About the Major

The Media Studies major at the University of California at Berkeley is an undergraduate interdisciplinary group major in the Office of Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies. Our core faculty earned their doctorate degrees in Communication/Media Studies while affiliated faculty come from a variety of disciplines, bringing the perspectives and methods of their fields to bear on the analysis of the mass media. Our emphasis in this major is historical and theoretical, arising from a liberal arts tradition.  We are largely concerned with promoting an understanding of the origins of contemporary media and helping students assess the roles and impact of the major mass media on contemporary life, rather than with developing specific media production skills.

Ours is a discipline that weds traditions from communication, anthropology, sociology, political science, and journalism with contemporary critical and cultural studies theory to examine media technologies, instititutions, economics, as well as media content and audiences.

In our core courses, students learn media history and theory, and examine the role of media in political life in the United States and abroad. Students learn to analyze the effects of electronic and print media, to consider the impact of the media on public policy, as well as the impact of public policy on the media.

In addition to our core courses, students must take an approved methods course in the social sciences and approved major electives offered in other disciplines on campus–anthropology, historysociology, political science, linguistics and journalism–to name a few. The major itself also offers a research methods course (MediaSt 130), several elective courses, and a year-long honors thesis program (MS H194 and MS H195).