Degree Programs - Media and Visual Culture Studies

The Major

Media and Visual Culture Studies (MVC) is an interdisciplinary program, offering core and other courses under the MVC alpha but also incorporating cross-listed courses from a range of departments. Students are trained in media literacy and visual competency through engagement with diverse methodologies and develop transferable skills that will position them to be effective and responsible producers as well as consumers of media in the network age. Those interested in pursuing careers in the media and entertainment business are strongly encouraged to seek out relevant internships throughout their university careers; academic credit in the major is available for these.

REQUIREMENTS

The major consists of 40 credits minimum, including the following required elements:

I. CORE (2 courses/8 credits)

All majors complete:

  • MVC 101 Introduction to Media and Visual Culture Studies (4), usually before the junior year
  • MVC 211 Screen Genres (4) OR MVC 261 Critical Approaches to Media (Topics) (4), usually before, and not later than, spring of the junior year

II. PRODUCTION (1 course/4 credits from the following list, or others approved by the director)

Relevant courses include:

  • MVC 202 Visual Storytelling (4)
  • MVC 203 Screenwriting (4)
  • ART 235 Introduction to Photography (4)
  • ART 252 Introduction to Graphic Design (4)
  • CS 103 Introduction to Multimedia (4)

III. ELECTIVES (5 courses/20 credits)

In addition to cross-listed courses offered regularly or semi-regularly (see below), a list of electives for each semester is posted on the MVC pages on the university website and is available on request from the program office or the director. Students must work with their advisors to draw from the lists of approved courses to ensure their experience in the major encompasses an appropriate breadth of content and methodology, ideally including courses that address: media forms; theoretical and historical approaches to visual communication, and media cultures, and media/visual culture in global perspectives.

IV. CAPSTONE EXPERIENCE (2 courses/8 credits)

The two-course capstone sequence begins in the junior year and is completed in either spring or fall of the senior year.

All majors complete MVC 396 Praxis/Method, which serves as the capstone’s threshold class and satisfies the first 4 credits, in the spring of the junior year. (NB. This course may be attended asynchronously by students studying abroad, but assigned work must be completed by the end of the spring semester.)

Based on the learning contract drawn up in MVC 396, there are several possibilities for the remaining 4 credits of the capstone experience during the senior year, as follows:

1. Options for single majors –

MVC majors who have no second major have three paths to fulfilling the capstone requirement:

(a) complete MVC 495 Capstone (4) in the senior year, usually writing an undergraduate thesis

OR

(b) complete a 4-unit, 300- or 400-level MVC, ARTH, or cross-listed class (e.g. MVC 461, ARTH 365, ENGL 311), which, with approval of the instructor and MVC program director, forms the basis for the capstone

OR

(c) complete an advanced internship, MVC 480, which builds on a prior internship/practicum experience, and write an accompanying critical reflection on that experience, showing mastery-level engagement with program learning outcomes.

2. Options for double majors –

MVC majors who also major in another field may either: (a) complete two separate capstone experiences; one in Media and Visual Culture (as detailed above)

AND one in the second major

OR

(b) where appropriate and feasible, write a shared capstone that integrates the student’s learning outcomes in both majors (with the director’s approval and that of the advisor and capstone instructor in the second major), with the Media & Visual Culture component reflected in the transcript either as MVC 495 or as the capstone in the second program (e.g. ENGL 420, BUS 458, HIST 490, POLI 495, REST 401 & 402, WGS 459), depending on the nature of the project.

Regardless of which of the foregoing options is selected, the capstone must focus substantively and centrally on media forms, representation, practices, organizations, ecologies, or theory and students must meet MVC program learning outcomes at the mastery level. In most cases other than Option 1(a) above, this will entail supplementary or extension writing above and beyond what is required by the course nominated as the basis for the capstone.

PROGRAM HONORS

By faculty invitation only, a two-semester departmental honors program is available to exceptionally motivated students with unusually strong attainment. A GPA in the major (3.5) is a minimum requirement for being invited to pursue honors. Honors students take MVC 499 in successive semesters (usually fall and spring of the senior year) in place of the capstone options listed above. Current details of the honors process are available from the director or the MVC program office (HOL 203).

Minor

The minor consists of 4 courses/20 credits, including the following required elements:

  • MVC 101 Introduction to Media and Visual Culture Studies (4)
  • MVC 211 Screen Genres OR MVC 261 Critical Approaches to Media (Topics) (4)

Electives: Students may shape the minor to enhance their major program and can do so in consultation with the director.