Mass Communication and Media Arts

Main Content

To support the graduate programs, the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts houses high-end multimedia computer labs and state-of-the-art design, video, audio, animation, and editing software. The college has a wide variety of cinema, photography, print media, radio-television and video production facilities. Students have access to the mainframe computer and the Internet.

For all MCMA graduate programs, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution or have completed all undergraduate degree requirements prior to the beginning of the classes for the term for which admission is sought. Applicants may begin the admissions process when they need no more than 32 semester hours beyond the credit shown on their transcript at the time of application to complete all requirements for the bachelor’s degree.

Applications

All requirements for admission to the Graduate School at Southern Illinois University Carbondale must be met.

Applicants must submit completed application forms, transcripts of all post-secondary studies, and a personal statement describing their objectives for study in the program to which they are applying, career goals and interests.

Applicants must arrange for three references to send letters of recommendation to the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies.

Students should contact the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, College of Mass Communication and Media Arts, Mail Code 6606, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL  62901 to apply or to make other inquiries. This program requires a nonrefundable $65 application fee that must be submitted with the application for Admissions to Graduate Study in Mass Communication and Media Arts (M.A., M.S., M.F.A., Ph.D.). Applicants must pay this fee by credit card.

Retention

In addition to the retention policies of the SIU Graduate School, each master’s degree student must maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0 (A = 4) and each Ph.D. student must maintain an overall grade point average of 3.25 (= 4). Upon falling below this average, students will be allowed only one academic term (other than summer) to bring their average up to the minimum; failing this, they will be dropped from the program and will not be allowed to re-apply.

All MCMA graduate students will undergo an end-of-the-year faculty review of their progress toward their degree that includes course progress and/or creative or scholarly work. After the review, students will be notified of any deficiencies to be resolved. Students failing to rectify those deficiencies by the end of the next semester (excluding summer) will be permanently suspended from the MCMA graduate program.

All MCMA graduate students who have completed their course work and the minimum number of credits required for projects, thesis or dissertation must enroll in MCMA 601, Continuing Research Enrollment, each semester until the completion of their degree programs. Exceptions to the continuing enrollment rule are allowed only for students who are required to be away from SIU full-time by the United States or the State of Illinois government.

Master of Arts Degree

Media Theory and Research

This degree offers a broad overview of mass communication and media arts and their processes and effects in the larger social system. Graduates gain both an appreciation of the field’s strengths and an understanding of its obstacles in being a force for social development. Areas in which this specialty is used include: department-level leadership in the mass media industries, opinion research, commentary, critical theory, content analysis, and teaching. The degree may lead to doctoral studies.

Admission

Students whose preparation is lacking in certain areas may be required to take undergraduate courses that will not be counted towards the M.A. degree.

International Students must have a TOEFL of at least 550 (paper score) or 80 (internet score) or an IELTS score of 6.5 to be admitted. All applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Generally applicants must have a grade point average of at least 3.0 (A = 4) for their last two years of undergraduate work. Other factors will also be considered including professional and academic accomplishments, examples of professional work, awards and honors, graduate examination scores or evidence of scholarship such as research papers.

Retention

No course in which the grade is below C shall count toward the degree or fulfillment of any requirement, but the grade will be included in the grade point average. No more than three hours of C work in graduate courses will count toward the degree. The College of Mass Communication and Media Arts allows a maximum of three years from date of enrolling in the master’s degree to completion of degree.  The program generally takes two years to complete.

Curriculum

Candidates must complete a minimum of 30 credits including a minimum of 15 credits of core requirements, 12 credits in an emphasis area, and a 3-credit thesis.

Core:

  • MCMA 500-3     Media as Social Institutions
  • MCMA 504-3     Foundations of Mass Communication Theory
  • MCMA 592-3     Master’s Seminar

Two of the following in consultation with a faculty adviser:

  • MCMA 531-3     Critical Research Methods in Media Arts
  • MCMA 532-3     Quantitative Research Methods
  • MCMA 534-3     Qualitative Research Methods

Emphasis Area:

A minimum of four courses (12 credits) selected in consultation with the student’s faculty adviser to include at least one course from outside of the college and one course from within. Possible emphasis areas include, but are not limited to: advertising/strategic communication, communication for social change, film and criticism, international communication, law and policy, media economics, media effects, media history, media technologies, new media, political communication, and social issues.

Thesis:

  • MCMA 599-3     Thesis

M.S./M.B.A. Concurrent Degree Program

Separately, the M.B.A. in the College of Business requires completion of 33 semester hours of coursework; the MCMA M.S. in Professional Media and Media Management requires 30 semester hours of coursework. The concurrent degree program entails completion of 21 semester hours of MCMA approved courses and 24 credit hours of COB-approved courses, for a total of 45 hours. This is a savings of 18 semester hours over pursuing both degrees separately as COB accepts nine semester hours of MCMA-approved coursework and MCMA accepts nine hours of COB-approved coursework. Students wishing to be admitted to the concurrent program must apply and be accepted to the MCMA M.S., as well as, apply and be accepted into the M.B.A program in the College of Business. This initiates the process to pursue the concurrent degrees.

Applicants for the concurrent degree program must also earn a satisfactory score on the GMAT or GRE to be admitted to the M.B.A program, as well as successfully complete the College of Business Foundation Workshops offered during the summer semester break, if they have not previously completed the 10 foundation business courses (or their equivalent) required for admission into the M.B.A program.

Graduate Certificate in Civil Society, Communication, and Media Practices

A new era of collective activism has expanded and reinvigorated the role of communication and media practices in shaping the space for and nature of public engagement. In this process, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Non-Profits (NPOs), NonGovernmental Organizations (NGOs), local organizations, grassroots movements and media makers have entered public culture with renewed creativity, force, and necessity. This certificate offers students a critical, historical, and theoretical understanding of the significance of communication and media within the broader context of contemporary practices engaged in organizing public and social change. Students will learn to analyze these media practices in their various forms and contexts, from the local to the global, and the complex relationships they navigate with political and social movements, governments, and more mainstream forms, such as entertainment. Our curriculum emphasizes theory and practice and introduces students to a variety of media practices, including research methodologies based in the media arts. The certificate prepares graduates for leading, evaluating, and collaborating in communication efforts aimed at social change. Graduate students will have a broad understanding of the civic potential of media and be prepared to communicate with, promote, and participate in grassroots communities in the age of social media.

Admission

All requirements for admission to the Graduate School at Southern Illinois University Carbondale must be met. Applicants must submit the Application for Admission to Graduate Study forms and certified transcripts of all postsecondary studies. Applicants must also submit a resume outlining educational and professional experience, as well as a personal statement describing their objectives for study in the program, career goals and interests. Generally, applicants must have a grade point average of at least 3.0 (4.0=A) for their last two years of undergraduate work. International students whose native first language is not English, or those with fewer than 100 graded semester hours of college credit at a U.S. college or university, must take the TOEFL and score at least 600 (paper score), 250 (computer score), or 100 (internet score) to be admitted.

Curriculum

The minimum 18 credit hour certificate program requires that the student successfully complete the six courses listed below:

  • MCMA 555-3     Communication and Media Management of Civil Society Organizations
  • MCMA 568-3     Social Media Theory & Practice
  • MCMA 561-3     Communication for Social Change
  • MCMA 543-3     New Media Practice for Civil Society Organizations
  • MCMA 537-3     Introduction to Communication Research
  • MCMA 569-3     Alternative Media: Power & Resistance

Master of Science Degree

The M.S. in Professional Media and Media Management Studies provides students with a practical background in applied research and critique of the communications industries and trains students with varied professional interests to establish careers in communications industries. More specifically, this program aims to train intelligent, self-aware, flexible graduates who will go on to become leaders in the communications industries. The core curriculum is designed to expose students to a broad foundation in media studies. In consultation with their faculty advisor, students also select an emphasis area in which in-depth exploration of one facet of professional media management, studies, practice or technology is explored. Students finish their program of study with a Research Report, which may be accompanied by a project, on a topic of their choosing from within their emphasis area. The College of Mass Communication and Media Arts allows a maximum of three years from date of enrolling in the M.S. program for completion of the M.S. degree.  This program generally takes two years to complete.

Program Admission

All requirements for admission to the Graduate School at Southern Illinois University Carbondale must be met. Applicants must submit the Application for Admission to Graduate Study forms, certified transcripts of all post-secondary studies, as well as three letters of recommendation from individuals who can evaluate potential for graduate studies. Applicants must also submit a resume outlining educational and professional experience, as well as a personal statement describing their objectives for study in the program, career goals and interests. Applicants should include an example of work that demonstrates their competency, preferably professional work, although prior academic work is acceptable. Work samples might be in the form of print articles, video or audio tapes, DVDs, URLs or CDs. Applicants must clearly indicate their role(s) in any project submitted. Generally, applicants must have a grade point average of at least 3.0 (4.0 = A) for their last two years of undergraduate work. International students whose native or first language is not English, or those with fewer than 100 graded semester hours of college credit at a U.S. college or university, must take the TOEFL and score at least 550 (paper score) or 80 (internet score) or have an IELTS score of 6.5 to be admitted. Students whose preparation is deemed lacking in certain areas may be required to take undergraduate courses to attain competency. These will not be counted toward the M.S. degree.

Curriculum

Candidates must complete a minimum of 30 credits including six hours of core requirements, 21 credits in an emphasis area and a 3-credit Research Report.

Core (6 Credits):

  • MCMA 500-3     Media as Social Institutions
  • MCMA 592-3     Master’s Seminar

Emphasis Area (21 Credits):

A minimum of seven courses selected in consultation with the faculty adviser. No more than six credits can be at the 400-level. Topics of study include: media management, strategic advertising communication, digital documentary production, public policy reporting, and new media production.

Research Report (3 credits):

  • MCMA 589-3     Report/Project

Master of Fine Arts Degree

The Master of Fine Arts degree provides substantial advanced study for a small number of highly talented individuals. The program emphasizes the artistic development of the individual student and the creation of quality artistic works in photography, film, video, sound, new media, and interdisciplinary media. Degree requirements are 60 semester hours, including 51 hours at the 500-level. The program generally takes three years to complete.

While mastery of craft within Media Arts is a vital component of the M.F.A., the philosophy is that graduate study should expand the student’s breadth as an artist and encourage interdisciplinary study. Available course work in production, criticism, theory, history, and combined media studies emphasizes the interwoven character of traditional and contemporary approaches and technologies in the 21st century.

Additional course work can be pursued through the School of Art and Design, the School of Music, and the Departments of Theater, English, Anthropology, Communication Studies, etc. A distinguished faculty of artists and scholars, excellent facilities, and a variety of curricular offerings allow students to individually tailor their programs of study.

Admission

All requirements for admission to the Graduate School at Southern Illinois University Carbondale must be met. Applicants must submit the Application for Admission to Graduate Study forms, certified transcripts of all postsecondary studies as well as three letters of recommendation from individuals who can evaluate their potential for graduate studies. Applicants must also submit a resume outlining educational and professional experience, as well as a personal statement describing their objectives for study in the program, career goals and interests.

Prospective students must present evidence of exceptional talent and/or potential in one or two media pursuits in the degree program. Applicants should include an example of work that demonstrates their competency. This evidence will ordinarily consist of a portfolio of photographs or digitally generated art works, one or more films, videos, sound works, multimedia productions, web art projects, or other evidence of artistic potential. Applicants must clearly indicate their role(s) in any project submitted. An interview with faculty in the program is highly recommended, particularly for applicants with minimal course work in the field.

Acceptance into the program and continuing enrollment are at the discretion of the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts and the Graduate School. Generally, applicants must have a grade point average of at least 3.0 (4.0 = A) for their last two years of undergraduate work. International students whose native or first language is not English, or those with fewer than 100 graded semester hours of college credit at a U.S. college or university, must take the TOEFL and score at least 550 (paper score) or 80 (internet score) or have an IELTS score of 6.5 to be admitted. Students whose preparation is deemed lacking in certain areas may be required to take undergraduate courses to attain competency. These will not be counted toward the M.F.A. degree.

Retention

At the end of the first year in residence, each M.F.A. student will undergo a review by a committee of faculty. Possible outcomes of this review are Pass, Provisional Pass, and Fail. Failure of this review will result in termination from the program. Students who receive a Provisional Pass in this review will receive a letter outlining the areas in which they must improve and be assigned a faculty mentor for this process. Failure to demonstrate improvement will result in termination from the program.

Procedures

By the end of the third semester in residence, each M.F.A. student will be required to select, in consultation with the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, a committee chair and a committee of two additional graduate faculty members. The faculty committee and the student develop a specific plan of study, considering the requirements of the Graduate School, the degree program, and the goals of the student.

The M.F.A. degree culminates in an intensive Creative Thesis that must be publicly presented. The exact nature of the project and presentation will be determined in consultation between the student and the committee. The committee chair supervises the thesis. An oral examination by the faculty committee will take place in conjunction with the public presentation of the thesis and will focus on an evaluation of the project. The M.F.A. electronic thesis document consists of a formal paper describing the Creative Thesis, its historical precedents, contemporary context, and theoretical underpinnings with embedded media files that document the public exhibition/screening. It must be filed with the SIU Graduate School. The University reserves the right to retain a portfolio or samples of each student’s work.

Curriculum

The minimum 60 credit degree requires 27 credits of common requirements constituting a core, 27 credits of electives, and a six credit thesis.

Core (27 credits):

  • MCMA 557-6     MFA Studio Arts Practice (3,3)
  • MCMA 558-9     MFA Studio Critique (3,3,3)
  • MCMA 550-3     History of Media Arts and Culture
  • MCMA 551-3     Theory of the Media Arts
  • MCMA 531-3     Critical Research Methods in Media Arts
                           And
  • MCMA 552-3     Seminar: Topics in the History and Theory of Media Arts
                           Or
  • MCMA 555-3     Topical Seminars

Thesis (6 credits):

  • MCMA 599-6     Thesis (3,3 or 6)

Electives (27 credits):

Select 27 credits from either inside or outside of the college. No more than six credits can be taken at the 400-level and no more than 15 hours of M.F.A. Projects (3,3,3,3,3) can be taken. M.F.A. Projects cannot be repeated with the same professor.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

The Ph.D. degree program engages students in an interdisciplinary study of global media communication. Concepts and methods drawn from various research traditions in the field are compared and contrasted, while specialization in particular areas and approaches is open to students.

Admission

Students applying for doctoral study must have a master’s degree and a graduate GPA of at least 3.00. International students must have a TOEFL score of at least 550 (paper score) or 80 (internet score) or have an IELTS score of 6.5 to be admitted. All applicants must submit currently valid Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. Other factors will also be considered including professional and academic accomplishments, examples of professional work, awards and honors, evidence of scholarship such as research papers and published articles, and prior full-time teaching in the mass communication and media arts area. A visit to SIU and interview with faculty is recommended.

Students whose preparation is lacking in certain areas may be required to take undergraduate courses that will not be counted towards the Ph.D. degree.

An accelerated entry option to the Ph.D. program is offered in exceptional cases to students who have been admitted to the M.A. program. To be eligible, the student must: 1) possess a master’s degree; 2) have qualified for admission to the MCMA Ph.D. program initially; 3) complete at least nine hours but no more than 18 hours in the M.A. degree; 4) have a minimum 3.25 GPA in the M.A. program with no incomplete or deferred grades. The student may petition the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies for the accelerated entry option during the semester in which the student will begin taking the ninth hour of graduate courses, but must petition before earning the 18th hour of course work in the M.A. program. If approved, the student is enrolled in the Ph.D. program the next semester. Up to 18 graduate credits earned in the M.A. program will count toward the Ph.D. degree if the accelerated entry option is approved by the MCMA Graduate Committee. Once the student is admitted to the Ph.D. program, all requirements of the Ph.D. program apply. Exceptions to any of these rules must be appealed to the MCMA Graduate Committee, which has final authority to approve or reject the petition.

Retention

No course in which the grade is below C shall count toward the degree nor fulfillment of any requirement, but the grade will be included in the grade point average. No more than three hours of C work in graduate courses will count toward the degree.

Procedures

Detailed policies for the Ph.D. degree are available from the MCMA Graduate Office, including such topics as graduate symposium, first year review, composition of graduate committees, comprehensive exam procedures, etc. However, some of the major steps through the program are:

  1. During the third semester of enrollment, each Ph.D. student will prepare a total program plan for the degree and secure sponsorship by a faculty member who may become the dissertation committee chair. The plan should include a list of courses and tools, with some explanation and justification for their selection in relation to academic goals. The plan will be discussed and modified, when appropriate, before approval.
  2. When the student has completed all course work (with all incomplete and deferred grades removed) other than the classes taken in the concurrent semester, the student must pass rigorous comprehensive written and oral examinations. The examination must be completed during the fall semester of the third year in the program. Failure to successfully complete the exams by the end of the fall semester of the third year will result in dismissal from the program.
  3. Upon successfully completing the comprehensive written and oral exams, the student advances to candidacy to complete and defend a dissertation based on scholarly research and independent thought that adds to the body of knowledge in the field.
  4. Under the guidance of a dissertation committee chair, the student forms a dissertation committee and prepares a dissertation proposal consisting of the introduction, literature review, and methodology for the investigation proposed. An oral defense of proposal must be made before the committee and interested observers and approved within one year of reaching candidacy.
  5. The dissertation defense will be before members of the dissertation committee and interested observers. Although others than committee members may be allowed to ask questions, the pass or fail decision on the oral defense will be made by committee members only. The College of Mass Communication and Media Arts allows a maximum of seven years from date of enrolling for completion of the doctoral degree.  The program generally takes four years to complete.

Curriculum

The Ph.D. in mass communication and media arts requires a minimum of 60 credits including 12 credits of foundation courses, nine credits of research tools courses, 15 credits of electives, and a 24-credit dissertation. A minimum of 12 courses are required. 10 courses must be taken within MCMA.

All course work counting towards the degree must be at the 500-level. If the faculty advisor and student determines a 400-level course would be beneficial, the course can be taken as an independent study with specific extra work to make it equivalent to a 500-level course. A plan of study must be submitted and approved for such a course.

A maximum of two (2) independent study courses, for six credit hours total, can be counted toward degree (MCMA 596 and/or MCMA 591).

Foundation (12 credits):

  • MCMA 504-3     Foundations of Media Communication Theory
  • MCMA 505-3     Theoretical Issues in Media Advanced Communication
  • MCMA 508-3     Conceptual Foundations of Research Strategy
  • MCMA 595-3     Ph.D. Proseminar

Research Tools Courses (9 credits):

Nine credit hours of additional research tools courses must be taken, selected in consultation with the student’s faculty advisor. A minimum of two (2) must be within MCMA.

Electives (15 credits):

Fifteen credit hours of additional courses must be taken, selected in consultation with the student’s faculty advisor to build an emphasis.

Possible emphasis areas include but are not limited to Journalism/Mass Communication, Media Law & Policy, Media/Cultural Studies, Interdisciplinary.

Comprehensive and Oral Exams:

Dissertation (24 credits):

  • MCMA 600-24     Dissertation (24 credits): Proposal and Defense.