The department offers a Communication Major which seeks to produce theoretically informed graduates with the necessary practical and analytical skills for successful professional careers, including the ability to: think critically and express ideas clearly and creatively; perform close textual analysis of various forms of communication (written, visual, nonverbal); analyze historical and contemporary forces behind cultural identities and relationships; and, finally, analyze the structures and institutions that inform the relationship between media, technology and society. To achieve these goals, the department has developed three core curriculum areas for the Communication Major:
- Texts and Representation employs close analysis of various kinds of texts to investigate the specific ways in which they produce meaning. The core incorporates critical approaches and it studies the way these texts reinforce and challenge cultural perceptions and identity formations. It draws on areas of cinema studies, rhetorical criticism and new media studies.
- Identities and Relationships examines the formation of social relationships and identities in different historical, cultural, and communication contexts. Drawing particularly on the fields of critical ethnography, critical race theory, disability studies, ethnic studies, gender studies, postcolonial/decolonial studies, queer theory, relational communication, and their intersections, core courses in this area investigate communication as a site for the enactment of power, struggle, and the formation of identities and difference.
- Structures and Institutions analyzes the political, economic and social forces that define the media landscape and the organization of media industries. Drawing particularly on the fields of political economy and media industry studies, core courses in this area examine the connections between communication and broader historical formations, such as the market, the state and civil society.
The major consists of ten (10) courses with a minimum of thirty (30) credits.
Required and Core Courses
Communication majors must take at least one of the following introductory, 1000-level courses, which is a requirement for enrolling in core courses:
- Introduction to Cinema – COMM 1150
- Introduction to Television – COMM 1250 (COMM 2550 before Fall 2021)
- Introduction to Cultural Studies – COMM 1350
- Introduction to Global Media – COMM 1450
- Introduction to New Media and Internet Studies – COMM 1550 (COMM 2220 before Fall 2021)
- Introduction to Media Studies – COMM 1650
Majors must complete three upper-level core courses, one in each area of the curriculum, preferably by the end of junior year. These core courses include:
- In the Texts and Representation area, Film Analysis (COMM 3150) or Rhetorical Criticism (COMM 3250) or New Media Analysis (COMM 3350)
- In the Identities and Relationships area, Cross-Cultural Analysis (COMM 3140)
- In the Structures and Institutions area, Technology Analysis (COMM 3160) or Media Analysis (COMM 3260).
Students who have an overall GPA of less than 2.50 when they declare the major must complete a 1000 or 2000 level course with a grade of C- or better before they will be allowed to enroll in a core course.
Of the six electives, two (2) must be completed at the 3000 level or above and two (2) must be completed at the 4000 level or above. The remaining two (2) can be completed at any level. If students take two courses at one core area (i.e. two courses in texts and representations), the second course counts towards an elective.
Students wishing to see their progress in the major can complete the Communication Major Requirements worksheet. Please complete this form before getting in touch with your major advisor for any questions.
Students wishing to graduate with honors in Communication must take either the graduate seminar (COMM 6210 or 6220) or another 4000-level honors course and complete an honors project/thesis. Students must register for the honors thesis with the Honors Program.