Graduate Program in Media Studies

Master of Arts in Media Studies

Media Studies at Pratt is an intensive 30-credit three semester theory and practice M.A. shaped in relation to Pratt’s art/design/architecture environment and to the lively social space and theoretical scene of Brooklyn and New York City. Classes in media theory and media practice are small, following seminar and workshop formats, and all classes are taught by professors on Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn campus.

The program seeks highly motivated students interested in working at the intersection of traditional humanities scholarship and experimental practice. If you are not sure whether you want to be a theorist or a maker, here you can choose not to choose. We offer an exciting and challenging opportunity for students to confront the most pressing issues of our time (e.g., questions around social justice, sustainability, race, sexuality, nationalism, militarization, economy, and celebrity) through a hybrid approach to scholarship, art and media practice, and media politics.

The graduate degree offers freedom and flexibility to design your own program of study. Whether your final destination is a Ph.D. program or a professional career in the arts, media or communication, the M.A. in Media Studies at Pratt will train you to think and make critically. Tackling topics from Global South Cinema to the “selfie,” small classes and passionate teachers provide focused one-on-one mentorship so that students may clearly articulate and achieve their goals.

The curriculum emphasizes studies of media, in their various forms, including film, video, television, radio, writing, smart phones and other computerized forms of media convergence. Alongside their theoretical investigations, students are also encouraged to become media makers. Guided by our diverse and exceptional faculty, students study the logics and processes of media, and they explore cultural technologies of expression, representation and manipulation. Students learn to analyze a variety of media forms (cinema, photography, audio-phonic and social media), along with the aesthetic, social, economic and political contexts in which these media operate. They also work on textual analysis, interpretation and semiotics and gain expertise in media history and theory.

The course sequence includes core requirements (Mediologies I and II): a two-semester theory intensive introduction to the history of media studies. There is also a two-semester sequence (Encounters I and II) that is a salon style course in which students attend scholarly, artistic, and media events in New York City and discuss them with one another and a faculty member. Additionally, students take “Digital Bootcamp” which gives them some fundamentals of media production. Students also take a combination of elective seminars and practice-based courses offered by the media studies faculty. Depending upon their individual interests, students may also petition to take additional courses from various other graduate programs at Pratt Institute that can be credited towards their degree. In the final semester students take a thesis course and produce a written thesis or media project equivalent.

Mediologies Conference

Each year in late April, the Media Studies Program hosts a conference, Mediologies, which includes presentations of work and works in progress by students, faculty, and guest presenters. Seminar courses being offered in the spring enable students to develop papers and projects specifically for presentation at Mediologies.

Distinguished Speaker Series

Students receive additional educational opportunities through the Aesthetics and Politics Lecture Series organized through the Media Studies Program. In the past speakers have included Lisa Nakamura, McKenzie Wark, Alexander Galloway, Vicente Rafael, Angela Davis, Neferti Tadiar, Nicholas Mirzoeff, Gina Dent, Sheila Coronel, Saidiya Hartman, Khavn de la Cruz, and many others.

Application for Admission

Applications for admission to the Master of Arts are due January 5 for first consideration for the following Fall; the program accepts Fall entrants only. However, applications will be considered until the program is closed, and generous scholarships are awarded to eligible students who complete by April 1. Applicants should have a B.A., B.S. or B.F.A. from an accredited institution. Candidates submit (1) a statement of purpose in which they describe their interest in the program; (2) 10–20 pages of relevant writing sample(s), with emphasis on analytical writing; (3) transcripts of undergraduate coursework; and (4) two letters of recommendation. All applicants follow the standard admission process for graduate programs at Pratt: see www.pratt.edu/apply.