Have you ever thought about taking online courses to complete your media studies degree?
Digital media is a major part of our lives, along with print communication, television, and cinema. A media studies major analyzes and researches the many ways in which media impacts us socially and culturally.
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If you have a passion for mass media and media communication, perhaps it’s time to take a look at the options available for obtaining a degree in media studies.
Online Media Studies Degrees
You’re probably familiar with many forms of mass media. Many of us check our email every day and look up directions and information on the internet.
Pursuing a media studies degree can open up opportunities to explore the “how” and “what” of different forms of media. You can learn about the history, the types of content, and the overall impact of media on various groups of people.
A media studies program can give you the chance to discover more about:
- Language and media communication techniques
- How media is designed to impact a specific audience
- Digital media art and concepts
- Media law and ethical media concerns
Media studies graduates go on to pursue careers that focus on any of the aspects of mass media. Media studies jobs can involve web design and social media management, event planning, marketing and advertising, television production and broadcast, public relations, and journalism.
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Throughout your studies, you can explore topics such as media language, knowing your audience, and creating specialized messages. You can also learn how to interpret and represent events and objects. In addition, you may become familiar with the organizations and institutions responsible for media distribution.
There are a number of degree specializations you can choose from. For instance, you may choose to concentrate in:
- Video games
- Social media
- Print media
The future of mass media depends on professionals who have studied the process of analyzing and researching media and its impact.
Communications and Media Studies Careers & Salaries
Just as there are many areas of concentration within media studies, there’s also an array of possibilities for media studies jobs.
Professionals in the field of media studies may use their knowledge to create and share different types of media. They might also work for organizations that distribute mass media communications. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the field of media and communication is expected to increase by 14% over the next ten years.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Producers and Directors||$79,000|
|Writers and Authors||$69,510|
|Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists||$63,920|
|Public Relations Specialists||$62,800|
|Film and Video Editors||$62,680|
|Broadcast, Sound, and Video Technicians||$48,800|
|News Analysts, Reporters, and Journalists||$48,370|
|Broadcast Announcers and Radio Disc Jockeys||$37,630|
The area of focus you select in media studies has the potential to prepare you for various media studies jobs. The type of role you can qualify for may depend on your degree specialization, your work experience, your chosen industry, and your location.
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Some media studies graduates pursue a profession that works directly with the public, while others concentrate on media technologies.
Bachelor of Media Studies Curriculum & Courses
There are many different paths you can take when pursuing a media studies degree. For example, you might choose to focus on interactive media, broadcast journalism, or the social and cultural impact of mass media.
As a result, the courses you take will differ depending on your unique concentration. Here are the types of courses you’re likely to encounter:
- Digital Media Writing Styles: This course introduces you to how the written word is used in various forms of digital media.
- Legal Concepts of Media: In this course, you’ll focus on law and ethics as they apply to media forms and formats.
- Digital Art and Design: This course gives you the chance to create their own digital art.
- Global Communication: In this digital age, much of our media is shared overseas, so this course examines the impact and theory involved.
- Economics and Politics in Media: This course explains how the ways in which our world is portrayed in the media have an impact on people around the world.
- Newsgathering: In this course, you’ll learn how to gather credible sources and material to produce shareable media.
- Introduction to Broadcast Media: This course explains what happens on-air and off-air in broadcast journalism.
- History of Media Technology: From the invention to implication of various media sources, this course reviews the technology that has made mass media possible.
- Religion and Media: In this course, you’ll study the relationship between the secular and the sacred when it comes to the various types of media.
- Mobile Media Culture: This course reviews how mobile media is consumed and how to optimize media for mobile use.
The possible impact of media studies is massive. You may want to take a look at each program’s offerings to consider which specialization most interests you.
Bachelor’s in Media Studies Admissions Requirements
The admissions requirements for a bachelor’s degree in media studies will vary from school to school. It’s beneficial to take a look at the details provided on your school’s application or to ask an admissions counselor for specific details.
Many programs for digital media degrees online request the following items:
- SAT or ACT scores (only some schools require them)
- Academic transcripts
- Personal statement
- Letters of reference from academic or professional sources
Some schools also have a minimum GPA requirement and ask for a one-time application fee.
Many students choose an online media studies degree from schools that are regionally accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
Schools that hold accreditation have been carefully evaluated to ensure they provide the highest academic and student services. Regional accreditation acts as a form of quality assurance to ensure that these institutions meet high-quality standards.
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Not only can this give you peace of mind about your education, but it can also communicate to future employers that your training has met these higher requirements. In addition, attending a credible, accredited school is often an eligibility factor for qualifying for federal financial aid.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
There are many financial aid opportunities available to media studies majors who qualify. To see if you’re eligible for federal student loans, grants, or work-study programs you can complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.
Universities and colleges typically offer a variety of grants and scholarships to students as well. These could be based on academic or athletic performance or could be specific to students who pursue a particular program. Details and eligibility requirements are usually listed on a school’s website.
In addition, your employer as well as private or community organizations could also have scholarship programs available for qualifying students.
What Is Media Studies?
Media studies is a vast field that explores the variety, history, and impact of media that we encounter every day.
There are many areas of concentration within media studies that students can pursue. Specializations can range from refining your expertise in social media and social media marketing to preparing you for a role in broadcast journalism.
If you are interested in creating, researching, and analyzing media communication and content, media studies might be an interesting field for you to consider.
What Can You Do with a Major in Media Studies?
Many media studies graduates choose careers that involve communication and mass media production and distribution.
Some roles—such as writers, artists, developers, and announcers—may be creative. Other positions could include more technical skills, such as producing or editing material used in mass communication. From design to understanding demographics, there are many potential careers in the sector of media and media studies.
Some employers may prefer you to complete a graduate degree, like a masters in strategic communications online or on campus, to qualify for these careers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that media and communications jobs will continue to be abundant, with 14% job growth projected over the next ten years.
What Do Media Studies Majors Do?
Media studies majors have the opportunity to explore many different aspects of mass media, media communications, digital media, and other forms of mass communication.
Students of media studies utilize critical thinking skills as well as quantitative and qualitative research methods to appreciate and understand the many roles that media takes in today’s society. With these skills, many media studies professionals choose to focus on the creation and distribution of media, including television, internet, film, and marketing avenues.
Others choose to pursue the public relations aspect of media. In fact, a number of universities offer both on-campus and online public relations degree options for students interested in this profession.
How Much Do Media Studies Majors Make?
The salary you can anticipate as a media studies major depends on a number of factors, such as your degree concentration and the career path you pursue once you graduate.
Web developers and digital designers are often among the highest paid creators in media, with median salaries of $77,030 and $79,890, respectively (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Writers and authors are other types of creators, and they have a median income of $69,510.
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that broadcast, sound, and video technicians earn a median of $48,800, while public relations specialists make a median of $62,800.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Media Studies Degree Online?
The amount of time required to complete an online media studies degree depends on the school, the program, and your enrollment status.
For schools that follow a 16 week semester program, full-time students can generally earn their bachelors degree in media studies in 4 years. Schools that offer an 8 week semester program with year-round terms can accelerate that schedule. If you are enrolled full-time for all terms, including summers, you could potentially finish your media studies degree in less time.
Is Media a Good Career?
Yes, media is a good career for many professionals. Those who pursue media jobs aren’t always on the creative side of the process. There are many levels of professionals involved in media jobs, from the camera operator to the editing technician.
You may find yourself more interested in the impact of media than the creation of media. Professionals in this position may find themselves in analytical, marketing, or management roles. Our world is saturated in global communications and sharing media, which means media studies majors could continue to have a variety of opportunities in this field.
What’s the Difference Between a Bachelor’s Degree in Media Studies vs. Journalism?
Many schools offer both a media studies program and a journalism program, but how do you know which major you should select?
Media studies majors include studies of:
- The intersection of culture, entertainment, and facts
- The technology used to produce and share media
- The sociological and psychological impact of media
- Methods of creating and distributing media
Journalism degrees usually focus on:
- Gathering evidence
- Interviewing sources
- Researching events and situations
- Creating factual stories to share with different audiences
While there is often overlap in areas such as broadcast and digital media, each program has a different emphasis.
Is a Media Studies Degree Worth It?
Yes, a media studies degree is worth it for many students. Our planet is connected by media. The digital age has allowed us to share content and communications around the world instantaneously.
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As a result, careers in media studies look to be on the increase. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 14% job growth for media and communications occupations over the next ten years, which is faster than average. In addition, some media studies professionals apply their knowledge of media to other fields, such as public relations, marketing, or politics.
Universities Offering Online Bachelors in Media Studies Degree Program
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Adams State University’s Bachelor of Arts in Media Industry and Communication can be completed fully online, providing students with a flexible and innovative educational experience. The program is designed to teach fundamental skills in core communications. The curriculum includes courses such as Digital Filmmaking, Business of Radio and TV, Media Research, and Public Speaking.
Adams State University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Arizona State University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and Media Studies. The program is designed to teach the interplay between society and media through cultural, historical, political, and ethical lenses. This 120 credit degree consists of 41 core classes, all of which can be taken in a fully online format.
ASU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Brenau University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies. It is designed to prepare students for various roles in diverse fields, including public relations, marketing, project management, and consulting. The program boasts faculty and guest speakers prominent in the industry, and courses can be completed online or at one of the institution’s many campuses.
Brenau University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Fisher College offers a Bachelor’s in Communication and Media Studies program. This interdisciplinary program focuses on media’s relationship to society through the context of professions in communication, advertising, public relations, journalism, and video production. Individual courses are 8 weeks long, and the 120 credits required for the degree can typically be completed in 4 years.
Fisher College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
At Lynn University, students in the Bachelor’s in Communication and Media program are instructed in persuasion and leadership, media theory, consumer trends, and public relations. The program admits new students 3 times a year and is housed fully online, allowing them to take the next step in their educational and professional journeys at their earliest convenience.
Lynn University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Students seeking a broad education in the communication field may find an excellent fit in the Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Media Studies program at New Mexico State University. Key courses in the program include Public Speaking, Media and Society, Advertising, and Publishing. Students are also encouraged by the school to take a minimum of 69 credits outside the journalism department.
NMSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The New School offers a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies. Both programs require the completion of 120 credits and have similar required courses, such as Professional Writing, Media Business, and Race, Ethnicity, and Class. Students can cater their education to their schedules by taking classes online at a full-time or part-time pace.
The New School is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The University of Arkansas—Little Rock offers a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication with an emphasis in Mass Media. The program focuses on critical thinking, content creation, writing, and the relationship between media and the public. The program can be completed fully online and consists of 120 credit hours. Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA to graduate.
UA Little Rock is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Maryland Global Campus offers a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies. With online and hybrid courses, the program is often an ideal fit for students in need of flexible options to continue their education. The program requires the completion of 120 credits to graduate. Up to 90 qualifying credits can be transferred in from outside institutions.
The University of Maryland Global Campus is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The University of Massachusetts—Amherst offers a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media Studies. The program covers key topics like digital narrative, visual storytelling, media programming, and news writing and reporting. Courses are taught by award-winning instructors, professional filmmakers, and individuals at the top of their field.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Getting Your Bachelors in Media Studies Online
If you find print, broadcast, film, or digital media fascinating, you may be interested in getting your bachelors in media studies online. Some students choose to continue their educations and enter an online master’s in media studies program and then earn an online PhD in Media Studies as well. A media studies program covers the theory behind media as well as how it impacts the world today.
With a variety of programs and concentrations available in an online media communications degree, you may have the opportunity to develop specialized knowledge and skills in media creation, distribution, and analysis.
There’s no time like the present to start checking out accredited schools. The sooner you start exploring your online degree programs in communications and media options, the sooner you may find the media studies program that’s right for you and your goals.