Media Studies

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

The Media Studies major integrates perspectives from liberal arts, social sciences, and humanities and offers an interdisciplinary framework to understand the essential role that media plays in economic, social, political, and cultural life. It weds traditions from communication, history, anthropology, sociology, and political science with critical theories and cultural studies to analyze the role and meaning of media in our societies. Our emphasis in this major is historical and theoretical, examining media systems, institutions, technologies, policies, and practices. We offer students the analytical tools available to investigate media—old and new, local and global—from textual to visual and digital cultures, and from TV to Film and social media. The Media Studies major offers three areas of concentration: Digital Studies, Global Cultural Studies, or Media Law and Policy.

Declaring the Major

Students planning to declare a major in Media Studies are advised to read the Media Studies website in its entirety and then contact a student academic adviser as early as possible to discuss their academic program plans. Visit the program's website for application instructions and deadlines.

Students who wish to declare the major in Media Studies:

  • Must have completed at least 30 units of college coursework before applying to the program.
  • Must have completed at least three of the major prerequisites, including MEDIAST 10 or MEDIAST W10.
  • Must be currently enrolled in any remaining prerequisites at the time of application (see the list of approved major prerequisites on the Major Requirements tab).
  • Must have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.2 in courses relevant to the major. This includes the lower division prerequisite courses and the equivalency of transferred coursework as well as any lower or upper division courses already completed for the major.
  • Must have earned a grade of B- or better in MEDIAST 10 or MEDIAST W10. (Beginning fall 2020, Media Studies 10 or W10 must be taken at UC Berkeley.)
  • Should declare the major no later than the semester in which they complete the 70th unit if they were admitted to Berkeley as a freshman. Junior transfers should declare the major no later than their second semester at Berkeley and should contact a Media Studies student academic adviser concerning their eligibility and the equivalency of transferred coursework.
  • When applying to the major, students will need to note their area of concentration–Digital Studies, Global Cultural Studies, or Media Law & Policy–on their application. See the Major Requirements tab for areas of concentration information.

Students who meet the above criteria are eligible for admission to the major. Students who do not meet the above criteria but wish to declare Media Studies as their major should submit a letter of appeal with a completed application during designated application periods in the fall and spring.

More information regarding declaring the major is available on the Media Studies website. The application dates and a link to the application are available on the home page.

Honors Program

To be admitted to the honors program, a student must have attained at least a 3.5 grade-point average (GPA) overall in the University and a 3.5 GPA in the major. In order to be granted honors, a student must write a thesis which in the judgment of the thesis adviser is characterized by superior distinction. The honors program includes two courses: MEDIAST H194 and MEDIAST H195. For further information on the honors program, please see the program's website.

Minor Program

There is no minor program in Media Studies.

Visit Program Website

Major Requirements

In addition to the University, campus, and college requirements, listed on the College Requirements tab, students must fulfill the requirements specific to their major program.

General Guidelines

  1. All courses taken to fulfill the major requirements below must be taken for graded credit (letter grade).
  2. Students must complete a minimum of 28 upper division units in approved courses for the Media Studies major.
  3. Students may not take more than two upper-division courses from any single outside department or program for the Media Studies major. This includes any combined courses which are counted as an elective taken simultaneously from all sponsoring departments or programs.
  4. No more than one upper-division course may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a student's major and minor programs.
  5. No more than two upper-division courses may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for major requirements for a double major.
  6. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 must be maintained in both upper and lower division courses used to fulfill the major requirements.

For information regarding residence requirements and unit requirements, please see the College Requirements tab.

Summary of Major Requirements

Prerequisites: four courses
Media Studies Core Courses: four courses
Area of Concentration Electives: three courses
Additional Electives from Any Concentration: two courses

Prerequisites

Select one from the following:
Introduction to Media Studies [4] 1
Introduction to Media Studies [4]
Select one from the following:
Introduction to American Politics [4] 1
Introduction to American Politics [4]
Select one of the following:
Introduction to the History of the United States: The United States from Civil War to Present [4] 1
The Recent United States: The United States from the Late 19th Century to the Eve of World War II [4]
The Recent United States: The United States from World War II [4]
Social History of the United States: Creating Modern American Society: From the End of the Civil War [4]
Select one of the following:
Introduction to Social/Cultural Anthropology (American Cultures) [4] 1
Episodes in Literary Cultures [4]
Episodes in Literary Cultures: Literature and Philosophy [4]
Episodes in Literary Cultures: Literature and Society [4]
Episodes in Literary Cultures: Literature and History [4]
Introduction to Economics [4] 1
Introduction to Economics--Lecture Format [4]
General Psychology [3] 1
General Psychology [3]
Principles of Psychology [3]
Introduction to Sociology [4] 1
Introduction to Practical Reasoning and Critical Analysis of Argument [4]
Rhetorical Interpretation [4]
Principles of Sociology: American Cultures [4] 1
Introduction to Performance Studies [4]

Media Studies Core Courses

MEDIAST 111BText and Data Media History4
or MEDIAST 111C Audio-Visual Media History
MEDIAST 112Media Theories and Processes4
MEDIAST 113Media and Democracy4
MEDIAST 114BCourse Not Available 14
or MEDIAST 114C Course Not Available

Areas of Concentration

Students must complete one of the three areas of concentration: Digital Studies, Global Cultural Studies, or Media Law and Policy. Students must take three courses in each area of concentration. The chosen area of concentration must be noted on the application to the major.


Digital Studies
Digital Studies is an intersection between humanities, social sciences, art, and computer sciences. This area offers courses on a variety of digital, social, and creative media as a means of exploring networked connectivity as the sum of technologies, industries, and user practices. It also examines how various areas of scholarship are reshaped by new technologies, behaviors, and data-driven inquiries.


Choose one course from each elective category: Research Methodologies, Virtual Communities and Social Media, and Digital Projects and Digital Storytelling.
 

Research Methodologies - Choose one of the following:
Advanced Digital Media: Game Design Methods [4]
Foundations of Data Science [4]
Foundations of Data Science [4]
Social Networks [4]
Foundations of Data Science [4]
Foundations of Data Science [4]
Introduction to Probability and Statistics [4]
Virtual Communities and Social Media - Choose one of the following:
Information Technology and Society [4]
Information Technology and Society [4]
History of Information [4]
Science, Technology, and Society [4]
Introduction to Technology, Society, and Culture [4]
Introduction to Science, Society, and Ethics [4]
The Social Life of Computing [4]
Social Media and Journalism [3]
History and Development of Online News [4]
Internet and Culture [4]
Society and Technology [4]
Virtual Communities/Social Media [4]
Digital Projects and Digital Storytelling - Choose one of the following:
Cultural Heritage in a Digital Age [4]
Media Technologies [4]
Introduction to Multimedia [3]
Advanced Multimedia [3]
The Future of Visual Storytelling [3]
Introduction to Data Journalism [3]
Visual Culture [4]
Transforming Tech: Issues and Interventions in STEM and Silicon Valley [4]
Critical Practices: People, Places, Participation [4]
History and Theory of New Media [4]
Questioning New Media [3]
Critical Making [4]
Critical Practices: People, Places, Participation [4]
Theory and Practice of Tangible User Interfaces [4]
Technologies for Creativity and Learning [3]
Interface Aesthetics [3]
Rhetoric of New Media [4]


Global Cultural Studies
Global Cultural Studies explores how textual, audio, and visual cultures as well as representational practices are produced and circulated within and across local, national, regional, and global social fields. This area examines a broad spectrum of concerns including global communication, postcolonialism, diaspora, consumerism, identity and community, and public cultures.


Choose one course from each elective category: Research Methodologies, Visual Culture, and Popular Culture.
 

Research Methodologies - Choose one of the following:
Doing Feminist Research [4]
Critical Thinking In Global Studies [4]
Cultural Studies Research Methodology [4]
Visual Culture - Choose one of the following:
Third World Cinema [4]
Race and American Film [4]
Introduction to Cultural Studies: Black Visual Culture [4]
History and Theory of Ethnographic Film [4]
Asian Americans in Film and Video [4]
Latino Narrative Film: to the 1980s [4]
Latino Narrative Film Since 1990 [4]
Latino Documentary Film [4]
Contemporary Chinese Language Cinema [4]
East Asian Film: Special Topics in Genre [4]
High School, The Movie [3]
The Language and Literature of Films [4]
Ethnicity and Race in Contemporary American Films [4]
Documentary Forms [4]
History of Avant-Garde Film [4]
Experimental and Alternative Media Art [4]
Be/longings: Cinema and the Immigrant Experience in America [4]
Global Media [4]
National Cinema [4]
Special Topics in Film [4]
Special Topics in Film Genre [4]
Auteur Theory [4]
History and Criticism of Film [4]
Women and Film [4]
Film, Feminism, and the Avant-Garde [4]
Cultural Representations of Sexualities: Queer Visual Culture [4]
Global Societies and Cultures [4]
The Italian Cinema: History, Genres, Authors [4]
Film and Literature (in English) [4]
Introduction to Japanese Cinema [4]
Japanese Visual Culture: Introduction to Anime [4]
Topics in Japanese Film [4]
Picturing Korea [4]
Introduction to Korean Cinema [4]
History and Memory in Korean Cinema [4]
Cold War Culture in Korea: Literature and Film [4]
Cultural Representations of Sexualities: Queer Visual Culture [4]
Visual Culture [4]
Film and Fiction of Iran [4]
Photography and the American Indian: Manifest Destiny, American Frontier, and Images of American Indians [4]
Novel into Film [4]
Genre in Film and Literature [4]
Auteur in Film [4]
Art and Authorship [4]
Rhetoric of the Image [4]
Television Criticism [4]
Rhetoric of Visual Witnessing [4]
Science, Narrative, and Image [4]
Studies in Drama and Film [4]
Performance, Television, and Social Media [4]
Histories of Performance: Performance and Community [4]
Popular Culture - Choose one of the following:
Examining U.S. Cultures in Time [4]
Examining U.S. Cultures in Time [4]
Examining U.S. Cultures in Place [4]
Examining U.S. Cultures in Place [4]
Topics in Asian Popular Culture [4]
Gender and Sexuality in Asian American Literature and Culture [4]
Culture and Power [4]
Islamaphobia and Constructing Otherness [4]
Islamophobia and Constructing Otherness [4]
Literature and History [4]
Literature and Popular Culture [4]
Antebellum America: The Advent of Mass Society [4]
Murakami Haruki and Miyazaki Hayao: the Politics of Japanese Culture from the Bubble to the Present [4]
Korean Language in Popular Media [4]
Cultural History of Advertising [4]
The Problem of Mass Culture and the Rhetoric of Social Theory [4]
Sociology of Culture [4]
Popular Culture [3-4]


Media Law and Policy
Media Law and Policy recognizes it would be impossible to understand law and politics without appreciating the significance of media. This area uses media to study a wide range of legal, regulatory, political, and activist concerns, including the First Amendment, privacy and surveillance, cyberlaw, and intellectual property as well as social movements, social justice, and political transformation.


Choose one course from each elective category: Research Methodologies, Institutions, and Citizenship.
 

Research Methodologies - Choose one of the following:
Introduction to Environmental Economics and Policy [4]
Introduction to Environmental Economics and Policy [4]
Research Methods in Media Studies [4]
Introduction to Empirical Analysis and Quantitative Methods [4]
Introduction to Empirical Analysis and Quantitative Methods, [4]
Introduction to Public Policy Analysis [4]
Evaluation of Evidence [4]
The Power of Numbers: Quantitative Data in Social Sciences [4]
Institutions - Choose one of the following:
Information Technology and Society [4]
Information Technology and Society [4]
Information Technology and Society [4]
History of American Business [3]
High School, The Movie [3]
Entertainment Law [4]
Politics and Culture in 20th-Century Germany: Fascism and Propaganda [4]
Information Technology Economics, Strategy, and Policy [3]
Introduction to Media and International Relations [4]
The History of Journalism [3]
History and Development of Online News [4]
Television Studies [4]
Transforming Tech: Issues and Interventions in STEM and Silicon Valley [4]
American Politics: Campaign Strategy - Media [4]
Organizations and Social Institutions [4]
Sport As a Social Institution [4]
Marketing [3]
Customer Insights [3]
Citizenship - Choose one of the following:
Politics and Anthropology [4]
Islamaphobia and Constructing Otherness [4]
Islamophobia and Constructing Otherness [4]
Queer Theories: Activist Practices [4]
Gender, Race, and Law [4]
Behind the Data: Humans and Values [3]
Consumer Society and Culture [4]
Art and Activism [4]
Wealth and Poverty [4]
Privacy in the Digital Age [3]
Art and Activism [4]
Public Opinion, Voting and Participation [4]
Political Psychology and Involvement [4]
Wealth and Poverty [4]
Sociology of Law [4]
Politics and Social Change [4]
Social Movements and Political Action [4]
Social Change [4]
Social Change: American Cultures [4]
Social Change in Latin America [4]
Social Policy [4]

Additional Electives from Any Area of Concentration


Students must take two upper-division electives from any of the above areas of concentration. See the following categories in the elective course lists above: 

  • Digital Studies: Virtual Communities and Social Media
  • Digital Studies: Digital Projects and Digital Storytelling
  • Global Cultural Studies: Visual Culture
  • Global Cultural Studies: Popular Culture
  • Media Law and Policy: Institutions
  • Media Law and Policy: Citizenship

Each term the Media Studies Program publishes semester-specific course lists that include special topics courses and new courses. Visit the Media Studies website and look under Courses for the current list.

Transfer Students

Media Studies 10 or W10: Introduction to Media Studies MUST be completed at UC Berkeley beginning fall 2020. Students may take Media Studies W10 during the summer when it is offered. 

Transfer students are encouraged to take other major prerequisite courses before arriving on campus. For approved equivalent prerequisite courses offered at California community colleges, see https://assist.org/. Transfer students who attended four-year schools. other out-of-state community colleges or California community colleges and took courses not on assist.org are encouraged to submit possible prerequisite courses for review by completing an Intended Majors Course Substitution Form. See Applying: Overview and Applying: Prerequisites on the Media Studies website for additional information.

College Requirements

Undergraduate students must fulfill the following requirements in addition to those required by their major program.

For detailed lists of courses that fulfill college requirements, please review the College of Letters & Sciences page in this Guide. For College advising appointments, please visit the L&S Advising Pages. 

University of California Requirements

Entry Level Writing

All students who will enter the University of California as freshmen must demonstrate their command of the English language by fulfilling the Entry Level Writing requirement. Fulfillment of this requirement is also a prerequisite to enrollment in all reading and composition courses at UC Berkeley. 

American History and American Institutions

The American History and Institutions requirements are based on the principle that a US resident graduated from an American university, should have an understanding of the history and governmental institutions of the United States.

Berkeley Campus Requirement

American Cultures

All undergraduate students at Cal need to take and pass this course in order to graduate. The requirement offers an exciting intellectual environment centered on the study of race, ethnicity and culture of the United States. AC courses offer students opportunities to be part of research-led, highly accomplished teaching environments, grappling with the complexity of American Culture.

College of Letters & Science Essential Skills Requirements

Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning requirement is designed to ensure that students graduate with basic understanding and competency in math, statistics, or computer science. The requirement may be satisfied by exam or by taking an approved course.

Foreign Language

The Foreign Language requirement may be satisfied by demonstrating proficiency in reading comprehension, writing, and conversation in a foreign language equivalent to the second semester college level, either by passing an exam or by completing approved course work.

Reading and Composition

In order to provide a solid foundation in reading, writing, and critical thinking the College requires two semesters of lower division work in composition in sequence. Students must complete parts A & B reading and composition courses by the end of their second semester and a second-level course by the end of their fourth semester.

College of Letters & Science 7 Course Breadth Requirements

Breadth Requirements

The undergraduate breadth requirements provide Berkeley students with a rich and varied educational experience outside of their major program. As the foundation of a liberal arts education, breadth courses give students a view into the intellectual life of the University while introducing them to a multitude of perspectives and approaches to research and scholarship. Engaging students in new disciplines and with peers from other majors, the breadth experience strengthens interdisciplinary connections and context that prepares Berkeley graduates to understand and solve the complex issues of their day.

Unit Requirements

  • 120 total units

  • Of the 120 units, 36 must be upper division units

  • Of the 36 upper division units, 6 must be taken in courses offered outside your major department
Residence Requirements

For units to be considered in "residence," you must be registered in courses on the Berkeley campus as a student in the College of Letters & Science. Most students automatically fulfill the residence requirement by attending classes here for four years. In general, there is no need to be concerned about this requirement, unless you go abroad for a semester or year or want to take courses at another institution or through UC Extension during your senior year. In these cases, you should make an appointment to meet an adviser to determine how you can meet the Senior Residence Requirement.

Note: Courses taken through UC Extension do not count toward residence.

Senior Residence Requirement

After you become a senior (with 90 semester units earned toward your BA degree), you must complete at least 24 of the remaining 30 units in residence in at least two semesters. To count as residence, a semester must consist of at least 6 passed units. Intercampus Visitor, EAP, and UC Berkeley-Washington Program (UCDC) units are excluded.

You may use a Berkeley Summer Session to satisfy one semester of the Senior Residence requirement, provided that you successfully complete 6 units of course work in the Summer Session and that you have been enrolled previously in the college.

Modified Senior Residence Requirement

Participants in the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP), Berkeley Summer Abroad, or the UC Berkeley Washington Program (UCDC) may meet a Modified Senior Residence requirement by completing 24 (excluding EAP) of their final 60 semester units in residence. At least 12 of these 24 units must be completed after you have completed 90 units.

Upper Division Residence Requirement

You must complete in residence a minimum of 18 units of upper division courses (excluding UCEAP units), 12 of which must satisfy the requirements for your major.

Student Learning Goals

Mission

The Media Studies major at the University of California, Berkeley is an undergraduate interdisciplinary group major in the Office of Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies (UGIS). We offer students the analytical tools available to examine media—old and new, local, regional and global—including media consumption and meaning-making processes. Courses taught by core faculty in Media Studies cover media history and theory, emphasizing media systems, institutions, policies, and practices. Additionally, faculty from many departments across campus bring the perspectives and methods of their fields to bear on media analysis in a variety of elective courses.


Our four core courses examine media history, theory, institutions/policy, and globalization. In addition to these, students must complete five electives. Three will be in service of one of our areas of concentration: Digital Studies, Global Cultural Studies, or Media Law and Policy. Students are free to take the remaining two electives from any area of concentration. Core courses and electives offered by the Media Studies program—whether examining popular culture and entertainment, advertising, or news and information viewed on cinema, television, computer, or mobile phone screens—ask students to develop critical thinking and analytical skills. 

Learning Goals for the Major

Visit Learning Initiative on the Media Studies website.

Major Map

Major Maps help undergraduate students discover academic, co-curricular, and discovery opportunities at UC Berkeley based on intended major or field of interest. Developed by the Division of Undergraduate Education in collaboration with academic departments, these experience maps will help you:

  • Explore your major and gain a better understanding of your field of study

  • Connect with people and programs that inspire and sustain your creativity, drive, curiosity and success

  • Discover opportunities for independent inquiry, enterprise, and creative expression

  • Engage locally and globally to broaden your perspectives and change the world

  • Reflect on your academic career and prepare for life after Berkeley

Use the major map below as a guide to planning your undergraduate journey and designing your own unique Berkeley experience.

View the Media Studies Major Map PDF.

Courses

Media Studies

Faculty and Instructors

Faculty

Minoo Moallem, Professor. Transnational and Postcolonial Feminist Studies, cultural studies, Visual and Material Cultures of Religion, Immigration and Diaspora Studies, Middle East Studies, and Iranian Studies .
Research Profile

Lecturers

Matthew Berry, Lecturer. The shaping and use of history for political ends, extremist ideologies, nationalism, and modernization/globalization theory.

Ian Kivelin Davis, Lecturer. Journalism history, media globalization, the public sphere, media policy and the political economy of international news.

Josh Jackson, Lecturer. Digital and new media, television, media and culture, convergence, media industries and production cultures, media history .

Richard Jaroslovsky, Lecturer. Media history, impact of digital technologies on newsgathering and dissemination of news, changing economic models of media organizations .

Meeta Rani Jha, Lecturer. Feminist Postcolonial Cultural Studies, Transnational cinema, race and popular culture, research methods, media and democracy, gender and globalization, nationalism, beauty, intersectionality, Bombay cinema cultures, domestic violence, racial discrimination and harassment, Silicon Valley tech industry gender, race, and ethnicity, political sociology and social movement studies: Labor, feminist and antiracist human rights movements.

Geoffrey King, Lecturer. Freedoms of speech, press, petition and assembly, citizen journalism, Internet policy, privacy, technology, online surveillance and censorship, open government .

Contact Information

Media Studies Program

235 Evans Hall

Visit Program Website

Professor and Program Director

Minoo Moallem, PhD

mmoallem@berkeley.edu

Assistant Director, Lecturer and Faculty Advisor

Josh Jackson, PhD

joshjackson@berkeley.edu

Lecturer

Matthew Berry, PhD

matthewberry@berkeley.edu

Lecturer and Faculty Advisor

Ian Davis, PhD

iankdavis@berkeley.edu

Lecturer and Faculty Adviser

Meeta Rani Jha, PhD

meetarani65@berkeley.edu

Media Studies Advising

Email Address:

mediastudies_advising@berkeley.edu

Student Academic Advisor (students last name A - K)

Laura Demir, MA

235 Evans Hall

demir@berkeley.edu

Student Academic Advisor (students last name L - Z)

Katie Morrison-White

237 Evans Hall

katiemw@berkeley.edu

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