The Catholic University of America

Undergraduate Programs

Major in Media Studies. Television, cinema, newspapers and the Internet all profoundly influence our lives. CUA's Department of Media Studies provides students with tools to analyze critically the forms and contents of mass media. An interdisciplinary field, media studies at Catholic University is rooted in traditions of rhetorical and historical criticism across the humanities.

Core program courses promote understanding of film, television and related media in their varied aesthetic, social, historical and cultural contexts. After completing the core, majors anchor their elective courses with either a critical studies course (311: Critical Approaches to Media) or a production course (312: Media Composition). Students may take both.  Majors in the program also have opportunities to gain professional experience through internships while earning credit.


Majors take six core courses:

  • MDIA 201: Introduction to Media Studies
  • MDIA 202: Media and History  
  • MDIA 301: Media and Rhetoric
  • MDIA 302: Media Rhetoric and Aesthetics
  • MDIA 399: Junior Seminar
  • MDIA 499: Senior Seminar

an elective gateway course--either MDIA311 Critical Approaches to Media and/or MDIA312 Media Composition--which then anchors the final six advanced electives, generally focusing on either critical studies or production.

Up to two approved courses from other departments (e.g., ART309, Introduction to Photography) may count as in-major electives. The full list of approved interdisciplinary electives is available on the course tracking sheet.

Important Requirements:

  • Students may declare the major as incoming freshmen. Students who wish to transfer into the major after the beginning of freshman year should complete at least one introductory course (MDIA201, 202 or 301) first before being considered for acceptance.
  • All majors must earn a 2.5 GPA average in MDIA201 and MDIA202. All students failing to achieve this level of academic performance will be dismissed from the major; they may re-take either course within two semesters, meet the 2.5 requirement, and then reapply for acceptance to the major.
  • No course in the major may be re-taken more than once. Additionally, all students must maintain a 2.3 (C+) GPA average in the major. Students dropping below this level will be given one semester to restore their in-major GPA, or face dismissal from the major. 
  • MDIA201 is a prerequisite for most advanced electives; MDIA399, Junior Seminar, is a prerequisite for MDIA499, Senior Seminar.  (Nota bene: MDIA499 is offered exclusively during Fall semester.) Students must pass the senior comprehensive examination in their final semester.


Minors in Media Studies.  

The Department of Media Studies offers two minor programs, including both the Minor in Media Studies and the interdisciplinary Minor in Rhetoric and Writing.  The minors are open to students of any major and each consists of six courses.  Click here for more info!



Read more about the Media Studies major

 Why Media Studies?

With a liberal arts commitment, media studies emphasizes writing and critical thinking skills. By requiring rigorous study in the humanities while providing access to state-of-the-art digital production equipment, Media Studies engages students as both critics and creators -- learning how to read cultural texts critically, and gaining firsthand knowledge of how such texts are produced. CUA students develop a relationship to mass media that is both critically aware and socially responsible, one that prepares them for a wide variety of careers in fields as diverse as film and video, broadcasting, journalism, public relations, advertising, law, or teaching and scholarship in the humanities.