Media Studies class

Program Requirements

Students pursuing the BA in Media Studies complete 13 courses, for 39 credit hours. The degree code is MDST.

Media Studies Core Curriculum (25 hours)

Five required courses comprise the Media Studies core:

  • Foundations of Media Studies—3 
  • Introduction to Social Media—3 
  • Media Research—3
  • Media and Communication History—3
  • Digital Culture and Politics—3

Students would then take the following courses offered by Media Studies, other departments or programs in CMCI or departments outside CMCI:

  • Advanced Research Methods—3
  • Media Practice—6

Media Practice Component

The Media Practice component consists of six credit hours involving hands-on work. MDST courses that fulfill practice credit include:

  • MDST 2031 Documentary and Social Change (3)
  • MDST 2032 Visual Literacies & Design (3)
  • MDST 3341 Designing Alternative Media Platforms (3)
  • MDST 4003 Digital Media Production & Design (3)

Additional courses that fulfill practice credit can be found in the Departments of Advertising, Public Relations and Media Design; Journalism; Information Science or Critical Media Practices; or ATLAS’ Technology, Arts and Media program.

Students will additionally explore an area of emphasis by taking three courses (9 credit hours) in one of the following areas:

Media, Technology & Society    
MDST 2010 - Media and Social Movements    
MDST 2011 - Disruptive Entrepreneurship in the Internet's New Economies    
MDST 2012 - Hacker Culture    
MDST 2021 - Comic Books: Culture and Industry    
MDST 3331 - Sports-Media Complex    
MDST 3341 - Designing Alternative Media Platforms    
MDST 3401 - Media, Food and Culture    
MDST 3711 - Media and Popular Culture    
MDST 4111 - Crime, Media and Contemporary Culture    
MDST 4331 - Gender, Race, Class, and Sexuality in Popular Culture    
MDST 4361 - TV and the Family in American Culture and Society    
MDST 4371 - Media and Religion    
MDST 4372 - Islam, Pop Culture and Media    
MDST 4601 - Media Law, Policy and Ethics    

Global Media Industries & Culture    
MDST 2001 - Global Media Literacy    
MDST 2010 - Media and Social Movements    
MDST 3201 - Media, Culture and Globalization    
MDST 3321 - Media Industries and Economics    
MDST 3331 - Sports-Media Complex    
MDST 3401 - Media, Food and Culture    
MDST 4211 - Asian Media and Culture    
MDST 4371 - Media and Religion    
MDST 4372 - Islam, Pop Culture and Media    
MDST 4601 - Media Law, Policy and Ethics
Advocacy, Entrepreneurship & Social Change    
MDST 2010 - Media and Social Movements    
MDST 2011 - Disruptive Entrepreneurship in the Internet's New Economies    
MDST 2012 - Hacker Culture    
MDST 2031 - Documentary and Social Change    
MDST 3321 - Media Industries and Economics    
MDST 3341 - Designing Alternative Media Platforms    
MDST 3401 - Media, Food and Culture    
MDST 3711 - Media and Popular Culture    
MDST 3791 - Media and the Public    
MDST 4231 - Youth Media: Culture and Politics    
MDST 4601 - Media Law, Policy and Ethics

Self-Designed Emphasis (requires faculty approval)

Courses meeting this requirement could come from anywhere within CMCI or across the CU-Boulder curriculum.

Media Studies requires an internship (3 credit hours) in a field of the student’s choice, and a capstone project (3 credit hours), both usually completed in the senior year.

Undergraduate Course Offerings

The following are Media Studies undergraduate courses for the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 academic years. Not all courses are yet available. Please see an advisor if you have any questions. See the course catalog for the most updated listing of courses.

MDST 1001 Foundations of Media Studies (fall)
Introduces students to key issues and debates and contemporary applications of critical media studies focusing on economic, social, political and cultural implications. Provides an understanding of the relationship between theory and practice and equips students with the tools to critically analyze various forms of textual transmission.

MDST 1002 Introduction to Social Media (spring)
Introduces students to network structures and principles, the technology and infrastructures that allow them to flourish, and the cultures that grow up through and around them. Explores how social media enables community, how it assembles and empowers agents of change and how design informs individual and group behavior.

MDST 2002 Media and Communication History (fall and spring)
Examines the historical development of communication forms, tools, technologies and institutions (orality, writing, printing, photography, film, radio, television, computers, internet); their influence on culture (forms of expression and social relationships); and their impact on social and individual experience. Applies knowledge of communication history to contemporary social issues and problems in media and society, domestically and internationally.

MDST 3001 Media Research ((fall and spring)
Introduction to theoretical approaches and practices used to analyze the content, structure, influence and contexts of media. Explores factors shaping media, including: politics, economics, technology, cultural traditions. Students study concepts, theoretical approaches and research methods of media criticism, and learn to adopt and adapt these frameworks in analyses of mediated communication. 

MDST 3002 Digital Culture and Politics (fall and spring)
Examines issues at the intersection of digital media, culture and politics, such as regulation and network architecture, piracy and hacking, and grassroots activism. Students engage with a range of theories about cultural politics, democracy, liberalism and neoliberalism in relation to digital information and communication technologies.

MDST 2010 Media and Social Movements (3)
Surveys the history and contemporary efforts of social activists to bring about democratic media reform and examines how media are used as tools for connecting and advancing social movements. Emphasis is given to media activism and social movements in the United States, as well as to similar and related transnational activism and movements.

MDST 2011 Disruptive Entrepreneurship in the Internet's New Economies (3)
Grapples with the disruptive business models that drive the online economy: both the dominant ones and the alternatives vying to transform it. In addition to the Silicon Valley model, this course explores lesser known internet economies around the world and proposals for a more equitable online future.

MDST 2012 Hacker Culture (3)
Chronicles the evolution of hacker culture from its origins as a geeky subculture to a criminal underground to its adaptation by CEOs. Considers how hacker formations sometimes represent a new kind of politics, sometimes a rejection of politics. Explores the contested figure of the hacker in the past, present and science-fiction of the internet.

MDST 2021 Comic Books: Culture and Industry (3)
Explores practices of comic culture across a broad range of graphic stories. Using culture studies approaches to industry analysis and fan community discourses, students examine culture created through and around graphic texts, particularly representations of race, gender, sexuality, institutions and ideology. Considers the political economy of the comic industry, the struggles of independent producers and active fan practices.

MDST 3033 Social Media Cultures (3)
Expands students’ understanding of network cultures, including how social media tools influence conversation strategies, how interfaces interact with perceived communication values, and how network boundaries reinforce distinct cultural identities. Student engage in projects to measure network behavior, create strategic messages to achieve communication and information goals, and to engage in social listening.

MDST 3201 Media, Culture and Globalization (3)
Surveys the political and economic structures of media system in developed and developing countries and discusses the impact of privatization, ownership consolidation, and globalization on the flow of information across national borders. Also looks at how global media flows and counter-flows affect conceptions of nationhood and cultural identity.

MDST 3321 Media Industries & Economics (3)
Focuses on the institutions and practices of the media industries. Surveys and provides methods of researching the histories, structures, and activities of these organizations and the contemporary issues surrounding them.

MDST 3331 Sports-Media Complex (3)
Explores the rich connections between the sports industry, spectating, the media complex and social life. Using theories of cultural studies and drawing on specific examples from the sports world, students focus on how sport shapes and reinforces understandings of gender, race, class and sexuality. Addresses major questions about the political economy, commodification, mediation and reception of the spectacle of the sports complex, as well as politics and cultural consequences of its transnational reach.

MDST 3401 (3) Media, Food and Culture
Explores the topic of food as a subject of popular culture: essential to life and the enter of local, national and transnational conflict and social movements. Students will examine media representations of food, what our food choices say about us and what the mediated politics of food mean for our collective future.

MDST 3711 Media & Culture (3)
Examines culture in the form of discourse, symbols, and texts transmitted through the media. Explores the relationship between such mediated culture and social myth and ideology.

MDST 3791 Media & the Public (3)
Provides an overview of how publishing in print and electronic forms has been tied closely to democratic ideals for centuries. Explores how the idea of the public is central to the theory and practice of media politics, and how the contested concepts of "the public sphere" and "public opinion" have long been linked to debates about the proper relationship between media and democratic citizenship.

MDST 4111 Crime, Media and Contemporary Culture (3) 
Course addresses a range of issues from within a variety of literatures that consider the ways in which the media cover crime. Those literatures are particularly drawn from sociology and the emergent, and increasingly dominant, field of cultural criminology. The focus of the class is to get students to think of "crime" as a constructed and mediated concept and set of narratives that often create problematic public "understandings."

MDST 4211 Asian Media and Culture (3)
Offers an understanding of the various people, cultures and nations of  Asia through their media systems. Provides a critical overview of the historical, cultural, social, political and economic dimensions of East Asian communication systems in today's digitally connected/disconnected world.

MDST 4221 Media Technology and Cultural Change (3)
Reviews various “grand theories” of media technology, from McLuhan onward, considering their claims as well as important critiques.  Evaluates various recent and contemporary examples of such talk, including that surrounding the emergence of the digital and social media.  Compares the historical with the contemporary discourses, applying critical resources to an assessment of what is known and unknown about how changes in media lead to changes in cultures and societies.

MDST 4231 Youth Media: Culture and Politics (3) 
This course examines sociological approaches in the study of youth cultures and their interaction with media and popular culture. It focuses on how young people use and produce media in a rapidly shifting communication environment defined by emerging digital literacies and participatory culture. The course critically analyzes youth media production and representation around themes such as youth styles, gender, ethnic and political identities, youth consumer culture, youth social behavior, and other trends.

MDST 4241 Visual Culture & Human Rights (3)
Provides the critical tools needed to understand images and their impact on the recognition and restitution of human rights claims. The course examines both visual practices (e.g. documentation, archiving, witnessing, advocacy and surveillance) and visual media (e.g. photography, film, video, drone and satellite images), unpacking the growing entanglement between visual culture and human rights.

MDST 4331 Gender, Race, Class & Sexuality in Popular Culture (3)
Studies the construction, interconnections, and replications of gender, race, class, and sexuality in popular culture and how these constructs become cultural norms and mores. Uses critical methods with a focus on producing responsible viewers and readers.

MDST 4341 International Media and Global Crises (3)
Examines strengths and limits on medias role in globalized crises (e.g. financial, climate change, health) in light of changing distribution of global power. Introduction to current crises; context-analytical approach to media technologies, financing and uses; application to national cases.

MDST 4361 Television & the Family in American Culture (3)
Examines the history and character of two central institutions in American society--the family and television--to gain deeper understanding of their formative and enduring roles. Topics include: intersecting histories of the family and television; economic logic of the TV industry and programming; representations of the family in television programming; how families use and interact with television.

MDST 4371 Media & Religion (3) (course number to be determined)
Considers the ways that media and religion interact in contemporary culture.  Surveys emerging theories of the mediation of religion, and contemporary scholarship on the emergence of new forms and practices of religion that are shaped by, or made possible by, the media. The US, Europe, and beyond are considered, with particular attention to how the circulation of religion through media influences knowledge about religion among domestic and international publics.

MDST 4372 Islam, Popular Culture & Media (3) 
This course explores the shifting contours of cultural and religious Muslim identities through media representation and production in Muslim-majority countries and in the West. Using popular culture as a complex site of struggle, this course examines how Muslims address questions of gender, ethnicity, class, democracy, sexuality, religion, and modernity in a variety of media forms and practices.


Need help or still have questions?

View the advising page for more information on applying, or contact CMCI Advisors via email.

CMCI Advisors
Stadium 110
University of Colorado Boulder
College of Media, Communication and Information
Boulder, CO 80309-0478