You'll learn to "read" and analyze the meaning manufactured by everything from what Justin Bieber's wearing to how the newscast is put together. Developing a cultural vocabulary will allow you to engage with the modern media environment critically, and interpret the political and ideological orientations of the messages we consume.
The Major in Communication and Cultural Studies is excellent preparation for graduate studies in either subject. Our students go on to careers in the media, advertising, and public relations or any field where superior analytic and rhetorical skills are valued.
Minimum cut-off averages should be used as indicators. The cut-off data may change depending on the applicant pool. Applicants who meet the stated minimum requirements are not guaranteed admission to these programs.
18 credits chosen from the list of Studies Courses, with at least nine credits at the 400 level
42 total credits
NOTE: Students may not take more than one Practicum course in any one term at the 300 or 400 level.
Elective credits are understood as courses taken in other departments or Faculties of the University. Credits in Communication Studies or Journalism, or in the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema may not be used in lieu of electives.
200-level courses are normally taken in first year, 300-level courses in second year, 400-level courses in third year. Students are responsible for satisfying their particular degree requirements.
Students are required to complete the appropriate entrance profile for entry into the program. For more information, see the Programs and Admission Requirements section on the Faculty of Arts and Sciences website.
BA Communication Studies (Major and Specialization) and
BA Communication & Cultural Studies (Major)
Choose one of the following:
1. If you are a new student applying to Concordia University, you must create an application online. You will also need to submit the supporting documents required by the Department of Communication Studies via the online application. Applicants must prepare their statement of intent and their short essay as one document to be uploaded as one PDF file(‘dossier’). Please see further instructions below.
2. If you are already a student in a BA program at Concordia University, you will need to submit the supporting documents required by the Department of Communication Studies. Applicants must prepare their statement of intent and their short essay as one document to be uploaded as one PDF file(‘dossier’) to the MyConcordia portal. Please see further instructions below. You will also need to submit the online Concentration Change Form.
3. If you are already a student at Concordia University but you are not already in a BA program, you will need to apply for a Degree Transfer on the MyConcordia portal. Applicants must also prepare their statement of intent and their short essay as one document to be uploaded via MyConcordia as one PDF file(‘dossier’). Please see further instructions below.
For Fall 2019 admissions to both BA programs in the Department of Communication Studies, all the supporting documents for your application must be submitted online. Upload your letter of intent and short essay (‘dossier’) as one PDF fileusing the Upload Document feature within your application or in the Student Centre in the MyConcordia portal.
When uploading, be sure to use the correct BA program name in the drop-down menu: Communication Studies Dossier or Communication & Cultural Studies Dossier.
About PDFs: ‘PDF’ stands for Portable Document Format. These kinds of files are very widely used across all sectors of education, business and the arts, including at Concordia University. Adobe developed this file format to be used with their Acrobat software, but there are lots of free PDF editors for both Mac and PC. See a list of recommended free readers. (N.B. We do not offer any warranties for third-party software.)
BA Communication Studies and BA Communication & Cultural Studies dossiers should comprise the following two supporting documents:
1. Letter of Intent: A typed letter, approximately 1 page in length (approximately 500 words), in which the applicant writes about the following:
Their knowledge and experience that would be pertinent to the study of communication, media, and culture;
Their interests in the field of communication studies and the reasons for applying to our program in particular.
2. Essay: A typed, original essay, approximately 2 pages in length (approximately 1,000 words plus citations), in which the applicant responds to one of the following two essay questions:
A professor in one of your classes points out that saying “privacy doesn’t matter if you've got nothing to hide” is like saying “free speech doesn’t matter if you’ve got nothing to say.” In an original essay drawing on 3 or 4 academic articles and/or chapters, i.e., not blogs or Wikipedia, consider the validity of this analogy. Provide 2 or 3 illustrative examples if they help your argument. Any recognized citation style is acceptable.
A social media platform updates its Terms of Service to include the following requirement: “Social media influencers must always disclose when they’re promoting paid content.” Write an original essay offering a clear, persuasive argument for or against this requirement, using 2 or 3 illustrative examples. Begin with 1 or 2 sentences explaining in your own words what we mean by 'social media influencers'. Draw on 3 or 4 academic articles and/or chapters, i.e., not blogs or Wikipedia, to support your argument. Any recognized citation style is acceptable. [edited for clarity Dec 10, 2018]
Academic Assessment Forms
To supplement the dossier, two Academic Assessment Forms must be completed and successfully submitted. Former or current teachers should complete this form and email it as an attachment from their work email account directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. The subject line must be just the last name and first name of the applicant. It is up to the applicant to ensure that both of their referees have sent their Academic Assessment Forms by email to the correct address. The Department of Communication Studies will not be contacting applicants if these documents are missing. Assessment Forms correctly submitted and received via email will be visible to the applicant (but not readable) usually within 24 hours of receipt. If the two Academic Assessment forms are missing from the application at 11:59 p.m. on March 1, 2019, the applicant will be automatically disqualified from consideration for either BA program in Communication Studies. If only one Academic Assessment has been received, the maximum possible score for this factor will be halved. Academic Assessment Forms must be sent to the email address above. The Department of Communication Studies no longer accepts these forms by mail and, if received via mail, will not forward them to Admissions or evaluate them directly.
Blank Academic Assessment forms can be downloaded in English and en Français.
Applications must be completed and submitted online by March 1 at 11:59 p.m., including receipt of all supporting documents: the uploaded dossier (letter of intent + essay) as one PDF, plus two emailed Academic Assessment Forms.
NOTES Applicants who intend to apply for both BA Communication Studies (Major or Specialization) and BA Communication and Cultural Studies (Major) must upload two separate dossiers. Each letter of intent should focus on objectives and interests with regard to each program. The same original essay can be used for both applications but must be included in both dossiers. The same academic assessments can be used for both programs; they do not need to be submitted twice.
The difference between the Specialization and Major in Communication Studies is primarily the number of credits completed in the concentration. For application purposes, the Major and the Specialization in Communication Studies are considered as one program, hence require only one letter of intent, one essay, and two assessments.
After the March 1 deadline, the Department will only evaluate complete dossiers, with two (minimum one) academic assessments. Selected applicants will be contacted by phone by the department to arrange interview appointments. Applicants who have not been selected for an interview will NOT be contacted by the Department and will be considered for their alternate choice of programs for possible admission to the University.
BA Communication Studies
Interview: Interviews with selected candidates for the BA Communication Studiesprogram will take place on March 29 and 30, 2019. These will be conducted in English to establish that candidates are prepared for university level lectures, class participation, seminars and readings in English. Interviews are generally conducted by one faculty member and one current BA Communication Studies student and will last about 25 minutes. About half of the interview time will be spent in general conversation with the candidate.
Portfolio: Candidates for the BA Communication Studiesprogram will be expected to bring a portfolio to their interview. A portfolio consists of 3 to 5 samples of creative work that the candidate had a major role in producing, e.g. video, audio, animation, photography, artwork, creative writing. We do not expect professional-level creative work; instead, we’re generally looking for evidence of creative potential. 5-10 minutes of the interview time will be devoted to the portfolio. If candidates would like to show computer-based work, they are encouraged to bring their own laptop or mobile device, with media cued up and ready to be played/shown.
Commentary: Candidates will be asked at the interview to read a brief scholarly quotation and share their thoughts about it. This will take approximately 5 minutes of the interview time.
Out-of-town candidates:Those who are unable to attend an interview due to distance from Montreal will be notified to send, by a specific date, a creative portfolio, and may be interviewed via Skype.
The Department of Communication Studies will recommend successful applicants for admission and the university’s admissions team will provide official notification to applicants.
BA Communication and Cultural Studies
There are no portfolios or interviews for applications to the BA Communication & Cultural Studies program. After review of the dossiers the Department will recommend successful applicants for admission and the university’s admissions team will provide official notification to applicants.
What’s changed this year? We have now merged our departmental application process with the university’s online application system. Please read all the information available on the Department’s BA programs webpages, and then click on the orange button on the right, labeled Begin Your Application.
Will you still be asking for portfolios and doing interviews? Yes! Although the application procedure has changed, everything else remains the same. We will still be interviewing the best applicants to the BA Communication Studies degree program and asking them to bring samples of their creative work. Please note that we do not hold interviews for the BA Communication & Cultural Studies program.
Who do I address my application package to? All applications must now be submitted via the University’s online application system. Please look for the orange button on the right, labeled Begin Your Application. We will not be accepting applications submitted by any other means.
What is the application deadline? Applications will be accepted from December 1st, 2018, to March 1st, 2019, at 11.59pm.
Where can I find the Academic Assessment Form? This form is available in English and French, as downloadable PDFs, on the right side of this page.
Who do I address the letter of intent to? The letter of intent may be addressed to: “Dear Admissions Committee” or “To whom it may concern”.
If I am a CEGEP student, what transcripts are required for my application? An unofficial copy of your CEGEP grades must be included as part of your dossier. CEGEP applicants must also provide their permanent code on the online application so that the University can obtain their official transcripts (in-progress and final) from the Conférence des recteurs et des principaux des universités du Québec (CRÉPUQ) as soon as they are available.
If I am an out-of-province student, what transcripts are required for my application? Out of province students are required to submit a copy of their Grade 11 and 12 marks as part of their dossier.
If I am a mature student, what transcripts are required for my application? Mature students are required to submit a copy of their most recent academic records.
Can I defer my admission if I am accepted to Communication Studies? No, the Department will not accept deferrals. Applicants will be expected to re-apply if they want to be considered again.
Can I complete this degree if I am working full-time? All of the core courses in Communication Studies are offered during the day. Applicants who have flexible work schedules may be able to complete this degree, but it will not be possible to attend courses in the evening and complete this program.
Is there a minor in Communication & Cultural Studies? No, there is no minor in the Communication & Cultural Studies program. It is possible that if you are taking the Major in Communication & Cultural Studies that you could take a minor in another program, such as Fine Arts, Languages, etc., while pursuing your BA in our department.
The faculty in the Department of Communication Studies have developed a basic set of guidelines for Attendance, Participation, and Grading for all our courses. These are intended to enhance everyone’s learning experiences and to ensure consistency throughout our curriculum. For further information, please refer to the currently available syllabus for each specific course.
Attendance: Regular attendance is a requirement. Students are expected to actively participate in all classes, workshops, critiques, discussions and labs associated with courses, and to complete all required course work according to deadlines and guidelines as assigned. Failure to comply can result in loss of marks.
Participation: This grade is based on overall punctuality and attendance in the classes, labs and workshops. Student preparedness, initiative and level of class engagement is evaluated (this means participating in discussions and demonstration of familiarity with required readings). Participation also includes completing all required readings and all assignments on time. Students are expected to be collegial, respectful and tolerant of peers, teaching assistants, technical instructors and professors. The best classroom experience will occur with courteous and engaged participation and interaction with each other, the work, the discussions and debates.
Electronic Devices: No electronic devices may be used once the class starts. All mobile phones, iPods, PDAs, cell phones, laptops etc. must be turned off and put away. The only exceptions are if the Office of Disabilities has authorized such use or the instructor specifically grants permission for use.
Numerical grade, letter grade and official grade point equivalents
In an effort to facilitate normalization and standardization of grading across the department, the following grading norms will apply. (Revised July 2013)
Official Grade Point
94 – 100
90 – 93
86 – 89
82 – 85
78 – 81
74 – 77
70 – 73
66 – 69
62 – 65
58 – 61
54 – 57
50 – 53
0 – 49
A Superior work in both content and presentation. This is a student who appears, even at an early stage, to be a potential honours student. The work answers all components of a question. It demonstrates clear and persuasive argument, a well-structured text that features solid introductory and concluding arguments, and examples to illustrate the argument. Few, if any presentation errors appear.
B Better than average in both content and presentation. This student has the potential for honours, though it is less evident than for the A student. Student’s work is clear and well structured. Minor components of an answer might be missing, and there may be fewer illustrations for the argument. Some minor but noticeable errors in presentation may have interfered with the general quality of the work.
C Student demonstrates a satisfactory understanding of the material. Ideas are presented in a style that is at least somewhat coherent and orderly. Occasional examples are provided to support arguments. Presentation errors that affect the quality of the work are more apparent than in B work. Some components of a question may have been omitted in the response.
D Student has only a basic grasp of the material. Sense of organization and development is often not demonstrated in the response. Few, if any, examples are provided to illustrate argument. Major components of a question might have been neglected; and major presentation errors hamper the work.
F Shows an inadequate grasp of the material. Work has major errors of style; and provides no supporting illustration for argument. Ideas are not clear to the reader. Work lacks a sense of structure.
Practicum courses in the Department focus on the development of creative media practices within the context of Communication Studies research based in the humanities and social sciences. These courses include weekly lectures, readings, critical analysis, workshops, seminars, screenings and presentations. First-year courses include an average of three hours of creative laboratories per week. Second- and third-year courses include an average of eight hours of creative labs and/or field work per week.
COMS 274 Communication Media: Intermedia I (3 credits) COMS 276 Communication Media: Sound I (3 credits) COMS 284 Communication Media: Film and Video I (3 credits) COMS 374 Communication Media: Intermedia II (6 credits) COMS 376 Communication Media: Sound II (6 credits) COMS 383 Communication Media: Film II (6 credits) COMS 385 Communication Media: Video II (6 credits) COMS 393 Communication Media: Special Topics (3 credits) COMS 474 Communication Media: Intermedia III (6 credits) COMS 476 Communication Media: Sound III (6 credits) COMS 483 Communication Media: Film III (6 credits) COMS 485 Communication Media: Video III (6 credits) COMS 493 Communication Media: Advanced Topics (3 credits)
Studies courses in the Department offer theoretical and critical understandings of social, cultural, formal, and other aspects of human communication and media. These courses may include weekly lectures, readings, critical analyses, seminars, screenings, and presentations.
COMS 210 Media Criticism (3 credits) COMS 220 History of Communication and Media (3 credits) COMS 225 Media Institutions and Policies (3 credits) COMS 240 Communication Theory (3 credits) COMS 301 Selected Topics in National Cinemas (3 credits) COMS 304 Selected Topics in Film Studies (3 credits) COMS 307 Scriptwriting for Media (3 credits) COMS 308 Selected Topics in Video (3 credits) COMS 309 Studies in Documentary (3 credits) COMS 310 Media Genres (3 credits) COMS 324 Communication Analysis of Environment (3 credits) COMS 325 Approaches to Communication Research (3 credits) COMS 352 Media Policy in Canada (3 credits) COMS 354 Youth and Media (3 credits) COMS 355 Media and New Technology (3 credits) COMS 357 Media and Critical Theory (3 credits) COMS 360 Mass Communication (3 credits) COMS 361 Propaganda (3 credits) COMS 362 Psychology of Communication (3 credits) COMS 365 History of Sound Recording (3 credits) COMS 367 Media and Cultural Context (3 credits) COMS 368 Media and Gender (3 credits) COMS 369 Visual Communication and Culture (3 credits) COMS 370 Advertising and the Consumer Culture (3 credits) COMS 371 Public Relations: Principles and Problems (3 credits) COMS 372 Theories of Public Discourse (3 credits) COMS 373 Topics in Media and Cultural History (3 credits) COMS 394 Communication Studies Apprenticeship I (3 credits) COMS 395 Communication Studies Apprenticeship II (3 credits) COMS 398 Selected Topics in Communication Studies (3 credits) COMS 399 Selected Topics in Communication Studies (6 credits) COMS 407 Advanced Scriptwriting for Media (3 credits) COMS 410 Acoustic Communication and Design (3 credits) COMS 411 Sexuality and Public Discourse (3 credits) COMS 412 Discourses of Dissent (3 credits) COMS 413 Cultures of Production (3 credits) COMS 414 Production Administration (3 credits) COMS 415 Advanced Topics in the Photographic Image (3 credits) COMS 416 Film Criticism (3 credits) COMS 418 Cultures of Globalization (3 credits) COMS 419 Communications and Indigenous Peoples (3 credits) COMS 420 Reception Studies (3 credits) COMS 421 Communicative Performances and Interventions (3 credits) COMS 422 Perspectives on the Information Society (3 credits) COMS 423 Media Art and Aesthetics (3 credits) COMS 424 Alternative Media (3 credits) COMS 425 Advanced Seminar in Cultural Studies (3 credits) COMS 426 Television Studies (3 credits) COMS 434 Advanced Topics in Film Studies (3 credits) COMS 435 Advanced Topics in Documentary Film and Video (3 credits) COMS 437 Media Forecast (3 credits) COMS 453 Communication Ethics (3 credits) COMS 460 Political Communication (3 credits) COMS 461 Organizational Communication (3 credits) COMS 462 Communication, Culture and Popular Art (3 credits) COMS 463 Semiotics (3 credits) COMS 464 Race, Ethnicity and Media (3 credits) COMS 465 Rhetoric and Communication (3 credits) COMS 468 Communications, Development and Colonialism (3 credits) COMS 472 Communication Technologies and Gender (3 credits) COMS 473 International Communication (3 credits) COMS 496 Directed Study I (3 credits) COMS 497 Directed Study II (3 credits) COMS 498 Advanced Topics in Communication Studies (3 credits) COMS 499 Advanced Topics in Communication Studies (6 credits)