BA Programs & Courses

Programs

The Department offers three undergraduate programs of study:

  1. 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. 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. 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.

Specialization in Communication Studies

  • 18 credits from COMS 210, 220, 240, 274, 276, 284
  • 6 credits chosen from COMS 310, 352, 357, 367, 368, 369, 372, 373
  • 6-18 credits chosen from the list of Practicum Courses
  • 18-30 credits chosen from the list of Studies Courses, with at least 12 credits at the 400 level

60 total credits

NOTE: Students may not take more than one Practicum course in any one term at the 300 or 400 level.

Major in Communication Studies

  • 18 credits from COMS 210, 220, 240, 274, 276, 284
  • 6 credits chosen from COMS 310, 352, 357, 367, 368, 369, 372, 373
  • 6-12 credits chosen from the list of Practicum Courses
  • 6-12 credits chosen from the list of Studies Courses, with at least six 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.

Major in Communication and Cultural Studies
Stage I

  • 12 credits from COMS 210, 220, 225, 240

Stage II

  • 3 credits from COMS 325
  • 6 credits chosen from COMS 310, 352, 357, 367, 368, 369, 372, 373

Stage III

  • 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

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.


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 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

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 210 Media Criticism (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 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)

Course descriptions

(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 210 Media Criticism (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Registration in a Communication Studies program. Through lectures, discussions, readings, and critical analyses, this course introduces students to the major schools and practices of media criticism. The course articulates the relationships between formal, aesthetic, representational, and sensory elements of media texts and discourses.

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 twentieth 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 coursefor 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 an introduction to new and developing digital technologies (primarily computer-based media) through historical, theoretical, and critical perspectives on media, culture, and society. This includes basic concepts in software operating systems, communication design, and digital media creation.
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 coursefor credit.

COMS 284 Communication Media: Film and Video 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 16mm film and digital video production, including an introduction to non-linear editing software. Through collaborative assignments, students discover the shared and distinct language of each medium.
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, will be 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 will be stated in the Undergraduate Class Schedule.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for this topic under a COMS 303number 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 will be stated in the Undergraduate Class Schedule.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for this topic under a COMS 302number 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 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 apolitical 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 324 Communication Analysis of Environment (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1). This course analyses communicational aspects of various sites such as museums, galleries, exhibitions, country-sides, 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; COMS225. 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 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 Communication (3 credits)
The course examines the nature and forms of mass communication, the social sources and uses of mass communication, its psychology, audiences, and effects. The ethics of mass communication are also discussed. Through guest lecturers from the various media and readings of contemporary analyses/critiques, issues such as media ownership and access, government and self-regulation, technological implications, media accountability, etc., are raised.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 360 may not take this course for credit.

COMS 361 Propaganda (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (1). The aim of this course is to recognize the orchestration of the elements of propaganda in media, and to develop the means to deal with it. Course methodology includes lectures, discussions, and projects.

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 ofadvertising 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 continues the exploration of concepts in digital communications, primarily computer-based media, and their application to communication design and media production. The course involves historical, theoretical, and critical reflection, a variety of digital production exercises, and intermedia projects.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for this topic under a COMS 399number 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 383 Communication Media: Film II (6 credits)
Prerequisite: COMS 284; permission of the Department. This intermediate course focuses on the aesthetic, theoretical, practical, and creative aspects of communication in cinema. Students shoot 16mm film, with post-production on digital video. Innovative approaches to technical and financial constraints, to required lengths and delivery dates, are emphasized.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 381 may not take this course for credit.

COMS 385 Communication Media: Video II (6 credits)
Prerequisite: COMS 284; permission of the Department. This course explores aesthetic, critical, and theoretical issues through the development of artistic voice, concept, and audience. Students develop collaborative projects that use a range of visual and aural strategies. Workshops emphasize technical training in camera, sound, lighting, and editing.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 387 may not take this coursefor 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, will be 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. In consultation with the Apprenticeship Committee, 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, the apprenticeship proposal must be approved by the Committee.

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 COMS395.

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 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, will be 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 by June 30 and subsequent approval by the instructor. This course provides an in-depth approach to writing for specific media. Emphasis is place dupon 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 analyses 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 analyses 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 Film Criticism (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course provides an introduction to the assumptions, methodologies, and vocabularies implicit in important schools of popular and academic film criticism.

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 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 will be stated in the Undergraduate Class Schedule.

COMS 435 Advanced Topics in Documentary Film and Video (3 credits)
Prerequisite: See N.B. number (2). This course provides an in-depth study of selected film and video documentary genres. Specific topics for this course will be 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 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 theWorld 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 474 Communication Media: Intermedia III (6 credits)
Prerequisite: COMS 374; permission of the Department. This is an advanced course in intermedia theory and creation, exploring the interrelationships among communication design, interactivity and computer-based media production, through a variety of digital production exercises and substantial intermedia projects.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 490 may not take this course for credit.

COMS 476 Communication Media: Sound III (6 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 478 may not take this coursefor credit.

COMS 483 Communication Media: Film III (6 credits)
Prerequisite: COMS 383; permission of the Department. This advanced course focuses on the conception, development, and production of portfolio quality films. Formats include the use of Super 16mm and digital post-production. Students develop advanced production skills and are introduced to film financing and distribution.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 481 may not take this course for credit.

COMS 485 Communication Media: Video III (6 credits)
Prerequisite: COMS 385; permission of the Department. This advanced course emphasizes the formal and conceptual challenges of developing a personal voice and production style in the creation of portfolio-ready work. Through media analysis and writing, students develop an understanding of aesthetic and critical aspects of digital video. Production resources, funding, and exhibition opportunities are investigated.
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 487 may not take this course for credit.

COMS 493 Communication Media: Advanced Topics (3 credits)
Prerequisite: COMS 374, 376, 383 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, will be stated in the Undergraduate Class Schedule.

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)
NOTE: Students who have received credit for COMS 496 may register for COMS497.

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 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, will be stated in the Undergraduate Class Schedule.