2017-18 Catalogs

Communication and Media Studies Overview

Professors: Pierson, Shedletsky; Associate Professors: Panici; Assistant Professors: Ebben, Kivatisky; Lecturer: Gilbert; CMS Production Studio Manager and Lab Instructor: Ives, Administrative Specialist: Towns

The Department of Communication and Media Studies offers two bachelor of arts degrees, one in communication and the other in media studies. These two degree programs are distinct in several ways. In terms of focus, the communication degree program takes a broad view of communication, including the examination of face-to-face contexts and mediated ones. The media studies degree program more specifically focuses on media writing, criticism, and production. Another difference in these degree programs occurs at the senior level. Media studies majors prepare a senior project (intended to serve as a portfolio of their writing and/or production work) and participate in a service learning practicum (working for a community organization in a media capacity). Communication majors take two senior seminars. One seminar is chosen from a list of topics and the other is a capstone seminar designed to be a culmination of their undergraduate work and as a transition to graduate studies. Aside from the differences that make each program unique, the programs share a common core of courses that serve as a foundation for both. The two programs also embrace a liberal arts philosophy. This means that the emphasis is on critical thinking rather than vocational training.

The Department of Communication and Media Studies offers courses on both the Portland and Gorham campuses. Additionally, several CMS courses are offered online.  

All students must complete CMS 102: Introduction to Communication, CMS 103: Introduction to Media Studies, and CMS 200: Research Methods in Communication. These are the core courses that serve as the foundation for both degree programs. Introduction to Communication and Introduction to Media Studies provide students with an overview of the field. Research Methods in Communication prepares students to decipher and critically analyze various types of research. Students must receive a grade of C or higher in all required courses in their respective degree programs in order to graduate.

The Department of Communication and Media Studies is pleased to accept transfer credit from other accredited institutions of higher learning. Students wishing to receive credit for courses taken outside of USM will need to meet with their Communication or Media Studies faculty advisor, or if they do not have one, the chair of the Department in order to discuss specific courses. Students may transfer a maximum of 12 credits in the major. This limit applies to credits transferred from other institutions, credits earned through USM Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio evaluation, and to any combination of Transfer and PLA credit. Department Policy excludes the following major requirements – CMS 400 and CMS 450 (Media Studies), CMS 495 and the Senior Seminar (Communication) – from Transfer or PLA credit eligibility. The transfer of credits is at the discretion of the Department. Students are encouraged to contact the Department chair with any questions about the Department or our programs.

For students interested in pursuing a double major in Communication and Media Studies, please check the double major requirements posted on the Department's website. The Department also offers minors in Communication & Media Studies, Cinema Studies, Audio and Video Production, and Public Relations. The Department of Communication and Media Studies website is available through the directory on the University's web homepage.


Graduating with Distinction

Graduating with Distinction in Communication. For a B.A. degree in Communication with distinction, a student must achieve a 3.7 GPA or higher in courses taken in the major.

Graduating with Distinction in Media Studies. For a B.A. degree in Media Studies with distinction, a student must achieve a 3.7 GPA or higher in courses taken in the major.