Media Studies


This page reflects the current major requirements for students who declare Media Studies in Fall 2021 or later. This curriculum requires students to choose an area of concentration as part of their Media Studies degree program.

Students declared in the major before the beginning of Fall 2021 can stay on the current curriculum or, if they prefer, move over to the new curriculum. Students looking for the requirements for the old curriculum can find this information below:

Declared Fall 2021 or Later

Media Studies is excited to announce a new curriculum for all new admits beginning Fall 2021. Those students already declared majors before the beginning of Fall 2021 can stay on the current curriculum or, if they prefer, move over to the new curriculum.

This new curriculum requires students to pursue one of three areas of concentration as part of their Media Studies education.

To fulfill their area of concentration, students must complete three “area electives” (including a research methods course). Students are free to take any two “additional electives” from any area of concentration.

Additionally, this new curriculum adds a new core course all Media Studies students must complete, MS 114: Media and Globalization.

In summary, students must take thirteen classes structured into four categories: four prerequisite courses, four core courses, three area electives, and two additional electives.

Major Prerequisites

  • American History (Post Civil War Period)
  • American Institutions
  • Introductory Social Sciences and Humanities
  • Introductory Media Studies

Core Courses

  • Media Studies 111B: Text and Data Media History (Fall) or Media Studies 111C: Audio-Visual Media History (Spring)
  • Media Studies 112: Media Theories and Processes (Fall/Spring)
  • Media Studies 113: Media and Democracy (Fall/Spring)
  • Media Studies 114: Media and Globalization (Fall/Spring)

Concentration Electives

Students must select one area of concentration and complete three “area electives” by taking one course from each subcategory. More information about each area of concentration can be found below.

Digital Studies

  1. DS.1 Research Methodologies
  2. DS.2 Virtual Communities and Social Media
  3. DS.3 Digital Projects and Digital Storytelling

Global Cultural Studies

  1. GCS.1 Research Methodologies
  2. GCS.2 Visual Culture
  3. GCS.3 Popular Culture

Media Law & Policy

  1. MLP.1 Research Methodologies
  2. MLP.2 Institutions
  3. MLP.3 Citizenship

Additional Electives

In addition to the three area electives, students must complete two additional electives from any area of concentration. These courses must be upper-division and should be approved as an elective for any of the concentration options. Any courses not already listed on the respective area of concentration can be requested for consideration through a course substitution.

Additional Major Requirements

To graduate in Media Studies, students must also complete the following requirements with:

  1. A minimum of 28 upper-division units in approved Media Studies courses.
  2. No more than two upper-division courses from any single outside department or program for the major.
    For example: a student can take two Sociology and two American Studies upper division courses towards their Media Studies electives, but they cannot take any more Sociology or American Studies upper division courses for their major. They may, however, take courses in these Departments for other requirements or for course credit.
  3. All courses taken for a letter grade. See COVID-19 P grade policies for exceptions to this requirement.

See the bottom of this page for a list of frequently asked questions.

Prerequisite Requirements

* Beginning Fall 2020, all students planning to declare the Media Studies major MUST complete Media Studies 10 or W10 at UC Berkeley.

** For California community college prerequisite course equivalents, visit If you are transferring from another school and wish to use a course you have taken to satisfy a prerequisite requirement, you may submit this course substitution form and Dr. Josh Jackson will review your request.

Course Requirements FAQ

Below are a series of answers to potential student questions on the new curriculum. We’ll add additional information with time. Current answers are subject to revision.

Can majors declared in the old curriculum switch to the new curriculum?

Yes – students who declared Media Studies summer 2021 and before may switch to the new curriculum with concentrations that begins fall 2021 by submitting a Media Studies Curriculum Change Form. Students should ensure that by switching to the new curriculum, they will still be able to graduate by their Expected Graduation Term (EGT). Students should carefully review the information on the form before submitting it. This request must be made no later than the end of the fifth week of the term before a student’s EGT. (This deadline is extended to the end of the eighth week of the term before a student’s EGT for students with spring 2022 EGTs.)

Can new admits opt for the older curriculum or opt out of an area of concentration?

No, that in effect creates an additional, unapproved curriculum path.

Can an elective meet two area electives from the same area?

No, the students must complete three area electives, each from a different category.

Is there a minimum number of units necessary for a class to count as an elective?

Yes, an elective must be at least two units.

Do the electives need to be upper-division (numbered 100-199)?

Yes, with the exception of the research methodologies elective (since such courses are often introductory by nature).

Can students fulfill the research methodologies elective at a community college?

No, students must take the research methodologies course at Cal in order to better guarantee topics, assignments, and readings comparable with those research methodologies courses offered by our program. Students may still complete three of the four prerequisites (exempting Introduction to Media Studies) at another college or university. Approved prerequisites at California community colleges can be found on Students may request for courses from other colleges and universities to be reviewed as possible prerequisites by submitting a course substitution form.

How many courses can a student take from the same outside department or program?

Students may take no more than two upper-division courses (numbered 100-199) from the same outside (non-Media Studies) department or program. This includes cross-listed and combined (room-shared) classes (e.g., Information C167  counts as both an Information class and Sociology class, because it is cross-listed with Sociology C167).  This limit does not apply to lower-division courses (numbered 1 – 99). It does apply to any upper-division course used to fulfill Media Studies prerequisites, research methodology courses, concentration courses, or elective courses. 

Do the electives need to be upper-division (numbered 100-199)?

Yes, with the exception of the research methodologies elective (since such courses are often introductory by nature). Only the course that applies to the research methodologies category can be lower-division. All electives, whether they count as research methodologies in other areas of concentrations or not, must be upper-division.