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Media Studies Universities, Colleges and Schools in the U.S.

Media studies programs are highly inter-disciplinary, combining studies in subjects such as communications, technology, sociology, history and journalism, among other topics. Relevant programs are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

It is possible to earn a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in media studies. Students can find programs at public and private four-year colleges and universities around the country.

10 Schools with Media Studies Programs

College/University Location Institution Type Degree Levels Tuition (2016-2017)*
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Private bachelor's, master's, doctorate $25,721
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 4-year, Private bachelor's, doctorate $51,464, N/A***
Stanford University Stanford, CA 4-year, Private bachelor's, master's, doctorate $63,108
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC 4-year, Public bachelor's, doctorate $8,834, $11,606
Northwestern University Evanston, IL 4-year, Private bachelor's, master's, doctorate $67,232
Cornell University Ithaca, NY 4-year, Private bachelor's, doctorate $34,209, $20,800
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL 4-year, Public bachelor's $20,702
Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC 4-year, Private bachelor's, master's $48,746, $37,520
University of California-Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA 4-year, Public bachelor's, master's, doctorate $11,220
New York University New York, NY 4-year, Private bachelor's, master's, doctorate $49,062, $40,736

Sources: *School websites

**Doctoral students in media studies at the University of Pennsylvania receive tuition remission.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

School Selection Criteria

Here are some things to consider when choosing between media studies programs:

  • Students should consider the technological facilities of a university in order to ensure that they will have access to industry-standard software applications and computer equipment.
  • Students should find out what kind of internship opportunities are available through the school; because media studies is such a broad field, it is important for students to find a school with offerings in the industry where they want to work.
  • Students may want to look into any on-campus radio stations or television stations, which may provide relevant work experience.
  • Prospective graduate students who are considering research-focused programs should make sure that there are faculty members at the school with whom they share research interests.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

It is possible to major specifically in media studies or to choose the subject as a concentration within a broader journalism program. Bachelor's degree programs in media studies provide a broad overview of the field, covering media history, cultural and societal impacts of the media, political and ethical issues relating to media, and general journalism concepts. Some programs focus primarily on the theories of the field, while others offer a mixture of conceptual coursework and practical journalism training. Prior to graduation, students may have the opportunity to write an honors thesis.

Master's Degree Programs

Master of Arts (MA) in Media Studies programs allow students to take courses in more advanced topics and to direct their coursework toward particular areas of interest within this broad field. Some programs focus specifically on one area of media studies, such as new media. Students may be required to write a research-based thesis or complete a final project prior to graduation. In order to accommodate the needs of working professional, some programs are available in part-time or online formats.

Doctoral Degree Programs

For students who are interested in academic research in media studies, PhD programs emphasize advanced research under the supervision of a faculty member. These programs begin with core coursework that provides a broad foundation in the field and an introduction to standard research methods. After that, students take elective courses in their area of interest conduct research leading to a final dissertation. In addition, students may gain pedagogical experience through teaching assistantships, providing useful preparation for jobs as university professors in the future.

Media studies programs can lead to bachelor's, master's and PhD degrees. Students should base their university choice on the resources and career preparation opportunities offered through the school.


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