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School of Communication | Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology Simon Fraser University Calendar | Summer 2023


Master of Arts

The School of Communication approaches the study of communication using theoretical and methodological frameworks informed by the Social Sciences and Humanities. In both the MA and PhD programs graduate students design research projects that examine case studies, theoretical issues or practices using a communication framework, analyzing the political, economic and cultural implications for society at local and global levels.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must satisfy the university admission requirements as stated in Graduate General Regulation 1.3 in the SFU Calendar. Admission requires a bachelor of arts degree in communication or an equivalent degree.

MA students will be admitted into a specific option (thesis or project) and so should apply to the preferred option. A student can change from one option to another only with the approval of the graduate program committee. A student can transfer to the thesis option only if there is a suitable supervisor available.

Qualified applicants will be accepted only if the School of Communication's Graduate Program Committee (GPC) can identify faculty members from the School who have the capacity and required expertise to be supervisors for the applicants in question.

Program Requirements

This program consists of course work and the option to complete two extended essays, a project examined by two readers, a project examined like a thesis or a thesis for a minimum of 30 units. No more than one course may be completed with the same instructor, except by permission of the Graduate Program Committee.

Students must complete one of

CMNS 800 - Contemporary Approaches in Communication Studies (5)

This course surveys current interdisciplinary perspectives in communication studies and theory. It is normally offered in the fall term, and expected in the first year of graduate study.

CMNS 802 - History of Communication Theory (5)

A survey of classic works, issues and debates in communication theory.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 Svitlana Matviyenko
CMNS 848 - Communication and Global Social Justice (5)

Examines communicative responses to transforming global communications systems and shifting structures of global economic and cultural power. Considers how communicators and producers of knowledge and culture interact with and produce these systems and structures and the implications of these processes for social justice. Note: Priority will be given to students enrolled in Global Communication Double MA Degree program. Students with credit for CMNS 858 (Special Topics: CMNS & Global Social Justice) in Spring 2014 & Spring 2015 may not take this course for further credit.

and one of

CMNS 801 - Design and Methodology in Communication Research (5)

A survey course which examines the problems, methods and theoretical assumptions in communication research using case studies of research design and methods. Students may design a research project and conduct a small pilot study in a selected area. Normally offered in the spring term and expected in the first year of graduate study.

CMNS 849 - Communication Research for Social Change (5)

Introduction to communication research methodologies utilizing an intersectional framework of analysis, with a focus on the knowledges developed with, by, and for movements for social justice.

and two graduate courses in CMNS

and one of two options


five units of graduate elective courses

and one of

CMNS 893 - MA Project (6)

MA project examined by two readers. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Prerequisite: CMNS 801 and one of CMNS 800, CMNS 802 or CMNS 804.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 TBD
G200 TBD
G300 TBD
CMNS 896 - MA Extended Essays (6)

MA Extended Essays. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Prerequisite: CMNS 801 and one of CMNS 800, 802, or 804.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 TBD
G200 TBD
G300 TBD


and one of

CMNS 897 - MA Project (10)

MA Project. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 TBD
G200 TBD
G300 TBD
CMNS 898 - MA Thesis (18)

Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 TBD
G200 TBD
G300 TBD

Program Length

Students are expected to complete the program requirements in six terms.

Other Information

Advising and Supervision

Students are advised to read section 1.6 of the Graduate General Regulations and the School's guidelines for supervisory committees. Upon admission, students are assigned an interim advisor. Once the student's supervisor has been confirmed, in consultation with the supervisor, a minimum of one other faculty member is invited to join the student's supervisory committee by the beginning of the third term. Although the Graduate Program Committee aims to select interim advisors with expertise in the student's research area and the time and capacity to supervise, the student or interim advisor might decide another faculty member is better suited to be the supervisor.

Program Options

Each option is research-based. Students determine which option is suitable for their research in consultation with their supervisor and supervisory committee. The course work is normally completed before beginning the thesis, project, or two extended essays. The thesis option involves more extensive research and is normally between 80 to 100 pages, inclusive of the bibliographies and appendices.

The extended essays option requires completion of two essays of not more than 40 pages each, which may be on related fields, but which may not substantively duplicate papers presented in course work.

In the project option, a student may use an alternative format such as a video, soundscape production, or an online or community-based media project All projects also need to be documented in a written form, not to exceed 40 pages, which will be determined in consultation with the supervisor.

Co-operative Education

The Co-operative Education Program combines professional work experience with academic studies. After the first two terms of the program, students may alternate work and academic terms. All work positions are full-time paid jobs and can extend the amount of time it takes to complete the program. The Co-op position may lead to the student's MA project or extended essays in lieu of a master's thesis. The student should consult with their supervisor before pursuing this option. Application for the Co-op program is made through the school's Co-op Coordinator and the Co-operative Education Office.

Academic Requirements within the Graduate General Regulations

All graduate students must satisfy the academic requirements that are specified in the Graduate General Regulations, as well as the specific requirements for the program in which they are enrolled.