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Graduate Courses

We offer six courses each year. CS600 and CS601 are required courses. You must also register for CS695 or CS699 while working on your MRP or thesis.

You are allowed to take up to 1.0 credit from other graduate programs with approval from the graduate coordinator. In the past, Communication Studies master's students have taken graduate courses in programs such as Cultural Analysis and Social Theory, English and Film Studies, and Political Science.

2021/22 Course Offerings

Fall 2021

CS600A Graduate Seminar in Communication Studies

This team-taught course introduces students to the core concerns, theoretical concepts and research approaches in communication studies. Particular attention will be paid to the areas of research specialization of faculty. This mandatory course is designed to enable students to do the preparatory work necessary to their research projects.

CS601A Communication Studies Research Methods

This course will provide students with advanced training in the methods of research employed in the field of communication studies. Students study reactive or interactive research methods (participant observation, experimental designs, surveys and interviewing) and unobtrusive or non-reactive methodological designs (discourse analysis, semiotics, content analysis, and rhetorical and historical approaches). Students are encouraged to develop their major research paper or thesis research proposal as the final assignment for this course.

CS640k Sound, Aurality and Power

One of the most exciting developments in media, communication, and cultural studies over the past few decades has been the emergence of “sound studies” has emerged as a distinctive field of scholarly inquiry. This course will explore the contours of this emergent field, as well as the core concepts that orient the bearing of its scholars towards the critical analysis of sound as phenomenon, cultural event, and social practice.  The course will proceed in three parts. The first part of the course will introduce students to some of the key concepts and themes in sound studies. These include the phenomenology of sound, the relationship of sound to noise and silence, the sonic constitution of space and space, and the centrality of sound, aurality, and orality to the perspectives of media ecology and materialist media history/archaeology. The second part of the course delves into the specific histories and genealogies of the primary modern media forms, technologies and communicative practices that have sound and aurality at their core: phonography, telephony, and radio.  The third part of the course examines two case studies of the relationship of sound to social and cultural power: the “low end theory” of the vibrational power of bass and the embodiment of sonic experience. 

Winter 2022

CS640d Mobilities: On the Move

This course explores the interdisciplinary area of research known as “mobilities studies.” In the “new mobilities paradigm,” which is the founding manifesto of mobilities studies, mobility is defined as the actual or potential flows of information, ideas, images, objects, and bodies. These are familiar flows previously interpreted by scholars in communication studies, cultural studies, geography, transport studies, and migration studies. So, what is “new” about the new mobilities paradigm and about mobilities studies? In particular, how does mobilities studies intersect with communication studies?

CS640i Platform Studies

The study of platforms is on the rise. While platform studies originally emerged from hardware studies as an integrated attempt to study the hardware, software, code, marketing, and use of computational technologies—especially, early on, video game consoles—its use has been broadened to include the study of software platforms, such as social media sites, and the particular affordances they offer for users, including their algorithmic decision making; their terms of service; their background code environments; and their embeddedness in neoliberal capitalism (selling user data, acting as space to display advertisements, etc.). This holistic approach to studying technology encompasses everything from minute details (such as how buttons or LEDs might be configured on a MINITEL console, or XBOX360 game controller; the way that privacy settings are displayed to users on Facebook; the packaging of an Apple product), to the broad and situated socio-political context of corporations (such as the gender make up of development teams at Nintendo; or the political investments of members of the Board of Directors at Twitter). This course will unpack the politics of platforms through an intensive study of key texts in the field, tracking significant debates and discussions, as well as new developments.

CS653 Video Game Studies

This course investigates the fastest-growing yet least understood aspect of mass digital culture: video games. The course surveys the development of video game forms beginning with the creation of the first video game (William Higinbotham's ‘Tennis') in 1958 and ranging through arcade games, simulations, console games, platforming, roleplaying, and adventure games, real-time strategy, first-person shooters, and online gambling to contemporary massive multiplayer online games. Issues including the nature and practice of play, externalities and infrastructure, formal qualities and structure, narrative structure and genre, simulation and realism, spatiality and property, gender and identity, authority and authorship, war and violence are discussed. 

Additional Courses

CS690 Directed Studies

A selected research project supervised by an individual faculty member.

CS695 Major Research Paper

A major research project to be undertaken on an approved topic and in accordance with the guidelines of the department.

CS699 Thesis

An independent thesis project to be undertaken on an approved topic based upon research connected with the discipline of communication studies and in accordance with the guidelines of the department.