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EIU Master of Arts in Communication Studies


Media and Critical Studies

The focus of the Media and Critical Studies concentration is to explore various literatures that highlight institutionalized and structural power differentials as they relate to rhetorical and discursive constructions of race and ethnicity, gender, socio-economic class, sexuality, and global/geographical location. Situated within a framework that highlights studies in rhetoric and media within the communication discipline, Media and Critical Studies is an exploration of theory and practice. The curriculum exposes students to numerous theoretical approaches including, but not limited to, Marxism, the political economy of communication, semiotics and visual studies, feminism, queer studies, race and identity politics, gender studies, media and representation, and postcolonial studies.

An ostensible goal of Media and Critical Studies is to not only theorize and critique, but to actively implement social change. In an effort to meet such a goal, graduate students have chosen careers with non-profit organizations, including work in an array of health and human service agencies. Additionally, students may go on to work on political or activist campaigns, engage in critical media/video production, or contribute to a host of activist organizations. Students can also enjoy careers teaching community college, teaching abroad, or working for educational programs that serve underprivileged groups within the United States.

The Media and Critical Studies concentration also provides the necessary theoretical and methodological foundation for students to continue their education and research in doctoral programs across the country.

Department Core Courses

Students will complete a core of 6 semester hours composed of the following courses:

  • CMN5020- Communication Theory. Credits: 3
  • CMN5040- Communication Research Methods. Credits: 3 

Concentration Area

Students will complete 18 hours in one of three concentration areas composed of the following courses:

Media and Critical Studies

  • CMN4770- Television Criticism. Credits: 3
  • CMN4775- Documentary Film Making. Credits: 3
  • CMN4820- Political Communication. Credits: 3
  • CMN5015- Communication Ethic. Credits: 3
  • CMN5030- Critical Inquiry. Credits: 3
  • CMN5610- Media Criticism. Credits: 3
  • CMN5010- Rhetorical Theory. Credits: 3
  • CMN5180- Seminar in Rhetoric. Credits: 3
  • CMN5160- Seminar in Mass Communication. Credits: 3
  • CMN5240- Communication Pedagogy. Credits: 3
  • CMN5550- Special Topics in Communication. Credits: 3
  • CMN5650- Digital Communication. Credits: 3


Recent Research

For the Media and Critical Studies concentration, the following research capstone projects have recently been completed by EIU students:


"Q/A: A Semiotic Deconstruction of Narrative Transportation on Episodic Television"
Student: Josh Grube
Advisor: S.M. Walus, Ph.D.


"Terministic Screening and Conspiracy Theory in Political Communication: A Critical Analysis of Trump’s Rhetorical Ties to FAIR and Alex Jones Through “Invasion” Immigration Discourse"
Student: Emily A. Wiedeman
Advisor: Marita Gronnvoll, Ph.D.


"Only in It for the News: Satire Television Pilot Critiquing the Structure of Television News"
Student: Dakota Pruemer
Advisor: S.M. Walus, Ph.D.


"Of music and media: A producer study of promotional encoding of social media through the lenses of paratext and medium theory"
Student: Connor Wilcox
Advisor: S.M. Walus, Ph.D.

"A long strange tip through the evolution of fan production, fan-branding, and historical representation in the online Grateful Dead Archive"
Student: Anna Richardson
Advisor: S.M. Walus, Ph.D.


"I'm very much myself": The construction and communication of ASMRtist identities
Student: Tori Weinberg
Advisor: Richard Jones, Jr. Ph.D.


Sexual and political affairs: Representation of woman in American news media
Student: Melissa Beal 
Advisor: Marita Gronnvoll, Ph.D.

“They want all of your kids to be gay and oppose God”: Incivility and othering in Yahoo! News comments
Student: Emily Vajjala 
Advisor: Richard Jones Jr., Ph.D.


Those who slay together, stay together: A thematic analysis of concert fan narratives and the I-57 youth punk music scene
Student: Michael Janowski 
Advisor: S.M. Walus, Ph.D.

Video game cultivation: Sowing the seeds of consumer behavior 
Student: Jonathon Mattson 
Advisor: S.M. Walus, Ph.D.

Coordination and symbolic convergence at the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center
Student: Jessica McDonald 
Advisor: Melanie Mills, Ph.D.

Soldier's Home
Student: Andrew McLaughlin 
Advisor: David Gracon, Ph.D.

Pygmalion Music Festival as alternative media?: A critical analysis of the intersection of independence and corporatization
Student: Patrick Singer
Advisor: David Gracon, Ph.D.


Hegemonic Peter? A Critical Analysis of Hegemonic Masculinity in the world of Family Guy
Student: Justin Danowski
Advisor: David Gracon, Ph.D.

A plaguing militainment: Ideology, metaphor, and interpellation in THQ's "Homefront"
Student: Brendan Hughes
Advisor: Marita Gronnvoll, Ph.D.

Spaces of Marginalization = Margins of Resistance and Hope: Congolese Women’s Testimonies Facilitate Rhetorical Agency
Student: Saunnie E. Knotts
Advisor: T. M. Linda Scholz, Ph.D.

Related Pages

Contact Information

Angela S. Jacobs, Ph.D.
Graduate Coordinator

Buzzard 2419

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