Graduate Diploma in Communication Studies

Program Director - Professor Elizabeth L. Miller
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A Word from the Director

Our Graduate Diploma in Communication Studies attracts some of the most interesting individuals from Canada and around the world. The program is ideal for those seeking a career change or wanting to expand their professional qualifications in media production or theory. In addition to small production classes, the program offers an introduction to communication studies in areas such as documentary studies, feminist media studies, new media and ethics, theories of representation, popular culture, development communication and more. This full-time program can be completed in three terms (one year), and is ideal for individuals wishing to return to a full work schedule after a year.

Applicants to the Diploma program do not need previous academic training or production experience. In fact the program is only open to individuals with a Bachelor’s degree in a field other than communication (see full requirements below). The program’s required courses are offered annually, and include courses in film & video, sound and intermedia, as well as courses related to the theoretical aspects of communication. Elective courses cover a wide variety of communications and media topics. The option of a credited internship course is also available for students who complete 120 hours in a relevant media placement.

Concordia Diploma graduates have found media-related careers in teaching, advertising, public relations, non-profit organizations, marketing, film industries, freelance media, and radio/television/broadcast journalism. The degree is also an ideal opportunity to explore opportunities for advanced studies at Concordia. A number of Diploma graduates apply to the Masters degree programs at Concordia and other universities.

I invite you to explore our website and review the range of course offerings as well as the profiles of our accomplished and dedicated faculty members.  For further questions do not hesitate to contact us!

Liz Miller, MFA
Diploma Program Director

Diploma Course 2013-2014


Completed applications (including transcripts and letters of reference) are due February 15, 2015. Admission is done annually. Students must enter the program in fall term.


Please refer to our Diploma Application Page.


Entry into the program is based on a careful assessment of the individual backgrounds and goals of applicants who possess a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) with high standing from a recognized university in a field other than communications.

Applicants are required to submit a completed graduate application form and fee; a detailed letter of intent of not more than 600 words outlining the student’s background, academic and work experience and career goals; three (3) Academic Assessment Forms with reference letters attached, and official transcript(s) of studies. Applicants whose prior degrees are not from an English or French-speaking university are required to submit TOEFL scores (photocopies of TOEFL scores are not acceptable) or IELTS scores. The minimum TOEFL score required is 623 or an IELTS score of 8. The minimum iBTOEFL score (internet-based TOEFL) is 106.

Applicants are encouraged to apply on-line. The Graduate Application form (including the Academic Assessment form), and additional instructions are available at: (credit card required)

A printable version of the Graduate Application form (including the Academic Assessment form) is available at:


Candidates are required to complete a minimum of 33 credits. All candidates are required to take 5 core courses (15 credits) and 6 elective courses (18 credits). The five required production courses include: three production courses in sound, intermedia and video respectively and as well as two required seminars addressing history, theory and contemporary trends in communication. Electives can be chosen from a range of courses covering a variety of communications and media topics. A sample semester can be viewed at:
Many students chose to complete an internship for one course credit.

Normally a student receiving a grade of C in two courses will be required to withdraw from the program.


Note: Courses are worth 3 credits unless otherwise noted.

Core Courses

Core (required) courses are offered on an annual basis.

COMS 505 Definitions of Media and Technology I

This seminar-lecture course intends to situate media and technology in their historical and cultural contexts, to examine them as extensions of human perception and work, to consider forecast relationships, and to explore the epistemics of communication media.

COMS 506 Definitions of Media and Technology II

This course is a continuation of COMS 505. It is an exploration of media as a symbolic environment or as “containers” of culture. It provides a grounding for the art of media interpretation through an interdisciplinary approach to the interaction of media and culture, technology and human values and cross-cultural communication.

COMS 562 Media Production: Sound

This course is designed to provide the student with a basic working knowledge of audio systems both natural and electronic, to understand the various affective and psychological qualities of sound, and how sound may be structured into imaginative aural form. Lectures and Laboratory: average 6 hours per week.

COMS 569 Media Production: Film and Video

This course provides a foundation in the creative, critical and technical aspects of 16mm film and digital video production, including an introduction to nonlinear editing software. Through collaborative assignments, students discover the shared and distinct language of each medium. Lectures and Laboratory: average 6 hours per week.
Note: Students who have received credit for COMS 567 (Television) or COMS 568 (Film) may not take this course for credit.

COMS 570 Media Production: Intermedia

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 and includes basic concepts in software operating systems, communication design and digital media creation. Lectures and Laboratory: average 6 hours per week.

Elective Courses (Group B)

A selection from the following courses will be offered. Information about the
particular offerings in a given year is available from the program.

COMS 507 Advanced Scriptwriting for Media

Prerequisite: 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 placed upon structure, story-telling, research, and the interplay of
character and action. Different paradigms for both fiction and non-fiction are

COMS 512 Discourses of Dissent

This course examines the forms and tactics of public discourses directed toward
social change. Forms of pubic 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

COMS 513 Cultures of Production

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 514 Production Administration

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 516 Advanced Topics in Documentary Film and Video

This course provides an in-depth study of selected film and video documentary
genres. Specific topics for this course will be stated in the Class Schedule.

COMS 518 Cultures of Globalization

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 519 Communications and Indigenous Peoples

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 and financing, audience research, product development,
distribution issues, and policy formation. Broadcasting, print, and digital media
case studies and materials are central components.

COMS 521 Communication Technologies and Gender

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 the World 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 522 Perspectives on the Information Society

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 523 Media Art and Aesthetics

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 524 Alternative Media

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 525 Media Forecast

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 532 Communication, Culture and Popular Art

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 533 Semiotics

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 534 Advanced Topics in Film Studies

Note: Students who have received credit for this topic under COMS 517 may not take this
course for credit.

COMS 535 Communications, Development and Colonialism

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 537 Race, Ethnicity and Media

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 538 Organizational Communication

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 539 Political Communication

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 540 Acoustic Communication and Design

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 541 Sexuality and Public Discourse

This course analyzes 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 analyzes
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 542 Advanced Topics in the Photographic Image

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 543 Film Criticism

This course provides an introduction to the assumptions, methodologies, and
vocabularies implicit in important schools of popular and academic film

COMS 544 Reception Studies

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 545 Television Studies

This course examines recent research focusing on television. Topics may include
technological and industrial changes, audience activity, new genres, and
representational conventions.

COMS 546 Rhetoric and Communication

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
Note:Students who have received credit for this topic under a COMS 530 number
may not take this course for credit.

COMS 547 International Communication

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 548 Media Policy in Canada

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 553 Communication Ethics

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.

COMS 561 Communicative Performances and Interventions

This course examines how media can be used in order to intervene in social and
cultural issues. Emphasis is placed on 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

COMS 580 Selected Topics in Communication Studies

COMS 583 Internship in Communication Studies

This course makes it possible for students to observe, study and work in the
communications media field of their choice under the supervision of a
Communication Studies faculty member and a media professional in the field.
Permission of the Graduate Program Director is required.
Note: There is no remuneration for students participating in internships.

COMS 585 Directed Study in Communication Studies

This course may be repeated as COMS 586.

Students may enroll in a directed study under faculty supervision in order to
undertake a specialized study of research-related topics. Permission of the
Graduate Program Director is required.

COMS 586 Directed Study in Communication Studies

Prerequisite: COMS 585.

Students may enrol in a directed study under faculty supervision in order to
undertake a specialized study of research-related topics. Permission of the
Graduate Program Director is required.

COMS 598 Advanced Topics in Communication Studies

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