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Being a Golden Hawk means more than just cheering on our (really good) varsity teams – it means being a student who cares about your community, who works hard in the classroom, and who takes advantage of all the learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom, too.


We offer six courses each year. CS600 and CS601 are required courses. You must also register for CS695 or CS699 while working on your major research paper or thesis.

You are allowed to take up to 1.0 credit from other graduate programs with approval from the graduate coordinator. In the past, Communication Studies MA students have taken graduate courses in programs such as Cultural Analysis and Social Theory, English and Film Studies, and Political Science.

2017/18 Course Offerings

CS600: Graduate Seminar in Communication Studies (0.5 credit)

This team-taught course introduces students to the core concerns, theoretical concepts and research approaches in communication studies. Particular attention will be paid to the areas of research specialization of faculty. This mandatory course is designed to enable students to do the preparatory work necessary to their research projects.

CS601: Communication Studies Research Methods (0.5 credit)

This course will provide students with advanced training in the methods of research employed in the field of communication studies. Students study reactive or interactive research methods (participant observation, experimental designs, surveys and interviewing) and unobtrusive or non-reactive methodological designs (discourse analysis, semiotics, content analysis, and rhetorical and historical approaches). Students are encouraged to develop their major research paper or thesis research proposal as the final assignment for this course.

CS653: Video Game Studies (0.5 credit)

This course investigates the fastest-growing yet least understood aspect of mass digital culture: video games. The course surveys the development of video game forms beginning with the creation of the first video game (William Higinbotham’s ‘Tennis’) in 1958 and ranging through arcade games, simulations, console games, platforming, roleplaying, and adventure games, real-time strategy, first-person shooters, and online gambling to contemporary massive multiplayer online games. Issues including the nature and practice of play, externalities and infrastructure, formal qualities and structure, narrative structure and genre, simulation and realism, spatiality and property, gender and identity, authority and authorship, war and violence are discussed.

CS605: Critical Theory (0.5 credit)

Critical Theory is among the founding traditions of communication studies and cultural studies. This course introduces students to key texts in the tradition of Frankfurt School Critical Theory as well as the contemporary inheritance of this tradition in communications thought. The course will also examine this tradition of thought in historical context from its inception and development in the twentieth century to its contemporary inheritances in communication studies. Opportunities to consider competing traditions compared to Critical Theory will present themselves. The texts will include works on philosophy, social theory, communication theory, as well as theoretically informed studies of phenomena in communication and culture. Students will gain knowledge of Critical Theory and the ways in which Critical Theory informs the analysis of communication and culture today.

CS617: Risk, Media and Science (0.5 credit)

This course is an exploration of a number of critical approaches to risk communication, framed by a number of case studies. It examines the ways that risk messages are created, the influence they have on public understandings of science, and the effect these understandings have on attitudes and ideas regarding risk. Looking first to the ways that risk may be theorized, constructed and codified, this course then explores the role of media in evaluating and disseminating risk messages. The role played by news media in risk communication, and a look to risk communication by government, non-governmental organizations (such as Greenpeace and the AIDS Committee of Toronto), and other risk stakeholders (such as the pharmaceutical and insurance industries) is explored.

CS640 :Representations of the Real (0.5 credit)

This course is structured around a series of debates surrounding the relationship of reality to film, video and digital media representations of the real world. A range of non-fiction moving images will be examined including such practices as documentary filmmaking, home movies/home video, surveillance/CCTV images, industrial and promotional films, "reality television," web-cams, "accidental images," “educational” (i.e. classroom) films and television news, among others. These media practices will be examined in their social and historical contexts and from a variety of theoretical perspectives that interrogate the relationship of moving images to the real events which they represent.​​

CS690: Directed Studies (0.5 credit)

A selected research project supervised by an individual faculty member.

CS695: Major Research Paper (1.0 credit)

A major research project to be undertaken on an approved topic and in accordance with the guidelines of the department.

CS699: Thesis (2.0 credits)

An independent thesis project to be undertaken on an approved topic based upon research connected with the discipline of communication studies and in accordance with the guidelines of the department.

Contact Us:

Alexandra Boutros, Graduate Coordinator

E: aboutros@wlu.ca
T: 519.884.0710 x2917

General Inquiries

E: shoang@wlu.ca
T: 519.884.0710 x2806


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