Concordia University

https://www.concordia.ca/content/concordia/en/academics/undergraduate/calendar/current/sec31/31-070.html

Communication Studies

Section 31.070

Please note that the current version of the Undergraduate Calendar is up to date as of February 2019.

Faculty

Chair
CHARLES ACLAND, PhD University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Professor

Professors
MIA CONSALVO, PhD University of Iowa
MONIKA KIN GAGNON, PhD Simon Fraser University
YASMIN JIWANI, PhD Simon Fraser University
BRIAN LEWIS, PhD University of Iowa
ELIZABETH MILLER, MFA Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
KIM SAWCHUK, PhD York University
TIMOTHY SCHWAB, MFA Concordia University
MATTHEW SOAR, PhD University of Massachusetts Amherst
PETER C. VAN WYCK, PhD McGill University

Associate Professors
OWEN CHAPMAN, PhD Concordia University
TAGNY DUFF, MFA PhD Concordia University
SANDRA GABRIELE, PhD Concordia University
KRISTA LYNES, PhD University of California, Santa Cruz
FENWICK MCKELVEY, PhD Ryerson University/York University
ALESSANDRA RENZI, PhD University of Toronto
JEREMY STOLOW, PhD York University

Assistant Professors
ARSELI DOKUMACI, PhD Aberystwyth University
STEFANIE DUGUAY, PhD Queensland University of Technology

For the complete list of faculty members, please consult the Department website.


Location

Loyola Campus
Communication Studies and Journalism Building, Room: CJ 3.230
514-848-2424, ext. 2555


Department Objectives

The Department of Communication Studies takes a broad approach to the study of media and communication. Its undergraduate programs provide students with the analytical, critical, and creative skills necessary in a communication- and information-rich world.


Facilities

The Department provides the necessary equipment and facilities to accommodate students in laboratory courses. These include production studios, Mac labs, field production equipment for video and film (H.D. and 16mm), editing suites for video and film, digital sound facilities (production and post-production), and intermedia laboratories. The Learning Centre provides resources for supporting media production and studies as well as computers for program students to use. The media gallery is also housed in the Learning Centre.


Department Admission Requirements

The Department of Communication Studies has distinct admission procedures for each of its programs, in addition to the normal admission process of Concordia University. The Department is prepared to receive applications as early as January. Interested candidates should obtain infor­mation about admission requirements by visiting the Department’s website at concordia.ca/artsci/coms.

Graduate Work in Communication Studies
The Department offers a one-year diploma program for students who have completed their undergraduate degree in another field and who desire a concentrated introduction to Communication Studies. It offers an MA in Media Studies for those with an undergraduate degree in Communication Studies or a cognate field. A PhD in Communications is offered jointly with Université de Montréal and UQAM. For details, please refer to the School of Graduate Studies Calendar or contact the Department.


Programs

Students are responsible for satisfying their particular degree requirements.
The superscript indicates credit value.

The Department offers three programs of study.

  1. BA Specialization in Communication Studies: This program consists of 60 Communication Studies credits with the remaining elective credits drawn from outside the Department. It provides students with training in a variety of media and an in-depth understanding of communicative processes and of the social, cultural, persuasive, and aesthetic aspects of media and communication.
  2. BA Major in Communication Studies: This program consists of 42 credits in Communication Studies with the remaining elective credits drawn from outside the Department. It provides students with training in a variety of media and an understanding of communicative processes and of the social, cultural, persuasive, and aesthetic aspects of media and communication.
  3. BA Major in Communication and Cultural Studies: This program consists of 42 credits in Communication Studies with the remaining elective credits drawn from outside the Department. It offers a strong theoretical and critical understanding of communicative processes and of the social, cultural, persuasive, and aesthetic aspects of media and communication. It does not offer media production.

Elective credits are understood as courses taken in other departments or Faculties of the University. Credits in Communication Studies 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 required to complete the appropriate entrance profile for entry into the program (see §31.002 – Programs and Admission Requirements – Profiles).

      60   BA Specialization in Communication Studies
      18   COMS 2053, 2203, 2403, 2743, 2763, 2843
        6   Chosen from COMS 3053, 3103, 3523, 3573, 3673, 3683, 3693, 3723, 3733
  6-18    Chosen from the list of Practicum Courses
15-27    Chosen from the list of Studies Courses at the 300 or 400 level, with at least
              nine credits at the 400 level
        3   Chosen from the lists of Studies Courses or Practicum Courses at the 400 level
NOTE: Students may not take more than one Practicum course in any one term at the 300 or 400 level.

      42   BA Major in Communication Studies
      18   COMS 2053, 2203, 2403, 2743, 2763, 2843
        6   Chosen from COMS 3053, 3103, 3523, 3573, 3673, 3683, 3693, 3723, 3733
  6-12    Chosen from the list of Practicum Courses
    3-9    Chosen from the list of Studies Courses at the 300 or 400 level, with at least
              three credits at the 400 level
        3   Chosen from the lists of Studies Courses or Practicum Courses at the 400 level
NOTE: Students may not take more than one Practicum course in any one term at the 300 or 400 level.

      42   BA Major in Communication and Cultural Studies
             Stage I
      12   COMS 2053, 2203, 2253, 2403
             Stage II
        3   COMS 3253
        6   Chosen from COMS 3053, 3103, 3523, 3573, 3673, 3683, 3693, 3723, 3733
             Stage III
        3   COMS 4253
      18   Chosen from the list of Studies Courses at the 300 or 400 level, with at least
             nine credits at the 400 level


Practicum Courses

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 fieldwork per week.

COMS 274     Communication Media: Intermedia I (3 credits)
COMS 276     Communication Media: Sound I (3 credits)
COMS 284     Communication Media: Moving Images I (3 credits)
COMS 374     Communication Media: Intermedia II (6 credits)
COMS 376     Communication Media: Sound II (6 credits)
COMS 384     Communication Media: Moving Images II (6 credits)
COMS 393     Communication Media: Special Topics (3 credits)
COMS 475     Communication Media: Intermedia III (3 credits)
COMS 477     Communication Media: Sound III (3 credits)
COMS 484     Communication Media: Moving Images III (3 credits)
COMS 491     Communication Media: Portfolio (3 credits)


Studies Courses

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 205     Effective Communication Skills (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 305     Media Criticism (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 319     Media Literacy (3 credits)
COMS 324     Communication Analysis of Environment (3 credits)
COMS 325     Approaches to Communication Research (3 credits)
COMS 333     Games, Media and Culture (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 Media (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     Advanced Media 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 427     Social Media Platforms and Policy (3 credits)
COMS 434     Advanced Topics in Film Studies (3 credits)
COMS 435     Advanced Topics in Documentary (3 credits)
COMS 437     Media Forecast (3 credits)
COMS 453     Communication Ethics (3 credits)
COMS 455     Food, Media and Culture (3 credits)
COMS 456     News, Media and Power (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)


Courses

N.B.:

  1. 300-level courses, unless otherwise indicated, are open to students who have successfully completed 24 university credits or who have received permission from the Department.
  2. 400-level courses, unless otherwise indicated, are open to students who have successfully completed 48 university credits or who have received permission from the Department.

COMS 205      Effective Communication Skills (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Registration in a Communication Studies program. This course introduces students to a range of foundational communication skills including public speaking, scholarly writing, group work, interpersonal and group communication, and library research.

COMS 220      History of Communication and Media (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Registration in a Communication Studies program. This course examines communication and media from a comparative and historical perspective. Topics include the transition from orality to literacy, the print revolution, the rise of imaging technologies, and the emergence of modern publics, nations, and global media systems. Assignments introduce methods of historical research.

COMS 225      Media Institutions and Policies (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Registration in Communication and Cultural Studies Major. This course introduces students to the analysis of the institutional, political, and economic forces that have shaped the development of media during the 20th century. Attention is given to the ownership structures, corporate practices, and state policy interventions affecting media institutions in both the public and private sectors. A particular focus is given to the interrelations between Cultural, Multicultural, and Communication Policy interventions.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 326 may not take this course for credit.

COMS 240      Communication Theory (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Registration in a Communication Studies program. Through lectures, discussions, and selected readings from the works of key theoreticians, this course introduces students to major approaches to the understanding of the process of communication.

COMS 274      Communication Media: Intermedia I (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Registration in a Major or Specialization in Communication Studies. This course provides a theoretical and applied introduction to intermedia art and media practices such as remediation, design, animation, interactivity, installation, and performance. General emphasis on creative process, and proof-of-concept media creations, rather than “finished” media productions.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 256 may not take this course for credit.

COMS 276      Communication Media: Sound I (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Registration in the Major or Specialization in Communication Studies. This course introduces students to acoustic, analog, and digital components of audio systems. Students explore the communicational and aesthetic characteristics of sound. Through practical exercises students learn how to structure sound into imaginative aural forms across various media.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 278 may not take this course for credit.

COMS 284      Communication Media: Moving Images I (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Registration in the Major or Specialization in Communication Studies. This course provides a foundation in the creative, critical, and technical aspects of film and digital video production, including an introduction to non-linear editing software. Through collaborative assignments, lectures, discussions and readings, students explore the distinct language of each medium and develop video production skills through teamwork.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 280 and 282 may not take this course for credit.

COMS 298      Selected Topics in Communication Studies (3 credits)

COMS 299      Selected Topics in Communication Studies (6 credits)

Specific topics for these courses, and prerequisites relevant in each case, are stated in the Undergraduate Class Schedule.

COMS 301      Selected Topics in National Cinemas (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1). This course focuses on selected national cinemas. The analytic perspective of the course varies but may encompass such issues as cultural contexts; aesthetic conventions; economic and policy constraints; and the history of canons and their renewals. Specific topics for this course are stated in the Undergraduate Class Schedule.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for this topic under a COMS 303 number may not take this course for credit.

COMS 304      Selected Topics in Film Studies (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1). The topic of this course varies but may include such issues as film theories; the political economy of cinema; the analysis of particular periods in film history; the analysis of the films of particular directors and/or producers; film policies, or the relations between film, video, and television. Specific topics for this course are stated in the Undergraduate Class Schedule.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for this topic under a COMS 302 number may not take this course for credit.

Communication Studies students may take no more than six credits from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema in the Faculty of Fine Arts.

COMS 305      Media Criticism (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1). Through lectures, discussions, readings, and critical analyses, this course offers students insight into the major schools and practices of media criticism. The course explores the relationships between formal, aesthetic, representational, and sensory elements of media texts and discourses.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 210 may not take this course for credit.

COMS 307      Scriptwriting for Media (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1); registration in a Major or Specialization in Communication Studies; submission of a sample of creative writing by June 30 and subsequent approval by the instructor. This course is designed to provide knowledge of and practice in the forms and formats of scripts for media. Topics include the anatomy of a script, the relation between audio and visual elements, and the specificity of particular narrative and non-narrative genres. Emphasis is placed upon formal structures, such as story construction and plot development, character and dialogue, tension, conflict, resolution, and harmony.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 305 or 330 may not take this course for credit.

COMS 308      Selected Topics in Video (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1). This course investigates a variety of video practices from the 1960s to present. These practices range from video as a political tool to video art and installation. Students gain an understanding of the critical and creative uses of video as a tool for communication and change.

COMS 309      Studies in Documentary (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1). This course offers a survey of documentary genres in various media. Topics include the characteristic styles and forms of documentary, the function of documentary, and its relationship to truth and knowledge. The course consists of lectures, screenings, readings, critique, and discussion.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 306 and 331 may not take this course for credit.

COMS 310      Media Genres (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1). This course presents the concept of genre as a framework for the study of media. Topics may include the history of development of genre theory, the distinctive fictive and non-fictive genres of particular media, and the analysis of emergent or hybrid genres.

COMS 319      Media Literacy (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1). This course focuses on the critical evaluation of media including the examination of audiences, contents, and producers. The possible literacies may include media effects, digital media, news and popular media. Students closely examine the main dimensions of media literacy including access, analysis, creation, reflection, and action.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for this topic under a COMS 398 number may not take this course for credit.

COMS 324      Communication Analysis of Environment (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1). This course analyzes communicational aspects of various sites such as museums, galleries, exhibitions, countrysides, landscapes, city streets, highways, department stores, and churches. These analyses are conducted from perspectives such as film locations work, interpretive writing, cultural studies, and soundscape research. Students take part in individual and group analyses of Montreal locations. Lectures, tutorials, and workshops.

COMS 325      Approaches to Communication Research (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Registration in Communication and Cultural Studies Major; COMS 225. This course introduces students to the logics of inquiry of the major research approaches used within Communication and Cultural Studies. It familiarizes students with the formation of research questions, the choice of appropriate methodological tools, and the interpretation and reporting of research findings. There is a particular focus on qualitative approaches to field research and discourse and textual analysis.

COMS 333      Games, Media and Culture (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1). This course takes a critical approach to understanding the role of games as media and cultural objects. Students explore how to make sense of games, both as scholars and as players. The course offers ample opportunities for students to play, discuss, and experiment with games themselves, as well as with media about games.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for this topic under a COMS 298 or 398 number may not take this course for credit.

COMS 352      Media Policy in Canada (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1). This course acquaints the student with the historical development of media policy in Canada. It examines the government regulation of media as well as the strategies that have been put in place to foster and guide the development of media and cultural industries. It also considers the present state of broadcasting, telecommunications, and Internet policies in Canada, focusing on current problems and exploring alternative solutions.

COMS 354      Youth and Media (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1). This course explores the forms of communication that have developed between media and youth, including children and adolescents. Topical areas include future policies and planning in the light of developmental needs, ethical parameters, and experiments in creative empowerment.

COMS 355      Media and New Technology (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1). This course examines the applications of computers in the field of communications from conceptual, theoretical, and practical perspectives. Analog and digital representation, transmission, storage, and processing of visual and aural information are discussed.

COMS 357      Media and Critical Theory (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B number (1). This course focuses on key authors and readings in critical theory, including the work of the Frankfurt School, British Cultural Studies, structuralism, post-structuralism, and contemporary continental philosophy. A central concern is to understand the nature of power in the modern media environment.

COMS 360      Mass Media (3 credits)
The course examines the nature and forms of mass media, its social sources and uses, audiences, and effects. Issues such as media ownership and access, government and self-regulation, technological implications, ethics and accountability may be discussed.

COMS 361      Propaganda (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1). This course offers a critical understanding of the concept of propaganda and analyzes its historical development and contemporary impact on people’s lives. It also explores its various manifestations in society, politics, and culture and the methods of identifying its different forms.

COMS 362      Psychology of Communication (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1). The objectives of the course are to provide the learner with: 1) an overview of psychological processes active in the commun­icative act; 2) the opportunity to explore a single media area in depth, either independently or in a small group. Through a variety of formats, topic areas such as the following are explored: perception and information processing, language development, areas of para-psychology related to communication, influences on attitude/behaviour, verbal/non-verbal codes, and meaning.

COMS 365      History of Sound Recording (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1). This course traces the technological development of sound recording and establishes the historical context and the social and economic conditions in which this development has occurred. The evolution of studio recording practices, the structure of the music industry and its global operations, changes in the production and consumption of music, and changes in the role of music as a form of cultural communication are examined. Attention is also given to sound recording practices in cinema, radio, television and digital media.

COMS 367      Media and Cultural Context (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1). This course examines the contested notions of culture and diversity as they relate to interpersonal and mediated communication. It focuses on ways in which different cultural communities critique and access a range of cultural forms, on issues and challenges of cross-cultural communications, and on media representational practices, challenges, and problematics.

COMS 368      Media and Gender (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1). This course investigates how sex and gender are represented in and by the media. The course examines sexuality, sexism, and theories of gender through a critical examination of contemporary media topics.

COMS 369      Visual Communication and Culture (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1). This course introduces the basic principles of visual forms of communication, and considers the relationship of visual and verbal components within media messages. It also presents various modes of visual communication, considers their place within cultural understandings of representation, and examines the place of the visual within contemporary culture.

COMS 370      Advertising and the Consumer Culture (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1). This course critically examines the place of advertising in contemporary society. Topics may include the analysis of communication strategies, the construction of desire, the significance of advertising to the production and circulation of commodities, and the role of advertising and consumption in the construction of social identity.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 470 may not take this course for credit.

COMS 371      Public Relations: Principles and Problems (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1). This course considers the principles and responsibilities of public relations, and critically examines specific problems and the role of media choices and practices in effecting solutions.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 471 may not take this course for credit.

COMS 372      Theories of Public Discourse (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1). This course presents a variety of theoretical frameworks that inform the analysis of public communication. Emphasis is placed on cultural, political, and ideological interpretations. Concepts presented are drawn from a number of traditions including rhetoric, hermeneutics, post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, semiotics, and deconstruction.

COMS 373      Topics in Media and Cultural History (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1). This course offers an in-depth examination of specific periods or issues in media and cultural history. Selected topics focus on the development of media forms or cultural practices, as well as their social and political consequences. Historiographic research methods and theories are addressed.

COMS 374      Communication Media: Intermedia II (6 credits)
Prerequisite: COMS 274; permission of the Department. This course provides further theoretical and applied exploration of intermedia art and media practices such as remediation, design, animation, interactivity, installation, and performance. General emphasis on creative process, and proof-of-concept media creations, rather than “finished” media productions.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for this topic under a COMS 399 number may not take this course for credit.

COMS 376      Communication Media: Sound II (6 credits)
Prerequisite: COMS 276; permission of the Department. This course explores acoustic communication, focusing on audio production techniques associated with various media, including radio, film, video, television, music recording, and intermedia. Students develop technical skills in sound creation and a critical awareness of the social and historical contexts of sound production and reception.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 378 may not take this course for credit.

COMS 384      Communication Media: Moving Images II (6 credits)
Prerequisite: COMS 284; permission of the Department. This course explores aesthetic, critical, and technical issues of moving images through the development of artistic voice, concept, and audience. Students explore visual and aural strategies through collaborative projects and hone skills in camera, lighting, sound and editing.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 385 or 387 may not take this course for credit.

COMS 393      Communication Media: Special Topics (3 credits)
Prerequisite: COMS 274, 276 or 284; submission of a portfolio and project proposal to instructor and permission of the Department. This course involves the development and creation of specialized projects in selected media genres and forms. Emphasis is placed upon conception, design, and execution of media works. Choice of media and types of forms and genres vary from year to year. Specific topics for this course, and prerequisites relevant in each case, are stated in the Undergraduate Class Schedule.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for this topic under COMS 379 or 380 may not take this course for credit.

COMS 394      Communication Studies Apprenticeship I (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1); registration in a Communication Studies program; permission of the Department. With approval from the BA program director, students are given the opportunity to work in the communications industry under the co-supervision of a faculty member and a media professional. Students may be accepted for an open apprenticeship position offered to the Department, or they may formulate a study proposal on their own initiative. In order to receive credit, such an apprenticeship proposal must be approved by the BA program director.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 494 may not take this course for credit.

COMS 395      Communication Studies Apprenticeship II (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1); registration in a Communication Studies program; permission of the Department.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 394 may register for COMS 395.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 495 may not take this course for credit.

COMS 398      Selected Topics in Communication Studies (3 credits)

COMS 399      Selected Topics in Communication Studies (6 credits)

Specific topics for these courses, and prerequisites relevant in each case, are stated in the Undergraduate Class Schedule.

COMS 407      Advanced Scriptwriting for Media (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2); COMS 307; submission of a sample of creative writing and subsequent approval by the instructor. This course provides an in-depth approach to writing for specific media. Emphasis is placed upon structure, storytelling, research, and the interplay of character and action. Different paradigms for both fiction and non-fiction are considered.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 305 or 330 may not take this course for credit.

COMS 410      Acoustic Communication and Design (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course investigates contemporary theories of acoustic communication and design, such as Attali’s concept of noise, Schaeffer’s theory of the sound object, Schafer’s concept of soundscape, Chion’s cinema for the ear, and Augoyard’s repertoire of sound effects. Students engage in critical analysis of selected sound texts from various media.

COMS 411      Sexuality and Public Discourse (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course analyzes and explores the ways sexuality circulates in and as public discourses. Through a variety of conceptual formations and critical conceptualizations of “the public” and “sexuality,” this course analyzes conceptually and critically how sexuality and the notion of the public are mutually constitutive. The seminar is interdisciplinary and draws upon works in feminist studies, queer theory, political philosophy, history, cultural studies, and communication theory.

COMS 412      Discourses of Dissent (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course examines the forms and tactics of public discourses directed toward social change. Forms of public discourse that may be considered include speech, images, audiovisual works, as well as web-based sites or forms of communication. Emphasis is placed upon political protest, conflict and controversy, and mobilization. Themes explored include the development of speaking positions, the use of unconventional tactics, and the appropriation or rejection of received values.

COMS 413      Cultures of Production (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). Drawing on a range of recent field studies exploring the creative workplace (e.g. television production, the fashion industry, ad agencies, graphic design companies, the music business), this course frames commercial cultural production as a site of active agency, negotiation, and constraint through readings, discussion, and the design and execution of field research projects.

COMS 414      Production Administration (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course focuses on the language, skills, and strategies necessary for producing media projects and events. Administration, organization, permits and permissions, fundraising, liability and contracts, team-building, distribution and writing are just a few of the areas that are examined as students learn the skills necessary to be a producer.

COMS 415      Advanced Topics in the Photographic Image (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course explores the themes and concerns associated with particular photographic practices. Through class discussion, visual materials, readings, and writing projects, students develop a critical understanding of the history, language, and aesthetics of the photographic image.

COMS 416      Advanced Media Criticism (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course explores the assumptions, methodologies, and vocabularies implicit in important schools of popular and academic media criticism across mulitiple media forms.

COMS 418      Cultures of Globalization (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course examines the significance of communication technologies to the process of globalization, which has increased and accelerated the movement of people and commodities across the world. The resulting transnational networks of cultural, economic, political, and social linkages and alliances are considered, as is the role of media in engendering new forms of community and identity.

COMS 419      Communications and Indigenous Peoples (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). Focusing on Canadian First Peoples territories in the North and South, as well as selected circumpolar regions, such as parts of Australia and other areas of the world inhabited by indigenous peoples, this course examines from a global perspective the historical, theoretical, and cross-cultural content and contexts of aboriginal media financing, audience research, product development, distribution issues, and policy formation. Broadcasting, print, and digital media case studies and materials are central components.

COMS 420      Reception Studies (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course examines recent theory and research trends in the area of media reception studies and audience agency. Topics may include discursive, institutional, observational, and ethnographic approaches through readings, discussion, and the design and execution of field research projects.

COMS 421      Communicative Performances and Interventions (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course examines how media can be used in order to intervene in social and cultural issues. Emphasis is placed upon the performative character of interventions: they occur at a particular time and in a particular place, they are addressed to and seek to move particular audiences. Topics may include the history of performance strategies, the social and political character of aesthetic interventions, and the forms of such performances in relation to various media of communication.

COMS 422      Perspectives on the Information Society (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course critically examines the political, social, and ethical dimensions of the information society within Canada and throughout the world. The development of the information society is placed in a socio-historical context. The significance of information and communication technologies is considered and the role of global information and communication policies is examined.

COMS 423      Media Art and Aesthetics (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course examines the aesthetic principles pertinent to the analysis and creation of works within communication media. Topics may include the field of perception, the role of cognition, the elements of composition, and the interplay of form and meaning. Both the static and dynamic aspects of visual and aural elements are considered.

COMS 424      Alternative Media (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course examines various alternatives to mainstream media. These alternatives may include community radio and video, independent film, the Internet, and other emergent cultural forms such as the pastiche and parody of “culture jamming.” The concepts of mainstream and alternative are explored and the relationship between alternative media and social practices is considered.

COMS 425      Advanced Seminar in Cultural Studies (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Registration in the Communication and Cultural Studies Major; see N.B. number (2). This course offers an intense examination of a prominent contemporary debate and/or issue in cultural studies. Students work toward the completion of a major research assignment.

COMS 426      Television Studies (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course examines recent research focusing on television. Topics may include technological and industrial changes, audience activity, new genres, and representational conventions.

COMS 427      Social Media Platforms and Policy (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course critically examines the cultures, economics and affordances of social media platforms. The development of social media platforms is also discussed in order to understand how global flows of technology and culture converge. This course also examines platform policy and governance.

COMS 434      Advanced Topics in Film Studies (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course provides an in-depth study of a selected area of film studies. Specific topics for this course are stated in the Undergraduate Class Schedule.

COMS 435      Advanced Topics in Documentary (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course provides an in-depth study of selected film, video, sound and interactive documentary genres. Specific topics for this course are stated in the Undergraduate Class Schedule.

COMS 437      Media Forecast (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course examines trends in film, sound, television, and other media for future applications. The course includes theory of media effects. Representatives from industry and government are invited to discuss future trends in media utilization. The course demands a theoretical and practical model for original or novel use of a medium or media mix.

COMS 453      Communication Ethics (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course allows students to confront issues of creative responsibility and ethical dilemmas in media practice. Emphasis is placed upon the relation­ship between production and theory at the level of ethical responsibility. Specific issues include ethical theories as applied to media, communication and information; the relationship of human values and technologies of information reproduction; the possibilities of critical media practice; identification of challenges emerging from experience in Communication Studies.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for JOUR 316 or 317 may not take this course for credit.

COMS 455      Food, Media and Culture (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). Food and water are essential to life and inform the articulation of identities, values, and cultures. This course addresses the critical role communication plays in framing contemporary food issues. Students develop skills to critically analyze the narratives and metaphors that scholars, artists, communication experts, educators, and activists draw on when addressing food, water and environmental concerns.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for this topic under a COMS 435 number may not take this course for credit.

COMS 456      News, Media and Power (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). The course explores how news is produced within systems of media and power, and examines the technologies and conventions that govern its production and dissemination. The class may explore in greater detail a particular facet of, or problem in, the news media system, its production or dissemination.

COMS 460      Political Communication (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). The relationships between forms of communication and political structures and processes are examined. Topics include freedom of expression, the role of communication in mediating conflict, the place of deliberation and debate in democracy, political campaigns and advertising, and the relationship between styles of communication and models of governance.

COMS 461      Organizational Communication (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course considers major approaches to organizational communication in relation to shifting patterns of power, inequality, and technological change. Topics include communication networks, organization culture, bureaucracy, systematically distorted communication, gendered communication, the impact of new communication technologies, and patterns of organizational dominance and resistance. Case studies of particular organizations are examined.

COMS 462      Communication, Culture, and Popular Art (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course offers an advanced examination of popular culture. With attention to such phenomena as hit films and television shows, stars, fans, and pop art, this course focuses on the formation of hierarchies of value in cultural forms. This course examines how some cultural products come to be celebrated while others are dismissed. It also considers social and political consequences of divisions of high and low culture.

COMS 463      Semiotics (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course provides a detailed introduction to the semiotics of communication. The course considers the formal characteristics of signs and codes and examines how signs or texts produce meaning. Central to this course is the notion that sign-systems are fundamental to the production of knowledge and ideology. The course proceeds through lectures, an analytical reading of assigned texts, and student discussion and presentations.

COMS 464      Race, Ethnicity and Media (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course addresses practical and theoretical issues of race and ethnicity that have become focal points for current debates in public cultural expression and media studies. The following themes are discussed: cultural/racial difference and its implications for media studies; the (mis)representation of multicultural and multiracial minorities in mainstream and alternative media; questions of access to arts and other cultural funding sources; implications of employment equity legislation in light of media budget cuts; and cross-cultural aware­ness programs vs. anti-racist training for media professionals. Theoretical readings which frame issues of cultural and racial representation are an integral part of this course.

COMS 465      Rhetoric and Communication (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course focuses upon communication as persuasive or as producing identification. Emphasis is placed upon the role of communication in civic affairs. Classical and contemporary approaches to rhetorical theory and criticism are examined.

COMS 468      Communications, Development and Colonialism (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course discusses the role media can play in indigenous and international development. The concept of development communications is examined in the context of debates within neo-colonial and post-colonial theories.

COMS 472      Communication Technologies and Gender (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). Feminist theories of communication technologies are used to critique the impact and meanings of these technologies in various spheres of cultural activity. Topics include the mass media, technological mediations in organizations and institutions, and the re-articulation of domestic and public spaces, such as the Internet and the World Wide Web. Special attention is paid to these electronic and digital technologies — or new media — and the communicational and representational possibilities they enable or foreclose. The class is conducted as an intensive seminar. Completion of a prior course in women’s studies or gender studies at the university level is recommended.

COMS 473      International Communication (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course explores historical and current parameters of international communications within the context of current global shifts in power/knowledge relations. Discussion topics are selected from among the following: key devel­opment and neo-colonial theories, cultural/media imperialism, globalization, the UN infrastructure, the Right to Communicate debates, national sovereignty issues, international broadcasting, cross-cultural audience reception research and effects theories, telediplomacy, the World Wide Web and the Internet, women as an international constituency group, and others.

COMS 475      Communication Media: Intermedia III (3 credits)
Prerequisite: COMS 374; permission of the Department. This advanced course in intermedia theory and practice involves further engagement with analog and digital media, such as remediation, design, animation, interactivity, installation, and performance. The course emphasizes concept, process, and polish in the development of a portfolio-level work.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 474 or 490 may not take this course for credit.

COMS 477      Communication Media: Sound III (3 credits)
Prerequisite: COMS 376; permission of the Department. This advanced course involves analysis and creation of substantial audio projects such as sound documentaries, song cycles, soundscape projects, multi-layered soundtracks, and audio installations. Emphasis is placed on creative portfolio development and public presentation.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 476 or 478 may not take this course for credit.

COMS 484      Communication Media: Moving Images III (3 credits)
Prerequisite: COMS 384; permission of the Department. This course emphasizes the development of portfolio-quality creative work in moving images with a focus on cinematography, sound design, editing, distribution, aesthetic and critical aspects of digital moving image production and the professional field.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 485 or 487 may not take this course for credit

COMS 491      Communication Media: Portfolio (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Successful completion of any second-year production course; permission of the Department. This advanced production course offers a sustained opportunity to develop one or more portfolio-quality media productions, either individually or in groups. Other topics may include CV design, grant-writing, and professional development.

COMS 493      Communication Media: Advanced Topics (3 credits)
Prerequisite: COMS 374, 376 or 385; submission of portfolio and project proposal to instructor and permission of the Department. This course involves the development and creation of specialized projects in selected media genres and forms. Emphasis is placed upon conception, design, and execution of media works. Choice of media and types of forms and genres vary from year to year. Specific topics for this course, and prerequisites relevant in each case, are stated in the Undergraduate Class Schedule.

No more than six credits may be taken in Apprenticeships or Directed Study. The appropriate Cluster for Apprenticeship and Directed Study courses is determined by the course content as outlined in the student proposal.

COMS 496      Directed Study I (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Registration in a Communication Studies program. Towards the end of their second year, students enrolled in a Communication Studies program who have demonstrated scholarly and creative ability may be selected for major research or production in a communications area of special interest. During the third year, individually or in teams, the project is realized in close collaboration with faculty directors.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 495 may not take this course for credit.

COMS 497      Directed Study II (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Registration in a Communication Studies program.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 496 may register for COMS 497.

COMS 498      Advanced Topics in Communication Studies (3 credits)

COMS 499      Advanced Topics in Communication Studies (6 credits)

Specific topics for these courses, and prerequisites relevant in each case, are stated in the Undergraduate Class Schedule.


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