The Global Communications masters’ program is designed to open up critical perspectives of communication practices, media systems and cultural traditions that co-exist around the world. At its core, the program encourages you to think across borders. You will immerse yourself in new and challenging learning experiences alongside other students from a rich diversity of cultural, educational and professional backgrounds.
The three-semester degree offers you a balance of intellectual preparation in communications and hands-on professional training with experts from around the world. Our international faculty will offer ongoing dialogue inside and outside the classroom and encourage you to expand your horizons and challenge your assumptions. You will emerge with new skills and wider perspectives, prepared for success in a rapidly evolving profession and world.
The Global Communications classroom operates in multiple environments – from the media lab to the workplace, and from cultural sites in Paris to eye-opening locations around the world. Whether researching in the field or gaining hands-on professional expertise, experience is the key to your development.
As rapid digitalization and globalization bring us closer together and instigate new intercultural challenges, our core courses will prepare you for exploration of this exciting new landscape. Students are required to choose 4 courses from the following listing:
This course introduces students to major theories and practices of communications research, particularly those dealing with the globalization of media and culture. Students learn a mixture of approaches: rhetorical, quantitative, ethnographic and textual. They learn how various disciplines—economics, political science, anthropology, sociology, and rhetoric—deal with these issues. They also study a variety of research methodologies, learn how to create research projects and develop thesis-writing skills.
This course examines the evolution of critical advertising and brand analysis with a particular emphasis on learning how people come to identify with and believe in brands. It includes an analysis of how brands work as systems for producing differences between themselves by creating imaginary possible worlds associated with brands. Students learn tools of semiotic and linguistic analysis in analyzing brands and how they relate to each other. Each student completes a communications audit of a brand examining all aspects of its communicative strategies from package design to employee behavior, clothing, architecture, and shop design. The course will also examine how branding now has extended beyond consumer brands to such areas as NGOs and politics (political parties as brands and politicians as brands).
The course will explore the ways in which cultural difference is mobilized – socially, politically and economically – by individuals and groups and the ways in which current discourses and practices of cultural difference interact with globalization. The course will analyze the combined processes of homogenization and fragmentation that result from this encounter. It will examine how affirmations of cultural distinctiveness are joined by yearnings for negotiations and ‘translations’ between them. As different actors deploy divergent understandings of ‘culture’, questions of cultural ‘identity’, access, agency and power come to the fore. The actors in question range from academic cultural theorists to officials in governmental agencies; they also include international organizations, cultural entrepreneurs, NGO activists and artists. Against the backdrop of globalization, the course will analyze how these actors articulate ‘cultural’ discourses and strategies and practices as well as how the media re-articulate and reflect the latter. Two particular discursive formations will be emphasized: i) those of ‘cultural diversity’ that focus on cultural goods and services and ii) those inspired by the notions of inter- or trans-cultural communication and dialogue.
This course provides an introduction to key topics and theories in the study of the Internet and other digital media as cultural and social phenomena. Four main themes guide our approach: space and networks; bodies and identities; objects and practices; and economics and politics. Within the contexts of globalization, we will place particular emphasis on interrogating transformations made possible by the pervasion of digital media, but also restrictions and contestations that arise. Students will develop their individual interests in relevant topics with an independent research project.
This course examines the theories of self and identity formation in a globalized world where traditional techniques of identity formation coming from religions and schools and family are being supplemented or changed by techniques coming from other cultures and countries. Some of these ways of self-identification are influenced by consumerism, advertising and media. Some are influenced by traditional physical and moral training or globalized martial arts. Some are influenced by the implantation of psychological and therapeutic techniques from the West. Others are linked to the circulation of techniques of self-formation from yoga, tai chi, and kabala that have been taken out of their traditional contexts and globalized, mediatized and modernized. This course looks at people who seek to make and define themselves in various different local contexts. It will also examine the rise of religious fundamentalism, its appeal to youth, and how it uses media. The course also looks at the role of media, institutions and advertising consumer culture in this process.
This course focuses on the concept of the/a public. Discusses how media and political actors rhetorically constitute the public; how they (and occasionally governments) constitute “public spaces”(virtual and material) in which public discourse takes place, and how institutional and technological forces constitute “public opinion” and articulate “the public interest.” On the other hand, we will consider how political economy of media and social practices facilitate or stifle spaces, political actors, and publics. The course will also compare contemporary manifestations of public-making with Habermas’s theory of the public sphere, which he thought was an area of social life vital to a legitimate democracy. The potentiality, control, and use of new communication technologies are explored in relation to the existence and future of a global public sphere.
This course examines the dynamics of the global media system. Students will gain a critical awareness of how international flows of information, entertainment and lifestyle values play a powerful role in shaping cultural and political realities. The concept of "soft power" is key in examining the influence of Western pop culture, whether as "imperialism" or as "globalization". The course examines soft power in various forms: Hollywood movies, television series, pop music, Disney cartoons, fast food such as Coca-Cola and McDonalds, and social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The course also analyzes the influence of non-Anglo-American pop culture — from Turkish soap operas to Latin American "telenovelas".
This graduate course focuses each semester on a topic of current research within the field of communications. Each week, the topic will be explored in a dual format: a seminar accompanied by a guest lecture by a different researcher in the field. The course aims to provide a comprehensive overview of debates of contemporary relevance to communications scholarship.
Getting the most out of your Global Communications program requires choosing from intriguing electives and intensive modules with such topic areas as Social Media for Business Communications, 3D Branding, Sustainability in Fashion and Strategic Planning in Digital, among many others.
After completing your course work you may choose to write your thesis on a topic compelling to you with the support and supervision of our faculty. Or, you may elect to pursue a 3-6 month internship at a PR or advertising agency, a digital start-up, an NGO, a government organization, a luxury brand, or a social enterprise.
Its also possible to choose one of the following areas of specialization within Global Communications, instead of pursuing the general Masters in Global Communications degree. Three areas of specialization are available to you:
The Development Communications Track explores how civil society actors use communication to achieve their goals. Theoretical courses are followed by dynamic practical courses in branding, PR, production, and social media.
The Fashion Track based in the world’s fashion capital, students explore a global system of meaning, looking at everything from the élite Paris fashion week to the growing trend towards sustainability in clothing and design.
The Visual and Material Culture Track offers an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural consideration of the increasing importance of visuality and interactivity in today’s world. Students acquire in-depth knowledge of visual theories, contexts, and practices, and of their relationship to global media.
Applying branding logic to places, not just to companies and products, is currently one of the most innovative developments in the communications industry. For this reason, our place branding course focuses on experience – how a combination of culture, heritage, language and environment are leveraged for distinctive opportunities in tourism, development, business and civic engagement. A central component of this learning experience is a study trip to Iceland, which gives you the chance to examine in the field how unique cultural traditions and extraordinary wilderness are the foundations of that country’s astonishing rise as a tourist destination. Spearheaded at AUP by Professor Charles Talcott, Place Branding allows you to assemble a rich toolbox to take with you on your own academic and professional journey, making this course a centerpiece of the diversity and promise of MAGC.