Main Content

Media Studies Curriculum


Ever thought about taking a course that looks critically at television, film, and advertising?  How about hip hop and rap?  Have you ever felt inadequate about just not quite living up to those perfect looking people you see in media messages?  Ever wonder what all that time you spend on social media might be doing to your perception of, and your interactions with, the world around you?

The B.A. degree in Media Studies emphasizes how media create and change cultural environments. It provides students with an understanding of media and technology, their cultural contexts, and their influences on the individual and on society. Students examine media theory within cultural, historical, political, legal, economic and social contexts, and explore aesthetic properties of media artifacts. In sum, students learn how to create meaning from their study of mediated experiences.

Using diverse research methods, both qualitative and quantitative, students learn to question effectively, to research, and to analyze critical media issues and problems that impact their daily lives as well as the world. Students are empowered with the skills and curiosity to become avid researchers in graduate education, industry, and their everyday worlds. Thus the course of study prepares students for both graduate and professional work in a variety of media-related fields.

By stressing critical thinking and analysis and by developing professional research and writing skills, the curriculum provides students with the highest quality liberal education and increases their appreciation of the pursuit of knowledge that enables them to strive toward the ideal of becoming an educated person.


MDS 101 - Media Persuasion in Everyday Life
Explores classical models of persuasion and argumentation and invites comparison with current models of mediated persuasion as found in, for example, advertising, cinema, television, opinion news, etc.  Fulfills the critical thinking requirement in the Liberal Education Program.  3 credits.

MDS 150 - Buy This Course: Media and Self
Studies the dynamic relationships between media, culture, and self that render a consumerist world view.  Using a critical lens, this course explores research and theory of media's role in sustaining the American way of life and its consequences on the individual.  Special Conditions:  Freshman, Sophomores and Non-majors only.  3 credits.

MDS 200 - How Media Means
Analysis of media composition, contexts, and intentions using visual and language theories. Addresses how overall perceptual impact of specific words and images influences our response to the content itself. 3 credits.

MDS 222 - Media Theory
An introduction to media theory that explores ways to observe, explain, and predict the role and place of media in society and culture. 3 credits.

MDS 224 - Reading Film:  Form, Genre, Culture                                                                                              Examines how viewers are impacted by mainstream Hollywood cinema and what cinematic forms can tell us about the culture that produces them.  3 credits

MDS 245 - Introduction to Media Studies
Provides an introduction to the field by exploring an overview of the historical and social contexts of mass media. Emphasis on the experience and comparative analysis of various media. 3 credits.

MDS 280 - Media Issues and Problems
An examination of the ethical, economic, political, and social issues that influence the characteristics and content of contemporary media. Prerequisite: MDS 245. 3 credits.

MDS 300 - Persuasion and Argument in Media
A study of the theories of persuasion and argument as they are used in, and changed by, modern media channels. Prerequisite: MDS 200 or departmental permission. 3 credits.

MDS 320 - Propaganda in Media                                                                                                                                   Explores historical and current perspectives of propaganda that affect and shape attitudes, perceptions, beliefs and behavior.  Explores propaganda at institutional and personal levels.  Prerequisite(s) ENG 112 and Tier I critical thinking requirement.  Satisfies T3 capstone requirement in the Liberal Education Program

MDS 324 - Reading Film II: Approaches to International Film                                                                             A critical exploration of cinematic forms and their social, economic, and cultural contexts that depart significantly from (and are sometimes a reaction to) films constructed in the classical Hollywood style.  Prerequisite(s):  MDS 200 or MDS 224 or departmental permission. 3 credits.

MDS 333 - Media Research
An introduction to the development, design, analysis and implementation of a variety of media research methods. 3 credits.

MDS 340 - Media Literacy Education for Students and Teachers
Students will learn to critically read media texts, analyze the impact of media and technology on society and culture from the perspective of educators and educational institutions, understand and evaluate the current place of media and technology in the curriculum and design and develop improved curriculum based on theory and research.  Prerequisites: ENG 112 or MDS 280 or department permission.  3 credits.

MDS 350 - Resistive Vernaculars: Hip Hop, Rap, and Signifyin(g)
Analyzes and critiques the historical, cultural, and artistic elements of Hip Hop and Rap from the Signifyin(g) Monkey legend to contemporary trends and assesses its position in various mediated texts. Prerequisite:  MDS 245.  3 credits.

MDS 360 - Romance to Ruin: Media and Relationships
A study of culturally created ideologies, concerning intimate relationships including attraction, romance, intimacy, sexuality, commitment, power, and gender roles as systematic and mediated constructions. Prerquisite: sophomore status. 3 credits.

MDS 370 - Music and Sound in Media
Explores and analyzes how music and sound function in our creation of meaning from mediated messages. Prerequisites: MDS 200 and 245. 3 credits.

MDS 375 - Television, Comedy, Culture                                                                                                                Explores the relationship between television, comedy, and American culture past and present.  Students take a theoretical approach to television as a commercial enterprise, its potential and effectiveness for moral agenda, and its impact on cultural attitudes.  Prerequisite(s):  junior or senior status.  3 credits.

MDS 380 - Hidden Agendas in the Media                                                                                                             Exposes students to multiple mainstream and alternative media channels and examines roles each play in shaping and defining our cultural and political worlds.  Prerequisite(s):  ENG 112 and junior or senior status.   3 credits.

MDS 430 - Gender, Media, Culture
Explores gender construction analysis and contemporary theoretical perspectives of gender-resistant readings of mediated texts.  Students practice testing media theories of gender as they conduct research and analyze audience-centered texts.  Prequisite: Junior or Senior status and 6 MDS credits (3 at 300 level).  3 credits.

MDS 442 - Media Criticism
Examines and applies dominant critical perspectives used to critically analyze media. Prerequisites: MDS 245 and 280. 3 credits.

MDS 450 - Sex, Violence, and the American Dream
Analyzes the merging of sex and violence in media treatments of the American dream from dime novels to films and music videos. Prerequisite: juniors and seniors. 3 credits.

MDS 482 - Seminar in Contemporary Mass Media
Application of concepts and process of mass communication to professional settings. The student undertakes a credit-driven project from concept to completion. The client-driven project is facilitated by the faculty member. This course can be taken twice. Prerequisites: MDS 245, 280, and 442. 3 credits.

MDS 497 - Media Studies Internship
A supervised internship permitting the opportunity to apply theoretical training and critical thinking of the media studies curriculum to an applied practical situation and/or career in a media related area. Prerequisites: 12 credit hours in MDS and/or departmental permission. 1-3 credits.