Masters Admissions

Master of Arts

The School of Communication has an international reputation for critical scholarship on urgent social and political problems affecting contemporary societies, locally and globally. We offer graduate students rigorous training in the critical foundation of communication theory, political economy, policy studies, cultural and media studies, and technology and data studies. Our programs offer graduate students the opportunity to work with faculty members who are leaders in the field and to engage in innovative collaborations with NGOs, social movements, community groups, government, industry, cultural institutions, policy makers, artists and media producers. We emphasize learning through research via direct engagement with faculty-led projects, laboratories, institutes, initiatives, and community collaborations, and by participating in ongoing workshops, public seminars, public talks, and annual conferences. Our graduates successfully pursue careers in academia, government, NGOs, cultural institutions, communication and media organizations careers.


Our MA program features two degree pathways

Thesis Option

Academic Communication Research

The MA thesis option is for people aiming to pursue academic research as their primary objective. This option is well-suited toward applicants who wish to go on to pursue a PhD and is also relevant to applicants who aim to complete academic research projects that will further careers which value communication research and analysis, including policy analysis public advocacy, media governance, and leadership positions in communication and media fields. The outcome of our academic research curriculum is a thesis that demonstrates mastery of an area of knowledge and/or presents research that contributes to knowledge in the field of communication.

Completing an MA thesis is an excellent opportunity for students who:

  • intend apply to PhD programs in communication
  • plan to pursue careers in fields that require research skills
  • wish to conduct in-depth research on a particular topic
  • want to learn to use specific research methodologies

Students who complete an MA thesis take four courses over their first two semesters. These normally include one theory course (CMNS 800, 802, or 804), one research methods course (CMNS 801), and two electives.

Thesis students then work closely with a faculty member with expertise in their research area who supervises the student’s research and thesis over the next three or four terms to complete their research and thesis.

The degree culminates in a thesis defence where the student answers questions from scholars with expertise related to their research topic.

MA theses will be deposited with SFU’s library, where they will be available to the public. Please see here to browse a collection of recent theses.

Project Option

Communication Research for Social Change

The MA project option is for people interested in pursuing applications of communication research aimed at achieving progressive social change. These applicants may or may not seek academic careers, but wish to complete research projects confronting real-world problems as activists, practitioners, and professionals. Communication research for social change aligns with efforts toward social justice, broadly defined, and accommodates projects intended, pragmatically, to make the world a better place. The outcome of our communication research for social change curriculum is a project that mobilizes knowledge, creates engagement, educates, informs, or raises awareness through research that is of social value to communities.

Completing an MA project is an excellent opportunity for students who:

  • are interested in pursuing careers in communication, advocacy, and activism
  • intend to carry out projects intended to make a difference in their communities
  • want to learn practical and progressive applications of communication research in pursuit of social change
  • wish to be part of a small cohort

Students who complete an MA project take five courses over their first three semesters. These normally include a Communication and Global Social Justice (CMNS 848), Communication Research for Social Change (CMNS 849), a Directed Studies course (CMNS 850) with their Supervisor, and two elective courses.

During the third and fourth terms, project students complete their MA project and an accompanying paper that describes and evaluates the project.

The degree culminates in a project presentation in which students discuss their project and its outcomes with their peers, supervisors, and others.

Statement on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity in Graduate Admissions

The School of Communication’s Graduate Program Committee recognizes the academy’s historical entanglement with colonial power, including its contribution to hegemonic knowledge and cultural production, which has legitimized dominant forms of knowledge at the expense of others.

We acknowledge that these expressions of power often contribute to harm experienced by Indigenous communities and many other groups who have been immiserated, subjugated, and marginalized in order to uphold colonial power relations.

In consideration of this history, we are committed to addressing historical injustice by centering the lived experiences of difference of people who have been absented from or denied access to education and by respecting approaches to knowledge that have been unduly delegitimated within academic institutions.

We encourage applications from members of underrepresented or marginalized groups, from anyone experiencing barriers to education and from those who propose innovative or experimental approaches to knowledge production, dissemination, and engagement.

Prospective applicants who do not meet SFU’s standard graduate admission requirements, but who possess significant experience or expertise related to their proposed research area, should contact the School’s Graduate Program Coordinator or a faculty member working in their area to determine whether our graduate program may be a good fit for their proposed research.