Completing the M.A. in Media Studies

Succeeding in the M.A. Program

  1. Find an advisor in consultation with the graduate director. This process involves discussing your interests with faculty members who might be appropriate advisors. Until you find an advisor, the graduate director will act as your advisor.
  2. Each semester, speak with your advisor about your research interests and develop a plan with your advisor for your next semester’s coursework.
    You will need to take 8 courses for 24 credits.
    • 2 of these courses must be JAMS 700 and JAMS 701
    • 2 more must be 800-level JAMS courses
    • At least 6 of the 8 courses must be in JAMS
    • No more than 2 courses may be taken as Independent Studies
    • Students with teaching assistantships take 2 courses most semesters, however it may be helpful to take 3 courses for at least one of those semesters to better prepare you to write your thesis in your final semester.

    You must consult with your advisor before registering for courses.
    Complete a 6-credit thesis (JAMS 990) based on original research. The thesis process involves the following steps:

    • Working with your advisor to develop a thesis topic
    • Writing a thesis proposal that introduces your topic, reviews relevant scholarly literature, discusses the aims of your own research, and describes how you intend to conduct your research
    • Assembling a committee that consists of your advisor and two other faculty members. At least two members of your committee must be members of the Graduate Faculty. At least two members of your committee must be JAMS faculty.
    • Meeting with your committee to secure approval of your thesis proposal
    • Conducting the thesis research and writing
    • Circulating the thesis to the thesis committee
    • Filing an application to graduate with the Graduate School
    • Defending the thesis at a meeting of the thesis committee
    • Making any revisions that the committee deems necessary
    • Completing the necessary paperwork for the Graduate School

    It is crucial that you consult with your advisor at every step in the process.

A Two-Year Plan for Finishing the Program

First semester:

  • Take JAMS 700 (or JAMS 701, if you are beginning in the spring)
  • Take another course
  • Start developing a thesis topic and exploring it in your coursework
  • Find an advisor with the help of the graduate director

Second semester:

  • Take JAMS 701 (or JAMS 700, if you began in the spring)
  • Take 1 or 2 other courses
  • Continue developing your ideas for your thesis in your coursework
  • Start working on a thesis proposal in consultation with your advisor

Third semester:

  • Take 2 or 3 courses
  • Finish the thesis proposal
  • Meet with your committee to gain approval for your proposal
  • Begin your thesis research

Fourth semester:

  • File an application to graduate with the Graduate School
  • Finish any remaining coursework
  • Finish your thesis research and writing
  • Get your advisor's approval to circulate the thesis to your committee
  • Schedule a thesis defense meeting with your committee, upon your advisor’s approval
  • Defend the thesis
  • Make any revisions to the thesis that your committee requests
  • Secure final approval for the thesis from the committee or your advisor, whichever the committee has requested
  • Format the thesis and file it with the Graduate School

If you do not finish in your fourth semester, then keep in mind the following requirements:

  • From the time that you begin the program, you have 5 years to complete it
  • You must be registered for at least one course during the semester you graduate (the summer counts as its own semester). If you are not registered for any other course during the semester you graduate, then you should register for 0 credits of JAMS 888 (you will be charged for 1 credit for this).