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Graduate Calendar Archives: 2003 / 2004

Mass Communication

St. Patrick's Building 310
Telephone: (613) 520-7408
Fax: (613) 520-6690
Web site:

The Program

Associate Director: Paul Attallah

Supervisor of Graduate Studies: Ross Eaman

The Mass Communication program of the School of Journalism and Communication offers a program of studies leading to a Master of Arts degree in Communication. Courses covering four areas of concentration are offered:

  • the history of communication and media systems
  • communication/information technologies and society
  • communication and social relations
  • communication policy and political economy

Additional information may be obtained by consulting the supervisor of graduate studies.

Qualifying-Year Program

Applicants who lack an Honours degree but who have a 3-year degree with honours standing (a minimum B standing overall) may be considered for admission to a qualifying-year program. Students who complete the qualifying year with high honours standing may be considered for admission to the master's program in the following year. Refer to the General Regulations section of this Calendar for regulations governing the qualifying year.

Master of Arts

Admission Requirements

The minimum requirement for admission to the master's program is a B.A.(Honours) degree or the equivalent, with high honours standing in communication or a related discipline. Related disciplines may include sociology, political science, film studies, and Canadian studies.

Applicants without a background in communication studies may be required to take certain designated courses from the undergraduate mass communication program in addition to their regular program.

Possession of the minimum entrance standing is not in itself, however, an assurance of admission into the program.

Program Requirements

Each student, in consultation with the supervisor of graduate studies, will be required to follow a thesis or a non-thesis program for a total of 5.0 credits. Two of the four areas of concentration must be chosen.

In selecting their program of studies, all students will be required to take MCOM 5101. Students may take one optional course (1.0 credit) outside the program, with permission of the supervisor of graduate studies.

All master's students are required to complete:

  • MCOM 5101
  • 1.0 credit selected from: MCOM 5201, MCOM 5203, MCOM 5205, MCOM 5301
  • a thesis (2.0 credits) and 1.0 credit from the list of optional courses below, or a research essay (1.0 credit) and 2.0 credits chosen from the list of optional courses
  • Optional Courses
    • MCOM 5505
    • MCOM 5506
    • MCOM 5507
    • MCOM 5508
    • MCOM 5509
    • MCOM 5605
    • MCOM 5809
    • MCOM 5900

Note: Students may take up to 1.0 credit outside the program with permission of the supervisor of graduate studies.

Academic Standing

A standing of B- or better must be obtained in each credit counted towards the master's degree.

Doctor of Philosophy

The School of Journalism and Communication offers a program of studies leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Communication. The program focuses on three fields of concentration:

  • The history of communication
  • The political economy of communication
  • The socio-cultural analysis of communication

Admission Requirements

The normal requirement for admission into the doctoral program is a master's degree (or the equivalent) in communication or a cognate field such as journalism studies, with an overall average of B+ or better.

Applicants who have deficiencies in certain areas may be admitted to the Ph.D. Program, but will normally be required to complete additional course work.

Program Requirements

Doctoral candidates must successfully complete the equivalent of 10.0 credits. The specific requirements are as follows:

  • MCOM 6000 (1.0 credit)
  • 2.0 additional credits from the list of optional courses below; up to 1.0 credit may be taken in a relevant discipline outside of the School
  • Comprehensive examinations (2.0 credits)
  • A thesis (5.0 credits) which must be defended at an oral examination
  • A language requirement as stated below
  • Optional Courses

All doctoral candidates must complete 2.0 credits of optional courses from the list of approved options below. Students are encouraged to take up to 1.0 credit from courses offered in other departments, particularly those that address central theoretical and/or methodological issues within the student's chosen field of concentration. Students are also encouraged to choose directed readings/research courses with the core faculty of the program.

  • MCOM 5201
  • MCOM 5203
  • MCOM 5205
  • MCOM 5301
  • MCOM 5505
  • MCOM 5506
  • MCOM 5507
  • MCOM 5508
  • MCOM 5509
  • JOUR 5401
  • JOUR 5500

Comprehensive Examinations

Once doctoral candidates have successfully completed all course requirements, maintaining a GPA of 9.0 or better, they will proceed to the comprehensive examinations. The comprehensive requirement normally consists of two examinations equivalent to 2.0 credits. Both examinations normally must be completed no later than two years or six terms after initial full-time registration, or four years or 12 terms after initial part-time registration. Students who do not fulfil this requirement may be asked to withdraw from the program.

The first examination tests the student's mastery of the theoretical, methodological and substantive issues of the discipline as a whole. Students complete a written examination, covering all three fields of specialization in the program, which will be determined and graded by the instructors of MCOM 6000. Submission of the written examination is followed by a comprehensive oral examination, which is not restricted to issues raised by the written portion. Students who fail the examination will normally be asked to withdraw from the program.

The second examination tests the student's knowledge of one field of specialization. The student normally will write answers to a set of field questions and will defend these answers before the student's advisory committee.

Language Requirement

Students are required to demonstrate an understanding of a language other than English, preferably French. Language testing will be administered by the School and will normally include a demonstration of reasonable understanding, on sight, of material contained in selected samples of scholarly literature in a foreign language and in the field of communication.

Thesis Requirement

A thesis proposal is presented after the comprehensive requirement has been satisfied, and defended at an oral presentation. The thesis, normally equivalent to 5.0 credits, must be successfully defended at an oral examination.

Academic Standing

A standing of B- or better must be obtained in each course counted towards the Ph.D. degree. Students are advised to consult the General Regulations section of the Graduate Calendar for details of regulations governing graduate programs.

Graduate Courses

Not all of the following courses are offered in a given year. For an up-to-date statement of course offerings for 2003-2004 and to determine the term of offering, consult the Registration Instructions and Class Schedule booklet, published in the summer and also available online at

Course Designation System

Carleton's course designation system has been restructured. The first entry of each course description below is the new alphanumeric Carleton course code, followed by its credit value in brackets. The old Carleton course number (in parentheses) is included for reference, where applicable.

MCOM 5101 [1.0 credit] (formerly 27.511)
Foundations of Communication Studies
This course undertakes an examination of the historical emergence of communication studies. It deals with the methodological debates that have occurred between various schools over the competing definitions of communication, and over the broader question of the centrality of communication to society.
MCOM 5201 [0.5 credit] (formerly 27.521)
Communication and History
A historical examination of the institutions, practices, and media of communication in various social milieux.
MCOM 5203 [0.5 credit] (formerly 27.523)
Communication Technology and Society
The course examines the social and cultural significance of communication and information technology (e.g., computers, television, telecommunication). It examines how these technologies influence and are influenced by major social institutions (e.g., business, government, entertainment) and by cultural practices.
MCOM 5205 [0.5 credit] (formerly 27.525)
Communication and Social Relations
This course studies how communication practices reproduce relations of inclusion and exclusion. It explores theoretical contributions to notions of public sphere, civil society, and citizenship. These issues are examined at the transnational level and are studied by looking at Orientalism and globalism.
MCOM 5301 [0.5 credit] (formerly 27.531)
Communication Institutions, Cultural Industries and State Policy
This course introduces various approaches to understanding communication policy and the political economy of communication. The course focuses on recent transformations in the communication industries, the impact of new technology, and changes in how governments intervene in the communications field.
MCOM 5505 [0.5 credit] (formerly 27.555)
Communication Media
A research seminar which focuses critically upon one of the communication media (such as radio, television, film, telecommunications, publishing, etc.) with a view to understanding its history, forms and genres, and social uses.
MCOM 5506 [0.5 credit] (formerly 27.556)
Transnational Communication
This course explores communication in a global context. It looks at the New World Information and Communication Order debate, structures and regulation of transborder communication, and broadcasting and news flows. Resistance to cultural imperialism and the emergence of diasporic networks of communication are also studied.
MCOM 5507 [0.5 credit] (formerly 27.557)
History of Canadian Broadcasting
A topical and thematic examination of selected aspects of the history of Canadian broadcasting, such as structure, regulation, technology, commercialism, social impact, audience research, and areas of programming such as drama, news, political and controversial broadcasts, and Northern broadcasting.
MCOM 5508 [0.5 credit] (formerly 27.558)
Mass, Public, Audience
This course examines the emergence and evolution of conceptions of modern social organization through the key concepts of mass, public, and audience. It looks at how shifts in the understanding of social organization occur, how these shifts are theorized, and the implications for communication study.
MCOM 5509 [0.5 credit] (formerly 27.559)
Media, Culture and Gender
This course examines the various theoretical positions that underlie the debates on the production and reproduction of gender relations through communication processes and communication institutions. It addresses current research issues in the feminist debates on culture and communication.
MCOM 5605 [0.5 credit] (formerly 27.565)
Special Topics in Communication Research
The course considers a variety of research protocols and procedures which may include: research organization; documentary research techniques; strategies in textual analysis, including content analysis and thematic analysis; qualitative techniques, including interviewing, observation, and ethnography; quantitative methods, including questionnaires, coding procedures, and statistical analysis.
MCOM 5809 [0.5 credit] (formerly 27.589)
Directed Research
The student, working under faculty direction, will develop and undertake a research project in order to study a particular subject area.
MCOM 5900 [0.5 credit] (formerly 27.590)
Directed Studies
Tutorials or directed readings in selected areas of communication. The student will present papers as the basis for discussion with the tutor.
MCOM 5908 [1.0 credit] (formerly 27.598)
Research Essay
MCOM 5909 [2.0 credits] (formerly 27.599)
M.A. Thesis
MCOM 6000 [1.0 credit] (formerly 27.600)
Doctoral Seminar in Communication Studies
The course examines major schools of thought in the field and leading theoretical and methodological debates, with an emphasis on the three fields of concentration in the program: the history of communication, the political economy of communication, and the socio-cultural analysis of communication.
MCOM 6001 [0.5 credit] (formerly 27.601)
Selected Topics in Communication
A seminar offered from time to time in one of the three fields of concentration.
MCOM 6002 [0.5 credit] (formerly 27.602)
Tutorial in Communication
A tutorial in one of the fields of concentration of the program.
MCOM 6003 [0.5 credit] (formerly 27.603)
Directed Research
The student, working under faculty direction, will develop and undertake a research project in order to study a particular subject area.
MCOM 6004 [0.5 credit] (formerly 27.604)
Directed Studies
Directed readings in selected areas of communication. The student will present papers as the basis for discussion with the tutor.
MCOM 6900 [1.0 credit] (formerly 27.690)
Ph.D. Tutorial
A tutorial specifically designed as preparation for the first or breadth comprehensive examination, under the direction of two or more faculty members. The grade to be awarded will be that obtained on both the written examination and the oral defense.
MCOM 6901 [1.0 credit] (formerly 27.691)
Ph.D. Tutorial
Working under the direction of three or more faculty members, the selected tutorial provides preparation for the second or depth comprehensive examination. The grade to be awarded is that obtained in the second comprehensive examination.
MCOM 6909 [5.0 credits] (formerly 27.699)
Ph.D. Thesis

Selection of Courses in Related Disciplines

In addition to courses offered by the Mass Communication program, the following courses may, with the prior approval of the supervisor of graduate studies, be used to complete program requirements. This list is not exclusive and is subject to change. Students should be aware that enrolment in these courses may be limited and that registration may be conditional upon obtaining prior approval of the department concerned.

Note: It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that permission is obtained from the appropriate department prior to registering in any of the department's courses.

Canadian Studies
CDNS 5100, CDNS 5200, CDNS 5300
ECON 5303
GEOG 5403
Journalism and Communication
JOUR 5000, JOUR 5500
Political Economy
PECO 5000, PECO 5001
Political Science
PSCI 4003
PSCI 5004, PSCI 5401
SOCI 5205, SOCI 5306, SOCI 5308, SOCI 5309, SOCI 5504, SOCI 5505
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