Wilfrid Laurier University Graduate Calendar - 2013/2014
Canadian Excellence

Master of Arts in Communication Studies

The MA in communication studies provides the opportunity to critically examine media forms, social, cultural and material technologies, and visual communication and culture as critically significant sites. The program consists of two fields: visual communication and culture, and media, technology and culture.

Students will take courses in one or both of these fields. In addition, all students must take CS600 - Graduate Seminar in Communication Studies and CS601 - Communication Studies Research Methods.

Additional Information
Admission Requirements

Normally, enrolment in the program will be open to students who have graduated with an honours degree or its equivalent in communication studies or a cognate discipline from an approved university, and who have maintained at least an average of B+ in their undergraduate major program of study and a B+ overall for the last two years of study.

Applications must be accompanied by official transcripts and be supported by at least two letters of recommendation from faculty members who are qualified to assess the applicantís potential for graduate training in the communication studies program. Applications are reviewed by the Graduate Admissions Committee, which considers all prior university grades, a statement of research interests, a writing sample, and letters of reference.

English Proficiency Requirement

Proficiency in English usage, both written and oral, is essential to pursue graduate studies at Laurier. Applicants whose language of instruction during the undergraduate degree was other than English must furnish evidence of superior proficiency in English, prior to admission.

Part-time Studies

The MA in communication studies will not normally be offered on a part-time basis.

Program Requirements

There are two options for completing the degree requirements for the MA in communication studies.

Major Research Paper Option

  • CS600 - Graduate Seminar in Communication Studies (0.5 credit)
  • CS601 - Communication Studies Research Methods (0.5 credit)
  • Four half-credit electives
  • CS695* - Major Research Paper (1.0 credit)

Thesis Option (in exceptional circumstances only)

  • CS600 - Graduate Seminar in Communication Studies (0.5 credit)
  • CS601 - Communication Studies Research Methods (0.5 credit)
  • Two half-credit elective courses
  • CS699 - Thesis (2.0 credits)

The elective courses in each field are listed below. Not all electives may be available each year.

†Visual Communication and Culture
Media, Technology and Culture
CS650 - Visual Communication and Culture in Theory and Practice
CS651 - Visual Communication and Disciplinary Vision
CS652 - Material Culture
CS653 - Video Game Studies
CS654 - The Politics of Memory Markers: International Comparisons
CS655 - Image, Sound, Text
CS656 - Theories of Visual Communication and Culture
CS610 - Media Archaeology
CS611 - Strategic Communication: Practices, Politics, Publics
CS612 - Opinion-Editorial: Practices, Politics, Publics
CS613 - Owning Culture
CS614 - Post-industrial Communication: The Rise and Fall of a Very Good Idea
CS615 - Global Cultures: Hybrids, Homogeneities and Flows
CS616 - Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Migration Systems
CS617 - Risk, Media and Science
CS618 - Queer Media Studies
CS619 - Cognitive Theories of Communication
CS620 - Communication and Gender
CS621 - [Trans]National Identities, News Media/tions and the Place of the Public

Students may choose their electives from those courses offered in the communication studies MA program at Laurier. With the approval of the graduate officer, a maximum of 1.0 elective credit may be taken from the masterís program of another department at Laurier.

The normal sequence of registration is as follows:

Fall Winter Spring
MRP CS600 - Graduate Seminar in Communication Studies
2 electives
CS601 - Communication Studies Research Methods
2 electives
CS695* - Major Research Paper
Thesis CS600 - Graduate Seminar in Communication Studies
1 elective
CS601 - Communication Studies Research Methods
1 elective
CS699 - Thesis

Evaluation

Grades for all courses will be assigned in accordance with the course requirements specified in the Laurier Graduate Calendar.†

Major Research Paper

The major research paper is considered to be similar to a thesis in the quality and originality of research, but less than a thesis in scope. Research topics will be approved by the studentís advisory committee, which will normally consist of a supervisor and a second committee member. Major research papers will be approximately 50 to 60 pages in length, exclusive of bibliography and notes.

On completion of the major research paper, students will be expected to pass an oral defense of the work by an examining committee, which will include the studentís advisory committee and one reader who will serve as chair of the committee. The purpose of the oral defense is to demonstrate to the examiners that the candidate fully understands the work that was completed, how the research was completed, and the meaning and significance of the findings and conclusions. The candidate must have a clear understanding of how the work fits with the relevant literature and/or practice. The committee assigns a letter grade to the major research paper based on the quality of the research, the writing and the oral defense.

Thesis

Under exceptional circumstances and subject to the approval of the graduate program committee, students may be allowed to write an MA thesis. Students who are permitted to register in the thesis option must submit a thesis which is written in satisfactory form, and based upon research in some topic connected with the discipline of communication studies. The thesis, which must be approximately 100 to 120 pages in length, exclusive of bibliography and notes, must demonstrate the candidateís capacity for original and independent work, and when appropriate it should include a critical evaluation of work that has previously been done in the field of research. The thesis should emphasize any new conclusions that may be drawn from the candidateís own research.

If a thesis topic includes research involving human participants, approval for the investigation must be sought from the Research Ethics Board (REB).

On completion of the thesis, students will be expected to pass an oral defense of the work by an examining committee, which will be composed according to the regulations outlined in the Graduate Calendar. The purpose of the oral defense is to demonstrate to the examiners that the candidate fully understands the work that was completed, how the research was completed, and the meaning and significance of the findings and conclusions. The candidate must have a clear understanding of how the work fits with the relevant literature and/or practice.