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Media Studies Coterminal Master's Program

The Department of Communication offers current Stanford University undergraduates a one-year coterminal program with an M.A. emphasis in Media Studies specializing in either social sciences or journalism. University requirements for the coterminal M.A. are described in the "Coterminal Bachelor's and Master's Degrees" section of this bulletin. For University coterminal degree program rules and University application forms, see

Admission—Applications for coterminal study must be submitted at least four quarters in advance of the expected master's degree conferral date. Applicants must have earned a minimum of 120 units toward graduation (UTG) as shown on the undergraduate unofficial transcript. This includes allowable advanced placement (AP) and transfer credit. Applications must be submitted no later than November 17, 2011 for admission beginning in either Winter or Spring Quarter 2011-12 or Autumn Quarter 2012-13. Journalism track students may begin the program only in Spring Quarter of their senior year. Requirements include: Application for Admission to Coterminal Master's Program form, preliminary program proposal, statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation from Stanford professors, a written statement from a Communication professor agreeing to act as a graduate adviser (social sciences track only), three samples of writing (journalism track only), and a current unofficial Stanford transcript. GRE scores are not required. Coterminal applications are submitted directly to the department. Review procedures and the Graduate Admissions Committee determine criteria.

Requirements—The Media Studies coterminal master's program provides a broad introduction to scholarly literature in mass communication and offers a social sciences or journalism track. Journalism track students may begin the program only in Spring Quarter of their senior year during which time one elective course is taken towards the master's program and any remaining requirements for the undergraduate degree are completed. In the following academic year journalism track students follow the same curriculum as students in the Graduate Program in Journalism (see Master of Arts-Journalism section), less one elective course. Journalism track students may be required to complete more than 45 units. Social Science track students need to satisfy the following four basic requirements:

  1. Required Units and GPA: students must complete a minimum of 45 units in Communication and related areas, including items 2 and 3 below. Courses must be taken for a letter grade if offered. Courses in related areas outside the department must be approved by the student's adviser. A minimum of 36 units must be in the Communication department. No more than two courses (not including the statistics prerequisite) may be below the 200 level. To remain in good academic standing students must maintain a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better. Graduation requires a GPA of 3.0 or better.
  2. Core Requirements: students must complete COMM 206, 208, and a statistics course. Typically, the statistics requirement is met with STATS 160. Other courses occasionally are approved as a substitute before the student is admitted to the program. The statistics course does not count toward the 45 units.
  3. Six Media Studies Courses: students must complete a minimum of six additional Communication courses from the following list concerned with the study of media. Not all the listed courses are offered every year, and the list may be updated from one year to the next. In addition to the core requirements and a minimum of six courses listed below, students may choose additional courses from the list and any related course approved by the student's adviser.
    • COMM 211. Media Technologies, People, and Society
    • COMM 216. Journalism Law
    • COMM 217. Digital Journalism
    • COMM 220. Digital Media in Society
    • COMM 225. Perspectives on American Journalism
    • COMM 231. Media Ethics and Responsibility
    • COMM 237. The Dialogue of Democracy
    • COMM 240. Digital Media Entrepreneurship
    • COMM 247. History and Future of Journalism
    • COMM 260. The Press and the Political Process
    • COMM 262. Campaigns, Voting, Media, and Elections
    • COMM 264. The Psychology of Communication About Politics in America
    • COMM 266. Virtual People
    • COMM 268. Experimental Research in Advanced User Interfaces
    • COMM 269. Computers and Interfaces: Psychology and Design
    • COMM 272. Media Psychology
    • COMM 277. Specialized Writing and Reporting
    • COMM 326. Human Virtual Representation
  4. The Media Studies M.A. Project: students following the social sciences track enroll in COMM 290 to complete a project over two consecutive quarters that must be pre-approved and supervised by the adviser. The completed M.A. project must be submitted to the adviser no later than the last day of classes of the second consecutive quarter.

Additional courses are chosen in consultation with an academic adviser.

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