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Media Studies Degree Programs

Bachelor's and master's degree programs in media studies can lead to careers in multimedia art and marketing. Find out what classes are offered, learn about online programs and see job outlook and salary expectations for this field.

What Types of Media Studies Degree Programs Are Offered?

Bachelor's and master's degree programs are the most common media studies degree programs available. Bachelor's degree programs often award students with a Bachelor of Science, while master's degree programs usually award a Master of Arts. A master's degree program typically takes about two years of postgraduate study to complete, while a bachelor's degree program generally lasts four years.

Degree Levels Bachelor's and master's degrees are available
Common Courses Media ethics, social media, video production, media theory, mass communications
Learning Environment Traditional classroom options available for both levels; fully online and hybrid programs offered at the graduate level
Possible Careers Advertising and promotions manager, multimedia artist, marketing manager, animator
Job Outlook (2016-2026)10% growth (for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers)*
Median Salary (2018)$132,620 (for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are Classes Like?

Bachelor's degree programs in media studies explore media history and theory but usually don't include actual production. Programs might offer focuses on cinema studies or on comparative media studies. Classes usually look at shifts in the media's structure and how this affects race and gender politics. Common subjects you might explore include:

  • History of mass communications
  • Politics and the media
  • Technology, Internet and society
  • Media ethics
  • Race and gender in media

Master's degree programs in media studies often blend media research and history topics with hands-on media production. You usually can choose a specialization, such as documentaries or media research. Schools can help arrange internships with media companies or media services. Programs usually end with a thesis or a project-based assignment.

During a master's degree program, you'll work closely with faculty advisors, and you'll often have the freedom to choose your own topics of interest through independent study courses. You might explore the effects of radio, television, videogames or the Internet on society and work on unique media productions, such as Internet-based webcasts. Common topics that you'll learn about in a master's degree program include:

  • Media theory
  • Social media
  • Media and technology
  • Criticisms in media studies
  • Video production
  • Audio production

What Are My Online Options?

Online master's degree programs are available in media studies, but these programs are very limited. You often have the choice of earning the degree completely online or mixing online classes with onsite classes. You can usually communicate through e-mail or comment boards and access recorded lectures at your convenience. Programs might require you to participate in an internship at a media company or institute in your area.

What Can I Do?

With your degree, you can work as a multimedia artist and continue to explore art and media. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), multimedia artists and animators earned a mean salary of $78,230, as of May 2018.

You can also apply for a job in media marketing or advertising. The BLS stated that these jobs faced a great deal of competition, but offer high-earning positions. Those with a master's degree may have better job opportunities in the field, according to the BLS. Advertising and promotions managers made a mean wage of $133,090 per year as of May 2018, while marketing managers earned a mean income of $147,240 as of May 2018, reported the BLS.