Development Communications Track Program Requirements

The MA in Global Communications, Development Communications program is a 48 credit Coursework and Research Masters taken over the course of three semesters, followed by either your thesis or a 3-6 month internship. The program is composed of four core courses (16 credits) selected from six core offerings and six electives (24 credits). The final 8 credits for the completion of the degree requirements are obtained by taking an internship or writing a thesis.

Core Courses (16 credits)

CM5001 Global Communications

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.


CM5025 Communication & The Global Public Sphere

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.

PO5012 Civil Society: Internat'l & Comp. Persp.

“Civil society” is one of the more elusive entries in the social science lexicon, and not a few have argued that we could do well without it. In a critical but appreciative spirit, this seminar introduces to the various meanings and uses that have been attributed to, or made of, civil society across time and national contexts. A constant in its various meanings is the reference to an elementary capacity of social self-organization beyond states and markets. This has made civil society an attractive alternative to diminished states and unfettered markets in the era of globalization, interestingly for the political left and right alike.


CM5053 Development Communications

This course provides an introduction to ‘Development Communications’ and to the communication practices that promote development, material change and social justice. The course explores the historical development of the field and the fundamental theories and figures and disciplines- from international development to mass communications-that have defined it as a distinct area of communications study and practice. Through numerous case studies, students explore intercultural and interpersonal communication on local, regional, national and global levels and examine numerous examples of development communications campaigns and civic media focusing on issues of public health, education, women’s empowerment, fair trade, and environmental, economic and cultural sustainability.


CM5063 Sustainable Development Practicum

How does communication work as local government bodies, civil-society actors and NGOs put together sustainable development initiatives? How can communication be made to work better? Cutting across disciplines, this practicum allows students to see individuals, groups and communities in collaboration (and sometimes conflict) in a South Asian context marked by the 2004 tsunami. Based in the international eco-community of Auroville (Tamil Nadu, south-east India), students will explore substantive areas including micro-credit, health care with special reference to HIV/Aids, socially responsible business and environmental management. On-site visits and team-work are central to the course, leading to the production of multi-media reports on the interface between communication, development and sustainability. This course has an extra course fee - to guage an estimated cost, the fee was approximately 1600 euros.

CM5068 Ngo Practicum

The NGO practicum is a course that prepares students to engage with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the field. It will introduce students to several important tools necessary to be reflective and responsible agents of social change. The course includes a series of preparatory sessions, which may include lectures, workshops, visits, and individual research assignments, followed by a period of overseas fieldwork in which students will collaborate with local NGOs to help create various project management tools or media projects.


Track Electives (16 credits)

Choose four of the following courses:

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


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.


Open Electives (8 credits)

Choose two from all Global Communications offerings and selected Graduate School offerings.


Thesis or Internship (8 credits)

End-level completions are either a thesis or internship. 

CM5098 Internship

In the last semester of their studies students may choose to complete an Internship (instead of a Thesis) with a corporation, international organization, government body or NGO - requires a 50-60 page report and represents 3/6 months' work. Registration of the internship is subject to the MA Program Director's approval. Please contact the Internship Office for more information.



CM5095 Thesis

At the end of the course work students have the option of completing a thesis or an 8-credit Internship. In the last semester of their studies students may choose to complete a 14,000 to 20,000 word thesis (instead of an Internship). Additional paperwork available in the Office of the Registrar is MANDATORY for registration of the thesis.



Core Courses 4 4 16
Track Electives 4 4 16
Open Electives 4 2 8
Internship or Thesis 8 1 8



3 core courses 3 core courses 2 core courses
1 elective course 1 elective course Internship/Thesis
16 credits 16 credits 16 credits


* The length of the internship or thesis may vary, however—many students choose to take additional time for these components. 
** A special note:  U.S. Federal regulations state that AUP students receiving federal loans cannot do their Internship or write up their thesis in the United States. Students can only complete an Internship in the United States when it is not in pursuit of their degree.

See the tuition and costs for this program.