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Media Studies Emphasis

The media studies emphasis introduces students to the knowledge and skills that will prepare them for lifelong success in media communications. Course work includes instruction in mass communication theory, internet studies, media history, film and television criticism, screenwriting and media production.

Graduates with this emphasis regularly find employment in film and television, media marketing and public relations, media and entertainment management, corporate media production, instructional technology, web programming and design, social media management, advertising and information and communication technology.

The history and theory courses provide students with a context for understanding the opportunities and challenges of media communication. Courses emphasize the development of media technology, the way different forms of media affect content and strategies for critical citizenship and consumption of media messages.

The video production curriculum employs HD cameras and professional audio equipment. Our editing facility uses Final Cut X. All production facilities for media are Mac-based; however, the interactive media production is multi platform.

The film/video production portion of our curriculum is structured with an emphasis on creating actual program materials for both cable television and competitive festival exhibition. Web development courses are structured with an emphasis on service learning with students designing and programming web applications for local non-profits and organizations. To remain current with industry standards and practices, digital media equipment and resources are constantly updated.

Introductory production courses are 4 credit hours because of their demanding schedules and accompanying labs. They include:

  • Studio Production (COMS 357)
  • Field Production (COMS 358)
  • Interactive Media Production (COMS 359)
  • Audio Production (COMS 349)

While course offerings change, here are typical examples of courses taught by faculty:

  • Various critical studies courses on film and television
  • Documentary history and theory and film theory
  • Media law and ethics, film history and the history of broadcasting
  • Screenwriting and narrative filmmaking
  • Information and communication technology
  • Advanced seminars in film/video editing

Beginning in the 2014-15 Academic year, students will be able to obtain a Digital Production Certificate in Media Studies.

The department sponsors Reality Bytes, an Independent Student Film Festival that is held at NIU every spring. The festival accepts films from around the globe and is largely organized by graduate and undergraduate students. 

Please contact the area coordinator Laura Vazquez if you have questions about the media area courses or curriculum.

Undergraduate Advising

Laura Vazquez
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Watson Hall 213
(815) 753-7107

Nathan Rice
Office Support Specialist
Watson Hall 209
(815) 753-1712


Ryan Pumroy
(815) 753-5354
Watson Hall 217