Media and Communication Studies Requirements

  • Based in the liberal arts, our program focuses on the creation, criticism, and impact of communication in our global society. This program emphasizes the role of media as it intersects with technological and social change and the centrality of communication to identity, social order, and democratic processes.

    Drawing upon social scientific and humanistic traditions, students in Media & Communication Studies explore the breadth of the field—from oral and written language, to television, film and digital media. Students may opt to concentrate in one or more of the following areas: (1) journalism, (2) digital media studies, (3) communication and culture, and/or (4) screen studies. The major provides students with experience in media-making, qualitative and quantitative research methods, as well as critical thinking, speaking and writing competencies, which together are vital to professional success and to full membership in our participatory democracy. Students in this major are prepared for graduate study or employment in journalism, law, media industries, public policy and politics, public relations and advertising, as well as corporate communications and human resources.

    Majors are encouraged to study abroad and to complete an internship as part of their department and college requirements. Only one internship may count toward the MCS major. The College’s proximity to Philadelphia, the nation’s fourth largest media market, offers our students a range of internship opportunities in print, broadcast, cable, film, advertising, public relations and digital media.

    Majors are expected to participate actively in and to assume leadership roles with campus organizations associated with the field of communication. These include The Grizzly, the campus newspaper both print and online; WVOU, the campus online radio station; and BearVision, the campus YouTube network.

    Requirements for Majors

    A major in Media and Communication Studies consists of 40 semester hours of credit, including: MCS-201, 205, and 292W; one course selected from MCS-206–290; two courses selected from MCS-300–375; one capstone senior seminar selected from MCS-460W, 462W, 463W, or 464W, or completion of an Honors project in 492W; and at least three additional MCS elective courses. Any two courses from Film Studies (FS) and/or THEA-260, 261; TD-231, 232, or 233 may count towards the MCS elective requirement. Students who wish to focus on screen studies may request permission from the Chair to count additional FS classes toward the major.

    Majors are strongly encouraged to complete an internship (MCS-381 or 382); however, only one internship may count toward the MCS major. Up to four credits from MCS-001–016 may count towards the major. Students are encouraged to take STAT-140Q or 141Q to fulfill the college mathematics and “Q” requirement. Media and Communication Studies majors can fulfill the college oral presentation and capstone requirements by taking one of the following: MCS-460W, 462W, 463W, 464W, or 492W.

    Requirements for Minors

    A minor in media and communication studies consists of 20 credit hours including MCS-205, two MCS courses between 300–375 and two electives, one of which may be a Film Studies course or THEA-260, 261; TD-231, 232, or 233.

    Four MCS Areas of Concentration Within the Major

    These four areas of concentration are a guide for students who want to pursue a specific area within the communication field in greater depth based on interest and/or future plans. Students are not required to select concentrations and may fulfill the requirements for the major taking the core requirements and courses from any of the four areas.

    1.     Journalism

    Courses in this concentration provide students with a foundation in both the theoretical and practical aspects of journalism. Specifically, students develop skills that cross media platforms, and are encouraged to be conscientious and responsible media producers and citizens. Students interested in journalism are strongly recommended to include MCS-207 and a journalism-related internship in their course of study. 

    MCS-206, 207, 208, MCS/ART-209, MCS-210, 250, 315, 330, 360, 363, 366     

    2.     Digital Media Studies

    Courses in this concentration critically explore the interaction among emerging media technologies’ content, production, diffusion, and consumption across cultures. Whether analyzing social media friend networks, race/class/gender digital divides on the Internet, the impact of television’s move to streaming video, or producing and disseminating news and fiction online, students are challenged to ethically and thoughtfully produce content on these platforms while critically analyzing their social, economic, and political impact on audiences.

    MCS-208, 220, 225, 318, 321, 327, 348, 355, 366

    3.     Communication and Culture

    Courses in this concentration explore how communication produces, affirms and transforms culture and expresses the core values of our society. Students examine a broad range of human activities and practices, from how families communicate to advertising and political debates in order to understand how communication can be used to exercise power, to develop and affirm identities, and foster connections with others. Research approaches such as ethnography, discourse and textual analysis, and phenomenology provide a means to understand multiple perspectives on communication.

    MCS/ART-209; MCS/PSYC-268; MCS-302, 305, 307, 340, 342, 348, 330, 350, 358, 462W

    4.     Screen Studies

    Courses in this concentration are designed to help students achieve a critical and historical understanding of film, television and other visual media, as well as gain experience in media production. Students will examine how visual, audio and narrative elements produce meaning, and the relationship between visual studies and culture.

    MCS-225; MCS/GWMS-319; MCS-321, 344, 351, 352, 360, 363; FS-101, 235, 250, 251, 252, 253, 265, 305

    S/U Guidance

    The only S/S-/U courses that can count towards the major or minor are those MCS courses that are designated as S/S-/U in the catalog.