Academic Program Overview
The Comparative Media Studies graduate program currently admits approximately 10 students per year, forming a cohort of 20 students working towards a Master of Science degree. The undergraduate program is MIT's largest major in the humanities, with many minors and concentrators as well.
MIT has played a central role in the development and analysis of new media technologies, including radar, communications technologies, documentary film, media ownership, the "manufacture of consent," and our personal and public relations with technology. The Comparative Media Studies Program builds on that tradition of leadership to focus historical and theoretical attention on the world's changing media environment. Studying media at MIT allows students to observe first-hand the experimentation and research leading to the next wave of media breakthroughs. We provide a bridge between the technological and humanistic sides of the Institute, by examining the social and cultural impact of the changing media landscape.
A Comparative Nature
The academic structure of the Comparative Media Studies program can be largely broken down into six key comparative areas. The following are each described in more detail in our About CMS section.
The undergraduate program in CMS also incorporates courses in what is traditionally known as Film Studies and Mass Media Studies.
A Wide-Ranging Faculty
Faculty drawn from the following participating departments regularly teach subjects in the core CMS curriculum:
A New Research Agenda
Comparative media studies is not the study of interactive technologies. It focuses on social and cultural interactions with technology. As media become increasingly integrated into all aspects of modern experience, it is impossible to fully understand our central institutions and practices without understanding media. The most urgent questions confronting us are social and cultural, not purely technological.
A Common Vocabulary
For industry, government, journalism, and the academy to work together to help society adjust to media transition and transformation, there must be a common vocabulary for discussing the challenges of an evolving media environment. This need for this shared understanding argues for new styles of media studies where future leaders in academia, creative industries, public intellectuals, and media companies study side-by-side.
The Need for New Expertise
Media designers, consultants and business leaders need the tools to think critically about media and their potential for circulating information and dispersing intellectual capital. Government leaders must be able to make meaningful decisions about policy and regulation. Our courses are designed to teach students to make and reflect upon media and in the process, to acquire important skills in team work, leadership, problem solving, collaboration, brainstorming, communications, and project completion, which will prepare them for a wide range of academic and professional careers.