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The MA Degree

For detailed documentation - see Guidelines, Policies and Forms section

Master of Arts Degree

Degree Requirements
Required Courses

All students must complete the following six half courses:

Communication & Culture 6004 3.0: Communication and Culture: An Interdisciplinary Approach
Communication & Culture 6002. 3.0 Research Methodologies
Communication & Culture 6005 3.0: Research Specialization and Practice
Three elective courses offered by the Communication & Culture program; one in each of the three areas of specialization:

  • Media & Culture; and
  • Politics & Policy; and
  • Technology in Practice — Applied Perspectives

Students may complete the degree by Master’s Research Paper (MRP); Thesis, or Project.

MA Degree by Master’s Research Paper (MRP):
Students must successfully complete
9 half courses plus a Master’s Research Paper:
6 required half courses (as listed above); and,
3 additional half courses selected from the list of elective courses offered by the program. A maximum of two elective courses may only be taken outside of the program with permission from the program(s).

Candidates must undertake research under the direction of a faculty member on an approved topic and submit a paper incorporating this research. The paper will be assessed by the (in–program) supervisor and a second reader.

MA Degree by Thesis or Project:
Students must successfully complete
8 half courses plus a thesis or project:
6 required half courses (as listed above); and,
2 additional half courses selected from the list of elective courses offered by the program, other elective courses outside the program may only be taken with permission from the program(s).

MA Degree by Thesis
In addition to coursework, candidates must undertake an original research or project work under the direction of three faculty members (normally at least one from each university). The principal supervisor must be a member of the Communication and Culture program. Candidates must submit a thesis based on original research and in a Faculty of Graduate Studies’ appropriate thesis form. Candidates will be required to defend the thesis at an oral examination.

MA Degree by Project
In addition to coursework, the project option permits MA candidates to report on advanced work in non-traditional ways. Projects could include an audio, video, or multi-media production, a website or network design, a photo essay, technical manual, or strategic information plan, among many possible examples. The required project paper must document the work involved, place it in the context of theory and practice in the field, and explain its theoretical and/or methodological contribution to the field of communication and culture (i.e. demonstrate how it ‘breaks new ground’). The principal supervisor must be a member of the Communication and Culture program. Candidates will be required to defend the project/paper at an oral examination.

Course Descriptions

CMCT 6002 3.0 Research Methodologies
Students in the core courses are required to attend this workshop on research methods in communication and cultural studies. These sessions are designed to complement the theoretical materials presented in the core seminars and will provide an overview of the range of research methods in communication and cultural studies. The course introduces students to a wide range of methods and approaches, including research design (qualitative and quantitative), survey research, content analysis, textual analysis, discourse analysis, historiography, legal and documentary research, ethnographic techniques, cultural studies approaches, and others.

CMCT 6004 3.0 Communication and Culture: An Interdisciplinary Approach
This combination lecture (2 hours) and seminar (1 hour) course introduces students to the three symbiotic areas that distinguish the Joint Program in Communication and Culture. The areas examined are: (1) media and culture; (2) politics and policy, and (3) technology in practice: applied perspectives. The course aims to provide a foundational and critical understanding specific to each area — the history, philosophy, theory, key concepts and issues of the area — as related articulations of communication and culture. The objective is that students will develop a better understanding of the heterogeneous but interdependent nature of approaches to research and practices of communication and culture and be better equipped to make informed area selections and embark on independent research. Upon completion of the course, students should have an advanced comprehension of the breadth of the critical theoretical and practical aspects of communication and culture in Canada and internationally. The course readings, assignments and class discussions intend to prepare the student for identifying specialized research areas and electives, choosing among them with a more informed sense of both the general and specifics of independent research, responsibility and active participation in communication and culture, whether on municipal, regional or global levels.

CMCT 6005 3.0 Master’s Research Specialization and Practice [MA Pro–Seminar]
This combination lecture/seminar course consolidates graduate coursework and bridges the transition to critical independent research. It assists the student in developing general, but field–specific professional skills including: peer review, grant-writing, formal presentations, conference and publication submission which may include applied research in submissions to government or organizational policy papers, and public forums or hearings on communication and culture, for example. The student’s work will be evaluated as per the standard FGS grading scale. The aim is to facilitate students’ specialization around an individual research project addressing one or more of the three areas of communication and culture (media and culture, politics and policy and technology in practice). Thus, the major component of the course is development of a research proposal towards a thesis, project, or Master’s Research Paper (MRP).

Updated on June 23rd, 2014.