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Core Curriculum

Be sure to consult with your advisor to learn more about the courses that MCS offers!

MCS 101 – Media Literacy

Required Course, 4 credits

This course is designed to help students critically engage with the media of communication, information, entertainment, and surveillance that surround us. Critical engagement includes understanding the history, political economy, and rhetorical power of these media. It also includes an introduction to the basic skills of multi-modal media production. Reading, writing, editing, composing, and publishing these traditional liberal arts skills are at the heart of this new media literacy, along with newer ones like remixing.

Department permission not required.

Attributes: Arts and Humanities (GEP)


MCS 144 – Professional Communication and Development

Required Course, 3 credits

This course is designed to introduce students to specific communication and presentation skills and resources required for success in the communities and workplaces of the 21st century. The course will introduce the various professional development services on campus, while providing students instruction and practice in communicating and networking in professional idioms and contexts. Assignments will help students create a professional identity, focusing on the refinement of oral presentation skills, drafting cover letters and resumes, and the creation of an e-portfolio highlighting their undergraduate accomplishments. MCS 144 will provide students with a valuable set of resources and skills that they can utilize in securing internships, applied experiences, and professional jobs, and succeeding at them.

Department permission not required.


MCS 222/H – Introduction to Media and Communication Studies

Required Course, 3 credits

This course offers students an introduction to the critical perspectives and research methods that are central to the analysis of mass communication policy and programming, new media, interpersonal communication, and audience reception. The course will provide students the skills to design and apply a range of interdisciplinary concepts and methods to media analysis projects. Themes of the course will situate various forms of media within specific historical and cultural contexts.

Department permission not required.

Attributes: Arts and Humanities (GEP), Arts and Humanities (GFR)


MCS 333 – History and Theory of Mass Communication and Media Studies

Required Course, 3 credits

This course will introduce students to the history of the discipline of mass communications and media studies, which have their origins in the sociology of “mass society” at the turn of the twentieth century in the US and Europe. The course will chart the shift from a “Mass Communications” approach emphasizing “media effects” approaches that merged in the 1970s as part of a larger shift in studies of human behavior and expressive culture. The course will consider the ways that changes in the technologies of communication, information, entertainment, and surveillance have helped to shape the paradigms under which scholars study audiences, messages, and culture. Further, the course will examine how these same changes have shaped the way producers think about and communicate with audiences.

Permission of instructor required. To obtain permission, fill out this form.

Prerequisite: MCS 222 with a grade of ‘C’ or better.


MCS 334 – Media and Globalization

Required Course, 3 Credits

This course is designed to help students to learn about the global flows of media images and the networks, capital, and people that shape and are shaped by them. Students will study a broad range of case studies and investigate new media practices that will help them to become critically aware of the relationships between global mass media and transnational cultural, political, and economic institutions. Students will also develop learn how to analyze media practices comparatively.

Department permission not required.

Prerequisite: MCS 101 or MCS 222 with a grade of ‘C’ or better.


MCS 399 – Methods in Media and Communication Studies

Required course, 3 credits

An introduction to interdisciplinary methods of gathering, analyzing, and presenting information used in media and communication studies research. Students will learn the theoretical assumptions behind, and rationales for, interdisciplinary methodologies. Students will establish a vocabulary for methodological approaches to research; analyze the usefulness and limits of certain qualitative and interpretive methods; examine the nature of research questions served by different methods; and design a methodologically rigorous research project.

Department permission not required.

Prerequisite: MCS 101 and MCS 222 with a ‘C’ or better.


MCS 404 – Internship

Required course, 3 credits

For students interested in an introductory internship experience. Students are expected to commit 40 hours a semester per credit. For example, for three credits, the expectation would be 120 hours of field work. The internship allows students to apply academic concepts and ideas to a work environment. Interested participants must see a Media and Communication Studies faculty member before registering. This course is repeatable for a maximum of 6 credits or 2 attempts.

Permission of instructor required. To obtain permission, fill out this form.


MCS 499 – Capstone Senior Seminar

Required Course, 3 credits

The Capstone Experience Seminar encourages students to integrate the subject matter and interdisciplinary methods of the major by focusing on a significant problem in the study media and communications studies. Emphasis is placed upon the involvement of students in both the process and content of cultural analysis and interpretation. Importantly, the form that students” projects take may be either traditional research paper or a new media production, for example a digital story telling project.

Department permission required.

Prerequisite: MCS 222, MCS 333, and MCS 399 with a grade of ‘C’ or better.