MA in Global Communications, Digital Cultures and Industries Track

How we communicate is in flux. From new conceptions of identity and community, to the shifting ground of virtual space and global networks, to revolutions in commerce, politics and activism – digital media has helped us create a brave new world. The Digital Cultures and Industries track helps students to meet the challenge of this world with a suite of up-to-the-minute critical and practical courses that can be tailored to different career pathways.

The Digital Cultures and Industries Track within the MA in Global Communications offers an innovative and interdisciplinary focus on the central importance of digital technologies in today’s world.

For the public sphere to work means that everyone has a voice, and the way I look at the world now because of the Global Communications program is that the digital space is our new public sphere.

Cody Damon Alumnus '10
Skills for a Data Driven World

As a student of the Digital Cultures and Industries Track, you will acquire in-depth knowledge of theories, contexts and practices of digital media as well as their relationship to global cultures and communications industries. Building on a solid base of critical thought around the rise of digital media and current global debates, you can take on specialized topics such as mobile media, the new app economy, data and algorithmic cultures and digital advocacy. And to put ideas into action, choose from hands-on courses teaching skills such as data analysis and visualization, social media strategy, digital writing, multimedia storytelling, visual design and coding. Learning from digital media scholars and industry professionals alike, you are primed with the critical and practical skills and emerging literacies required to thrive and adapt in a transforming digital world.  

A diverse pool

Students pursuing this track may come from various backgrounds of work and study – advertising and PR, design and film, sociology, anthropology and psychology, writing and journalism – or be interested in pursuing careers in those fields. Whichever their individual talents, the Digital Cultures and Industries track prepares students for professional careers at the changing face of communications or further graduate study in emerging fields. 

Coursework and Research Masters

As in the regular MA in Global Communications program, coursework can be completed in three semesters, including the summer. The length of the internship or thesis may vary, however, many students choose to take additional time for these components.

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

CM5002 Brands And Belief

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).

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CM5026 Politics & Economics Of Global Media

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".

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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.

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CM5060 Visual Culture, Theory & Communication

This course considers the physical and cultural conditions of vision and viewing within today’s globalized media environment through a transcultural survey of theories and contexts. It presents the act of seeing and the creation of visual objects as activities balancing beliefs in objectivity with ideas of free choice and subjectivity within the circulation of visual information. Consumer packaging, eco-tourism, plastic surgery, bodybuilding, theme park design, subway mapping and screen formatting are some of the subjects to be considered. Students will learn how visual theories extend across cultures, how visual practices shape our identity and environment in fundamental ways, and how vision functions in conjunction with the other senses.

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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

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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.

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CM5091 Topics In Global Communication

Topics change each semester- see the current Academic Schedule for current course descriptions.

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CM5020 Magc Module

Topics for these intensive, practical modules change every semester.

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Explore the full Track Requirements

Experience the Track

Brands and Belief

Visit communications and PR agencies in London, a hotspot of contemporary media

Digital Tools in Context

Build a foundation of practical digital and data skills while exploring how they are implemented