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Master of Arts in Communication Studies

Exploring the interplay of power and communication, our program provides advanced training in core theories and methodologies in communication studies and critically engages contemporary research themes in the discipline. Our program is animated by interdisciplinary faculty with expertise in areas such as alternative media, cultural and creative industries, digital cultures, global media, health communication, media history, mobilities, popular music, social media, visual communication, and beyond.

Normally completed in 12 months, the program combines coursework and a Major Research Paper (MRP). You will take three courses in both the fall and winter terms. In addition to two required courses (CS600 and CS601), you will take four elective courses in Communication Studies or a related area. Under faculty supervision, you will complete your MRP in the summer.

We also offer a thesis option. Students in the thesis option will take two elective courses in addition to the two required courses.

We also offer a co-op option. This limited enrolment option is open to full-time students.

Major Research Paper

The Major Research Paper (MRP) is considered to be similar to a thesis in the quality and originality of research, but less than a thesis in scope. Research topics will be approved by the student’s advisory committee, which will normally consist of a supervisor and a second committee member (or reader). MRPs will be approximately 50 to 60 pages in length, not including bibliography and notes.

On completion of the MRP, students will be expected to pass an oral defence of the work by an examining committee, which will include the student’s supervisor and reader. The purpose of the oral defence is to demonstrate to the examiners that the candidate fully understands the work that was completed, how the research was completed, and the meaning and significance of the findings and conclusions. The candidate must have a clear understanding of how the work fits with the relevant literature and/or practice. The committee assigns a letter grade to the MRP based on the quality of the research, the writing, and the oral defence.


In exceptional circumstances, students may be allowed to complete the thesis option instead of the Major Research Paper (MRP) option. The thesis shares the same basic properties and structure of the MRP, but is considerably larger in scope (100-120 pages) and must contain a substantive amount of original scholarly research.

Students wishing to write a thesis should consult with the graduate program director during the fall term of their first year. A thesis abstract, of approximately 500 words, is due Dec. 15 to the graduate program director. The abstract, along with the student's academic record from the fall term, will be assessed by the director and the graduate committee and, if approved, a supervisory committee will be established. Students will be notified of the committee's decision within three weeks of the submission deadline. The committee will then decide upon a work schedule, using the MRP guidelines as a template.

Coursework Only Option


Explore course offerings in the Graduate Academic Calendar.

Cooperative Education Option

The Master of Arts in Communication Studies program offers a cooperative education option. Applicants must indicate their interest in being considered for the co-op option when they apply to the program.