Concordia University

Digital Innovation in Journalism Studies MA

Admission Requirements

The normal requirement for admission into the MA is an undergraduate degree with a minimum GPA of 3.00 on a 4.30 scale. Applicants should understand that admission to the program is contingent on a sound undergraduate academic record, strong letters of reference, and a convincing statement of purpose which clearly describes their academic interest in the program and intended area of research. Applicants who do not meet the standards for admission may be required to complete a qualifying program of up to 12 undergraduate credits in addition to the regular graduate program. For the qualifying program a minimum grade point average of 3.00 (B average) is required.

Proficiency in English. Applicants whose primary language is not English must demonstrate that their knowledge of English is sufficient to pursue graduate studies in their chosen field. Please refer to the Graduate Admission page for further information on the Language Proficiency requirements and exemptions.

Requirements for the Degree

  1. Credits. A fully qualified candidate is required to complete a minimum of 45 credits. The requirements include three core program courses.

  2. Courses. Students are required to complete 15 credits of coursework, as well as one of the three options for research requirements listed below. The following core courses are required:

    JOUR 601 Critical Approaches to Journalistic Thought (3 credits)
    JOUR 604 Research Methods for Journalism (3 credits)
    JOUR 605 Digital Innovation in Journalism (3 credits)

    Choose two of the following elective courses:
    JOUR 502 Introduction to Reporting (3 credits)
    JOUR 503 Introduction to Visual Journalism 
    (3 credits)
    JOUR 511 Introduction to Multimedia 
    (3 credits)
    JOUR 523 News and Feature Photography (3 credits)
    JOUR 603 Political Economy of Journalism (3 credits)
    JOUR 610 International Journalism
    (3 credits)
    JOUR 620 Journalism Ethics and the Law (3 credits)
    JOUR 630 Mediating Diversity through Audio Story-telling (3 credits)
    JOUR 640 Textual Approaches to Journalism (3 credits)
    JOUR 642 Special Topics in Journalism Studies (3 credits)
    JOUR 645 Directed Study (3 credits)

    * With the permission of the department, up to six elective credits may be taken in 600-level courses offered by other departments.

  3. Research Requirements and Options.

    Option A.
    JOUR 650 Journalism Readings and Proposal
     (6 credits)
    JOUR 691 Thesis (24 credits)
    Option B.
    JOUR 650 Journalism Readings and Proposal
     (6 credits)
    JOUR 693 Research-Creation Thesis (24 credits)
    Option C.
    JOUR 694 Essay
     (18 credits)
    12 additional course credits in consultation with the student’s faculty advisor and approved by the Department’s MA program director.

Academic Regulations

  1. Academic Standing. Please refer to the Academic Standing section of the Calendar for a detailed review of the Academic Regulations.

  2. Residence. The minimum residence requirement is one year (3 terms) of full-time study, or the equivalent in part-time study

  3. Time Limit. Please refer to the Academic Regulation page for further details regarding the Time Limit requirements.

  4. Graduation Requirement. In order to graduate, students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.70.


JOUR 502 Introduction to Reporting (3 credits)
This is a comprehensive lecture/laboratory course which lays the foundations for the writing and reporting demands of journalism. Students are introduced to the salient features of print and digital formats, and receive assignments in information-gathering and writing both in class and in the field.

JOUR 503 Introduction to Visual Journalism (3 credits)
This workshop course lays the foundation for the visual aspects of journalistic story-telling. Working with digital, single-lens reflex cameras, students acquire fundamental skills for the practice of visual journalism, becoming familiar with a variety of aesthetic, technical, ethical and theoretical concerns involved in the visual production of meaning.

JOUR 511 Introduction to Multimedia (3 credits)
This course is an introduction to the use of technology across audio and visual news platforms, including audio, visual and digital equipment and software. Students learn the necessary professional, technical and aesthetic skills to produce editorially sound audio and visual stories.

JOUR 523 News and Feature Photography (3 credits)
This workshop course covers a range of journalistic topics – hard news, general news, features, arts, sports – to emphasize the thematic particularities of visual story-telling. The course requires students to consider and incorporate the narrative and representative dimensions of visual journalism through a variety of assignments.

JOUR 601 Critical Approaches to Journalistic Thought  (3 credits)
This course  introduces students to a scholarly critique of journalism, both as a practice and as an institution. Students examine specific readings from an overlapping social, political and economic context to consider the role of journalists as cultural producers.

JOUR 603 Political Economy of Journalism (3 credits)
This course considers journalism through its organization as a cultural industry and critically evaluates journalism’s economic structures and the impact those structures have on journalism practice. Topics may include media economics, free-market theory, media ownership, the role of the government and the role of organized labour.

JOUR 604 Research Methods  for Journalism (3 credits)
This course examines a variety of research methods commonly used in the production and study of journalism, from both qualitative and quantitative perspectives. Emphasis is placed on primary sources, access to information requests, and electronic databases with a goal of helping students develop their own research practice.

JOUR 605 Digital Innovation in Journalism (3 credits)
This course offers lectures and workshops in digital innovation and web design, with a focus on design features related to journalism production and news platforms.

JOUR 610 International Journalism (3 credits)
Prerequisite: JOUR 601 previously or concurrently.
This course examines journalism as a cross-cultural and global practice, addressing such issues as media representation, multiculturalism, globalization and international news flows.

JOUR 620 Journalism Ethics and the Law (3 credits)
Prerequisite: JOUR 601 previously or concurrently or permission of the program director.
This course examines the journalist’s responsibility in terms of both ethics and the law. It introduces students to a representative cross-section of ethical theories and codes and takes an intensive look at the most common legal issues affecting the practice of journalism.

JOUR 630 Mediating Diversity through Audio Story-telling  (3 credits)
Prerequisite: JOUR 601 previously or concurrently or permission of the program director.
The course is an experiential workshop that blends journalism theory and practice. Students function both as reporters, in order to learn the skills necessary to produce robust audio stories, and digital researchers tasked with examining diversity and media representation issues arising in class to explore journalism’s mediating function in society.

JOUR 640 Textual Approaches to Journalism (3 credits)
Prerequisite: JOUR 601 previously or concurrently.
This course concentrates on journalism’s use of all forms of language, from written text to sounds and images. Drawing from the literature on linguistics, semiotics, textual and discourse analysis, students consider ways in which journalists, through their use of language to describe and depict people, events, institutions and ideas, become implicated in the news they report.

JOUR 642 Special Topics in Journalism Studies (3 credits)
This seminar permits the in-depth examination of particular special topics in digital innovation in journalism studies. Topics vary from year to year.

JOUR 645 Directed Study (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Permission of the MA Program Director.
Students may enrol in a directed study under faculty supervision in order to undertake a specialized study of theoretical or research-related topics.

JOUR 650 Journalism Readings and Proposal (6 credits)
Prerequisite: JOUR 601.
In consultation with the faculty advisor, the student reviews relevant literature pertinent to the research topic and writes a thesis proposal demonstrating knowledge based upon the review of the scholarly literature.

JOUR 691 Thesis (24 credits)
Prerequisite: JOUR 650.
The thesis is researched and written under the direction of a supervisor. Upon completion, it is submitted to the student’s Thesis Committee. The thesis is defended in an oral examination before the Thesis Committee.

JOUR 693 Research-Creation Thesis (24 credits)
Prerequisite: JOUR 650.
The Research-Creation Thesis is specifically designed for students with media production experience who wish to complete an original media production using a suitable media platform, complemented by a text of approximately 10,000 words comprising a literature and media review, a theoretical and methodological contextualization, and a critical reflection on the project and its outcomes.

JOUR 694 Essay (18 credits)
Prerequisites: JOUR 601, 604, 605.
Students produce an essay on a research topic developed in consultation with a  faculty member that explores a specific issue relevant to journalism studies. The final essay must be evaluated by a second faculty member. The essay's length is approximately 40 pages, which does not include a bibliography. The course is normally taken in term five of the students' degree.

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