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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.

2020/21 Course Offerings

Fall 2020

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.

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. 

Winter 2021

CS604A Network Cultures

This course investigates cultural practices, institutional contexts, and social implications of contemporary networked media, such as the internet, social media, mobile media, and similar assemblages. The course engages theoretical perspectives from fields such as cultural studies, critical internet studies, medium theory, and political economy.Specific topics may include but are not limited to algorithmic culture, big data, digital creativity, digital media industries, hacking, internet infrastructures, remix culture, and social media and politics.

CS640J Social/Media/Power

This graduate seminar examines social media technologies and practices from the theoretical perspectives of critical political economy and new media materialism. Our emphasis is on the social relations of power and connectivity that are shaped by social media as practices of communication and formations of capital. Specific topics that will be explored include: materialist approaches to social media as technologies of mass self-communication and networked sociality; social media practices as digital labour and the valorization of capital; the politics of social media platforms as code and interface; the algorithmic culture of big data and surveillance capitalism; spatial assemblages of social media; communities of user generated content in social media; social media and affective publics;  the political culture of  “trolling”; social media platforms and network propaganda; and the rise and fall of Internet Cats as the totemic animal of internet culture! 

CS650A Visual Communication and Culture

This course examines the inter-related fields of visual communication and visual culture. The course addresses the origins and development of visual communication and visual culture as academic disciplines and fields of practice as well as contemporary approaches and perspectives on the visual. Diverse theoretical approaches are explored in conjunction with an investigation of distinct visual practices from areas such as film, the fine arts, photography, design, new media and architecture.

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.