Master of Communication Studies

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Fiji placement enlightens aspiring climate change journalists

A two-week journalism stint in Fiji, dubbed “Bearing Witness”, has lent new perspectives on the effects of climate change on AUT journalism student Ami Dhabuwala and graduate TJ Aumua.

The project, sponsored by AUT’s Research and Innovation Office (RIO), gave the two aspiring journalists a chance to meet Pacific climate change experts, and experience first-hand themselves the impact of climate change on everyday lives in Daku, a small village in Fiji. 

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The Master of Communication Studies is a postgraduate research degree. You have the possibility to mix creative and traditional academic work in the first year of taught papers and extend your knowledge and skills into your research in the second year. Supervision staff have expertise across a range of fields, from journalism to organisational communication, radio to critical discourse analysis, political economy to digital media production, and film studies to public relations.

Quick facts

Programme Code: AK1323
Level: 9
Points: 180
Duration: 1 1/2 years full-time / up to 4 years part-time
Venue: City Campus
Start date: 17 July 2017, 26 Feb and 16 July 2018

Entry requirements

In order to be admitted to the Master of Communication Studies an applicant must have completed the following or equivalent:

(a)  the Bachelor of Communication Studies or

(b)  a relevant graduate diploma

(c)  Postgraduate Certificate in Communication Studies

(d)  Postgraduate Diploma in Communication Studies

(e)  Bachelor of Communication Studies (Honours)

An applicant must have completed (a) or (b) with a B grade average or higher at level 7, or (c), (d) or (e) with a B grade average or higher across the programme.

An applicant may be required to attend a selection interview.

Additional entry & selection criteria

Guidelines to entry


To qualify for the Master of Communication Studies, a student must complete 180 points.

Paper choice is flexible but includes a core research methods paper and at least one paper that contextualises developments in media and communication studies. Further choices include other contextually oriented papers and a range of creatively focused papers.

You will complete a dissertation, in consultation with the programme leader and a supervisor who advises you about the design of your research. The dissertation can be produced either in a traditional academic format or in parts as a creative research component (such as a screenplay, an in-depth journalism piece, digital media artifact, radio programme, or public relations campaign).

Dissertations that include a creative component will also include an analysis that places the creative work in its critical, theoretical, historical and personal context.

Select 15 points:
Research Methodology
COMM802 Practice-Based Research Methods (15 points)
COMM807 Media Communication Research Methods (15 points)

Select 75 points:
Media Context
COMM801 Popular Media and Contemporary Society (15 points)
COMM803 A Political Economy Approach to the Media (15 points)
COMM804 Celebrity Culture: Media and the Social Organisation of Fame (15 points)
COMM810 New Media and Society (15 points)
COMM812 Selected Topics in Media Communication Practice (15 points)
COMM814 Global Crises and the Media (15 points)
COMM815 Mediated Political Talk (15 points)

Communications & Public Relations
PUBL801 International Public Relations (15 points)
PUBL802 Journalism and Media Relations (15 points)
PUBL803 Strategic Public Relations (15 points)
PUBL804 Public Relations Concepts and Critique (15 points)
PUBL805 Public Relations Project (30 points)
PUBL806 Global Communication Project (15 points)
PUBL807 Health Communication (15 points)
PUBL808 Advocacy and Activism (15 points)

Creative Industries
CIND801 Critiquing Creative Organisations (15 points)
CIND802 The Creative Industries, Culture and the Market Place (15 points)

Digital Media
DIGM801 Online and Social Media Management (15 points)
DIGM802 Digital Visual Communication (15 points)
DIGM803 Interactive and Mobile Media (15 points)
DIGM804 Moving Image (15 points)
DIGM805 Web Media (15 points)
DIGM806 Transnarrative (15 points)
DIGM807 Digital Interaction and User Engagement (15 points)
DIGM808 Digital Strategies (15 points)

JOUR800 Magazine Journalism (15 points)
JOUR801 Asia-Pacific Journalism Studies (15 points)
JOUR802 Investigative and Agenda-Setting Journalism (15 points)
JOUR803 Journalism Law and Ethics (15 points)
JOUR804 Journalism Theory and Practice (15 points)
JOUR805 News Editing and Design Workshop (15 points)
JOUR806 Public Affairs Reporting Workshop (15 points)
JOUR807 News Reporting (30 points)
JOUR808 Audio-Visual News Production (15 points)
JOUR809 Newsroom Production (30 points)
JOUR810 International Journalism Project (15 points) (More information)

RADC801 Radio (15 points)

Screen Production
TVSP801 Practical Screen Production (15 points)
TVSP802 Advanced Non Fiction Screenwriting (15 points)
TVSP804 Documentary Studies (15 points)
TVSP805 Producing for the Screen (15 points)
TVSP808 New Directions in Screen Production (15 points)
TVSP809 New Zealand / Pacific Documentary Studies (15 points)
TVSP810 Screen Project: Directing (15 points)

Additional Papers
ADVT880 Understanding Brand Communication in a Culture of Promotion (15 points)
ADVT881 Brand Communication Studio (15 points)
ADVT883 Brand Stories (15 points)
ADVT884 Not-for-profit Communication (15 points)
ADVT885 Retail Engagement (15 points)
ADVT886 Social Marketing (15 points)
COMM805 Cooperative Education (30 points)
COMM806 Media Communication Reading Paper (15 points)
COMM811 Project (30 points)
COMM895 Dissertation (A) (30 points)
COMM897 Dissertation (B) (60 points)
Or any other postgraduate paper approved by the programme leader.

COMM998 Communication Studies Thesis (90 points)

Click here to view programme structure and paper outlines.

Additional course information can also be found here.

Enrolment in papers is subject to meeting all requirements and availability of papers.

Please email for programme information and availability of papers.

Last updated: 01-Mar-2018 3.48pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.