Generally, all students in the graduate program in Communication & Culture are required to take:
- The Core Courses specific to their MA or PhD degree
- Foundation Courses specific to their chosen field(s) of study: Media & Culture, Politics & Policy or Technology in Practice.
For more specific information on what courses are required for your degree please refer to:
Students may take electives in all three fields of study, as well as courses outside of the program.
- Course Description Document (.pdf)
- Search the full listing of courses offered at the University (Registrar's Office)
Courses are scheduled to minimize travel between campuses. To meet the needs of part-time students, required courses are offered in the evenings on a rotating basis. With permission, you may take courses offered in related graduate programs at York and Ryerson.
Note: NOT ALL COURSES WILL BE OFFERED EVERY YEAR. For a listing of courses offered within the last three years, click here. Courses are offered subject to faculty availability and are subject to change without notice. Please refer to the timetable to determine if a course will be offered in any particular year or consult with the Program Directors to determine what options are available to students in terms of alternatives.
MA - Core Courses (required for all MA students)
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.
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.
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).
PhD - Core Courses (required for all PhD students)
This course provides an advanced exploration of the major theories and research approaches in the field, with particular attention to a critical assessment of contemporary theories and methods. The first segment of the course will introduce students to those classical theorists and philosophers whose work was taken up and developed by more recent studies in the late twentieth century. It therefore deliberately anticipates issues that were subsequently developed so that students may be equipped to decide in the second part of the course which themes are relevant or irrelevant to the study of communication and culture.
This seminar consolidates graduate coursework and bridges the transition to independent research. It assists the student in developing professional skills as specific to the field including: peer review, proposal writing, teaching and pedagogical design, conference and publication submission which may include applied research in submissions, for example, to government or organizational policy papers, and public forums or hearings on communication and culture. The student’s work will be evaluated as per the standard FGS grading scale. The aim is to facilitate students’ specialization in one or more of the three areas of communication and culture (media and culture, politics and policy, and technology in practice) and to develop their individuated contributions to the field. Thus, the major outcome of the course is the delivery of the requisite components for the subsequent design of comprehensive exams and dissertation proposals. Aside from evaluated assignments, the seminar may also discuss, and provide the opportunity for, development of other disciplinary skills, for example, of peer-review and assessment, curriculum design and teaching peer-evaluation as well as critical application of research outside of academia.
The principal aim of this course is to cultivate in students a critical research sensibility that addresses questions of communication and culture and their intersection, with research being defined as an engaged process of inquiry and discovery that leads to the production of social knowledge. In that it is possible to engage an object of study in a variety of ways, different models of reality will necessarily lead to (1) different propositions about what communicational reality is, and with this (2) different ways of establishing what can be accepted as real, (3) different ways of justifying the data relevant to reality, and (4) different strategies for collecting such data. Respectively, these four aspects of investigation and understanding have been designated ontology, epistemology, methodology and methods. The underlying point here is that the choice of method depends on earlier, often tacit, assumptions about the nature of knowledge itself. In a tightly and intimately bound relationship that cuts across these four aspects, research methods are justified by research methodology, methodology presupposes a particular kind of relationship between philosophy and research, and philosophy judges and validates claims to knowledge advanced by research. The reality of conducting research is that, no matter how hard we try to dismiss it, we cannot avoid philosophy.
Fields of Study
Candidates must select a major field from those offered by the program and a minor field, either from the program offerings, or in a related program (with permission of the program director).
Field of Study: Politics & Policy
Focusing on the critical role of the state and civil society in the development of communication systems, the production and distribution of culture, and issues of societal power.
Field of Study: Technology in Practice
Focusing on the development, application and influence of historical, current and emerging communication technologies in cultural production, both personal and organizational.
Independent Study Courses
Independent study courses include:
- Directed Readings
- Directed Research
- Directed Group Study
- Field Placement
There are forms to fill out if you wish to take an independent study course. Please discuss your plans with the program director prior to embarking on any of these courses.
Directed Readings Proposal
A Directed Readings course is intended to provide the student with the opportunity to review critically a body of literature and to prepare an annotated bibliography, reading log, or critical review essay or essays.
Directed Research Proposal
A Directed Research course involves the preparation of a substantial research paper, normally involving at least some use of primary materials (archival collections, media analysis, secondary analysis of polls, focus groups, interviews, participant observations, etc...).
Directed Group Study Proposal
Under this heading, a group of students, with the agreement of a faculty member, may organize a seminar in an area not covered in the course offerings. The faculty member acts as a monitor, helping students develop a bibliography and facilitate discussions, but does not act as an instructor. As the title suggests, students are expected to study as a group, taking the initiative in course participation and seminar presentations. The faculty member will grade presentations and written work.