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Overview Media Studies is an interdisciplinary department focused on the forms and effects of traditional and emerging forms of media (radio, film, television, photography, print, digital, and electronic media). The field of Media Studies considers the transformation of the public sphere and individual imagination through the effects of media upon social practices. It also takes, as a prime topic, the concept of mediation, or the production of social relations, cultural values, and political forces. The Department of Media Studies provides students with intellectual tools for understanding the rhetoric and influence of media in their construction of illusion and reality by drawing on methodologies across the humanistic disciplines of sociology, history, critical theory, philosophy, art history and visual studies, the creative arts (video, photography, music, print, film, and digital media), anthropology, technology, political science, computer science, commerce, and law.
Media Studies is a synthetic major constituted by the substantive examination of media in their aesthetic, historical, and cultural dimensions. The major is not a vocational, pre-professional training course in journalism, broadcast, or communications. Rather, the major has a strong commitment to emphasizing the fundamental values and skills of critical thinking, research, writing, and intellectual inquiry essential to a liberal arts education. Classes explore the history of and theoretical approaches to analog and digital media technologies, and their impacts upon contemporary life. Internships and courses in media production provide opportunities for firsthand experience in journalism, video, digital arts, business, and other areas.
The Department of Media Studies offers a bachelor of arts major in Media Studies, a Distinguished Majors Program (DMP) in Media Studies, as well as two optional concentrations in film studies or media policy and ethics. Both, the bachelor of arts major in Media Studies and the DMP are programs that require an application.
Faculty The Media Studies faculty represents a range of scholarly and teaching interests that explore the forms and effects of media from various disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and global perspectives.
Students from across the University are encouraged to explore the offerings in Media Studies as part of their undergraduate experience. Those wishing to focus on production or creative arts, law, commerce, policy, research at an advanced level, or in development and research applications of digital technology, should use media studies as the first step toward a master’s or doctorate degree in their fields. Graduates can expect to find work in radio, television, publishing, digital media, and the business environments of traditional and new media.
Special Resources The Virginia Film Festival is hosted by the University of Virginia every fall and provides opportunities for student internships, special lectures and screenings, and mini-courses with visiting film scholars and practitioners. The University of Virginia also has a number of special resources that enrich the Media Studies department. The Robertson Media Center in Clemons Library is equipped with viewing stations, study rooms for group viewing and discussion, and classrooms with film, video, and computer equipment. The Center also houses a significant and expanding collection of video recordings including classic cinema, television programs, and other video materials regularly used in Media Studies classes and research projects. The Digital Media lab in Clemons Library provides drop-in workstations for image capture and editing, and video cameras are available for student use upon certification. A widely distributed system of labs, workstations, and digital classrooms are also available for student use. The electronic centers of the University Library (the E-text center, Special Collections, and the Geospatial and Statistical Data Center) offer considerable resources in digital formats. Moreover, the University has been a leader in digital technology and the humanities at the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities and the Virginia Center for Digital History. Both engage students in their activities on a project by project basis. The University of Virginia Art Museum, the Virginia Foundation for Humanities, the Women’s Center, the various on-Grounds publications, and other institutions affiliated with the University or part of the Charlottesville community offer possibilities for internships and work experience in media production.
In addition, Media Studies majors are encouraged to take advantage of the proximity and strong professional connections to Washington, D.C. and New York City. The Department regularly hosts trips and symposia in both cities, bringing media professionals, policy experts, scholars, and students together. This strong relationship among the faculty, students, alumni, business leaders, and policy makers has allowed the Department of Media Studies to launch a Program in Media Ethics and Policy. This program allows the Department to bring to Grounds major figures in media industries, government, and scholarship to share their knowledge and perspectives with students. The program also facilitates programs and events in Washington D.C. and New York City.