Media & Communication Studies


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

Use your creativity, imagination, and passion for innovation to develop or express meaning across audiences!

The Media & Communication Studies (MCS) major at the University of Washington Bothell offers students the opportunity to 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.

Do courses like Interactive Media and Politics & Popular Music sound exciting to you?
Do you want to explore a career in Public Relations, Media Production, or Journalism?


Students in the Media & Communication Studies major are skilled communicators who are passionate about understanding how media and popular culture impact our everyday lives. Students with interests that cross a range of disciplines and professional contexts thrive in this major.


Through coursework in the Media & Communication Studies major students develop and hone skills as critical readers and practitioners. Courses integrate theory and practice through media production workshops, classroom seminars, and community-based research projects.


Using their background in Media & Communication Studies, graduates from this major go on to become strategic communicators and media production practitioners. Students in the MCS major pursue careers in the media industries and cultural studies, as well as community organizing and social justice work.

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Major requirements

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 151 Introduction to Making Media
  • BIS 161 Introduction to Film Narrative
  • BIS 178 Introduction to Communication


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)
  • Additional MCS Courses (P&P or T1) (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 & Communication Studies:

  1. Develop communication literacies across different genres, mediums, and social contexts
  2. Recognize and name how different populations experience power, difference, and injustice in relation to media organizations and representational practices
  3. Engage with media and communication scholarship in order to research and analyze diverse communication processes
  4. 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
  5. Analyze the role, practices, histories, rules, and regulations of media and communication technologies in contemporary societies



Academic Advisor

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A. MCS Core Course (MCS:CORE)

  • BISMCS 333 Media and Communication Studies

B. Tier One Courses (MCS:T1)

  • BIS 151 Introduction to Making Media
  • BIS 161 Introduction to Film Narrative
  • BIS 178 Introduction to Communication
  • 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 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
  • 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

C. 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 Practice
  • BISMCS 472 Advanced Media Production Workshop

D. 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
Course #TitleMCS Requirement
BIS 293Introduction to Writing StudiesT1
BIS 322Theorizing Black PerformanceT1
BIS 339Global Media and Social JusticeT1
BIS 339Politics of Bollywood CinemaT1
BIS 341Japanese Cinema, Theatre, Novel and MangaT1
BIS 341Caribbean Popular CultureT1
BIS 341Japanese and US Popular CultureT1
BIS 341Gender in FilmT1
BIS 341 Girls on Film T1
BISIA 350Photography and Digital ArtP&P
BISIA 483Advanced Interdisciplinary Arts Workshop: Experimental WritingP&P

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IAS students may submit an online Major Petition form to request that alternate coursework satisfy a School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences (IAS) major requirement. Students must be admitted or declared in an IAS major in order for the online petition to be reviewed.