Carleton’s Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies (B.CoMS) will train you to be an ethical and effective communicator in a continually changing media landscape.
Our program provides a holistic view of the media while building a strong foundation of critical-thinking, research, and problem-solving skills. Students can also tailor their program to their interests. Students can also choose from a menu of professional workshops to help them get ready for today’s job market.
Progression through the 20-credit B.CoMS program. For more information, including a list of courses and descriptions, visit the Undergraduate Calendar.
Core Courses: Strong Foundations for Success
Learn the history of media and how they play out in contemporary society in our core courses. These classes teach the theory and research skills that will prepare you for success in university and at every stage of your career.
COMS Electives: Tailor Your Program
Want to know how communication relates to food, law, science, or public policy? Drawing on the expertise of our internationally recognized and award-winning faculty, we offer elective courses on these topics and many more. Pick from our extensive list to shape your program based on your interests. See featured elective courses FYSM 1217 First-Year Seminar, COMS 2003 Communication as Propaganda, COMS 3308 Critical Studies in Advertising and Consumer Culture, COMS 3412 Communication and Health, and COMS 4605 Media, Race and Ethnicity, as well as our current Special Topics, which change every year.
You can further customize their B.CoMS experience by:
- Completing paid, full-time work placements in professional settings in the Co-operative Education Program (Co-op)
- Combining Communication and Media Studies with another discipline as a Combined Honours degree or minor
- Adding the Certificate in Science Communication
- Working one-on-one with a faculty member to write an Honours Research Essay
Workshop Courses: Be Career Ready
Your B.CoMS degree will feature experiential learning and opportunities to practise using various media at every level. In your fourth year, you will take one of our practice-focused workshops courses. Workshops offer you a chance to hone professional, high-demand skills from digital media production to data analytics that will help your resume stand out. See featured workshop courses COMS 4501 Digital Media Production and COMS 4507 Professional Communication Research.
We offer a rich and diverse set of required courses, electives, and workshops over the four years of the program—here are just a few highlights.
COMS 1002 Current Issues in Communication and Media
This required first-year course addresses key topics and issues in today’s communication and media landscape, from trends in popular culture to the gamification of daily life, the fragmentation of online communities, rise of so-called cancel culture, and more. [Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash]
FYSM 1217 Selected Topics in Communication and Media Studies
Optional First-Year Seminar courses are smaller-capacity classes designed to introduce students to writing, critical thinking and communication methods. Topics vary each semester from current issues in pop culture to learning technical skills. [Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash]
COMS 2003 Communication as Propaganda
In this second-year elective course, you’ll learn how governments, corporations and even citizens have used propaganda to gain support or generate opposition for different campaigns, products and ideas. From promoting war and cigarettes to civil rights and media freedom, propaganda is both a central and contentious part of our shared media histories. [Photo by Sinitta Leunen on Unsplash]
COMS 3001 Quantitative Research in Communication
Want to know which segment of the population is most likely to vote for a particular political party or candidate? This required third-year course teaches techniques for collecting and analyzing large data sets, from public opinion surveys to reports by Statistics Canada. This course will help you know which techniques are needed to design, implement and analyze your own statistical research. [Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash]
COMS 3002 Qualitative Research in Communication
Academics, corporations and governments use qualitative research in their planning and decision-making. In this required third year course, you’ll explore questions about how people make sense of the world: why some get angry at an ad yet others feel inspired; why some change their behaviour (quit smoking, get a flu shot, save money) and others just shrug and do nothing at all. Learn more about the critical analysis of media texts, and how to conduct a focus group or interview to understand what people think and what moves them. [Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash]
COMS 3308 Critical Studies in Advertising and Consumer Culture
In this third year elective course you’ll learn about the interconnections between the developments of mass democracy, mass consumerism and mass media. You’ll study some of the most important and effective advertising campaigns of the past, and will develop essential skills to navigate the complex and ever-changing consumer landscape of the present. [Photo by Ioana Cristiana on Unsplash]
COMS 3412 Communication and Health
Our mediascape is increasingly cluttered by news sites, blogs, Pinterest pages, YouTube channels and self-tracking apps all dedicated to health and wellness. It’s never been easier to monitor and direct our bodies in pursuit of good health! This third year elective course introduces students to the ways in which communication and media studies informs our understanding of what health is and why it matters. [Photo by Nikita Kostrykin on Unsplash]
COMS 4501 Digital Media Production
Design a website, produce a podcast or shoot a short film for social media. These are some of the common digital media skills that you may be asked to demonstrate in your first job upon graduation. This small enrolment workshop course is open to B.CoMS majors in their fourth year and will prepare you with valuable professional skills in digital media practice relevant to the contemporary workplace. [Photo by William Iven on Unsplash]
COMS 4507 Professional Communication Research
Show off the research skills you’ve acquired in your degree and develop a professional research portfolio project. In this fourth year workshop, you’ll work as part of a team to conduct communication research for a community partner. This is hands-on, practical, skills-based learning. Past student groups have conducted research for a wide range of partners in areas like health policy, homelessness and housing, student financial planning, environmentalism, music and culture. [Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash]
COMS 4605 Media, Race, and Ethnicity
Issues relating to race and media are among the most crucial of our time. In this fourth year seminar, you’ll learn about historical and contemporary issues pertaining to media, race and ethnicity, engage with important thinkers and develop analytical tools and vocabularies for critiquing media texts and challenging racial stereotypes. [Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash]