Frequently Asked Questions

How Does the Joint Program Work?

photo of two people working over a computerThe program is intended to be a fully integrated program, with courses offered on both campuses. The required MA core courses are normally offered at both campuses.

All other courses are offered at only one site, usually the campus where the instructor has her or his primary appointment. The program is administered by a Director at each of the Universities, and an Executive Committee composed of an equal number of faculty from each university and student representatives.

For administrative reasons, however, students must be registered at one university or the other and there are some minor differences in ancillary fees, student support, and regulations. However, students have full access to academic facilities and services at both universities. Only York has graduate residences.

How far apart are the two campuses?

It takes about one hour and 15 minutes to commute between the two campuses by public transit. The commute by car takes between 40 minutes and one hour.

Are York courses primarily academic and Ryerson courses primarily applied?

Although Ryerson has more applied courses and facilities, both kinds of courses are offered at both universities. Please see the "Course Listings" section of the website for detailed information including course descriptions, and the "Course Timetable" section for course offerings in a given term.

How much access do students have to media-making equipment and facilities?

Because of budgetary constraints and competition with undergraduate requirements, access is not always available. It is important to make clear that the program's mandate is academic and critical. The applied aspect of the program supplements the critical and theoretical aspect. In particular, we have limited capacity to train students in media making. Since moving to the Technology Enhanced Learning building, Communication and Culture at York has access to more technical equipment than ever before. We are also working on expanding access even further.

The program offers a Project option along with the Thesis and Major Research Paper (MRP) options to fulfill the research portion of the degree requirements. What does this mean?

The Project option permits students who come to the program with the necessary technical skills [or are able to acquire them outside the program] to conduct and report their research in media other than the traditional paper or thesis. For example, a student could make a short video or audio production or create a CD. The project must be accompanied by an explanatory paper.

The program does not have the mandate or the resources to train students in media making to a professional level. However, students who can demonstrate expertise are permitted to use equipment and facilities at both universities when they are available.

What about the field placement?

The program permits students to substitute relevant work experience while in the program for up to six credits of elective courses. Field placements must be related to communication and culture and to the student's learning objectives in the program and are subject to approval by the Program Director. This is not a co-op-type program and, for the most part, students are expected to find their own placements.

What is the relationship between the Joint Graduate Program and undergraduate departments?

The program is interdisciplinary and draws together faculty members from a wide range of departments at both institutions. At York, the program is most closely associated with Communication Studies in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, which is itself an interdisciplinary program. Faculty are drawn from Environmental Studies, Anthropology, Humanities, Social Science, Sociology, Political Science, Cinema & Media Studies, Visual Arts & Art History, Design, Communications–Glendon, Osgoode Hall Law School, the Schulich School of Business, among others. At Ryerson, faculty are drawn from Image Arts, Radio and Television Arts, Journalism, Information Technology Management, English, Political Science, Sociology, Philosophy, among others.

Since the program takes a minimum of four terms to complete, is funding available for second year MA students?

Full-time MA students entering in September 2020, who received funding for their first year are guaranteed funding in terms four and five of their second year. Please see the "Scholarships and Funding" page of the website for more information about both internal and external funding opportunities.