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Changes Are Coming to the Communication and Media Studies Major

Photo by Hannah White ’20

Revisions to the Communication and Media Studies major expand course offerings, giving students more flexibility and self-direction than in the past. Rather than changing the content of the major, these changes are mostly organizational.

Class options are now broader, giving students more freedom to choose classes that reflect their specific interests within the major. The communications field is very broad itself, so the expansion of course offerings is fitting.

Dr. Mark Flynn, Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies, has helped course offering expansion thanks to his expertise in public relations, health communications, and advertising. Flynn will teach a new Health Communication course in the Fall that explores various topics including doctor–patient communication, and how media impacts our health.

“I think being in the Longwood Medical area, Emmanuel is in such a great position to focus on health-related content. Within communications, it’s a growing field and I’ve found over the years students are graduating with a communication degree and end up getting jobs in the health field anyway, just because that’s where the jobs are,” Flynn said.

Many students in the past have felt frustration with requirements and trying to get into classes. These changes will hopefully give students more options. Brenna Gilmore ’17 is a Communication and Media Studies student who feels these changes will be very beneficial for students.

“The new classes offered sound a lot more tailored to the type of writing and work that I will be doing soon after I graduate and I am definitely disappointed that I didn’t have the opportunity to take them,” said Gilmore. “Many semesters I have felt incredibly limited and have only found a couple classes I am genuinely interested in for my major–and of course half the time those classes are offered in the same period so I am even more limited. I have cross-registered and signed up for classes I wasn’t that interested in just to remain a full time student. I am pleased with the variety of classes I was supposed to take but having more options within those categories would have been amazing.”

According to Dr. Andrea McDonnell, Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies, more art, political science, and writing courses are being added to the major. However, students are able to take as little or as few as they’d like depending on their interests.

The Media Practice category has seen the most benefits from these changes. Students can now take three courses of their choice. This allows them to be more explorative rather than limited as they were in the past.

“The organization of the major can really guide, and sometimes really limit the way that students move through the program. We hope that with the new program it offers the same, if not an enhanced educational outcome, but with more ability to have student direction and also with a slightly more enhanced emphasis on interdisciplinary connections,” said McDonnell.

The revised major will begin in Fall 2017 and current freshmen and sophomores should expect to follow the new major. In addition to Health Communication, some new courses include ENGL 3311: Ethics and Documentary Film, coming in Fall 2018–which is an older class that now has a permanent number– and Digital Culture, which will run in Spring 2018.

Students with any questions about these courses or the revisions made to the major in general can speak directly with either Dr. McDonnell or Dr. Flynn.

Hannah White ’20 is the Editorial Assistant of The Hub. She can be contacted at and is on Twitter as @hannnnerbananer.

Posted by on May 4, 2017. Filed under Around Campus. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.