Communication and Cultural Studies (BA)
Why choose Communication and Cultural Studies?
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 analyze the meaning manufactured by everything from what celebrities are 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.
The difference between Communication Studies and Communications & Cultural Studies
This program is only available for Fall admission.
Minimum cut-off averages
- Quebec Cegep: 25
- High School: B-
- University Transfers (internal/external): B-
- Baccalauréat français: 12
- International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma: 27
Course requirements for admission
None. You must meet Concordia’s minimum admission requirements.
Additional requirements for admission
- Short Essay (uploaded as a single PDF)
- Two academic assessment forms (both emailed directly to Concordia)
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.
|You've sent your application from:||Fall term deadline||Winter term deadline|
Certain programs have extended their deadlines. Please check program availability.
Admission to this program is only available for the Fall Term.
We reserve the right to close admission to a program at any time after the official deadline without prior notice.
Learn to analyze and critique media and popular culture by integrating an interdisciplinary knowledge from the humanities, fine arts and social sciences.
- Media Criticism
- Media and Cultural Context
- Visual Communication and Culture
- Theories of Public Discourse
- Cultures of Globalization
Consult the undergraduate calendar for a complete list of current courses.
Our programs open up many career paths in the media arts and cultural industries, such as entry-level positions in:
- Film, television, radio, animation, social media
- Publishing and professional writing
- Independent arts organizations (galleries, film co-ops, festivals, arts spaces, etc)
- Media and communications policy consulting/analysis
- Advertising, marketing, design and public relations
- NGOs, eg humanitarian and environmental organizations
- And – advanced studies at the graduate level
Major in Communication and Cultural Studies
- 12 credits from COMS 210, 220, 225, 240
- 3 credits from COMS 325
- 6 credits chosen from COMS 310, 352, 357, 367, 368, 369, 372, 373
- 3 credits from COMS 425
- 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.
See available Practicum and Studies courses.
BA Communication Studies (Major)
BA Communication & Cultural Studies (Major)
Choose one of the following:
- 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 upload their short essay as one PDF File to the Student Centre. Further instructions below.
- 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 upload their short essay as one PDF file to the Student Centre. Further instructions below. You will also need to submit the online Concentration Change Form.
- 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 upload their short essay as one PDF file to Student Centre. Further instructions below.
For Fall 2023 admissions to both BA programs in the Department of Communication Studies, all the supporting documents (essay and academic assessments) for your application must be submitted online. Upload your short essay as one PDF file. You can also upload important documents for your applicartion by logging in to the Student Hub and going to My CU Account.
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. Many word-processing applications include a PDF option in their print dialogue box. 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 applications should comprise the following supporting documents:
- Short essay (as one PDF)
- Academic Assessments
SHORT ESSAY (as one PDF)
This year’s essay question is in two parts. Your response must of course be your own original work. Each part is designed to give you the opportunity to demonstrate your critical thinking skills, your ability to express your ideas clearly, and your particular motivation for joining either the BA Communication Studies program or the BA Communication & Cultural Studies program. (If you're not sure of the differences between them, please read up before going any further!). Take careful note of all the guidelines in terms of formatting, file type, and file naming. Good luck!
Write a response to TWO of the following THREE questions. Each response must be no longer than 4000 characters, spaces included. We suggest reviewing the links provided for all three questions before deciding which two you will answer.
- Review this short interview with media theorist John Durham Peters (Yale University) on the topic of ‘digital culture’:
DCRL Questions: John Durham Peters (vimeo.com/120680714).
- What, in your view, is communication studies?
- What makes this field of study unique?
- What are some of the most important questions that students of communication explore?
- Watch this short film by Kent Monkman (2015, 3 mins):
Sisters & Brothers (www.nfb.ca/film/sisters_brothers).
- As a critic, how might one produce an analysis of a media text such as this film? Consider, in your answer, the relationship between the form and content of the message, and between the artist’s intentions, the audience, and the social context of the message being conveyed.
- Watch this interview about “Queer Photographs” by the Montréal-based artist, J.J. Levine:
JJ Levine - Photographies queers - Queer Photographs (youtube.com/watch?v=X0bYdMG5fbo).
- In your view, how should media makers navigate between their own creative self-expression, on the one hand, and their responsibility (to participants in their work, as well as the topic being addressed), on the other? If relevant, feel free to draw on your own experience as a maker.
If you haven’t already done so, please review the undergraduate courses we offer in the department and some of the research interests of our professors and explore.concordia.ca. Then write a short statement (maximum 4000 characters, spaces included) telling us why you believe one of our two programs (BA Communication Studies or BA Communication & Cultural Studies) would be a particularly good fit for you personally.
This statement is also your opportunity to mention any aspects of your background (academic and/or non-academic) that you would like us to take into consideration when evaluating your candidacy.
Short Essay both parts and any references you want to add; 12pt Times New Roman font, double-spaced; any recognized citation style (eg MLA, APA, Chicago); list of references at the end, using same citation style.
Use a running head for the entire document using the same name as on your application (last name, first name), the date (MM/DD/YY), and consecutive page numbering (bottom right, including page 1).
Export as a PDF named: Lastname_Firstname_comsapp.pdf
(using your own last and first name)
NB If you’re applying to both programs you may submit the same essay for both. However, since the BA Communication Studies is the only one of the two programs that includes production courses, you might want to reflect that in your essay. In other words, if you state that you are especially interested in making media, you'll need to make it clear why you also wish to be considered for the BA Communication & Cultural Studies.
ACADEMIC ASSESSMENT FORMS
To supplement the essay, 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 by the deadline. The Department of Communication Studies will not be contacting applicants if these documents are missing. Academic Assessment forms correctly submitted and received via email will be visible to the applicant (but not readable) usually within 24 hours of receipt. If both Academic Assessment forms are missing from the application at 11:59 p.m. on March 1, 2023, the applicant will be automatically disqualified from consideration for both BA programs in the Department of Communication Studies. (If only one Academic Assessment form 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, they will not be forwarded to Admissions or evaluated directly.
Applications must be completed and submitted online by March 1, 2023 at 11:59 p.m., including receipt of all supporting documents: Short Essay in three parts uploaded as one PDF, plus two emailed Academic Assessment Forms.
- The same Academic Assessments can be used for both programs, and do not need to be submitted twice.
- After the March 1st deadline, The Department of Communication Studies will only evaluate complete dossiers, with two (minimum one) Academic Assessments. The Department will recommend successful applicants for admission and Concordia’s admissions team will provide official notification to the applicant.
- What’s changed this year?
We recently 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 "Apply Now" button on the top right. We have also been obliged to make further important changes to our admissions process in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Will you still be asking for portfolios and doing interviews?
No, we no longer require portfolios and interviews.
- To whom do I address my application package?
All applications must now be submitted via the University’s online application system. Please look for the "Apply Now" button on the top right side of this page. We no longer accept application materials submitted by any other means, except your two Academic Assessments, which should be emailed to email@example.com. The subject line must be just the last name and first name of the applicant.
- What is the application deadline?
March 1, 2023, at 11.59 p.m. Late applications will not be accepted.
- Where can I find the Academic Assessment Form?
The Academic Assessment form is available in English and en Français as form-fillable PDFs.
- If I am a CEGEP student, what transcripts are required for my application?
CEGEP applicants must 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 a part of their online application.
- 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 study in the Department of Communication Studies?
No, the Department of Communication Studies does 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 only attend courses in the evening and complete this program.
- Is there a minor in BA Communication & Cultural Studies?
No, we do not offer a minor in the BA Communication & Cultural Studies program. It is possible that if you are taking the Major in Communication & Cultural Studies that you could take a major or minor in another program, such as Human Relations, 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)
|Numerical Grade||Letter Grade|
|94 – 100||A+|
|90 – 93||A|
|86 – 89||A-|
|82 – 85||B+|
|78 – 81||B|
|74 – 77||B-|
|70 – 73||C+|
|66 – 69||C|
|62 – 65||C-|
|58 – 61||D+|
|54 – 57||D|
|50 – 53||D-|
|0 – 49||F|
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 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)
Full course descriptions available in the Academic Calendar.