Top Media Studies Graduate Programs: List of Schools

Find out about the top media studies graduate programs in the United States. Learn about degree options and the research areas graduate students can pursue at these schools.

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Top Media Studies Graduate Schools

Prospective graduate students who are interested in media studies can find relevant programs offered through a university's school of communication or English department. Degrees are available at the master's and doctoral levels.

School Overviews

Three of the top schools offering graduate media studies programs are the University of Texas at Austin, Pennsylvania State University, and Arizona State University. All of these schools offer master's programs in the field, and the University of Texas at Austin also offers a Ph.D. program with full tuition coverage. They were all nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report for 2017.

1. The University of Texas at Austin

School Highlight: At the University of Texas at Austin, the University's Radio-Television-Film department has a media library solely for the use of RTF graduate students and faculty

The University of Texas at Austin (UT) was ranked 56th among U.S. universities by U.S. News & World Report in 2017. Students interested in pursuing media studies at this highly-ranked university can enroll in UT's Moody College of Communication, which is home to the Department of Radio-Television-Film (RTF) and the university's media studies program. RTF offers master's and Ph.D. programs in media studies with research area options in film and television, communication technologies and gender and sexuality issues in the media.

Students can choose to complete the master's degree with a thesis option (30 credit hours) or with a report option (33 credit hours). Ph.D. students get guaranteed tuition funding to complete the required 48 credit hours and dissertation.

2. Pennsylvania State University in University Park

School Highlight: Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pennsylvania: The Jimirro Center for the Study of Media Influence and the Media Effects Research Lab are available for graduate student research.

In 2017, Pennsylvania State University (PSU) was ranked the 50th best university in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. PSU's College of Communication offers an M.A. in Media Studies that examines the role and implications of mass media in society. The program requires a research thesis and is designed to prepare students for doctoral studies in mass communication or to work in government or business positions where an understanding of the mass media's systems, cultures and processes is required.

3. Arizona State University

School Highlight: At Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, the film and media studies program hosts a speaker series that brings in well-known actors, directors, and other media artists. Arizona State University was ranked 61st on the U.S. News and World Report list of the best public schools in the country for 2017, and it took the top spot on the publication's list of the most innovative schools.

The Department of English at Arizona State offers a Master of Advanced Study (MAS) degree in American Media and Popular Culture. This program is available at the Tempe campus or entirely online. Students study film, television, and digital media and the program culminates in an applied project.

Top Media Studies Graduate Programs

Other top graduate programs in media studies can also be found at these top universities:

College/University Name Distinction Location
Brigham Young University School hosts a Mormon media studies conference Provo, UT
Indiana University - Bloomington School houses many media archives, including the Black Film Center & Archives and the Kinsey Institute archives Bloomington, IN
Michigan State University On-campus radio and TV station, WKAR, is part of the College of Communication Arts & Sciences East Lansing, MI
New York University Graduate media students can study abroad in Asia, Europe and Latin America New York, NY
University of Florida Graduate students can use equipment from UF's Center for Film and Media Studies to produce their own films Gainesville, FL
University of Georgia Grady College of Communication is the home to the Peabody Awards, which recognize excellence in electronic media storytelling Athens, GA
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Ranked 26th among top public schools in the nation in 2017 by U.S. News & World Report Minneapolis, MN

For graduate students who want to pursue advanced coursework in the broad field of media, there are a variety of graduate-level offerings at well-regarded universities.

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