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From Mass Media to Media Studies FAQs

What is the B.A. Media Studies degree?

The B.A. Media Studies degree examines how knowledge, values, and beliefs are shared through radio, television, film, print, and digital media; as well as ownership, structures and systems of power, and the laws and policies that shape media industries. Through our courses, Media Studies students explore the role of media in politics, economics, popular culture, society, and everyday life; developing critical thinking, problem solving, and creative skills.

Why the name change?

The term “mass media” was developed in the mid-20th century. It reflected the nature of the media industries at that point, when a handful of newspapers, radio and television networks, and film studios created standardized content to appeal to wide audiences—“the masses.”

While the ideas that the early scholars, observers, and critics of media still inform and shape our contemporary understandings, they are insufficient in thinking about the role of media in today's society. Economic imperatives have led to the creation of niche, rather than mass, audiences. Digital technologies enable audiences to act not as simply passive consumers, but as active “prosumers.” Globalization has transformed the ways culture and commodities are produced and distributed. 

Thus, “media studies” allows for a broader conceptualization of the role media play in our contemporary society. It more accurately reflects the scholarship our faculty do. And it better frames the questions and debates that are relevant to CSUSM students as they develop media literacy skills necessary for 21st century employment and citizenship. 

Are there changes to "Mass Media" degree requirements?

No, requirements remain the same for the Mass Media degree. The only difference is courses to fulfill the major are now called “MDIA" and on Degree Planner, they are listed under “Media Studies.”

If a student started at CSUSM declared as a Mass Media major before Fall 2018, what degree will s/he have?

Students declared with a B.A. in Mass Media will graduate with this degree because the university respects their catalog rights. Further, this means any changes made to the program after the student declared their major will not affect requirements to graduate. The only change will be being that the media courses students take starting Fall 2018 will have a “MDIA” prefix.

If I started at CSUSM as a Mass Media major (before Fall 2018), can I get the B.A. Media Studies degree instead?

Students may opt to change to B.A. Media Studies, but this means his/her catalog year would also change. Meaning, if any changes have been made to requirements for a CSUSM degree (e.g. general education classes, etc.), s/he will need to fulfill those requirements as well. In short, a student cannot request the name change without also accepting current degree requirements. 

Questions?

Contact a faculty advisor: http://www.csusm.edu/communication/advising.html

Check out the Media Studies pages on our website: https://www.csusm.edu/communication/media_studies/index.html