Graduate Program in Media Studies Curriculum

The Graduate Program in Media Studies (GPMS) is a research-based program in the study of media—both the media technologies and media practices that shape social structures, relationships, and identities. Based at Pratt Institute our program is connected to a larger community of artists and designers on and beyond our campus who are using and producing the very media we study. Creativity or the creation of ideas, worlds, and things is a central feature of our program. Our students engage “media” as more than a set of technologies with which to create and share information. “Media” encompasses an array of cultural, social, aesthetic, and economic processes, policies, and practices that shape the ways we experience and interpret the world. In other words, we understand media creation and forms to be world-making projects that have histories and politics.  

The coursework invites and requires students to practice both critical analysis of media and basic media production skills. Depending on their interests, the electives may focus more on scholarly practices or art practices. In all cases students in the Graduate Program in Media Studies at Pratt will gain a deeper knowledge of media theories, politics, and practices.

The Graduate Program in Media Studies M.A. consists of 30 credits taken over three semesters, and a thesis. The core sequence for the M.A. consists of Mediologies 1 and 2 (6 credits total) and Encounters 1 & 2 (2 credits total), Methodologies Lab (3 credits total), Experimental Media Lab (3 credits), electives (totaling 6 credits), and Thesis Workshop (4 credits total). Those who wish may choose to finish in the fourth semester and enroll in a zero credit “Thesis in Progress” course, which allows them to spend the semester completing the thesis. There are also optional Internship courses.

  • Both Mediologies courses (HMS 650a/b) introduce students to foundational critical and theoretical tools.
  • The Experimental Media Lab (HMS 640S) introduces students to a variety of critical media practices.
  • The Methodologies Lab (640S) expands on Mediologies and Experimental Media Lab to draw out the methods of the theories and practices students have been studying and prepares students to begin their theses.
  • Encounters courses (HMS 549 a/b) invite students to engage directly with others working in media fields, and with timely issues and ideas, in an open-discussion “salon” environment.
  • The Thesis Workshop (HMS 659a) offers an intensive, intimate environment in which students can produce a thesis.
  • Students who want more time to finish their thesis take HMS 659b (Thesis In Progress).

In addition to core courses, the program offers a range of electives in areas of specialization and interdisciplinary constellations within media studies, enabling students to develop particular areas of concentration, first through coursework and then in their one-on-one work with thesis advisors. Faculty represent areas that include New Media, Ethnic Studies, Documentary Studies, Global Media, Media and the Urban Environment, Media and Performance, Music/Sound Studies, Media/Attention Economies, Media Ecology, Archaeology of (New) Media, and Media, Activism, and Social Change.

Elective seminars run in the format of small discussion courses focused on individual or team presentations on the analysis of texts, films, objects, themes, theories. Elective project courses are semester-long laboratory/workshops in which students and one or more faculty members—in any one of several departments—engage a topic, idea, interface, space, or modality, focusing on the interface between the theorization and production of media objects. Foci will vary based upon specific expertise and interests of involved faculty and students.

Degree Requirements

Applicants must submit (1) a statement of purpose in which they describe their interest in Media Studies at Pratt and potential future project(s); (2) 10–20 pages of relevant writing sample(s), with emphasis on analytical writing about media (uploadable on application); (3) unofficial transcripts of undergraduate coursework (uploaded to application); and (4) two letters of recommendation (also may be uploaded to application). All applicants must follow the standard admission process for graduate programs at Pratt. The new online application will be posted in late August with instructions.


Requirements for MA Media Studies

  • Semester 1

    Complete these courses plus 6 credits of All Institute Electives.

    HMS-650A Mediologes I

    HMS-549A Media Studies Encounters 1

  • Semester 2

    Complete these courses plus 6 credits of All Institute Electives.

    HMS-650B Mediologes II

    HMS-549B Media Studies Encounters 2

  • Semester 3

    Complete these courses plus 6 All Institute Elective credits.

    HMS-659A Media Studies Final Project/Thesis

Total Required Credits: 30