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School of Communication | Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology Simon Fraser University Calendar | Fall 2019

Global Communication Double Degree

Master of Arts

This award-winning two-year double degree program, jointly developed by Simon Fraser University (SFU) and the Communication University of China (CUC), offers students the opportunity to acquire two graduate degrees from two outstanding communication programs.  Graduates will receive a master of arts (MA) degree from SFU, and a master of arts (MA) degree from CUC in Beijing. All students will spend their first academic year at SFU and the second academic year at CUC, during the standard academic terms of each institution.

The language of instruction in this program at both SFU and CUC is English. A Chinese language background is not required for admission to the program. 

According to Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), passport holders of PRC, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan are required to pass the CUC’s national graduate entrance exam and to become a CUC regular graduate student before applying to this program through CUC as the home university.

Areas of Study

At SFU: theories and concepts in global communications; political economy and policy dimensions of globalizing communications; communication, development, and global social justice; methods of research on media and global communications; other research areas in the School of Communication.

At CUC: communication and Chinese society in theoretical and historical contexts; Chinese and Asian regional communications and cultural industries, markets and regulatory environments; introduction to basic production techniques and processes in a wide range of "old" and "new", as well as informational and entertainment media forms; Chinese politics, economy, society, and culture.

Admission Requirements

Students will apply directly to the program through an admissions committee at SFU chaired by the GCMA Program Director OR through the CUC graduate admission process. Students will be admitted to one university, and then recommended for admission to the other university.

To qualify for admission, students must satisfy the usual admission requirements specified by each university. The university of first admission will be referred to as the student's 'home' university. Students whose home university is Simon Fraser University are called SFU students while those whose home university is Communication University of China are called CUC students. Following acceptance by the home university a second selection process in consultation with the partner university will establish the final list of admitted students.

In addition to general university admission requirements, including English language proficiency requirements (IELTS preferred), students admitted by SFU must meet the following admission requirements:

  • three letters of recommendation, at least two of which should be written by somebody who is familiar with the applicant's academic work
  • all official post-secondary transcripts in sealed envelopes and copies of post secondary degree certificates
  • a 500-600 word essay in English on goals and plans for study, together with an account of relevant academic and professional background
  • submit at least one writing sample in English.

In addition, SFU students must meet CUC admissions standards for international students and pass an oral interview (via Skype or similar means) with members of CUC faculty. However, the CUC standard admission requirements Grade 8 Mandarin requirement and national and local entrance exams will be waived for SFU students.

Students admitted by CUC must meet the following requirements for admission to SFU:

  • meet SFU entrance requirements
  • meet SFU admission requirements for English Language proficiency
  • provide three letters of recommendation and transcripts from previous degree(s) in English and a 500-600 word essay in English on proposed goals and plans for study
  • oral interview (via Skype or similar means) with members of SFU faculty
  • submit at least one writing sample in English

Admission Timeline

Students will apply to the program by February 15th, with provisional acceptance decisions made by the middle of May. The recommendation for admission to SFU, following consultation with the CUC admissions committee, will be determined by the middle of May. Admissions will be finalized by June 1.

Program Withdrawal

Only under extraordinary circumstances, and with the approval of the SFU Communication Graduate Studies Committee, can a student admitted by SFU to the GCMA Program be considered for admission to the SFU MA Communication Program.

Time Limits

Under normal circumstances, the time limit to complete this program is within two calendar years, and no longer than four calendar years (as per SFU general graduate regulations).

Supervisory Committee

Each student will be supervised by a supervisory committee consisting of a senior supervisor from either university and at least one faculty member from the other university.

Program Requirements

Students must complete 27 units at SFU and 38 units at CUC (SFU and CUC units are not equivalent).

For Year 1 at SFU, students will take two courses in the fall semester (including core program course CMNS 844 and one of the following Group 1 and Group 2 or Group 3 courses), two courses in the spring semester (including core program course CMNS 848 and field placement course CMNS 881-5), and complete CMNS 860-2 (colloquium) and CMNS 894-5 (extended essay) in the summer semester.

CMNS 844 - Communication and Global Power Shifts (5)

This course examines the mutually constitutive relationship between rapidly transforming global communication systems and shifting structures of global political economic and cultural power. Competing claims of global power shifts - between the West and the Rest, between labour and capital, and between established institutions and networked "multitudes" – are analyzed in relation to enduring patterns and emerging dynamics in global communications.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 We 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
HCC 2290, Vancouver
G102 Th 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
HCC 2290, Vancouver
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.

CMNS 860 - Graduate Colloquium in Global Communication (2)

Discussion of essentials of researching, writing, and presenting papers. Students will present drafts of an extended essay for critical review by course supervisor and fellow students. Enrollment restricted to Global Communication Graduate Double Degree Program MA students. Course will be graded S/U.

CMNS 881 - Research Internship (5)

Work and study in an approved professional setting.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 TBD
G200 TBD
G300 TBD
G400 TBD
G500 TBD
CMNS 894 - MA Extended Essay (5)

MA Extended Essay (for SFU-CUC double degree students).

Group 1 Surveys of History and Theory

This course group contains survey courses that define and map the field and expose students to faculty interests and research programs.

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.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 Zoe Druick
Fr 10:30 AM – 2:20 PM
HCC 3122, Vancouver
CMNS 802 - History of Communication Theory (5)

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

CMNS 804 - Seminar in Advanced Communication Theory (5)

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 Sarah Ganter
Mo 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
SSCK 8652, Burnaby

Group 2 Research Design and Methods

This course group contains research methods and methodology courses that help with research projects.

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.

Group 3 Research Area Courses

This course group contains the school's various research area and selected topics courses.

CMNS 815 - Social Construction of Communication Technologies (5)

A study of the social theory of information technologies, examining issues affecting computer-mediated communication.

CMNS 820 - Media, Democratic Communication and the Concept of the Public (5)

This course examines and evaluates the media (such as journalism, film, community media, or digital media) as fields of political and cultural practices, in relation to debates, concepts and models of the public sphere, democratic communication, and alternative media practices.

CMNS 830 - Media & Cultural Studies (5)

Examines current debates in media and cultural studies, including hegemony, biopower, affect, subjectivity, cultures of capitalism and cultures of resistance.

CMNS 840 - Political Economy of Communications (5)

A study of the political, economic and social process that produces the structure and policies of mass media, and of telecommunication agencies in their historical setting.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 Enda Brophy
Th 1:30 PM – 4:20 PM
HCC 2250, Vancouver
CMNS 855 - Selected Topics in Communication Studies (5)

Specialized one-time graduate course offerings on topics related to the current research of school faculty of visiting professors.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G200 Sun Ha Hong
Fr 5:30 PM – 8:20 PM
HCC 1505, Vancouver
CMNS 856 - Graduate Seminar (5)

Advanced work in an area of specialization. Review and evaluation of research in progress.

CMNS 857 - Selected Topics in Communication Studies (5)

Specialized graduate course offering on a topic related to the current research of school faculty or visiting professor.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 Dal Yong JIN
Fr 9:30 AM – 1:20 PM
HCC 2205, Vancouver
G200 Davina Bhandar
Fr 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
HCC 2540, Vancouver
CMNS 858 - Selected Topics in Communication Studies (5)

Specialized graduate course offering on a topic related to the current research of school faculty or visiting professor.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 TBD
CMNS 859 - Acoustic Dimensions of Communications (5)

Special topics in sound and communication studies with emphasis on specific problems in psycho-acoustics, theories of sound cognition and information processing, soundscape studies, acoustic design, community noise surveys, media analysis and related technology. Students will gain experience in designing and conducting research projects in one of these areas. Prerequisite: CMNS 359 or equivalent.

Communication University of China (CUC)

All students must complete the following three core program courses at CUC for a total of 15 units:

Media and Chinese Society: Theory, History, and Practice

Chinese Communication Industries, Markets and Regulation

Comparative Asian Media Systems and Regional Markets

To meet the breadth requirements of the program, all students must complete an additional 4 units that consist of either a survey course on media production techniques and processes or a course on Chinese politics, economy, culture and society as specified by CUC.

Extended Essay Requirement

All students will complete two extended essays, one at each university, under the supervision of a faculty member of that university. The extended essays submitted at both institutions will normally be in the range of 35-40 pages each (maximum 10 thousand words in English).  At the end of the summer term at SFU and the spring term at CUC, students will make oral presentations based on their essays. There is no requirement for an oral examination of extended essays. A summer colloquium (CMNS 860-2) at SFU in the first year will provide guidance for the preparation of the essays and a forum for discussion, essay presentations, and occasional lectures from faculty and visitors. At SFU, students complete the extended essay requirement by enrolling in CMNS 894-5.

Field Placement Requirement

All students are required to complete two field placements, one at each university, leading to the submission of a field report to each university. The field report will take the form of a critical essay (15-20 pages) on the experience of the field placement. The field placement will involve either a work project or assignment undertaken for a host organization, or a policy investigation involving observation and field interviews with relevant organizations. Students will spend at least two weeks or equivalent time in the "field" under the supervision of a faculty member who will provide guidance and assess the completed report. At SFU, students complete the field placement requirement by enrolling in CMNS 881-5.

SFU Mandarin Language Requirement

All students admitted to SFU as "home" university must complete two terms of non-credit instruction in conversational Mandarin during their year at SFU. This requirement will be waived if students can either demonstrate basic knowledge of spoken Mandarin through an oral interview or provide proof of having successfully completed an approved course of instruction in basic oral Mandarin.

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.