Media & Communication Studies

On this page: Major Description | Requirements | Learning Objectives | Faculty & Staff | Courses 

The Media & Communication Studies Major

The Media and Communication Studies (MCS) major prepares students to develop and hone skills as critical readers and practitioners that cross a range of disciplines and professional contexts.

Students who graduate with an MCS major think critically about access, use, and control of communication and media on the local, national, and global level. The major combines hands-on production with a rich grounding in media and communication theory and history that focuses on power, difference, and injustice. MCS students develop the intellectual capacities and skills needed to use media and communication effectively and ethically.

MCS coursework integrates theory and practice through media production workshops, classroom seminars, and community-based research projects.

Career focus

The major prepares students for careers in the media industries, including digital media production, journalism, writing, and strategic communication, as well as community organizing and social justice work. The MCS major also provides a strong foundation for students pursuing advanced degrees in Communication, Media Studies, Cultural Studies, and Media Production, among many other fields. 

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Major requirements


There are no formal prerequisites for Media & Communication Studies beyond the requirements for admission into the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences. Useful preparation for this option includes formal and informal training in new media production.  Students will need strong skills in critical and creative thinking, communications, and collaboration.

Degree requirements

  • BIS 300 Interdisciplinary Inquiry* - min. 2.0 grade (5 credits)
  • MCS Core Course (5 credits)
  • MCS Communication Practice & Media Production Courses (10 credits)
  • MCS Tier One Courses (15 credits)
  • MCS Tier One, Tier Two OR Communication Practice & Media Production Courses (10 credits)
  • Additional IAS Coursework (20 credits)
  • BIS 499 Portfolio Capstone - min. 2.5 grade (5 credits)

TOTAL = 70 Credits

*Should be taken in the first quarter of IAS enrollment.

Note: Classes in this option are offered primarily during daytime hours.

Learning objectives

The Media and Communication Studies curriculum advances the five core IAS learning objectives. Students taking courses and/or majoring in Media and Communication Studies:

  • Develop communication literacies across different genres, mediums, and social contexts
  • Recognize and name how different populations experience power, difference, and injustice in relation to media organizations and representational practices
  • Engage with media and communication scholarship in order to research and analyze diverse communication processes
  • Apply media and communication scholarship to the processes of producing ethical media and communication content in a variety of contexts and for a range of purposes
  • Analyze the role, practices, histories, rules, and regulations of media and communication technologies in contemporary societies


​Please contact the MCS Faculty Coordinator if you have any questions, concerns or ideas about the Media and Communication Studies major. To declare the MCS major, please contact the First Year & Pre-Major Program.

Academic Advisor

Research Librarian


Recommended preparation

Interested in exploring this major, but not ready to commit? Consider taking one of the below courses! Any of these selections will help familiarize you with the academic program and prepare you for advanced coursework in the major.

  • BIS 161 Introduction to Film Narrative
  • BIS 178 Introduction to Communication
  • BIS 233 Participatory Media Culture
  • BIS 235 Critical Media Literacy
  • BIS 236 Introduction to Interactive Media
  • BIS 237 Public Speaking and Communication
  • BISMCS 234 Media and Communication Techniques
  • BISMCS 240 Working with Video
  • BISMCS 260 Working with Audio

A. MCS Core Course (MCS:CORE)

  • BISMCS 333 Media and Communication Studies

B. Tier One Courses (MCS:T1)

  • BIS 205 Technologies of Expression
  • BIS 207 Shakespeare and Film
  • BIS 216 Introduction to Cultural Studies
  • BIS 232 Introduction to Data Visualization
  • BIS 233 Participatory Media Culture
  • BIS 235 Critical Media Literacy
  • BIS 236 Introduction to Interactive Media
  • BIS 238 Language, Identity, Culture and Power
  • BIS 261 Introduction to Film Studies
  • BIS 263 Literature into Film
  • BIS 264 Africa on Film
  • BIS 313 Issues in Media Studies
  • BIS 317 Language, Society and Cultural Knowledge
  • BIS 324 Gender, Human Rights and Global Cinema (formerly offered under BIS 339)
  • BIS 331 Journalism and Media History
  • BIS 332 Global Digital Industries (formerly offered under BIS 313)
  • BIS 347 History of American Documentary Films
  • BIS 363 Politics and Popular Music
  • BIS 464 Topics in Advanced Cinema Studies
  • BISAES 369 American Culture and Mass Media
  • BISCLA 318 Performance, Community, Identity and Everyday Life
  • BISMCS 471 Advanced Topics in Media and Communication
  • BISMCS 473 Visual Communication
  • BISSTS 307 Science, Technology and Society
  • B EDUC 476 New Literacies for Digital Learning

C. Tier Two Courses (MCS:T2)

  • BIS 219 The Politics of Sex Ed
  • BIS 282 Globalization
  • BIS 319 Education and Society
  • BIS 342 Geographic Information Systems
  • BIS 382 The Visual Art of Biology
  • BIS 416 U.S. Constitutional Law
  • BISAES 305 Power, Dissent, and American Culture
  • BISIA 207 Introduction to Creative Writing
  • BISIA 311 Creative Writing: Prose
  • BISSTA 333 The Individual and Society
  • BEDUC 474 Global Englishes
  • BEDUC 522 Education and the American Dream

D. Communication Practice and Media Production Courses (MCS:P&P)

  • BIS 204 Introduction to Journalism
  • BIS 217 Introduction to Debate
  • BIS 237 Public Speaking and Communication
  • BISIA 344 Video Art
  • BISIA 350 Photography and Digital Art
  • BISIA 401 Literary & Arts Journal 
  • BISIA 450 Image and Imagination
  • BISMCS 234 Media and Communication Techniques 
  • BISMCS 240 Working with Video
  • BISMCS 260 Working with Audio
  • BISMCS 343 Media Production Workshop
  • BISMCS 402 Community Media Pracitce
  • BISMCS 472 Advanced Media Production Workshop
  • BISSKL 400 Policy Journal Editorial Board

E. Topics (MCS)

Topics courses under the below course numbers may apply to the MCS major depending on the subject and title. Please see the Time Schedule notes to determine how they count toward the major view the special topic courses table

  • BIS 293 Special Topics
  • BIS 295 Community-Based Practice
  • BIS 322 Topics in Performance Studies
  • BIS 339 Issues in Global Cultural Studies
  • BIS 341 Topics in the Study of Culture
  • BIS 351 Topics in American Culture
  • BIS 393 Special Topics
  • BIS 410 Topics in Qualitative Inquiry
  • BIS 485 Topics in Cultural Studies
  • BIS 493 Special Topics
  • BIS 496 Community Service Project
  • BISGST 397 Topics in Global Studies
  • BISGST 497 Advanced Topics in Global Studies
  • BISSTS 397 Topics in Science, Technology, and Society
  • BISSTS 497 Advanced Topics in Science, Technology, and Society
Special topics courses
Course # Title MCS Requirement
BIS 293 Introduction to Writing Studies T1
BIS 322 Theorizing Black Performance T2
BIS 339 Global Media and Social Justice T1
BIS 339 Politics of Bollywood Cinema T1
BIS 341 Japanese Cinema, Theatre, Novel and Manga T1
BIS 341 Caribbean Popular Culture T1
BIS 341 Japanese and US Popular Culture T2
BIS 341 Gender in Film T1
BIS 341  Girls on Film  T1
BISIA 350 Photography and Digital Art P&P
BISIA 483 Advanced Interdisciplinary Arts Workshop: Experimental Writing P&P

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