Master of Arts in Communication Studies
Exploring the interplay of power and communication, the MA program in Communication Studies provides advanced training in core theories and methodologies in communication studies and critically engages contemporary research themes in the discipline. The 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, and visual communication. The program combines coursework with either a Major Research Paper or a Thesis option.
The MA program in Communication Studies offers a Co-operative Education option. This limited enrolment option is open to full-time students. Applicants indicate their interest in being considered for the co-op option when they apply to the program. Admission to the co-op option is not guaranteed. The Communication Studies graduate committee and the Co-op Office assess applications for the co-op option; however, the Co-op Office makes the final admission decisions. The Co-op Office administers the work term application process, and students are required to apply to job postings and interview with prospective employers, etc. Work terms pay at least statutory minimum wage. Students in the co-op option are not guaranteed a work term. Co-op students complete coursework in the Fall and Winter semesters, have a work term in the Spring/Summer, and write their major research papers (MRP) or theses in the subsequent Fall semester, typically completing the MA program in 16 months. Students in the co-op option are required to pay co-op fees. Co-op students must be registered in CS695* (MRP) or CS699 (thesis) in their final semester in the program. Following their co-op work term, co-op students are required to submit to the graduate coordinator a short essay about their co-op experience. Participation in the co-op option requires students to delay their graduation until the following Spring.
Normally, enrolment in the program will be open to students who have graduated with an honours degree or its equivalent in communication studies or a cognate discipline from an approved university, and who have maintained at least an average of B+ in their undergraduate major program of study and a B+ overall for the last two years of study.
Applications must be accompanied by official transcripts and be supported by at least two letters of recommendation from faculty members who are qualified to assess the applicant's potential for graduate training in the communication studies program. Applications are reviewed by the Graduate Admissions Committee, which considers all prior university grades, a statement of research interests, a writing sample, and letters of reference.
English Proficiency Requirement
Proficiency in English usage, both written and oral, is essential to pursue graduate studies at Laurier. Applicants whose language of instruction during the undergraduate degree was other than English must furnish evidence of superior proficiency in English, prior to admission.
The MA in communication studies will not normally be offered on a part-time basis.
Additional information pertaining to Co-operative Education is located in the General Regulations of the Graduate Academic Calendar.
The MA program has three options of study: coursework and major research paper; coursework and thesis; coursework only.
Students in the thesis option will take four one-term courses plus CS699 - Thesis.
Coursework-only students will take eight one-term courses.
The major research paper 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. Major research papers will be approximately 50 to 60 pages in length, exclusive of bibliography and notes.
On completion of the major research paper, students will be expected to pass an oral defense of the work by an examining committee, which will include the student's advisory committee and one reader who will serve as chair of the committee. The purpose of the oral defense 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 major research paper based on the quality of the research, the writing and the oral defense.
Under exceptional circumstances and subject to the approval of the graduate program committee, students may be allowed to write an MA thesis. Students who are permitted to register in the thesis option must submit a thesis which is written in satisfactory form, and based upon research in some topic connected with the discipline of communication studies. The thesis, which must be approximately 100 to 120 pages in length, exclusive of bibliography and notes, must demonstrate the candidate's capacity for original and independent work, and when appropriate it should include a critical evaluation of work that has previously been done in the field of research. The thesis should emphasize any new conclusions that may be drawn from the candidate's own research.
If a thesis topic includes research involving human participants, approval for the investigation must be sought from the Research Ethics Board (REB).
On completion of the thesis, students will be expected to pass an oral defense of the work by an examining committee, which will be composed according to the regulations outlined in the Graduate Calendar. The purpose of the oral defense 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.