Communication is an ancient field of study, tracing its roots to the Golden Age of Greece when Aristotle studied rhetoric, the art of persuasion. Citizen participation in politics was at the heart of Greek democracy and the power of the spoken word was key to participation.

 During the 20th Century, communication inquiry began to broaden beyond its traditional focus to include knowledge gained from psychology, sociology, anthropology, and other contemporary fields of study.  Scholars examined the effects of communication on attitude formation, interpersonal relationships, group decision making, and organizational behavior.  Meanwhile, the introduction of radio, television, and film further expanded the scope of the discipline. 

Today, students and faculty consider issues involving gender and communication, multiculturalism, ethics, health communication, media and public policy, and other current topics.  Understanding the process of communication is as important to our democracy as public speaking was for the ancient Greeks. 

 The bachelor of arts degree in communication provides comprehensive knowledge about the nature of communication, the symbol systems by which it functions, the environments in which it occurs, its media, and its effects.  Employing critical and empirical approaches, the program spans the social sciences, humanities, and fine arts.

The bachelor of arts in media studies focuses on understanding, creating, and exploiting various social and participatory media through a program of integrated courses in media writing, criticism, and production.  Our goal is to graduate literate, capable, and responsible media professionals. 

The Communication and Media Studies Department also offers two minors.  The minor in cinema studies and the minor in communication and media studies.

News & Events

Student working in production studio.
Students of the CMS 440/441 Advanced Field Video Production Spring 2015 course hosted actor auditions to cast roles for their short dramatic scenes. The finished films will be screened at the 2015 Academic Film Showcase on May 6th in Talbot Auditorium on the Portland campus.
Ryan Weed, Anthony Dighello, Alyssa Thomsen
The short documentary, A National Heritage-Schoodic Peninsula, by Alyssa Thomson, Anthony Dighello, Derek Goodrich, and Ryan Weed has been accepted into the USM Juried Student Exhibition.
Brittany Pace
Brittany Pace, senior in media studies and theatre, will be interning for the Summer 2015 semester at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, the longest running international dance festival in the United States. Brittany, along with one other intern, will be filming all aspects of this prestigious international festival. She will also be involved with theatrical processes of many performances at the festival.

The Cinema Studies Minor

The Circus poster with Charlie Chaplin

The Cinema Studies minor offers students a multidimensional understanding of film as form of art, product of industry, and mode of communication. The program can serve as a base of knowledge for students intending to enter careers in the media, as a foundation for further study, and/or as the opportunity to gain deeper insight into one of the most culturally significant media of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.  For more information, contact Matthew Killmeier.

Internships in Communication and Media Studies

Interested in an internship in communication and media studies? Communication majors should contact Russell Kivatisky (russellk@maine.edu) and media studies majors contact Dennis Gilbert (dgilbert@maine.edu) regarding credit requirements.