Graduate Program in Media Studies

Media communication brings information, persuasion, and entertainment to our neighborhoods, our nation, and our world. As the choices expand and the reach of the media becomes more global, media producers can be major corporations or individuals, and media consumers can interact with the products they encounter in a multitude of ways. Those who study media examine the processes, responsibilities, and consequences of this world.

The Media Studies master’s program is wide ranging and interdisciplinary. The goal of the program is to foster knowledge and understanding of media and society through critical, cultural, historical, legal, ethical, or social scientific approaches.

The program is oriented toward academic study of media rather than media production. The curriculum focuses on research and critical thinking about the media. Students complete 24 credits of coursework and a 6-credit thesis. They work closely with their faculty advisers to prepare coursework plans and to conduct original research for their theses.

The Media Studies master’s program has one of the best graduate faculties in the nation for a program its size. Faculty members have national reputations for research in a wide range of specialties. Students in the master’s program are also active in research.

The program’s alumni apply what they have learned to a range of purposes, including media-oriented careers, teaching, and advanced academic work. Many continue their scholarship in top PhD programs nationwide.

In addition to the course offerings listed on the UWM Graduate Catalog website, the Media Studies MA program offers a wide range of special topics seminars on a regular basis. Recent special topics include:

  • Video Games
  • Newswork and the New Capitalism
  • Media and Consumer Culture
  • Gender and Popular Culture
  • New Media
  • Digital Media, Law, and Society
  • Indie Culture

Students also design independent study courses in consultation with faculty to address specific research interests.

We invite prospective students to contact us for more information.

Admissions and Assistantships

Students seeking admission to the graduate program in Media Studies must meet the general requirements of UWM’s Graduate School. They must also have satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination, strong undergraduate records (including GPAs of 3.0 or higher), solid letters of recommendation, and interests that fit the program’s emphases on research and critical thinking. Students need not have backgrounds in media studies to be considered for admission.

For more information on how to apply or visit, contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Richard Popp.


The program funds most of its full-time students with half-time teaching assistantships. Assistantships provide a tuition remission, a monthly stipend, and benefits. Most students are funded for four semesters, throughout their time in the program.

Media Studies students are also eligible for nomination for various Graduate School Fellowships.

The Graduate School and the Department of Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies also provide competitive opportunities for conference travel funding, should students have their work accepted for presentation at national and international academic conferences.