Applying to the Major
Students who wish to become Media Studies majors are urged to apply to Berkeley in the Fall U.C. application process. (Prospective students apply in November for admission the following fall.)
Questions about applying to the University should be directed to the advisers at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions (510-642-3175). They can inform you whether you have completed the minimum requirements for transfer to the College of Letters and Science.
If you have completed freshman/transfer requirements and you meet the University’s admission standards, you may be offered admission to the University as an intended Media Studies major. This, however, is not a guarantee that you will ultimately be admitted to the Media Studies program. Because we are a group major, our resources are restricted, and we can only accommodate a limited number of students.
PLEASE NOTE: Admission to the department is an entirely separate process that follows admission to the University. Although University admissions tries to select students that appear to have a strong chance of successful application to the major program, admission to the University does not guarantee admission to the major. Admission to the major is by special application, made to the department after your admission to Berkeley and your arrival on campus.
See also “Important Information for all Applicants” under Applying.
How can a student obtain approval for a transfer course to be applied toward the Media Studies major?
Please note: Effective Fall 2018 and implemented in Fall 2020, all students planning to declare the Media Studies major will be required to complete Media 10 or N10: Introduction to Media Studies at UC Berkeley.
In our experience, we have found that most introductory media studies courses at community colleges do not meet our requirements. Those that currently satisfy our requirements are listed on our web page under Declaring / Prerequisites. If you have completed an introduction to media studies course that you believe fulfills our requirements, please provide a copy of the course syllabus for the faculty adviser, Jean Retzinger, to review.
Most of our other prerequisites may be satisfactorily completed at 2-year or other 4-year institutions. To check if you have completed one of these courses at a California community college, log on to http://www.assist.org. This web site is a reliable source of information for transfer courses.
If you took a course other than at a California community college, you will need to have its equivalency determined by the faculty adviser: Jean Retzinger, 239 Evans Hall. In order for a course to be reviewed, you must provide a copy of the course syllabus.
No. The prerequisites for the major must be satisfied with approved (articulated) classes taken for a letter grade.
Courses taken at UC Berkeley can only be repeated if you received a grade of D+, D, D-, F, or no pass (NP) in your first attempt of the course. Students who receive a C- or better in a prerequisite course may not repeat that course. You can only repeat a course one time to replace a grade.
For more information about the College of Letters and Science repeat policy, please visit this page.
For transfer coursework, if you take transfer courses that are judged to be equivalent, you will only receive unit credit for the first course taken.
For more information about the College of Letter and Science transfer credit policies, please visit this page.
Media Studies Electives
As an interdisciplinary major, we believe that students benefit from the different perspectives/theoretical lenses afforded by taking courses in various disciplines and we wish to encourage more rather than less diversity in their studies. As a result, we do not allow more than two upper-division courses from any single outside department or program on campus (e.g. Psychology, Sociology, UGBA, American Studies, etc) to be counted as electives for the Media Studies major.
Each department controls enrollment in the courses it offers and each typically gives preference to its own declared majors. We are unable to influence enrollment decisions in any courses other than our own.
Will courses listed on fall and spring “Course Offerings for Fall/Spring” count as approved electives-even if they aren’t listed as Media Studies electives in the University catalog?
The courses listed in the UC Berkeley catalog (and on our web page) as Media Studies electives are those that have been permanently approved as electives. Additionally, prior to Telebears each term, we publish a list of “Course Offerings” for the Media Studies program. These lists may include other courses that have been approved–on a one-time basis–as electives for that semester only. The online archive will serve as a record of these course approvals.
Please see the “Course Substitutions” section below.
Yes, as long as the topic is different each time. Your Media Studies file will indicate the different course titles/instructors for these courses.
EAP (Education Abroad Programs)
What steps should I take in preparation for study abroad to find courses that may be applicable as Media Studies electives?
Once you have decided on the school you will be attending and have access to their course offerings, you should print copies of the course descriptions for any classes you think might serve as Media Studies electives. Meet with the faculty adviser in Media Studies, Jean Retzinger, to review these course descriptions. Please note that we can only grant pre-approval to courses based on course descriptions. To obtain final approval on EAP courses, you will need to save course syllabi and bring them in to the faculty adviser for full review when you return to Berkeley from your study abroad program.
There is no limit on the number of courses taken abroad that may count as Media Studies electives.
Yes; students may petition courses not listed on the requirements or courses page to satisfy Media Studies major requirements. This includes UC Berkeley Courses, courses at other universities, as well as study abroad coursework.
Students wishing to have any other course reviewed must submit a course substitution form:
- Intended Majors Course Substitution Form (if you haven’t declare the major yet)
- Declared Majors Course Substitution Form – Last Name A-G
- Declared Majors Course Substitution Form – Last Name H-O
- Declared Majors Course Substitution Form – Last Name P-Z
Although we are an interdisciplinary major and students may already take courses from other departments, many Media Studies majors find it beneficial to declare a double major. A double major is reserved for students demonstrating academic excellence. L & S notes that, “To complete a major in two different fields of study is an exceptional achievement. Perhaps no other undergraduate endeavor offers such a challenge, or promises comparable breadth and depth of intellectual experience.” Media Studies majors have declared double majors with a range of disciplines including Political Science, Sociology, History, Economics, English, Public Policy, and Public Health among others.
Once you have filled out all four pages of the double major form (available from the L & S Undergraduate Advising Office), make an appointment to meet with Laura Demir during her regularly scheduled advising hours for her to review and sign your double major forms. Please see Laura Demir’s drop-in and advising appointment hours on the home page.
Students who are already declared Media Studies majors and who are adding a second major are encouraged to have the double major forms signed in Media Studies first before seeking the second set of signatures from an adviser in your second major. Those who are adding Media Studies as a second major should obtain signatures from their other major first.
Students may enroll in MS 199: Supervised Independent Study for either 1 or 2 P/NP units in the fall and spring semesters. The University does not allow more than 16 units in total from 97, 98, 99, 197, 198, or 199 courses.
The units earned are based NOT on the number of hours worked or tasks performed in the internship. Instead, units are based on the essay assignment for MS 199. For 1 unit of P/NP credit, students must write a 5-page essay, employing a single concept presented in a Media Studies class. The essay should define the concept and illustrate it with observations or experiences gained from the internship. For 2 units of P/NP credit, students must write a 10-page essay, choosing 2 or 3 concepts and defining and illustrating each. Essays must include a Works Cited page.
No. MS 199: Supervised Independent Study units will only count towards the 120 units needed for graduation.
Declared Media Studies majors. Students who held an internship during the summer are eligible to earn units retroactively in the fall for their summer internship. To enroll in MS 199, students should contact Meeta Rani Jha (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please see the Internships web page for instructions and forms to fill out.
Careers in Media Studies
Our approach to media studies is theoretical and historical. We train students to be critical citizens and consumers of mass media. Therefore we do not provide practical training in advertising, PR or journalism. However, our majors have gone on to pursue various careers in the media, including these three fields.
Media Studies graduates have found jobs within virtually every facet of media–from TV (news and entertainment), print journalism, film, radio, music industry, (magazine and book) publishing to the internet, as well as advertising, marketing and PR. Other graduates have found positions in the non-profit sector or in sales or management. Many students have gone on to earn professional degrees in law or journalism, while others have pursued graduate degrees in communication or related fields.