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As Media Studies Coursework Research Methods

To graduate in Media Studies, students must complete the following requirements for a minimum of 30 upper-division units in approved Media Studies courses. All coursework for the major must be taken for a letter grade. Absolutely no exceptions will be made after declaring the major.

There are four sample program plans for completing the major at the end of this web page. Each student's program plan will be different and may not look like these samples. Students in the major are advised to meet with a Media Studies adviser each semester to track their progress in the major and plan future terms.

FOUR Prerequisite courses:

Introduction to Media Studies (Media Studies 10*)
Post Civil War US History (History 7B*, 124A, 124B, or 131B)
US Government. and Politics (Political Science 1*)
Intro. to Social Science (Anthro 3AC*, Econ 1*, Econ 2*, Psych 1*, Psych 2*, Soc 1*, or Soc 3AC*)
* or Course Equivalents as recognized by Assist (http://www.assist.org)

ONE (lower- or upper-division) Research Methods course from the list below:

Political Science 3: Empirical Analysis
Sociology 5: Evaluation of Evidence
Sociology 7: The Power of Numbers: Quantitative Data in Social Sciences
Media Studies 130: Research Methods in Media Studies
Psychology 101: Research and Data Analysis in Psychology**
Sociology 105: Introduction to Sociological Methods**
**Note: Upper-division methods courses in other departments may be best suited for double-majors.

FOUR Core Courses:

Media Studies 101: Visual Communication
Media Studies 102: Effects of Mass Media
Media Studies C103: Understanding Journalism
(Cross listed as Journalism C141.)
And any ONE from the following list:
  • Media Studies 104A: Freedom of Speech and the Press
  • Media Studies 104B: History of Journalism
  • Information C103: History of Information (formerly cross-listed and offered as Media Studies C104C)
  • Media Studies 104D: Privacy in the Digital Age

FOUR approved upper-division electives:

The courses listed below have been approved as Media Studies electives during past and current academic terms and may be taken as Media Studies electives when offered again. This list is reviewed annually to remove courses that are no longer offered and to reflect other changes. The last annual update was April 4, 2017. Specific special topics courses and a few courses no longer offered were removed on December 20, 2017.

For courses approved for a specific term, including courses approved for a one-time basis, see Courses (Spring, Summer, Fall, Course Archive and Older Courses). Spring, Summer and Fall include courses offered during the most recent terms. Course Archive includes past terms back to Fall 2014. Older Courses includes terms from Summer 2002 through Summer 2014. These specific term lists serve as records of course approvals.

PLEASE NOTE: 1) Students may not take more than two courses from any single outside department or program. 2) When enrolling in electives worth less than four units, students may need to take more than four electives to reach 30-upper division units in the major.

•    African American Studies C134: Information Technology and Society
•    African American Studies 142A: Third World Cinema
•    African American Studies 142AC: Race and American Film
•    American Studies C112A: American Cultural Landscapes, 1600 to 1900
•    American Studies C112B: American Cultural Landscapes, 1900 to Present
•    American Studies C134: Information Technology and Society
•    American Studies C172: History of American Business
•    Anthropology C136K: Who Owns the Past? Cultural Heritage in a Digital Age
•    Anthropology 138A: History and Theory of Ethnographic Film
•    Anthropology 139: Controlling Processes
•    Anthropology 144: Social and Cultural Change
•    Anthropology 150: Utopia: Art and Power in Modern Times
•    Anthropology 155: Modernity
•    Anthropology 156B: Culture and Power
•    Anthropology 160AC: Forms of Folklore
•    Anthropology 162: Topics in Folklore
•    Anthropology 166: Language, Culture and Society
•    Asian American Studies 138: Topics in Asian Popular Culture (all topics)
•    Asian American Studies 171: Asian Americans in Film and Video
•    Chicano Studies 135A: Latino Narrative Film: to the 1980s
•    Chicano Studies 135B: Latino Narrative Film Since 1990
•    Chicano Studies 135C: Latino Documentary Film
•    Chinese 172: Contemporary Chinese Language Cinema
•    Demography 161: Population Apocalypse in Film and Science
•    Dutch 171AC: From New Amsterdam to New York: Race, Culture and Identity in New Netherlands
•    English N173: The Language and Literature of Films (all topics)
•    English 176: Literature and Popular Culture
•    Environmental Design C169B: American Cultural Landscapes, 1900 to Present
•    Ethnic Studies 122AC: Ethnicity and Race in Contemporary American Films
•    Film and Media 108: Special Topics in Film Genre (all topics)
•    Film and Media 128: Documentary  
•    Film and Media 129: History of Avant-Garde Film
•    Film and Media 140: Special Topics in Film (all topics)
•    Film and Media 151: Auteur Theory (all topics)
•    Film and Media 160: National Cinema (all topics)
•    Gender and Women’s Studies 125: Women and Film  
•    Gender and Women's Studies 140 Feminist Cultural Studies
•    Gender and Women's Studies C146A: Cultural Representations of Sexualities: Queer Literary Culture
•    History 122AC: Antebellum America: The Advent of Mass Society
•    History 134A: The Age of the City, 1825-1933
•    Geography C152: Multicultural Europe
•    Geography C160B: American Cultural Landscapes, 1900 to Present
•    Information C167: Virtual Communities/Social Media
•    Interdisciplinary Studies Field Major 100H: Introduction to Media and International Relations
•    Italian Studies 170: The Italian Cinema: History, Genres, Authors
•    Italian Studies 175: Film and Literature (in English)
•    Japanese 185: Introduction to Japanese Cinema
•    Korean 187: History and Memory in Korean Cinema
•    Korean 188: Cold War Culture in Korea: Literature and Film
•    Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Studies C146A: Cultural Representations of Sexualities: Queer Literary Culture
•    Letters and Science C180U: Wealth and Poverty
•    Letters and Science C180W: Who Owns the Past? Cultural Heritage in a Digital Age
•    Linguistics 150: Sociolinguistics
•    Media Studies 140: Media and Politics
•    Media Studies 150: Topics in Film (all topics)
•    Media Studies 160: International Media
•    Media Studies 165: Internet and Culture
•    Media Studies 170: Cultural History of Advertising
•    Media Studies 180: Television Studies
•    Media Studies 190: Special Topics in Media Studies (all topics)
•    Native American Studies 158: Native Americans and the Cinema
•    Political Science 106: American Politics: Campaign Strategy—Media
•    Political Science 161: Public Opinion, Voting and Participation
•    Political Science 164A: Political Psychology and Involvement
•    Psychology 160: Social Psychology
•    Psychology 166AC: Cultural Psychology
•    Public Policy C103: Wealth and Poverty 
•    Rhetoric 114: Rhetoric of New Media
•    Rhetoric 130: Novel into Film (all topics)
•    Rhetoric 132T: Auteur in Film
•    Rhetoric 138: Television Criticism
•    Scandinavian 115: Studies in Drama and Film (all topics)
•    Sociology 110: Organizations and Social Institutions
•    Sociology 111AC: Sociology of the Family
•    Sociology 133: Sociology of Gender
•    Sociology 140: Politics and Social Change
•    Sociology 150: Social Psychology
•    Sociology 160: Sociology of Culture
•    Sociology 166: Society and Technology
•    Sociology C167: Virtual Communities/Social Media
•    Theater, Dance and Performance Studies 118AC: Performance, Television, and Social Media
•    Undergraduate Business Administration 106: Marketing
•    Undergraduate Business Administration 160: Consumer Behavior
•    Undergraduate Business Administration 165: Advertising Strategy
•    Undergraduate Business Administration C172: History of American Business

Students wishing to have any other course reviewed as a possible Media Studies elective must submit a copy of the course syllabus to Josh Jackson or Jean Retzinger, Media Studies Faculty Advisers.

For further assistance, email mediastudies_advising@berkeley.edu. Emails to this address are answered by Laura Demir, Student Academic Advisor; Josh Jackson, Faculty Adviser and Jean Retzinger, Interim Director.

Graduate Programs

M.A. in Media Studies

Master of arts in media studies is an academic program that involves students in the systematic study of mass media.


The objective of the program is to enable students to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the systems, processes, networks, cultures and information associated with mass media. Programs of study are carefully tailored to individual student objectives. M.A. student capstone research and theses projects connect theory with practice.

Program Preparation

The program prepares students for doctoral study in mass communications and for professional positions in business and government requiring a comprehensive understanding of the historical, social and political implications of the media in society and advanced research skills to critically evaluate the processes and effects of the media.

Students graduating from this program will be especially well qualified to organize research projects, to critically evaluate research reports and to directly influence mass media practices by the application of research findings.

Degree Requirements

  1. Discussion and approval of the general program plan
  2. Demonstrated understanding of a broad range of theories and issues connected to the study of media
  3. A minimum of 36 credits
    (In some cases, students may be required to take additional credits in order to make up deficiencies in undergraduate coursework)
  4. A minimum of 18 credits at the 500-600 level
  5. A minimum of 15 credits in communications coursework
  6. At least three credits of coursework in communications research methodology
  7. No more than six credits earned in independent study (596). (Normally 596 should not be used for work directly related to thesis research and writing. 600-level credits should be used for that purpose.)
  8. Approval of the thesis proposal
  9. A total of six credits of COMM 600 (Thesis Research) within the minimum 36 credit hours
  10. An oral examination in defense of the thesis
  11. Submit a bound thesis to college graduate office

Degree Completion Time

In most cases satisfactory completion of coursework and thesis requires two years.

Master’s in Media Studies Program Outline

  • Proseminar (3 credits)
    • COMM 515 MA Proseminar in Mass Communications
  • Research Requirements -- Required of all MA Students (3-6 credits)
    • COMM 506 Quantitative Research Methods
    • AND/OR COMM 511 Qualitative Research Methods
    • Often, in practice, students’ faculty committees recommend both methods courses.
  • Supporting Courses in Communications (a majority of coursework must be in Comm)
    • The remaining credits are selected in close consultation with their adviser and committee as part of a carefully crafted program plan.
  • Courses Outside the College
    • Courses outside of Comm may—in many cases, should—be incorporated into program plans.
    • Related courses from other academic areas may be included at the discretion of the student’s committee. These courses may be subject to space availability, the permission of the instructor and prerequisites or their equivalent.
  • Thesis Credits (6 credits maximum)

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