• Communication and Media Studies

Communication and Media Studies

What is CMS?

Communication and Media Studies (CMS) contributes to the intellectual emancipation of its majors by practicing the values of liberal learning: analytical thought, clear communication, aesthetic insight, ethical sensitivity, and civic responsibility. The major builds upon a foundation of communication and media theory and draws from multiple disciplines to enable students to study a wide range of topics and develop the quantitative, qualitative, and interpretive skills necessary to engage in original research.

Why CMS?

  • CMS is an interdisciplinary, versatile, and flexible major that pushes students to expand their understanding of human communication, culture, and social institutions.

    The knowledge, understanding, and skills that students acquire in the CMS major are essential in developing future work in any number of fields —from grassroots organizations, to global media companies, to the world of politics, and everything in-between.

    Importantly, communications and media studies in a liberal arts environment allows students to wield their knowledge to produce civically responsible and ethical change. Communication and media are collaborative forces that construct our social world, and a CMS degree gives students a unique edge to positively impact that world.

  • CMS Wiki: A resource website for communication and media studies inquiry curated by the students of Washington College - available here

Learning Goals:

CMS students question knowledge, analyze the world around them, and create solutions. At the end of their course of study CMS majors will be able to:

  • Describe the communication discipline, the media studies subdiscipline, and identify their central questions
  • Employ communication theories, perspectives, principles, and concepts
  • Engage in communication inquiry
  • Create message appropriate to the audience, purpose, and context
  • Critically analyze messages
  • Demonstrate the ability to accomplish communicative goals
  • Apply ethical communication principles and practices
  • Utilize communications to embrace differences
  • Influence public discourse

CMS 101 Introduction to Communication and Media Studies

CMS 250 Intermediate Communication and Media Theory

CMS 301 Research Methods in Communication and Media Studies

Seven (7) additional courses in the chosen concentration, at least four (4) at the 300-400 level

Senior Capstone Experience

CMS 101 Introduction to Communication and Media Studies

CMS 250 Intermediate Communication and Media Theory

Four (4) Elective Courses


Concentrations allow students mold their cirriculum to their interests, providing in-depth preparation for professional careers and graduate school.

Business and Organizational Communication

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



Arts and Production

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



Identity and Culture

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.



Film Studies

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.