Effective Spring 2023, the Media Studies MA has suspended admission.

Mediated 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 anyone from a major corporation to an individual activist with a Web site, and media consumers can interact with the products they encounter in a multitude of ways.

The MA in Media Studies offered through the Department of Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies is wide ranging and interdisciplinary. The goal of the program is to foster knowledge and understanding of mass media and society through critical, cultural, historical, legal, ethical, or social scientific approaches. One particular emphasis of the program is the relationship between the media and the public interest.

The program is oriented toward academic study rather than instruction in technical skills. 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 advisors to design a course of study and to conduct original research for their theses.

Media studies graduate faculty members have national reputations for research in an array of specialties. Students in the master’s program also are active in research.

The program’s alumni apply what they have learned to a range of endeavors, including media-oriented careers and advanced academic work. An increasing number continue their education in PhD programs.

Admission Requirements 

Effective Spring 2023, the Media Studies MA has suspended admission.

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.


An applicant must meet Graduate School requirements plus the following departmental requirements to be considered for admission to the program:

  1. Present an overall undergraduate grade point average of 3.00 or above.
  2. Submit three letters of recommendation from persons capable of judging the applicant’s capacity for success in a graduate program of study.
  3. Submit scores from the General Test section of the Graduate Record Examination.
  4. Submit a sample of original writing in English — a piece of academic or professional work, or a brief essay about a topic of the applicant’s choice.

International students, in addition to satisfying the Graduate School’s requirements for English language proficiency, must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores sufficiently high to meet program standards.

Credits and Courses

Students must take 30 graduate credits, at least 24 of which must be in courses offered by the Department of Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies.

JAMS 700Approaches to Media Studies3
JAMS 701Media Studies Research Design3
Select at least two 800-level seminars offered by the Department of Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies6
JAMS 990Research and Thesis (minimum of 6 credits)6
Select 12 additional graduate credits12
Total Credits30

Additional Requirements


The department’s graduate director initially advises students and helps them find a thesis advisor. Students consult with their advisors as they prepare their course plans and consider thesis topics. The thesis advisor guides the student in preparing a thesis proposal, provides advice on the thesis research, and chairs the thesis committee. In consultation with the graduate director, students may change thesis advisors.


All students write a thesis based on original research. The thesis advisor chairs the thesis committee, which also includes two other members. The committee chair and at least one of the other committee members must be from the Department of Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies. Normally, all members of a thesis committee will be members of the UWM graduate faculty. With the approval of the thesis advisor and the departmental graduate program committee, a student’s thesis committee may include someone who is not a member of the UWM graduate faculty when such a person has at least a master’s degree and greater expertise in the subject area than do available members of the graduate faculty.

The thesis advisor guides the student in writing a formal thesis proposal, which must be approved by the thesis committee. After the thesis proposal has been approved, the student carries out the proposed research.

The thesis committee evaluates the written thesis and conducts an oral examination at which the student defends his or her research. A student receives credit for the thesis only if all three members of the committee approve the thesis.

Time Limit

The student must complete all degree requirements within five years of initial enrollment.