Communication Studies - Admissions

Communication Studies
It is often said that we live in a media society,
but what exactly does this mean? What are the
implications of living in a world saturated by media
technologies, images and texts? In what ways
is the ever-changing mediascape affecting our
understanding of society and our ability to shape its
future? Who owns and controls the media, and with
what impacts and effects on politics, the economy and
civil society? Is it possible to control how audiences
use media technology and understand media content?
What are some alternative ways of organizing
our patterns of communication to promote the
public interest? These are some of the fundamental
questions that a degree in Communication Studies
will help you to answer.
As a student in this program, you will choose
from courses that cover the past, present and
future of communication; the uses and abuses
of technology; the economics, politics and
regulation of communication; the media in local
and global contexts; the interface between culture,
communication and identities; and the analysis of
texts, images and rhetoric.
The capital advantage
Carleton University’s prime Ottawa location places
you at the centre of Canadian decision making on
communication policies and regulations. It also offers
you access to government policy-makers, public and
private agencies, non-governmental organizations and
outstanding research facilities.
Graduates from the Communication Studies program
go on to work or study in a variety of fields, from
public relations and advertising to law, market
research, policy development and teaching. Our
graduates currently occupy numerous roles, serving
as senior advisors to Cabinet Ministers, strategists
with leading charities and NGOs, and developers of
media and cultural policy. When you graduate from
our program, you will have a solid foundation from
which to intervene critically in discussions about the
media, its impacts in and across a variety of sectors,
and the role communication plays in fostering a more
just and equitable society.
The Carleton advantage
Co-op opportunities
Integrating study with practical experience is a
powerful formula for creating the communication
professionals of tomorrow. Vigorous academic study,
combined with the acquisition of applied skills, gives
Carleton students a distinct advantage when they
graduate. At the end of your second year, you may be
eligible to be placed in a paid communication-related
position for four to twelve months. Past employers
have included the CBC, the Department of Canadian
Heritage and the Canadian Radio-television and
Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)—the
independent agency responsible for regulating
Canada’s broadcasting and telecommunications
systems. In addition to working in state agencies,
students have also benefited from employment
opportunities with technology companies,
professional associations and NGOs.
Choosing the right program
Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
The Communication Studies program at Carleton
(formerly called Mass Communication) is offered as a
four-year Honours program.
Out of the 20.0 credits required for the Bachelor
of Arts (BA) degree, 9.0 credits must be in
Communication Studies. Eight of your remaining
11.0 credits must be chosen from disciplines outside
Communication Studies. Your last 3.0 credits can be
free electives.
Cailey McCormack
Fourth-year student in Communication
Studies and Human Rights
From Marshall McLuhan to social media,
the Communication Studies program at
Carleton combines a thorough understanding
of theories of communication with an
in-depth analysis of the presence of
communication in every facet of our world.
I have been able to gain valuable knowledge
in all areas of communication, while also
specializing in a concentration in the area
of image, politics, and persuasion. Through
Carleton’s capital location, I have also been
able to gain valuable work and volunteer
experience within the city of Ottawa. Within
the communications program, I found a
supportive community of both staff and
students, making my experience that much
more enriching!
All students in the program are required to take
the Introduction to Communication Studies course
in first year, which is designed to orient you to the
questions and issues that are the central concerns
of the program and which become fully elaborated
in your upper years. This course focuses on the role
of communication in contemporary society and
introduces the philosophical and theoretical concerns
that underpin the study of communication.
In second year, every student will take
Communication Research. This course provides you
with important research approaches and techniques
appropriate to the analysis of communication,
including public opinion, image management and
audience measurement.
Communication Studies: Theory and Foundations is
also required in second year. This course builds on
the concepts introduced in first year, emphasizing
the development of communication institutions
and theories. In this course, you will develop an
understanding of the economic, political and social
interplay between communication institutions
and other industries, governments and legal and
regulatory structures.
In your third year, you will take a required 0.5 credit
course from one of the three areas of concentration
offered (see more details below). You can choose from
Image, Politics and Persuasion; Media Industries and
Institutions; or Communication and Identity. Each
one of these courses provides a critical introduction
to the major assumptions and ideas that enhance our
understanding of the centrality of communication in
culture, politics and the economy.
You will then choose your other credits from a list
of available Communication Studies courses at the
third-year level. The choice of courses varies from
year to year but will typically address the impact of
advertising, marketing and public relations on social
life, media and globalization, and media, race and
In fourth year, there are no required courses. Instead,
students choose from a broad menu of more focused
courses covering a wide range of topics that reflect
the most current and cutting edge debates in the
study of communication. These are smaller classes
in which students regularly engage in seminar
discussion and debate.
Students in the Communication Studies program have
the option of pursuing one of three concentrations
following completion of their second year of study.
Course selection in your third and fourth years
will then depend on which of the following three
concentrations you have chosen:
Can you sell war in the same way you sell soap?
Students who register in the Image, Politics and
Persuasion concentration will examine the impacts
of public relations, advertising, marketing and
other forms of promotional communication in civic
life, the market economy and politics.
How have new digital technologies affected
privacy or intellectual property? Students
who register in the Media Industries and
Institutions concentration will explore issues
at the intersection of technology, regulation,
entertainment and other facets of media
operations, in Canada and internationally.
How do films, news reports, TV shows or online
communities shape our sense of identity and
community? Students who register in the
Communication and Identity concentration
will examine the relationship of media and
communication to how we define ourselves in
terms of nation, sexuality, gender, race and
Combined Honours
You can combine Sociology, Political Science,
Economics or most other disciplines with
Communication Studies for a Combined Honours
degree. Students in the Bachelor of Journalism
program can combine their studies in Journalism and
Communication Studies for a Bachelor of Journalism
Combined Honours.
A Combined Honours degree requires 20.0 credits.
You must have 7.0 credits in Communication Studies
and you must meet the requirements of the other
discipline. The remaining credits are free electives or
credits not in the two disciplines pursued.
Minor in Communication Studies
If you are not majoring in Communication Studies
but are pursuing a BA (General) or BA (Honours) in
another discipline, you may choose to complete a
minor in Communication Studies. For the minor, you
will need 4.0 required credits in Communication
Your first-year experience
First-year Seminar
First-year BA students are strongly encouraged to
include a First-year Seminar (FYSM) in their first-year
course load. First-year Seminars will get you away
from the lecture hall and give you the chance, in a
small class of no more than 30, to discuss and debate
topics with your classmates and your professors.
You will also get early and frequent feedback on
class assignments and instruction in research,
writing and study skills. See the Carleton University
Undergraduate Calendar at for a
complete listing and description of the First-year
Seminars (FYSMs) offered.
A sample first year
1.0 credit in Introduction to Communication
1.0 credit in Introduction to Political Science
1.0 credit in Europe in the 20th Century
1.0 credit in a First-year Seminar
1.0 credit in a second language
Future opportunities
The workplace
Communication industries are major growth areas.
Globalized media markets and audiences, image
management, international trade agreements and
public opinion formation are only some of the areas
that require skilled workers with an understanding of
the structure and context of modern communication.
Since part of the success of major corporations is
linked to communication in terms of promotion and
public image, those educated in the intricacies and
complexities of communication are in increasing
Graduates of Carleton’s communication studies
program have found employment in such areas as:
communication research
public policy
audience measurement
advertising and public relations
Graduate studies
Graduates of any of our Honours programs in
Communication Studies are generally well qualified
to go on to graduate studies in a variety of fields,
including communication, sociology, anthropology,
Canadian studies and political science.
If you think that you may wish to pursue an
advanced degree, you are encouraged to investigate
graduate programs early in order to ensure that your
program is suited to meet the relevant graduate-level
Professional programs
Many professional programs, including law, teaching
and business (MBA), encourage well-rounded
applicants from a variety of backgrounds to apply.
Communication Studies provides a strong foundation
for such programs, and you are encouraged to pursue
interests you may have in these fields after completing
an undergraduate degree in Communication Studies.
Admission requirements
For admission to the Bachelor of Arts in
Communication Studies program, you must have
the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or
equivalent, including a minimum of six 4 U/M
Your six 4 U/M courses must include 4U English (or
It is Carleton University policy to consider your best
performance in any eligible course in the admissions
Since the number of qualified applicants may be
greater than the number of available spaces, cut-off
averages and required marks may vary. Please refer to
our website at
for the current admission requirements.
For more information
... about the Communication Studies program, please
visit our website at or consult the
Carleton University Undergraduate Calendar at
Do you want more information?
Please contact us at:
School of Journalism and Communication:
Communication Studies
Carleton University
4312 River Building
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa ON K1S 5B6
Fax: 613-520-6690
Email: [email protected]
Recruitment Office
Carleton University
315 Robertson Hall
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa ON K1S 5B6
Tel: 613-520-3663
Toll-free in Canada: 1-888-354-4414
Fax: 613-520-3847
Email: [email protected]
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