+ Curriculum – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \



HWS is among the first liberal arts colleges in the country to offer a major in media studies. From its inception in 1996, the focus of the Media and Society Program has been to foster a critical analysis of the media’s pervasive influence on society and the individual.

The program’s two fundamental goals include: to engage students in the critical analysis of the influence of the mass media on society, from both the sociopolitical and cultural/artistic perspectives; and to stimulate students to use their creative imaginations through self-expression in writing, videography, and editing the visual and plastic arts.

Media and Society majors are required to choose a concentration from one of four core areas: mass media and politics; film, television and new media; critical method and mass media theory; or cultural production: composition and technology.

The program offers a interdisciplinary major, a B.A., and minor.

Frequently Asked Questions
Guide to Completing Major Audit Forms
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If you’d like to view a full listing of our course options in Media & Society or any other subject, please visit the Online Course Catalogue.

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Requirements for the Major (B.A.)

interdisciplinary, 12 courses, plus language competency

The Media and Society Program offers an interdisciplinary major and minor. Media and Society majors explore three core areas before deciding on a concentration. All majors are required to take at least one production course in the creative arts. Majors are required to complete cognate courses in 1) global history or social consciousness and 2) social or political theory. The major culminates with a required Senior Seminar. All courses to be counted for the major must be taken for a letter grade and must be completed with a C- or higher.

The complete list of requirements for the major is:

• MDSC 100 (Introduction to Media and Society);
• MDSC 400(Senior Seminar);
• In addition to MDSC 100 and 400, students must take at least four other MDSC classes (or approved equivalents);
• One course in each of three core competencies (a course used to fulfill a core competency cannot be used to fulfill the concentration requirements);
• Five courses to comprise a concentration
• Two cognate courses.
A cognate course is one that supports the study in the major, but is not a course in the mass media or the arts. One cognate course must be in global history and social consciousness. The second cognate course must be a social or political theory course.

Media and Society majors are also required to complete one college-level course in a foreign language. Students who have studied a foreign language in secondary school may have met this requirement; students for whom English is a second language may have met this requirement; students with a certified statement from a counselor or physician that a learning disability prevents them from learning a foreign language may petition for a waiver. Students should consult with their adviser about this requirement.

Download the form for the Major.

Requirements for the Minor

interdisciplinary, 6 courses (three of which must be MDSC classes or the equivalent)

MDSC 100; one course in the study of the cultural history of the fine arts or mass media; one course in critical analysis or media theory. Three additional courses drawn from approved electives, one of which must be in the creative arts if not already included. Minors are not required to develop a concentration in a specific area of Media and Society, but minors must take at least two MDSC courses (or approved equivalents). All courses to be counted for the minor must be taken for a letter grade and must be completed with a C- or higher.

Download the form for the Minor.