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Media Studies Degree: What to expect?

Media studies might just sound like a degree where you sit around and debate the finer points of last night’s Jersey Shore, or write papers on how the latest Judd Apatow movie rocked. But in reality, it calls for so much more.

The purpose of a media studies degree is to look at the way media (including print, film, and television) affect society as a whole. It answers questions about how media influence the way people act in their personal lives and in business. Media studies majors examine topics such as how news reporting affects political opinions and how violence in movies affects how communities interact.

Training

You can get a media studies degree from a number of universities, including art and online schools. Some schools combine this department with other fields of study, which means you can graduate with a degree in, say, communication and media studies, or film and media studies. Occasionally, schools will offer their students the opportunity to take media-making classes along with theory-based courses—for example, classes on film editing or interviewing.

Classes in this major cover the gamut of media. You can spend your time in courses that focus on television news, journalism, or the movie industry. Some examples of real classes include media ethics, news media and global affairs, and the music business in media.

Next Step

Though some consider this major to be a bit of a joke, media studies majors are actually usually considered fairly competitive in the job hunt.

After you graduate, look for entry-level positions—as an Editorial Assistant, Runner, or Production Assistant, for example. To improve your chances of grabbing a job in what can be very competitive fields (journalism, movies, and TV), spend some time in an internship or an unpaid position while in school.

There are master’s degrees in this field. If you hope to become a Professor or work in a higher position in the entertainment industry, a master’s can help get you where you want to be.

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