Master of Arts in Emerging Media Studies

Welcome to one of the nation’s first graduate programs to focus exclusively on a subject that grows more critical to our world every day: emerging media. Whether you’ve just received your undergraduate degree or already have a few years of professional experience behind you, this exciting,12-month MA program can open new intellectual perspectives and career opportunities for you. It can also prepare you to enter BU’s PhD program in emerging media, launching in 2015.

Our MA degree candidates will gain a rare depth of understanding of emerging media from a social science perspective. In addition to the fundamentals of media technology and applications, the program concentrates on research methods and the latest techniques in data analysis. You can focus on a particular area that interests you most—data visualization, telecom policy and law, or media and social interaction, for example.

The program combines academic coursework with small, intensive research workshop-seminars, and interaction with thought leaders in the field of emerging media. Among these are the division’s outstanding faculty: director Dr. James Katz and research expert Dr. Jacob Groshek. You’ll enhance your knowledge of media and content through courses in the College of Communication’s three departments, where faculty members include Pulitzer Prize winners and best-selling authors.

The extended group research project

A unique component of the program is a year-long collaborative project that blends practical skills with social science insights. As part of a team, you’ll take on a media challenge from a real client, addressing the problem through research, analytics, and critical thinking. It might be a nonprofit seeking to build community awareness or a media start-up trying to identify prospective users. With guidance from your professors, you’ll learn the processes and craftsmanship of research and analysis. At the end of the project, your team will present a comprehensive report on the problem, process, and solution.

The extended group project is an intensive, long-term experience. It was designed to prepare you not only for a career in new media but also for a workplace where collaboration is an increasingly important skill. Afterward, you’ll have a finished portfolio of your completed project—a distinctive way to present your individual and group achievements to potential employers.

Excellent career training

As a graduate of the MA program, you’ll be an outstanding candidate for positions such as media analyst, research planner, or social media strategist in business, government or nonprofit organizations. Or you could pursue a career in academia, teaching and conducting research in communication, journalism, or new media.

Admission and application requirements

We welcome talented applicants who have completed the equivalent of an undergraduate degree with a major or minor in communication or a related field. We also encourage applications from top students with degrees in other fields, such as English, engineering, or art, as well as ambitious professionals with two to three years of work experience.

You may pursue an MA degree in emerging media studies as a full-time or part-time student. However, if you intend to apply subsequently to the PhD program, we strongly recommend full-time study in the master’s program. Full-time students should complete the program within one calendar year.

For further guidelines and information, please visit the College of Communication Graduate Admissions website.

MA Degree Requirements

Candidates for the MA degree in emerging media studies must complete a minimum of 40 credits of graduate-level coursework with a grade of 3.0 or higher in each course. In order to receive credit in a course, you must achieve a grade of at least B-. A course in which you receive a grade lower than B- may be repeated once; this option may be used no more than twice in your program of study. Credits are distributed among introductory courses, required content area courses, additional credits in your specialization topic, and an extended group research project.

Required Courses

The following courses are required for completion of the MA program:


With approval from your advisor, you may choose elective courses to create a coherent plan of study tailored to your interests. Courses may be selected from the three departments of the College of Communication (Film & Television; Journalism; and Mass Communication, Advertising & Public Relations) or from other schools within Boston University.