Media Studies Graduate Curriculum
We are living at a time of a rapidly evolving media culture and social change; the graduate curriculum in Media Studies aims to train scholars equipped to interrogate this shifting landscape. With graduate seminars that cover such topics as Media, Memory and the Archive; Television Studies; Digital Identities; Historiography; Feminist Media Studies; Media Industries; Latinx Media Studies; Global Media; and Fan Culture and Gender, our MA and PhD programs draw on a wide variety of theoretical approaches to explore how media intersect with cultural practices, political participation, and economic structures, as well as how media serve as sites for the articulation of and struggles over identity and inclusion. We investigate a wide range of legacy and emerging media forms— including but not limited to film, television, digital media, interactive games, and radio—in historic, sociocultural, aesthetic and industrial contexts. Graduates of the program have gone on to positions of leadership at academic institutions and related professional fields.
The UT RTF department consistently ranks in the top ten programs in the U.S. for both the academic study of media and for media production.
- Mentorship and diverse coursework offered by world-class faculty across the humanities and social sciences
- High rate of success in job placement in the academy, industry, government, and at non-profit organizations
- Interdisciplinary program options (e.g., Business, Latin American Studies, Public Affairs)
- Wide range of Portfolio Programs (e.g., Women & Gender Studies, Cultural Studies, Museum Studies)
- Internships with local media industry, festivals, policy institutions, and cultural organizations
- Ability to supplement coursework in media studies with classes in media production and screenwriting
- Access to the Harry Ransom Center’s research collections, including Mad Men, Robert DeNiro, Paul Schrader, David O. Selznick, Gloria Swanson, and much more
- Editorial and organizational roles for department-based journals and conferences, including Flow and Velvet Light Trap
- Vibrant Austin media community
- Low tuition and fees relative to peer institutions
- Collaboration with a dynamic graduate student community that offers professional development and social activities through a peer mentorship program, organized writing groups, and the RTF Graduate Student Organization (GSO)
Our Primary Research and Teaching Areas
The M.A. (Media Studies) is designed as a two-year scholarly degree program in which students produce work that applies theory to original research. There are two options to complete the degree: thesis (30-hour program of work) or master's report (33-hour program of work). Students are also required to take six credit hours in a minor field, outside the Department of Radio-TV-Film. Minor work may be taken in the College of Communication or elsewhere in the University. Coursework is chosen in consultation with the Graduate Advisor.
Students will incorporate 30 hours of coursework and research culminating in a Thesis, written under the direction of an advisor and second reader.
Some students see the M.A. as a primarily professional degree that equips them to work in media or other fields of work at a more advanced level. Such students typically produce a Master’s Report employing applied research or they generate a creative project.
See Program of Work.
Media Studies M.A. students may pursue dual degrees in a variety of programs across the University. Please note we do not offer dual degree programs for those pursuing the PhD (focus in Media Studies), the Master of Fine Arts in Film and Media Production, or the Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting.
Applicants to any dual degree programs must apply separately to each program and be accepted in each program. For example, if you are interested in pursuing a dual degree with Middle Eastern Studies, you would submit separate and complete application materials to both Radio-Television-Film and Middle Eastern Studies. Please refer to the application section of this website for information on applying to the Department of Radio-Television-Film.
Dual degree codes and departments participating in dual degree programs with Radio-Television-Film are listed below:
- 624300 - Radio-Television-Film (M.A) / Business Administration (M.B.A)
- 624330 - Radio-Television-Film (M.A.) / Latin American Studies (M.A.)
- 624360 - Radio-Television-Film (M.A.) / Middle Eastern Studies (M.A.)
- 624390 - Radio-Television-Film (M.A.) / Public Affairs (M.A.)
- 624420 - Radio-Television-Film (M.A.) / Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (M.A.)
Portfolio programs provide opportunities for students to obtain credentials in a cross-disciplinary academic area of inquiry during the same time that they complete the requirements for the master’s degree. With these programs, students take thematically related graduate courses.
Current university-wide portfolio programs offered by the graduate school include:
- African and African Diaspora Studies
- Arts and Cultural Management and Entrepreneurship
- Asian American Studies
- Communication, Information and Cultural Policy
- Cultural Studies
- Digital Studies
- Disability Studies
- Interdisciplinary European Studies
- Mexican American and Latina/o Studies
- Museum Studies
- Native American and Indigenous Studies
- Nonprofit Studies
- Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (REES)
- Study of Religion
- Women’s and Gender Studies