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Major

Communication and Media focuses on history, content and impact of media.

The mission of the Communication and Media major is to study and teach about the mass media and emerging media: Their evolution, their effects, their uses by everyday people, and their regulation and industry practices. We cultivate thorough-going media literacy among our students, and produce cutting-edge scholarship about the media’s impact on individuals and society.

Four crucial reasons for studying media:

  • Enormous influence on our culture and those around the world
  • Role in shaping our individual and collective identities (including our attitudes toward others)
  • Centrality to every day life, politics, the economy, and public policy
  • Impact on democratic institutions

Key elements of the major are:

  • Classes taught by world-renowned faculty
  • Small, upper-level seminars examining a range of issues like impact of mobile communications, gender and media, media and public opinion, health and media, media and globalization, media effects on individuals and society
  • Emphasis on critical thinking and writing
  • Opportunity to include study abroad, research and transfer credit towards major elective requirement
  • A Senior Thesis Program that is providing unique support to students interested in pursuing and presenting their own research
  • Combining classroom training with internship opportunities in a variety of media-related fields
  • Opportunity to learn about careers and network with outstanding U-M alumni through our Career Exploration events and Shadowships

Declare Comm and Media Major

Prerequisites to Declare the Communication and Media Major

Two prerequisite courses (COMM 101 and COMM 102) must be completed prior to declaration. COMM 101 and 102 must be completed with a grade of C- or higher in each course. 

COMM 101 - The Media, Past and Present

This class provides an introduction to the evolution and impact of the mass media and digital media on American culture.  Because the media have been, since the late 19th century, the major storytellers of our time, we will focus on the stories they have told us over the years, and provide you with important stories about the media, past and present. We will review the ideological, technological, industrial, and regulatory developments that have produced our existing media ecosystem, and consider how media content has, over the years, inspired considerable controversy over who should get to tell stories through the media and should not. Our goal is to provide you with a sense of the strong connections between the history of the mass media and their present-day formations and uses in the United States, and to provide you with the critical tools and language to deconstruct their storytelling assumptions and techniques.

COMM 102 - Media Processes and Effects

Despite dramatic changes in the media landscape, we still take the media for granted. Having access to information, communication, and content through media is an increasingly important part of the social landscape. Starting with its historical roots, this class traces the uses and consequences of mediated messages and communication technology. The class emphasizes research that has developed within the social science tradition. In that sense, it complements COMM 101, which emphasizes developments from critical and cultural studies. Throughout the term, students will have opportunities to both learn and directly experience social science research on the uses and consequences of today’s and yesterday’s media.

Major Requirements

Minimum Credits: 28

At least 28 credits in Communication and Media. These must include the following:

  1. Communication and Media Upper-Level Writing:  One course from courses numbered COMM 350-399 or senior thesis seminar COMM 452/492.
  2. Communication and Media Capstone Seminar: One course from courses numbered COMM 450-499 (3 credits). Students may choose to take a capstone seminar or senior thesis course* to fulfill this requirement.  Only one capstone seminar can be taken for credit.  
  3. Additional Advanced Communication and Media Credits: 22 additional credits from courses numbered COMM 200-449 (not included in 1. and 2. above).  No more than 8 credits may come from courses numbered 200-289.  No more than three credits of independent reading/research (COMM 322/441/442) can be used to meet this requirement.