Jul 21, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog 
2024-2025 Catalog

Media Studies, B.A.

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Program of Study

Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies provides students with theoretically focused and application-based frameworks to understand media, media technology, and its influence upon domestic and global culture and society. Students will study theoretically grounded approaches to a variety of media, becoming sensitive to the ways power affects media creation, distribution, representation, reception, use, access, and change. Students will explore and contribute to a lively and stimulating socially conscious intellectual environment – one that allows every student to expand the scope of his or her cultural and educational experience. The program is broad-based, focusing on studies of a wide range of traditional, alternative, historical, contemporary, and emerging media within their cultural, social, historical, economic, global, and political contexts. The goal of the degree program is to help students become theoretically informed navigators and critical consumers of media texts; skills useful for citizens of a dynamically mediated world.

The program requirements for a degree in Media Studies include core courses, which form the foundation of study, and electives to allow the student to develop their interests according to their intellectual and career goals. As all course work is aligned with the three cornerstones of the degree – Theory and Application, Social and Cultural Impacts, Media History and Trends – the core program provides a theoretical and methodological foundation for critically analyzing and engaging with media in a variety of situations.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies will be able to:

  1. Analyze a media topic, form, or theme from a variety of perspectives or levels of analysis.
  2. Identify media as a mode of creating, sustaining, and reflecting individuals, cultures, communities, and organizations.
  3. Analyze ethical and power-related issues pertaining to a variety of media forms.
  4. Interpret shifts in media technology and context.

Career Opportunities

With a foundation in studies of media ownership, law, and policy; media texts and content; media audiences and users; digital media; and global media, the major provides students with an understanding of the types of issues that shape media-related careers and products as well as human interaction with media technologies.The B.A. will prepare students for a variety of occupations that develop, use, and analyze media. These include:

  • Consultant and management positions in media-intensive enterprises.
  • Careers in usability, communication, and media technology interface, and social networking.
  • Positions that work with media in advertising, marketing, promotions, and public relations in departments of private, government, and public service organizations.


High school students should take four years of English, including composition.

Social Science and civics courses, including history and economics, are encouraged. Familiarity with digital media is also desirable.

Transfer Students

Community college transfer students may transfer a maximum of six (6) lower-division units and must have earned a grade of C (2.0) or higher in the coursework to be counted for credit toward preparation for the major.

Special Conditions for the Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies

All courses taken for the major, including Preparation for the Major courses, must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better. A minimum of eighteen (18) units of upper-division credits must be earned at CSUSM.

Media Studies students are strongly advised to take MDIA 360  prior to or concurrently with other 300-level Media Studies courses and must take it prior to enrolling in 400-level courses. Students may apply a maximum of 6 units of Independent study (MDIA 499) and/or Internship (MDIA 495 ) toward the Media Studies degree. Students may count a maximum of 3 courses (typically, 9 units) of additional pertinent upper-division CSUSM elective coursework taken inside or outside the Communication department toward the Media Studies degree. These media-related courses may include Communication department courses related to Media Studies, as well as media-related courses offered by other CSUSM departments and programs (see sample course list below).

Students are responsible for consulting with their faculty advisor prior to selecting courses to confirm their applicability toward the degree program. Your faculty advisor must approve courses selected from outside the Communication department. In addition to seeking Communication department faculty advisor approval, students should be aware that courses outside the Communication department may have prerequisites or restrictions specified by the department or program offering the course. Students should consult the catalog and check with the instructor to confirm their ability to enroll.

General Education (48 Units)

General Education Requirements  

Language Proficiency (0-9 Units)

All Media Studies majors must meet a second-language proficiency requirement. This is satisfied with a 200-level class or demonstrating proficiency in a language other than English. For details on how to satisfy this requirement, please refer to Language Proficiency Requirement  .

Breadth Requirement (3 Units)

Additional course in Upper Division Social Sciences (DD designated) outside the major. This requirement can also count as the DD requirement in Upper Division General Education, but it must be taken in a Social Science or Interdisciplinary program other than Media Studies and Communication. Any course carrying the DD designation outside of Media Studies and Communication can be used to fulfill this requirement. If students choose to satisfy their UDGE DD with a course outside the major, the breadth requirement will become 3 free elective units.

Interdisciplinary Social Science Requirement (3 units)

All Media Studies majors must meet an Interdisciplinary Social Science (IDSS) requirement. This is satisfied with an approved lower-division interdisciplinary social science course from one of the following departments or programs: American Indian Studies, Anthropology, Border Studies, Environmental Studies, Ethnic Studies, Geography, Global Studies, Linguistics, Social Sciences, and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. 

The course taken to satisfy IDSS cannot double count with other major requirements and must be outside the student’s major discipline.

Preparation for Major (9 Units)

Major Requirements (39 Units)

Upper-Division Electives (24 Units)

Other Media-Related Electives (9 Units)

Students must take an additional nine (9) units of electives, either from the MDIA electives list above and/or from other upper-division courses offered in the Communication department (COMM) or other programs and departments in the College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences (CHABSS) with a clear media emphasis. Sample electives are provided as follows, but other electives may also apply. Check with your faculty advisor for approval.

Minimum Total (120 Units)

Students must take a sufficient number of elective units to bring total to number of units to a minimum of 120 units.

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