Media Studies Major

Media Studies analyzes the collection, production, and spread of ideas within the context of an increasingly media-rich world.

This major also explores the social, historical, political, and cultural aspects of the media, while developing an understanding of its aesthetics, production, and social influence.

Why should I major in media studies at Augustana?

Media Studies is increasingly important given that contemporary public influence takes place primarily in media contexts. Over the last decade, we have seen technology allow a seamless merger between print, radio, television, and other mediums. We have also seen the rise of social media and Internet based traditional media.

This technology has not only changed the delivery of messages but the content as well. Communication professionals today must be able to understand the types and processes of influence within, as well as the cultural insight that can be gained from new media communication so they can be effective analysts, producers, and consumers of such communication. This understanding is centered on the study of texts, audience, and production.

Further, a deep understanding of new media processes is important for effective citizenship in a digital age where students will face countless opportunities to consume, interpret and create media messages. Their knowledge and skill in this area will have lasting impacts upon the ethics and effects of media as well as the world at large.


Core courses in the media studies major will prepare students to succeed, regardless of how the latest media technology develops. Graduates will be well suited for graduate school as well as a variety of careers in film, television, radio, public relations/advertising, marketing, journalism, and more.

Courses are as follows:

  • MDST 110: Media and Society
  • MDST 150: Introduction to New Media
  • COMM 210: Rhetorical Criticism
  • MDST 220: History of Electronic Media
  • MDST 230: Media Aesthetics and Production
  • COMM 260: Persuasion
  • COMM 290: Communication Research
  • MDST 380: Mass Media Effects
  • MDST 390: Critical Media Studies
  • COMM 395: Internship

An additional nine credits will be taken from interdisciplinary fields in three categories:

Aesthetics: This area is for courses that emphasize the construction and critical appreciation of media and its content. Examples include courses centered on film, visual literacy, and mediated depictions of race, class, gender, and/or sexuality. 
Production: This area is for courses that emphasize media production. Examples include courses centered on graphic design or digital photography as well as advanced journalism.
Social Influence: This area is for courses that emphasize how media symbols can be utilized in a strategic manner. Examples include courses centered on campaigns, social media marketing, political opinion, and communicating in a digital society.

Course descriptions and requirements are available in the Undergraduate Catalog.

As a media studies major you will:

  • Become a well-informed and ethical media analyst, producer, consumer, and critic
  • Experiment with a wide range of mediums including photography, audio, video, etc.
  • Learn the history of relevant theories about the media
  • Explore the ways media reflects, infuses, and influences communication and culture
  • Hear a variety of critical, sociological, and historical perspectives on old and new media
  • Be assigned courses, projects, and internship opportunities that enable students to develop skills at producing mediated messages