B.A. in Media - Media Science

The B.A. in Media with a concentration in Media Science is offered through The Media School in the College of Arts and Sciences. In pursuing the degree, you learn how to observe, ask questions, and test answers concerning the ways in which mediated messages make meaning in any platform -- from tweets to television to big budget films.

Your professors in this concentration pursue various forms of media science research through controlled experiments, surveys, interviews, focus groups, and other methods. In classwork, you learn both how to investigate and understand the relationship of media to cognition, gender, social class, violence, sexuality, family, memory, humor, and other facets of our lives. 

As a student in Media Science, you master critical thinking and investigative skills, preparing you to enter a variety of careers. This concentration can give you the necessary skills to work in corporate or other environments creating content, analyzing the reception of media messages, and conducting media research.

Students pursuing degrees outside The Media School may be interested in two media certificates, in Journalism and New Media and Interactive Storytelling, as well as six minors. Check your bulletin for more information about these certificates and minors.

  • Global Media
  • Media and Creative Advertising
  • Media and Diversity
  • Media Law and Ethics
  • Media Persuasion
  • Media, Sex and Gender

Getting started

Your starting point for any Media School concentration, certificate, or minor is MSCH-C101, Media. This course provides twice-weekly lectures by faculty, including expert guests, and an opportunity for small group discussion. In MSCH-C 101, you will:

  • Better understand what is meant by “media” and the many complex ways media work in our culture
  • Assess your interests in the study of media technologies
  • See more clearly what you will study in the upper-level courses, and how the subject matter compares to other possible areas of study in media

All students in The Media School begin taking courses in the media core, introducing them to the fundamental principles of Making, Managing, and Thinking About Media. Core classes also function as prerequisites for upper-level courses.

MSCH-C207 Introduction to Media Industry and Management is the recommended Managing Media course. Making Media and Thinking Media courses should be chosen in consultation with a  Media School advisor, based on your choice of media specialization.

Tracks and concentrations

You choose from a variety of areas of study in the Media Science concentration, depending on your professional goals, then develop high-level professional competencies in a specialization.

If you plan to pursue graduate work or a corporate career in message testing and audience research, you might want to pursue courses in Audience Analysis, New Media, Politics and Media or Sex in the Media.

If you are interested in media management, marketing, consulting, sales, and related fields, consider coursework in Audience Analysis, Media Processes and Effects, Media Promotion and Marketing, and Applying Theory to Media Design.

If you are pursuing a career in creating content, consider classes in Electronic Media Advertising, Media Promotion and Marketing, Politics and Media, Media Processes and Effects, Children and Media, Sex in the Media, Audience Analysis, and Applying Theory to Media Design.

These are suggestions, not limitations. Talk with your advisor, faculty, and career coach for feedback and suggestions about how your coursework can support your goals.

Upper level coursework

All students in The Media School have a specialization consisting of upper-level courses in a specific field. In Media Science, you may pursue any specialization in the Media School.

You can have up to three specializations on your transcript. A media advisor can help you explore choices and discuss prerequisites. The following are suggestions, not limitations.

If you plan to pursue graduate work or a corporate career in message testing and audience research, consider specializing in Media Research or Media Psychology.

If you are interested in media management, marketing, consulting, sales, and related fields, consider the specializations in Creative Industry Management, Media Persuasion, Media Research, or New Media Marketing.

If you are interested in advertising and public relations, consider the following specializations: Media and Creative Advertising, Media Persuasion, Media Research, New Media Marketing, or Public Relations and Strategic Communication.

Commonly pursued majors, minors and certificates

Your major represents about one-third of your degree requirements. With the help of your academic advisor, you may be able to combine several areas of interest with additional majors, minors, or certificates.

  • In The Media School, you may be interested in a complementary concentration such as Media Advertising, Cinema and Media Arts (with a production emphasis), or Media Technologies and Cultures. Pursuing an appropriate specialization to go with a second concentration means both will appear on your transcript, like a double major.
Enhance your major

Working with faculty

When pursuing a degree in Media Science, you have the opportunity to work with faculty who have expertise and experience in the field. Take advantage of office hours to talk with your instructors about your performance in class, the content of assignments, and how the course helps you work toward your goals.

You can get involved in research as early as your first year. Many incoming first-year students apply to the Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Experience (ASURE) program. ASURE students experience project-based learning enhanced by a community of supportive faculty and peers. Choose an ASURE path in the arts and humanities, social and historical studies, or natural and mathematical sciences. Consider joining one that will deepen your skills and knowledge in an area related to your major or a different one to become a more well-rounded thinker. 

Coursework in your degree and opportunities in The Media School allows you to work closely with faculty. The capstone experience provides an opportunity for experimental learning. Practicums and other professional learning classes, internships for credit, classes with an international travel component, and proposals to design independent research courses are all options that can be built into your undergraduate experience. Explore the possibilities with the help of your academic advisor.


The Media School has a variety of honors opportunities for students.

The Media Scholars program is open to incoming students. Media Scholars complete honors-level coursework, international travel, network with media professionals, and complete advanced projects.

Academic Honors is also available for students in the Media School beginning in the fall of 2018. This program allows select rising juniors to complete honors coursework and then a senior thesis or project. Please see a media advisor to discuss eligibility and requirements.

High-achieving students may be recognized for Academic Excellence in the College of Arts and Sciences, or be eligible for admission to the Hutton Honors College.

Undergraduate scholarships and awards

Options for pursuing scholarships and awards include:

If you belong to any student programs, such as GROUPS, Hudson and Holland, or 21st-Century Scholars, ask about scholarships they might offer.

The College of Arts and Sciences administers awards through the following programs:


Internships offer you a chance to develop both technical and transferable skills while making vital professional contacts with others in the field. Many students begin exploring internship opportunities, including overseas study programs with internships, as early as their first year.

It is very common for students pursuing careers in media to complete multiple internships before or shortly after graduating. The Media School website offers three helpful resources for thinking ahead to this very important form of preparation for your professional life:

Learn more about internships, including the possibility of receiving credit, through The Walter Center for Career Achievement, where you'll find many resources for both domestic and international internships.

Foreign language study

As one of the premier institutions in the U.S. for the study of languages, IU Bloomington offers courses and resources in over 80 languages. A student pursuing a B.A. in the College of Arts and Science must demonstrate proficiency through the second semester of the second year of a foreign language.

Language proficiency enhances your personal skillset in an increasingly international business environment. Improving your competency in a language you have already studied or learning a new language relevant to your goals will expand your personal and professional horizons.

Below is a sampling of language study resources available to students at IU Bloomington.


Overseas study

Study abroad is an important part of undergraduate education in an increasingly interconnected world. Many Media Science students participate in overseas programs in a variety of locations, for as short as a summer session or as long as a year. Some programs include internships along with academic coursework.

Overseas study offers you the chance to take courses within your major and other areas of interest, sometimes participating in service learning or an internship. Because student needs vary based on completed and planned coursework, it's important to do some planning with the help of your academic advisor. Learn more about study abroad opportunities and locations through the Office of Overseas Study.

Consider applying to a Media School travel class, enrolling in a upper-level course during the regular spring semester or summer session, and then traveling with faculty and classmates. This immersive learning experience helps you connect your course topics and areas of interest with real-world case studies and experience.

Spring travel classes go abroad for a week during spring break or after the end of finals. Summer classes often travel from two to four weeks. Information sessions are available, and applications are accepted in the fall for both spring and summer. An academic advisor can guide you to resources for these classes.

The College of Arts + Sciences also directly hosts a variety of study abroad programs, some even featuring IU faculty, that might be right for you. Learn more about study abroad opportunities and locations through conversation with Media School faculty, your academic advisor, and through the Office of Overseas Study.

Student groups

The following student organizations provide volunteer business and management opportunities, networking, and high-level experience.

  • The Media Living Learning Center is a residence hall community specifically reserved for students who wish to study and pursue careers in media.
  • Media School Ambassadors are representatives of the Media School who do outreach and interface with prospective students,

Multiple student media opportunities in television, radio, print and online journalism give you the opportunity to create, produce, and manage media activities during your time at IUB. You can obtain media science experience by conducting audience research and collecting data about users through various student media groups.

Explore beINvolved to connect with any of the 750+ student organizations that already exist, or to start a new one.

Volunteer opportunities

The Media School offers a variety of service learning opportunities.

Students in Media Science may attend the regular meetings of the Institute for Communication Research and volunteer to be involved in communication science research conducted by the ICR. Talk to faculty during office hours if you are interested.

There are numerous opportunities for volunteer engagement, allowing you to give back to the local community while developing useful job skills. 

The organizations below can help you connect with others from the university and beyond:     

Sign up to receive weekly emails from the Bloomington Volunteer Network to learn about local opportunities and organizations.

Professional organizations

In the diverse fields that make up media, connecting with relevant professional organizations will depend on the paths of interest you follow in your degree. The National Communication Association gives you some idea of the many professional associations and affiliations related to the field of media science.

Use the Indiana University Library system to search for Associations Unlimited, an online directory of associations, professional societies, non-profit organizations, and much more.

Build your skills

Through the major

The major in the Media Science concentration provides you with a set of skills and qualities that are relevant and transferable to many areas of study and work. These include:

  • Critical thinking: develop the empirical research skills to question, investigate, and understand media messaging
  • Conducting research: analyze audiences and learn how to test messages for effectiveness
  • Persuasive messaging: master the creation and distribution of persuasive messages in media
  • Professional expertise: deploy media expertise through business competencies of marketing, consulting, and sales

Through a College of Arts and Sciences degree

Your coursework provides many opportunities to develop the following five foundational skills that will serve you well in every career path:  

  • Question critically
  • Think logically
  • Communicate clearly
  • Act creatively
  • Live ethically

These foundational skills will aid you in landing your first job and advancing professionally throughout your working life. Not only are these the skills that employers say they value most in the workplace, but they also provide the best preparation for lifelong success in a world of complexity, uncertainty, and change.

Skills desired by employers

Each year, the National Association of Colleges and Employers asks employers what key skills and qualities they are looking for in recent college graduates.

The following are some of the most commonly desired attributes across many employment sectors:

  • Problem-solving skills
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Strong work ethic
  • Analytical and quantitative skills
  • Ability to take Initiative
  • Being detail-oriented
  • Demonstrating adaptability
  • Technical skills relevant to the field
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Computer skills
  • Organizational ability

As you explore various career fields, pay attention to specific job descriptions

and requirements. If there are areas where your skills or knowledge are lacking,

talk with your academic advisor and career coach about how you can develop in those

areas while you are at Indiana University.

Your academic advisor and career coach can also help you find ways to strengthen

and deepen the knowledge you already have, becoming more prepared for whatever

path you select after College.


Launch your career

Plan your search

A good starting point for exploring your career is an appointment with your career coach. The Walter Center for Career Achievement offers job search resources, career courses, job fairs, information about internships and full-time jobs, and help with social media networking through professional organizations.

Get advice about how to write your resume, ask for letters of recommendation from faculty and workplace supervisors, and prepare for job interviews, too.

Explore and enroll in Career Communities to learn more about industries relevant to your interests. These offer unique information about each field, including alumni spotlights, opportunities and resources, and in-person events.

Maximize your career preparation with a career course. Media majors should consider enrolling in ASCS-Q296 College to Career II: Navigate Your Arts and Sciences Experience. The section dedicated to Media provides the opportunity for you to explore the relationship between your field of study and life after graduation, while developing an academic and career development plan for post-collegiate success. If you are considering continuing your studies after graduation, you may wish to enroll instead in the section dedicated to graduate school preparation. Regardless of the section you select, you will leave the class with your resume, a cover letter or personal statement, and a LinkedIn profile ready to go!


The job market

More than ever before, the media industry seeks content that resonates with its intended audience. There is an increasing need for professionals with the knowledge and skills to investigate the effectiveness of media content, determining appropriate media usage strategies. 

Students with the expertise gained through the Media Science B.A. are essential to the field. They are able to think critically about relationships between media and segments of society, can investigate media-related research questions to draw data-driven conclusions, and are able to create media content suitable for an intended audience.

Students with the Media B.A. with the Media Science concentration can take their education in many directions. They are well prepared to work in advertising, consulting groups, independent media production, business, public television, major network television, internet-based media companies, federal or state government, media and interactive media research, education, or as entrepreneurs.

Initial and long-term destinations for graduates include positions in many job sectors: public opinion researchers, audience analysts, creative directors, advertising and marketing professionals, station managers, corporate media executives, information analysts, entrepreneurs, journalists, and educators, among a variety of other careers.

Want to see where your fellow majors go right after graduating from IU? Check out the Walter Center’s First Destinations survey!

Need more ideas? The Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers career information about hundreds of occupations.

 Talk with Media School faculty, the academic advisor, career coach and other students to gain insights into the career paths taken by graduates of the Media School.


Post-graduate short-term experiences

After graduation, a short-term experience or internship can help you make connections, gain life skills, and assess your interest in future careers. Talk with your career coach and use these and other resources to find opportunities that are a good fit with your educational experience and career goals:

Fellowships for post-graduate study

Fellowships are temporary opportunities to conduct research, work in a field, or fund your education. Most opportunities can be found through universities, non-profits, and government organizations.

Good resources for finding fellowship opportunities include:

Graduate and professional study

When applying to graduate or professional schools, you'll need letters of recommendation from faculty members who are familiar with your work. Make a practice of attending office hours early in your academic career, to get to know your professors and discuss your options for advanced study in the field.

A Media Science B.A. degree will prepare you for entry into graduate programs in a wide variety of fields, such as sociology, psychology, cognitive science, gender studies, cultural studies, journalism, and communications, among others.

With careful planning, and in consultation with the Health Professions and Prelaw Center, you could also prepare to enter law school, medical school, or other programs in the health professions.

Students who pursue graduate studies in Media have gone into careers with top academic and research institutions, consulting groups, advertising agencies, private and public media corporations, and public policy organizations. 

Here are examples of graduate programs offered at IU: 

Alumni connections

The IU College of Arts + Sciences has thousands of active alumni. Check out the IU College Luminaries program, which connects students with the College's most influential, successful, and inspiring alumni.

 Join the Walter Center Success Network to remain in touch, network directly with College of Arts +Sciences Alumni, and let others know where your path takes you.

Is it for you?

The Media Science concentration attracts students from a variety of backgrounds and interests. They typically have some of the following qualities:

  • Curiosity regarding the many ways in which media shape our daily lives, our health, social connections, politics, and more
  • Analytically-oriented and insightful
  • Fascinated by media creation, use, and impact
  • Interested in the application of cognitive and behavioral theory to media through the scientific method
  • Competent in simple math and statistics used for research

Learn more

Contact any of the Media School advisors and schedule an appointment to explore your options. Complete Information about the requirements of the major can be found in the College of Arts and Sciences Bulletin.

Department website
Advisor email address