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Media Production Master's Degree: Online and Campus-Based Programs

Find out how to apply for a master's degree in media production and about your online options to study in this field. Read about common coursework, and explore the jobs you could pursue with a master's degree in media production.

What Is the Application Process for a Media Production Master's Program?

You can earn a master's degree in cinematic media production or in film and media production in an on-campus program. To apply to a master's degree program related to media production, you'll usually submit a portfolio of your best media-related work, including short films, photographs or audio projects. You may need to submit your Graduate Records Exam (GRE) scores, 2-3 letters of recommendation and a statement defining your academic goals. Some schools might require undergraduate experience in film or media production.

Typical PrerequisitesPortfolio of media work, GRE, letters of recommendation, statement of goals, undergraduate film or media production experience
Online AvailabilityMaster's in media studies available, but not in media production
Common CoursesDigital production methods, history of film, video and film editing, cinematography, media design
Median Annual Salary (2018)$59,080 (for producers and directors in entertainment and sports)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 10% growth (for producers and directors in entertainment and sports)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Can I Earn My Master's Degree Online?

Due to the number of collaborative projects that must be completed on-campus, most schools don't offer media production master's degree programs online. However, an online master's degree in media studies may be available. Media studies programs usually cover media production, along with the history of mass media and media theory. Courses on public relations and advertising may be included in a media studies curriculum. You might work as an intern at a TV station or media company to gain hands-on experience.

Online programs allow you to communicate asynchronously with peers and instructors through discussion boards. You can submit all projects, papers and tests online and access recorded lectures at your convenience. There are usually no residency requirements other than an optional internship.

What Skills Will I Learn?

You'll study the process behind creating films, television shows or music videos. You'll usually work on several short films or documentaries while earning your degree; most programs culminate in a thesis film or media project at the end of your final year.

Media production coursework emphasizes not only teamwork, but also creativity and successful storytelling. You'll explore the technical skills behind directing, producing, cinematography, lighting and sound. Collaboration with classmates is required for successful completion of some courses. Common topics covered might include:

  • History of film
  • Digital production methods
  • Video and film editing
  • Digital media art
  • Multimedia animation
  • Cinematography
  • Media design

What Career Opportunities Will I Find?

A master's degree related to media production can give you the technical knowledge to work as a video editor or videographer. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that film and video editors and camera operators earned a median annual salary of $58,990 in May 2018.

You could also work as a producer or director in the film, TV or radio industries. According to the BLS, producers and directors in entertainment and sports earned a median annual salary of $59,080 in May 2018. Also according to the BLS, positions in this field will continue to be in demand due to the popularity of movies and television shows and foreign audiences' desire for more films produced in the U.S.