Distinguished Majors Program

Distinguished Majors Program

Media Studies Majors with superior academic performance are invited to apply to the Distinguished Majors Program (DMP), which provides an opportunity to pursue in-depth research under the mentorship of a Media Studies faculty member that culminates in a high-quality written thesis or comparable creative project of personal interest. DMP students are expected to pursue a more rigorous course plan and to maintain a higher level of academic performance than students in the traditional Media Studies track. As a Distinguished Major, students will be able to take advantage of:

  • A small intellectual cohort of other DMP students who share small seminar classes
  • Priority enrollment in most MDST courses
  • Faculty mentorship and support during 4th year research and thesis projects
  • An increase in the number of Practice of Media courses that can be applied to the major
  • Access to academic and social events only for Distinguished Majors

Graduation with distinction, high distinction, or highest distinction (as determined by the quality of thesis and academic performance during the program)

Eligibility and Application

Students should be declared Media Studies Majors with a GPA of 3.400 overall and a 3.400 in all completed Media Studies courses. Application announcements are emailed to majors with a GPA of 3.4 or higher. Students who meet the submission deadline will have their applications reviewed by Media Studies faculty. Students selected to be a part of the program will be automatically enrolled in MDST 3000 (fall of students’ 3rd year); and MDST 4000 (spring of students’ 3rd year). DMP students may not study abroad in their third year due to the curricular requirements

Applications for the DMP program open for a window each spring and each fall. Application dates will be announced on this page and shared by email with all rising 3rd-year Media Studies majors. To apply, students must complete the online application.

Students are expected to have a 3.400 GPA overall as well as in the major upon entrance to the program. Students will be expected to maintain this GPA or they will be dropped from the DMP and returned to the traditional Media Studies track, thus graduating without distinction. DMP students are also expected to complete a minimum of 38 credits for the major including:

Distinguished Majors Program Requirements For Students Applying Spring 2020 and Beyond

Media Studies DMP students are required to take the following courses and meet a cumulative 125 credit minimum:

  • MDST 2000 – Introduction to Media Studies (qualifies as pre-requisite) 
  • MDST 3000 – Theory and Criticism of Media
  • MDST 3050 – History of Media
  • Six (6) MDST electives, with five (5) at the 3000 level or above. The six (6) electives must include courses that fulfill the following criteria:
  • MDST 4000 – Media Theory and Methods
  • MDST 4010 – Distinguished Majors Thesis Writing or Research Project
  • MDST 4510 – Capstone

    Distinguished Majors Program Requirements For Students Accepted Prior to Spring 2020

    • MDST 2000 – Introduction to Media Studies (3/4 credits)
    • MDST 3000 – Theory and Criticism of Media (3)  (Fall of 3rd year)
    • MDST 3050 – History of Media (3)
    • One Practice of Media Course (3)
    • Six MDST electives at the 3000-level or above (21)
      • one elective must satisfy the Diversity and Identity requirement*
      • one elective must satisfy the Non-U.S. Media requirement*
      • PLEASE NOTE: a second Practice of Media course, beyond the one required (see above), may be counted as one of the six electives. This is optional. Many Practice of Media courses are taught at the 2000-level, but DMP students may count a second Practice of Media course as a 3000-level elective. The course must be drawn from the approved list of Practice of Media courses on the MDST website.
    • Capstone Course: One of the designated 4000 level electives (3)
    • MDST 4000 – Media Theory and Methods (3) (Spring of 3rd year)
    • MDST 4010 – Distinguished Majors Thesis (3)

    Thesis / Portfolio Project Requirements

    DMP students are expected to complete a written thesis or comparable portfolio project that contributes to and advances knowledge of Media Studies in a meaningful way. The written thesis / portfolio project requirement allows students to explore areas of personal academic interest in greater depth than is possible in a single course. Generally speaking, a written thesis is a scholarly work of approximately 50 pages. A portfolio project is a production of work (such as a film, digital work, or other media project) with an appropriate intellectual accompaniment (an essay or research statement of 3,000-5,000 words). Students will be expected to make a presentation of their thesis or project at a capstone DMP Symposium in the Spring of their 4th year. Copies of all theses and projects will be archived in the Media Studies Office. For more information, please read the MDST-DMP Thesis Project Guidelines.

    Graduating with Distinction

    In awarding distinction, the Media Studies faculty considers the quality of the student’s overall performance in the major as well as the work done on the thesis or project. Students may receive distinction (but not high or highest distinction) if they discontinue enrollment in the DMP but have completed their degree with a grade point average of at least 3.400. The award of high or highest distinction is at the discretion of the Media Studies faculty who vote on distinction following the DMP Symposium presentations every May.