The Communication and Media Studies program supports a number of options for Carleton students: select our flagship Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies (B.CoMS) degree as your major; add work placements to your degree in the Co-operative Education program; combine Communication and Media Studies with another discipline as a Combined Honours degree or a minor; or take the Global Media and Communication specialization in the Bachelor of Global and International Studies program.

Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies (Honours)

The Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies (B.CoMS) degree is a four-year Honours program. Of the 20.0 credits required for the B.CoMS degree, 9.0 credits must be in Communication and Media Studies. Eight of your remaining 11.0 credits must be chosen from disciplines outside Communication and Media Studies. The three remaining credits are free electives. You can find course descriptions and program requirements in the Undergraduate Calendar and take a look at some of the key features of our program below. If you’re thinking of applying, check out the admissions information below.

First Year

In the first year, all students are introduced to the fundamental questions and issues that are the central concerns of the program through COMS 1001: Foundations in Communication and Media Studies, and COMS 1002: Current Issues in Communication and Media. These courses focus on the role of communication and media in contemporary society and introduce the philosophical and theoretical concerns that underpin the field.

First-year B.CoMS students may also take a First-year Seminar (FYSM). These seminars will get you out of the lecture hall and into a small class of no more than 30 students, to discuss and debate topics with classmates and your professor. Check out the list of FYSMs offered at Carleton University and see all the different options. You do not have to select a FYSM in your major discipline, but can choose from a range of subjects.

First Year Seminars in Communication and Media Studies for 2020-21

  • FYSM 1217A – Communication and Scientific Controversies
    Fall term, Mondays, 1135-1425In this course, students examine how media and communication figure into scientific controversies such
    as genetic modification, AI, and bio-hacking. How do news media report these and related issues? What role does popular culture play in shaping perceptions of science? The course explores these questions and more while teaching students key academic skills.
  • FYSM 1217B – Reading and Writing for Media Studies
    Fall term, Tuesdays, 0835-1125COMS offers a variety of challenging learning opportunities based on a core set of skills which are quite different from High School curriculum. This course focuses on the essential reading and writing skills that will help you get the most out of your COMS degree.
  • FYSM 1217C – Truth, Post-truth and News
    Winter term, Tuesdays, 0835-1125The course explores distortions in the continuum between information and truth. It also studies how “post-truth” and the exploitation of ignorance unfold in society. These issues are examined in the contexts of media, politics, business, and academia.
  • FYSM 1217D – Advertising and Society
    Winter term, Thursdays, 1135-1425This course offers an introduction to the social, cultural, and economic roles advertising occupies in Canadian society. The course will survey the historical development of advertising while examining issues related to representation, advertising regulation, political promotion, and contemporary controversies in advertising and digital media.

Second Year

In second year, you are required to take 1.0 credit in communication and media theory and communication research methods. COMS 2003: Theoretical Foundations in Communication and Media Studies focuses upon key theoretical traditions and central debates within the field of communication and media studies. COMS 2004: Introduction to Communication Research explores the relationship between theory and evidence, research design, ethics, and data management.

Third and Fourth Years

As you progress through your degree, you will get the opportunity to take more advanced courses in communication and media studies. Students will continue to build research skills, study theory, explore debates and issues in the field of communication and media studies, and gain experience in practice-based courses that provide hands-on training in areas such as digital media practice, data mining and analytics, professional writing and speaking, and more.

The detailed course requirements at the third and fourth year are listed here in the Undergraduate Calendar.

The Honours Research Essay provides students in the fourth year of the Communication and Media Studies Honours program with an opportunity to undertake independent and original research, under the supervision of a faculty member. Please contact the Undergraduate Supervisor if you are interested in this opportunity and meet the GPA requirement (minimum of 10 GPA). Prospective and current students can consult the student guidelines and faculty supervisors can review the supervisor guidelines for more details.

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Co-operative Education

Co-operative Education provides students with opportunities to develop key professional skills and experience, explore career options, and graduate with tangible, workplace experience. Check out the Top Ten reasons to choose Carleton’s Co-op program.

Co-op work terms are paid, full-time, positions in a professional setting in the field of communication and media. Our students have placements with the provincial and federal governments, in private industry, university departments, and the media industry. Positions include roles such as communication analyst, marketing associate, outreach and communications officer, project manager, web developer, marketing and communications specialist, social media analyst, and broadcast media assistant.

Students admitted to the Co-op program begin their first work term placement on completion of year two (with a minimum of 10 credits completed) in the B.CoMS program. Students must maintain a GPA of 9.0 to participate in Co-op. Work terms are normally four months in duration and students must complete three work terms. Please visit the Co-operative Education website for detailed information.

Combined Honours

If you are in the B.CoMS program, you can combine Sociology, Political Science, Economics or most other disciplines with Communication and Media Studies for a Combined Honours degree. Students who are in the Bachelor of Journalism program may also combine their studies in Journalism and Communication and Media Studies for a Bachelor of Journalism Combined Honours.

Minor in Communication and Media Studies

If you are not majoring in the B.CoMS program, but are pursuing a BA (General) or BA (Honours) in another discipline, you may choose to complete a minor in Communication and Media Studies.

BGInS (Global Media and Communication)

Students in the Bachelor of Global and International Studies (BGInS) program may elect to complete the Specialization in Global Media and Communication.

In addition to completing core courses in BGInS and CoMS, you will explore global media and communication in historical and contemporary contexts, drawing on a range of perspectives that will provide the knowledge and skills necessary for working in global and international settings as communicators, researchers, analysts or advocates. For more information about the BGInS program, please visit their site.

Bachelor of Arts (Communication Studies)

This program is no longer offered to new students. However, if you are continuing in the Bachelor of Arts Communication Studies degree please see the archived calendar for Communication Studies program requirements. For specific questions, please visit the Student Resources page for information about how to get help.

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