Skip To Content

Undergraduate Calendar 2012|13

Communication Studies

Bachelor of Professional Arts
Communication Studies Major

Regulations effective September 1, 2011.

The Bachelor of Professional Arts Communication Studies major is offered by Athabasca University’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies. The program encourages students to apply their professional knowledge within a national and international context of mass media and communication.

Enrolment Requirements

The BPA Communication Studies major is available to:

  • graduates of an approved two- or three-year communications-related diploma (e.g., public relations, advertising, journalism, multi-media, broadcasting, library and information studies, legal assistant, and marketing);
  • graduates of a previous undergraduate university degree in an unrelated discipline (with at least one year of professional practice relevant to the Communications Studies major); or,
  • students with a minimum of two years of university-level coursework (with at least one year of professional practice relevant to the Communications Studies major).

Coursework and credentials must have been obtained from a college, university, or institute of technology approved by Athabasca University. Individuals who have questions about the eligibility of their previous education for admission are strongly encouraged to contact the program coordinator.

Prior Learning

Some students may qualify for

  1. a maximum of 60 credits of Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) towards entry to this program, or,
  2. a maximum of 30 credits towards senior credit once they are accepted into the program.

To learn more about PLAR opportunities within the Communication Studies program, please contact your program coordinator or the Centre for Learning Accreditation.

Classroom Setting

In addition to completing BPA Communication Studies major through online and distance learning, students may have the option to take courses in a classroom setting. Contact your program coordinator for a listing of grouped study courses.

Common Core

The common core courses may be taken at any time; however, students are encouraged to complete the common core courses early in their program. The common core addresses skills and knowledge that will help students succeed with the remaining degree requirements.

Program Learning Outcomes

Athabasca University has developed program learning outcomes that describe the career options that may be available to you upon graduating. For more information regarding this major, contact the program coordinator.

Bachelor of Professional Arts program

Program Structure

Common Core credits 12
Major Courses credits 30
Options credits 18
Residency requirement. A minimum of 30 credits must be obtained through Athabasca University. 30
Graduation with Distinction or Great Distinction. At least 24 credits must be obtained through Athabasca University in order to be considered. 24
Maximum Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) credits *see Prior Learning above

Major Courses (30 credits)

Required Major Courses (9 credits)

CMNS 301 Communication Theory and Analysis (3)
CMNS 302 Communication in History (3)
CMNS 401 Cultural Policy in Canada (3)

And 21 credits selected from the following list*
(minimum of 12 credits at the 400 level).

*Note: Students may use any CMNS course to meet the 21 credits required in this area.

CMNS 201 Introduction to Mass Media (3)
CMNS 202/POLI 291 Media and Power in Canadian Society (3)
CMNS 308 Understanding Statistical Evidence (3)
CMNS 311 Mass Media and the Law (3)
CMNS 315 Understanding Media Literacy: Inside Plato’s Cave (3)
CMNS 321 Computing in Everyday Life (3)
CMNS 333 Research Methods in Communication Studies (3)
CMNS 358 Popular Culture and the Media (3)
CMNS 370/371 Individual / Group Projects (3)
CMNS 380 Corporate Communication (3)
CMNS 385/SOCI 378 Social Problems and Social Movements (3)
CMNS 402 International Media Systems I —The Americas (3)
CMNS 419 Digital Storytelling (3)
CMNS 420 Topics in Communication: Children and Media (3)
CMNS 421 Being Online (3)
CMNS 423 The Television Age (3)
CMNS 425 Film and Genre (3)
CMNS 444 Media Relations (3)
CMNS 445 Directed Readings in Communication Studies (3)
CMNS 450/451 Individual / Group Projects (3)
CMNS 455 Media Ethics (3)
POEC 302 Introduction to Political Economy (3)
POEC 393 Canada and the Global Political Economy (3)
POLI 309 Canadian Government and Politics (3)
SOCI 435 Theories of Social Change (3)
  A senior research methods course, e.g., SOSC 366 Research Methods in the Social Sciences (3)

Options (18 credits)

18 credits from any discipline (a maximum of three credits allowed at the junior (200) level).


Information effective Sept. 1, 2011 to Aug. 31, 2012.

Updated December 19, 2018