Academic Requirements

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Communication and Media Studies students explore some of the most essential questions we face as citizens and consumers. Students in CMS learn to be discerning media producers and consumers, critical thinkers, confident speakers, skilled writers, and creative storytellers.

Students have the opportunity to explore topics including but not limited to: digital media, marketing and persuasive messaging, film and television, media and representation, visual communication, political communication, and global technology. All students expand their skills in multimedia communication through coursework that develops applied and creative production skills. Students who major in CMS have the option to select an area of concentration within the major: Arts and Production, Business and Organizational Communication, Identity and Culture, or Film Studies. 

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Academic Requirement Checklists

CMS Major Requirements

CMS Minor Requirements

Major Requirements

CMS 101/ Introduction to Communication and Media Studies

CMS 250/ Intermediate Communication Theory

CMS 301/ Research Methods in Communication and Media Studies

CMS 450/ Senior Seminar

CMS majors complete seven additional elective courses. Students have the option to complete a concentration within the major by selecting their elective courses from a list of courses designated within that concentration.  

Students must complete a minimum of two courses in each of the following areas: 
Foundation Courses These courses focus on broadening a student’s familiarity with contemporary and historical understandings of media industries, ability to identify meaning in various kinds of texts, and/or ability to understand systems of power and meaning making.
Applied Courses These courses focus on developing a student’s ability to effectively communicate across a variety of communication channels and/or expanding the available tools a student has to address key problems in the field.
Structure Courses These courses focus on deepening a student’s understanding of theory, history, and/or genre in national and global contexts.
For a complete list of the courses that count for the major each semester (including their designation for selected concentrations), please contact the Program Director. 

The Senior Capstone Experience (SCE) is the culmination of training in CMS. Planning for the SCE begins the spring semester of the student’s third year. While there are a set of universal SCE requirements, each project is customizable and includes the opportunites to do creative production work. SCE’s receive a grade of pass, fail, or honors.  

Optional Major Concentrations

The Arts and Production concentration combines medium-specific courses, applied skills, creativity, and critical thought.

Includes courses like: Visual and Critical Thinking, Digital Storytelling, Game Design, Intro to Journalism, and Music Production & Recording

The Business and Organizational Communication concentration focuses on applied skills and communicative structures in corporations, nonprofits, or small businesses.

Includes courses like: Principles of Marketing, Advertising, Intro to Nonprofit Management, Persuasion: The User Experience, and Global Media and Technology

The Identity and Culture concentration considers how we understand the world we live in, the people we share it with, and the ways in which identity and culture inform that understanding.

Includes courses like: Visual Anthropology; Race, Class, and Gender in Popular Media; Media and Power, Social Inequalities, and Media and Politics

The Film Studies concentration examines how cinema contributes to our understanding of the world, offers critical analysis of film history and theory, and provides opportunity to develop hands-on skills.

Includes courses like: Contemporary Popular Film & TV, World Cinema, Film Theory, Video Editing, and Chinese Cinema

Minor Requirements

CMS 101/ Introduction to Communication and Media Studies

CMS 250/ Intermediate Communication Theory

Minors complete four additional elective courses. There are a wide range of courses available for students. Any course listed or cross listed in CMS counts as do a number of other courses in American Studies, Anthropology, Art & Art History, Business Management, Computer Science, English, International Languages and Cultures, Music, Sociology, and Theatre. For a complete list of the courses that count for the minor each semester, please contact the Program Director. 

Guidelines and Program Policies

To declare the CMS major the student must have completed at least 16-credit hours and have a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 or better. Transfer credit and Advanced Standing credit cannot be counted toward this 16-credit hour requirement.

To declare the CMS major or minor, students should contact the Program Director.  Majors are assgined a CMS advisor at the time of declaration.

Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.00  and may not count more than two four-credit courses with “D” grades toward any major.

Students must achieve a cumulative grade point average (“GPA”) of 2.00 overall in the 128 credit hours offered toward graduation. Not more than six four-credit courses with “D” grades will count toward the 128 credit hours required.

CMS majors are encouraged, but not required, to participate in internships and/or externships. The Career Center has a robust roster of opportunities for CMS students. CMS emphasizes quality over quantity when considering internship and/or externship opportunities. 

CMS offers students opportunities to participate in on-campus practica. Students who acculumlate 4 practicum credits can count this as one of the major or minor elective courses. 

“Video production was so fun! It was hands-on learning and I definitely gained actual practical skills in this class.”

Natalie Mansfield, CMS Class of 2021