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Study Communication Studies at Otago

Make sense of your world.

Communication Studies focuses on the social, technological, political and cultural implications of current and changing communicative practices and networks.

With an emphasis on social and media-based communication, courses initiate a critical and creative understanding of digital, broadcast, print and mobile communication, and develop written and screens-based skills. These are central to comprehending the role of media and communication industries and practices in the wider context of society and culture.

Challenge your mind and broaden your views in a diverse, stimulating learning environment that demands you be critical, creative and innovative.

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Why study Communication Studies?

Our courses will challenge your mind, broaden your views, and help you develop an increased awareness of transformations in society and culture.

Our goal is to prepare students to take their place as responsible and engaged citizens, who are critical, creative and innovative, equipped to connect with a diverse and fast-changing media world and to productively contribute to their communities and chosen professions. To serve this goal, our scholarship and teaching is interdisciplinary, inventive, and practical.

But that is not all that we do. Almost all employers look for fundamental life-long skills – literacy, numeracy, communication skills, the ability to lead and contribute to teams, as well as the ability to solve problems through dependable research. All of these skills are taught in our programme; they underlie most of what we do. We also value and develop an understanding of cultural diversity and differing perspectives, so it is not surprising that our graduates are to be found in many walks of life.

We have a well-established record of teaching and research, and staff who are internationally recognised in their disciplines.

Career opportunities

Our graduates work in a variety of fields,including media production, journalism, education, advertising, administration, archival and curatorial work, media policy analysis, public relations, tourism, and some go on to postgraduate study in our Honours, Masters and PhD programmes. A degree from our Programme prepares you for a wide range of career options, including career pathways that might not yet exist.

Communication Studies at Otago

Communication studies is one of two majors offered by the Media, Film and Communication Studies Programme. The other major is Film and Media Studies.

Teaching style

Our academic staff are experts in their fields (you can read about their areas of interest on our staff page on our website.)  You will learn from the people who are doing the research. Our papers are designed to help you engage with cutting edge research and ideas through a range of coursework and assessment that will help you develop your written, oral and visual communication skills and critical competencies.

Background required

No prior background is required.


Communication Studies as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BCom, BEntr, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree

Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Entrepreneurship (BEntr), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree


MFCO 102 Understanding Contemporary Media

MFCO 103 Introduction to Communication Studies



Above 100-level

MFCO 202 Theory of Communication Studies

Two further MFCO papers, of which one must be above 200-level

Note: GEND 205 or 305 may be substituted for one MFCO paper at the same level.


Total 90

MFCO papers

Paper Code Year Title Points Teaching period
MFCO101 2024 Screen Form and Culture 18 Semester 1
MFCO102 2024 Media, Power, Society 18 Semester 2
MFCO103 2024 Introduction to Communication Studies 18 Semester 1
MFCO201 2024 The History of Film 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO202 2024 Theory of Communication Studies 18 Semester 1
MFCO203 2024 Media History 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO205 2024 Communication Research Methods 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO210 2024 Theory of Film and Media 18 Semester 2
MFCO212 2024 Media and Intercultural Communication 18 Semester 1
MFCO213 2024 Media Genres 18 Semester 2
MFCO216 2024 New Zealand Cinema 18 Semester 1
MFCO217 2024 Television Studies 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO220 2024 Writing for the Media 18 Semester 1
MFCO222 2024 Science, Technology, and Society 18 Semester 2
MFCO223 2024 Documentary and Reality Media 18 Semester 2
MFCO224 2024 Studying Selfies: Celebrity, Surveillance and Cyberspace 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO231 2024 Special Topic: Journalism Now: Seeking the Truth in a World of Disinformation and Fake News 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO242 2024 Special Topic 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO251 2024 Television Studio Production 18 Semester 2
MFCO301 2024 Critical Problems in Film and Media 18 Semester 2
MFCO303 2024 Critical Problems in Communication Studies 18 Semester 1
MFCO312 2024 Communication and the City 18 Semester 2
MFCO313 2024 Culture, Politics, Policy and Global Media 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO314 2024 French Cinema 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO315 2024 Digital Media and Society 18 Semester 2
MFCO316 2024 German Cinema 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO317 2024 Digital Culture 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO318 2024 Indigenous Media 18 Semester 1
MFCO319 2024 Contemporary American Cinema 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO330 2024 Special Topic 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO333 2024 Film Festivals 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO401 2024 Advanced Media, Film and Communication Theory 20 Full Year
MFCO406 2024 Audience Studies 20 Not offered in 2024
MFCO408 2024 A Topic in Cinema, Gender and Sexuality 20 Not offered in 2024
MFCO409 2024 Advanced Media History 20 Not offered in 2024
MFCO410 2024 Documentary Film and Media 20 Not offered in 2024
MFCO412 2024 Communicating the Self 20 Not offered in 2024
MFCO414 2024 Discourse Theory and Practice 20 Semester 2
MFCO441 2024 Special Topic: Digital Asia 20 Not offered in 2024
MFCO490 2024 Dissertation 60 Full Year, 1st Non standard period
MFCO590 2024 Research Dissertation 60 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period

More information

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Media, Film and Communication Programme
School of Social Sciences

Studying at Otago

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Regulations on this page are taken from the 2024 Calendar and supplementary material.

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