MA in Global Communications, Development Communications Track

Well-crafted communications strategies are central to the positioning of international organizations, national governments and the diverse range of actors composing civil society. As civil society's importance grows globally, understanding its dynamics is increasingly central for anyone who wishes to intervene on its terrain.

The Development Communications Track within the MA in Global Communications explores how civil society actors use communication to achieve their goals. A cutting edge curriculum offers a combination of practical branding, PR, production and social media courses complemented by crucial theoretical and analytical courses treating actual cases.

I knew I wanted to use communication for a good cause, to contribute something to the rest of the world.

Rieke Weel '12
Expanding experience, introducing ideas

This track is designed for both professionals seeking broader academic training and new students seeking a range of specific training and broad understanding. Students study specific issues of global civil society relating to broad categories of freedom and expression, advocacy, governance and the rule of law. The theoretical part of this degree examines issues of power, political as well as institutional agency, discourse and mediated communication. Current trends in governance, non-state and civil society organization will also be studied.

Hands-on training

In addition to equipping students with new or expanded communications skills, the hands-on practical courses and modules enable students to think critically, on the basis of case studies, about interaction between the State, private business and the third sector. Themes studied include both internal and external communication in organizations.

Practica have been run outside France in Morocco and India. Students will gain insight into communication between NGO members, within the NGO world and civil society, between NGOs, donors and governments, and between NGOs and the corporate world.

Coursework and Research Masters

The MA in in Global Communications, Development Communications Track is a 48 credit Coursework and Research Master's that can be completed in one calendar year. The length of the internship or thesis may vary, however many students choose to take additional time for these components. The program offers an extensive range of classes blending theory and practice. Students develop precision in their problem-solving skills through challenging hands-on modules and the choice of an internship or a personalized research project.

Alongside the core modules of the Global Communications course, students taking the Development Communications Track will choose from additional electives on topics including:

CM5003 Cultural Diversity & Globalization

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.


CM5005 Identity Formation In A Transnat'l World

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.


CM5022 Place Branding

The course focuses on place branding and its role in destination marketing, civil society development, public and political diplomacy and social and environmental sustainability. Topics include: travel and globalization; branding and competitive identity; heritage, memory and ecological tourism; mediated travel involving photography, mobile phones, social media; media and cinema inspired travel; food cultures; and the drive to experience and communicate "other spaces."


CM5028 Advanced Video Production

(Video Production Practicum) This course is intended to give students an opportunity to understand the production process from development through the finished product, from both the theoretical and practical viewpoints. Therefore, during the course of the semester, students will be expected to produce several types of video projects: short videos, ‘limbering up’ exercises, commercials and PSA’s; participate in production of elements for class group projects; and complete a final project in the student’s choice of genre.


CM5062 Digital Media Writing Practicum

This course will create a “newsroom” setting encouraging critical thinking about the media. The course will examine how the Internet has revolutionized journalism, story telling, and the media industries more generally. Students will study, analyze and discuss these trends as well as write about particular issues – thus developing their own voices and “brands” as writers and media professionals. Students will maintain blogs and their work will be published and curated on the student media website where they will appear as blogger/columnists. Another component of the course will emphasize career development: each student will produce a professional-grade online profile and portfolio through blogs and social networks


CM5065 Broadcast Journalism Practicum

This is an experimental graduate level course designed to give a limited number of students hands-on training in preparing television news stories and features. Students will spend the semester producing video for internet broadcasts. The emphasis will be on story telling, so the course is intended for students who already know how to shoot and edit video. For those with limited video experience, there will be two weekend seminars (four days) of basic video instruction available. In addition to time spent putting together projects outside the classroom, students will be expected to spend a fixed number of hours per week volunteering for the production of the website broadcasts.


CM5067 Advertising Practicum

The development of effective advertising is an intellectual and creative process that has evolved over the past century and includes the disciplines of research, targeting, strategy, strategy derived creative execution and evaluation. Today, the form and content of advertising is changing as the digital age opens new channels and types of messages. The Advertising Practicum will instruct students in the real world creation of effective advertising. Students will learn “the creation process” from start to finish, develop strategies and create advertising campaigns. Finally, they will compete to win an international brand’s advertising account by solving a strategic and creative challenge facing that brand just as it is done in the advertiser/ advertising agency industry worldwide. At the course’s end, students should have completed an advertising exercise that they can present to future employers as an aid to securing a job of their choice.


CM5070 Media, Gender & Globalization

This class studies in detail the relations between media, gender and sexuality in a complex global environment. We will build on a theoretical foundation of gender in terms of embodiment, representation, consumption and institutions, and apply various methods of analysis to a range of global media. We will examine how gender enters debates around globalization, including anti-globalization movements, and how constructions of gender influence the mediation of global issues such as nationality, war and terrorism, and transnational flows of people, culture and capital.


CM5077 Communication & The Global City

This course looks at the interface between communications and urban space. With the rapid spread of neo-liberalism and the internet, urban theorists see the city as increasingly ‘capsularized’. Across the planet, new forms of human-created environment—the theme park, the free-trade zone, the gated community—are constructed. While urban space has often been carefully designed, well crafted public-relations strategies now situate cities at local and global levels. Thus, within a framework of contemporary urban theory underpinned by case studies, students will reflect on the affective politics of the city, thinking critically about the interplay between mediated communication and urban policy, public space and built form.


CM5081 Collaborative Meth. In Conflict Res.

This course acquaints students with theory and research on collaboration, with particular emphasis on the relationship between collaboration and communication in situations of cultural and ethnic conflict. It begins with a focus on what sorts of problems and conflicts are best suited to collaborative interventions, and then sets out the essential features of a high-quality collaborative process and the various communicative acts that are essential to creating and maintaining such a process, which students practice in a simulation of a variety of cross cultural contexts.


CM5080 Visual Design Practicum

This course is an intensive introduction to the basics of design principles for a variety of communications strategies. Through hands-on lab time with step-by-step instruction, students will learn the fundamentals of working with Adobe Creative Suite in order to create their own brand and its accompanying visuals. Presentations by professionals working in various fields of design and communications will familiarize students with their first-hand experience. Design literacy is essential to all areas of communication, whether in traditional print, digital media, websites or video. This class will focus specifically on the relationship between image and text, providing students with a solid foundation for any further study of graphics or web design they may wish to undertake in the future, as well as training students to interact effectively with professional designers.. The class will be comprised of lecturers on the fundamentals of design, presentations by and workshops with working professionals, and hands-on lab time to learn practical technical skills as applied to students’ individual branding projects. It suits students who plan to work in advertising, NGOs, branding, global advocacy or any other field of communications. Design literacy is an essential skill, indispensable for the effective communication of any organization’s message. Students will gain appreciation of graphic design; learning how typography color, composition, photography, illustration, etc. work together to produce effective conduits of information.


CM5076 Food, Culture & Communication

In this class, we will explore the manner in which people in France and the United States think about and interact with their foods. In so doing we will critically examine: the historical development of nutrition and gastronomic discourses in these countries, their contemporary manifestations (in media and advertising, governmental institutions and guidelines, food production and consumption) and their role in the formation of individual, national, gender and class identities. In so doing, we will critically explore, from a cross-cultural perspective, the concepts (such as health and taste), practices (such as cooking or dieting), places (such as school cafeterias or vineyards) and people (such as nutritional scientists or restaurant chefs) involved in the elaboration, maintenance and reformulation of these discourses. Among the most important goals of this class are: to further develop students' ability to think critically about modern processes and contemporary identities using a range of theoretical approaches; to bring students to an understanding of France and the United States that goes beyond well encrusted clichés; and, to allow students to develop a new appreciation for their foods and a more profound understanding of their relationship to them. The class will include a one-week "terroir and taste" fieldtrip to the Jura Mountains. Note: the tasting of cheese, meat products and wine is an integral part of the Jura trip.


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