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Major

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 are dedicated to cultivating thorough-going media literacy among our students, and to producing cutting-edge scholarship about the media’s impact on individuals and society.

Communication and Media focuses on history, content and impact of mass media and new, emerging media. Four crucial reasons for studying mass 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:

  • Introductory 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

How to declare the 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 Mass Media

This course provides an introduction to the history and impact of mass media on American culture through advertising, news, radio, television programming, the Internet, and popular music. It reviews ideological, technological, and regulatory developments that produced our existing media system; and analytical tools and techniques that enhance media literacy. Topics include: media's role in shaping attitudes towards race, gender, sexuality and class; relationship between media and society; and language and skills for critically evaluating media's assumptions and techniques.

COMM 102 - Media Processes and Effects

Americans are immersed in the media like fish in water. The average adult spends two-thirds of his or her waking time consuming media, often more than one type at a time. Many people believe the media have little effect, but research shows they are wrong. This course describes the effects of media on thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and behaviors, and reasons why the media affect us. It includes review and evaluation of media research articles and participation in media research studies.

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.