Before being accepted into the major, students are required to complete MDST 2000 or MDST 2010 (exceptions are made only at the discretion of the Chair of the Department of Media Studies or Director of Undergraduate Programs and only when logistically necessary). Students are accepted into the major in the spring semester only upon review of their applications. Applications are reserved for students in their second and third years. Students in their fourth year cannot apply to the major. The application is a competitive process that takes into account the applicant’s GPA and application essay, as well as other factors.
Applications must be completed in the spring semester (normally that which coincides with the student’s fourth or sixth semester). Deadlines will be posted in the Media Studies Department office and on the web (www.virginia.edu/mediastudies); the deadline will be on or about March 1st.
The application consists of overall GPA; the listing of grade(s) for all Media Studies classes taken, in particular MDST 2000 and/or MDST 2010; and a short statement of purpose that answers the question: what are your intellectual goals in media studies? This should not be a list of courses to be taken, but an outline of intellectual goals to be achieved through course work in the field of media studies. A statement such as “I like to watch films” is insufficient; however the following formulations, accompanied by a description of the means to achieve these goals, would be sufficient: “I’m interested in the evolution of the studio system,” or “I want to trace the relationship between notions of intellectual property and Internet law.”
The admissions committee will complete their review and notify students by or around March 15. All accepted students must declare the Media Studies major by April 1 in order to reserve a place in the major.
Media Studies majors are required to take the following courses:
Academic Standards: Every course that a student wishes to apply toward the major must be passed at a 2.3 grade or above. Students who are unable to maintain these academic standards will be put on probation by the Media Studies department for one semester. Students who are not able to raise their grade point averages in the subsequent semester will be asked to leave the major.
Transfer Students: Students transferring to UVa and interested in pursuing the Media Studies major must complete MDST 2000 in their first fall semester at UVa. Transfer students will be able to apply to the major at the end of the Fall semester. Exceptions made only at the discretion of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
* DMP students may use an additional Practice of Media course as one of their electives.
Concentration in Media Ethics and Policy
Media Studies majors have the option of concentrating in the general area of media policy and ethics by selecting at least three of their upper-level electives from a list of approved courses that consider major issues in media policy or media ethics. Any other courses, including cross-listed courses, which a student might wish to have count toward the concentration, must be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Concentration in Film Studies
Media Studies majors have the option of concentrating in the general area of Film Studies by selecting five (5) courses from a list of approved courses. These courses must include:
One (1) Film Studies core course, from approved list:
One (1) Practice of Media course applicable to film, from approved list. Note that only one Practice of Media course can be applied to the Major and thus that the Practice of Media course for the film concentration will be the only one that counts toward the major.
Three (3) Film Studies electives at the 3000-level or above, from an approved list.
Any other courses, including cross-listed courses, which a student might wish to have count toward the concentration, must be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Internships in Media Studies
Students who wish to pursue an internship in Media Studies for credit may do so by seeking approval from the Director of Internships prior to the internship. Students who have been approved for internship credit must enroll in MDST 3800 - Field Experience in Media Studies during the semester of their internship or during the semester immediately following their internship (i.e., a student interning in the summer of 2016 may enroll in MDST 3800 that summer or in Fall 2016). MDST 3800 is a 1-credit course restricted to Media Studies Majors that does not count toward the major requirements.
Prerequisites and Application
Students with superior academic performance are encouraged to apply for the Distinguished Majors Program (DMP) in Media Studies in which they write a thesis or complete a substantial creative portfolio with appropriate documentation demonstrating independent study of high quality. An application is required for entrance to the DMP. Students must apply in the second semester of their second year by the deadline posted on the Media Studies website. The application process is highly selective and takes into account the applicant’s GPA, application essay, as well as other factors. Once accepted, the student will be assigned a faculty advisor who will guide the student in the preparation of her or his degree plan, in the selection of courses, and who will help the student with all matters related to her or his intellectual pursuits. Prior to applying, students are expected to have completed MDST 2000 - Introduction to Media Studies or MDST 2010 - Introduction to Digital Media . Exceptions to these pre-requisites are made only at the discretion of the Director of the Media Studies Distinguished Majors Program.
Media Studies DMP students are required to take the following courses:
(Qualifies as Pre-requisite)
(Qualifies as Pre-requisite)
One Practice of Media Courses from the pre-approved list OR MDST 3801.
Five (5) MDST electives at the 3000-level or above, 15 credit minimum. The five electives must include courses that fulfill the following criteria:
- One (1) Non-US Media Course from approved list
- One (1) Diversity and Identity Course from approved list
- One (1) MDST course at the 4000-level
- Note: DMP students may take a second Practice of Media course as one of their electives. (As many Practice of Media courses are taught at the 2000 level, this course will be exempt from the 3000-level or above rule).
Students will choose their electives in consultation with their faculty advisor and the Director of the Media Studies DMP. These courses must constitute a plan that furthers the student’s special interest(s). In some cases, and in consultation with the faculty advisor, students may be encouraged to register for MDST 4010 both semesters of their fourth year.
DMP students are expected to earn at least a 3.000 in each MDST course applied to the Distinguished Majors Program and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.400 per university policy. Students who are unable to maintain these academic standards will be put on probation by the Media Studies department for one semester. Students who are not able to raise their grade point averages in the subsequent semester will be asked to leave the honors program, but may continue as a Media Studies major provided that they meet the minimum requirements for that major.
Depending on their performance in the DMP, students are eligible to graduate with Honors, High Honors, or Highest Honors and such a designation will be reflected on their diplomas.