Media Studies, MA
The MA in Media Studies at Pratt, offered at the Brooklyn campus, is situated in the uniquely vibrant environment of an art, design, and architecture school. Students who value both media scholarship and media practices are encouraged to apply. Classes are small and students work closely with their professors.
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 media forms to be world-making projects that have histories and politics.
Students and faculty investigate the significant social, political, cultural, economic, and aesthetic questions of our time as we read contemporary theory, rethink media forms, and revisit relevant archives to consider the ways in which gender and sexuality, race, nation, and power as well as technology mediate our understandings and experiences of the world we inhabit. 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 Master of Arts in Media Studies graduate program consists of 30 credits, taken over three semesters, and a thesis, which is finished in the fourth.
The core sequence for the MA consists of Mediologies I and II (6 credits total) and Encounters I and II (2 credits total), elective seminars and project courses of which Experimental Media Lab and Methodologies Lab are strongly recommended (18 credits total), an internship course (optional), and a final thesis with a required Final Project/Thesis Workshop (4 credits total).
Mediologies courses (HMS-650A/HMS-650B) provide students with crucial critical and theoretical tools; students take this two-course introductory sequence during their first year. These courses are designed for students with substantial experience in media studies as well as students with less exposure.
Practices courses comprise a range of electives, including those taught in other programs, such as digital arts. These courses enable students to acquire basic competence in media aesthetics and production.
Encounters courses (HMS-549A/HMS-549B) enable students to engage directly with others working in media fields, and with timely issues and ideas, in an open-discussion “salon” environment.
The Final Project/Thesis Workshop (HMS-659A) offers an intensive, small support group in which students can develop and write their thesis, which they complete in the fourth semester by taking HMS-659B (Thesis in Progress).
Students may also choose to undertake an internship for academic credit (HMS-9700, HMS-9701, HMS-9702, HMS-9703) and professional enrichment.
In addition to the core courses described above, 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-to-one work with thesis advisers. Faculty represent areas that include new media; 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, and 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.
Applications for admission to the Master of Arts in Media Studies are due January 5 for the following fall; the program accepts fall entrants only. Applicants should have a BA, BS, or BFA from an accredited institution. Candidates must submit:
a statement of purpose in which they describe their interest in the program;
10–20 pages of relevant writing sample(s), with emphasis on analytical writing about media;
transcripts of undergraduate coursework; and
two letters of recommendation.
All applicants must follow the standard admissions process for graduate programs at Pratt. See www.pratt.edu/graduate-admissions/apply/.
Mendi Obadike, PhD