MDST - Media Studies


Effective 1 June 2024 through 31 May 2025

Please see the Undergraduate Catalog Archives for PDF versions of past catalogs.

Course Descriptions

Global Citizenship Program
Knowledge Areas
ARTS Arts Appreciation
GLBL Global Understanding
PNW Physical & Natural World
QL Quantitative Literacy
ROC Roots of Cultures
SSHB Social Systems & Human Behavior
Global Citizenship Program
Skill Areas
CRI Critical Thinking
ETH Ethical Reasoning
INTC Intercultural Competence
OCOM Oral Communication
WCOM Written Communication
** Course fulfills two skill areas


MDST 1010 Media Foundations (3)

Students will learn the history and impact of all media formats as well as the theories and thinkers behind mass communication scholarship. The course focuses on media systems, structure and ethics as well as the relationship between the media and society. 

MDST 1050 Media Writing (3)

This course offers an introduction to principles, style and mechanics of writing for print, Web and broadcast formats. Drawing on critical readings, lectures, class discussions and writing exercises, students will learn to write for communications fields including journalism and public relations. Working as both individuals and teams throughout the semester, students will develop a clear understanding of the differences among media formats, and of the importance of audience. Writing and presenting aloud to the class are integral parts of this course, as are assigned readings. GCP Coding: (WCOM).

MDST 1160 Communication for Media Professionals (3)

This course introduces students to the essentials of human communication as they relate to a variety of media contexts. Students will explore interpersonal, group and presentational concepts and practices, with a focus on their roles in media messaging, processing and careers. Activities will include written reflections and reports, oral presentations and group activities.

MDST 1500 Applied Media Aesthetics (3)

Students learn the basic aesthetic principles involved in the production of visual media by analyzing the various audio and visual stimuli that become elements of photography, video or film forms; their nature; how these elements function individually and together; how they may be used creatively; and how a viewer may perceive them. Students learn the aesthetics of light, color, space, time, motion and sound. Prerequisite: EPMD 1000.

MDST 2100 Media Literacy (3)

Students learn to systematically decode, evaluate and analyze information conveyed through the channels of mass communication. They learn the process, language and effects of the media and develop a critical awareness of messages sent through channels including (but not limited to) news, advertising, film, television, websites and platforms. GCP Coding: (SSHB) (CRI).

MDST 2200 Ethics in the Media (3)

Students learn the ethical considerations applied to journalism, broadcast journalism, photography, audio, film, video, interactive digital media, the internet, public relations and advertising. Students learn to analyze the ethical dilemmas facing media professionals. Prerequisite: MDST 1010 or MDST 2100.

MDST 2490 Media Externship (1)

Students participate in a series of informational interviews as a means of learning the characteristics, structure, and operations of media-related professional organizations. Attendance is required at an orientation and two seminars. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

MDST 2500 Professional Development for Media Careers (3)

This course prepares students to market themselves and their skill sets for the professional workforce. Students practice resume-writing, interview and presentation techniques, and online personal branding, and collect and revise previous works to create a professional portfolio. The course culminates with a portfolio review.

MDST 2800 Media, Diversity and Society (3)

This course offers instruction on responsible media coverage and presentation of issues of diversity beyond solely race. Students both observe and create news coverage, advertisements and public relations campaigns related to diversity as it is associated with protected status groups (sex, race, age, disability, color, creed, national origin, religion or genetic information and sexual orientation). GCP Coding: (SSHB) (INTC).

MDST 3100 Social Media Strategies & Tactics (3)

With an emphasis on critical thinking about media audiences, use and effects, students analyze efforts of journalists, activists, corporate brands and politicians to inform and influence their publics through social media, and devise and implement their own social media campaigns. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing.

MDST 3150 Topics (1-3)

These courses are offered periodically to feature topics in media and journalism not covered by regularly offered courses. May be repeated for credit if content differs. Prerequisites: May vary with the topic.

MDST 3260 Global Media Practice (3)

In this course, students will cultivate information from diverse international media sources in order to engage critically with the problems presented by the production, distribution and consumption of global media products with an understanding of the social, political and economic influences that shape these globalized cultural products. This class also focuses on communication as it relates to developing relationships with global audiences across different media, including digital web content, social media and other networking platforms. Cross-listed with INTL 3260. GCP Coding: (GLBL) (INTC).

MDST 3300 Media Law, Ethics & Policy (3)

This class will provide an in-depth examination of issues surrounding the media profession as it relates to regulatory issues, ethical issues and legal issues. Students will examine and analyze common media law principles and ethical concerns relevant to today's changing -- and increasingly digital -- professional media environment. This class will cover topics related to current legal issues including, but not limited to, the First Amendment, contract law, copyright law, fair use, piracy, privacy, trademarks, licensing, data storage/use as well as international regulations. Junior or senior standing is advised. 

MDST 3599 Independent Study (Juniors or Seniors) (1-12)

Independent study involves research work on a specialized subject or project, artistic work, or study of an interdisciplinary nature. In contrast to a practicum, the emphasis in an independent study is usually on individual pursuit of a specific content area. Requires the filing of official form and permission of instructor. May be repeated for credit if content differs.

MDST 3700 Topics in International Communications (3-6)

Students learn the cultural aspects of international media communications; international advertising; international public relations; international communications as a political tool; international communications and cultural stereotypes; and media systems as a reflection of a country's cultural, political, and economic structures. May be repeated once for credit if content differs. Prerequisites: May vary with topic.

MDST 4110 Digital Media and Culture (3)

This course applies the principles of media literacy to digital media, which includes interactive media, voice and image transmission devices, simulations, and video games. The course examines the technological characteristics of digital media as well as the impact of digital technology on content. The course also considers the impact of digital media on the individual and society and identifies strategies for the analysis of media messages. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing.

MDST 4200 Media Research (3)

Future reporters, editors, producers, advertisers and public relations professionals must now perform legitimate research or at least understand the research of others. In this course, students will practice both qualitative and quantitative techniques for studying media audiences, content and effects, and will plan, conduct, analyze and evaluate media research. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing.

MDST 4220 Genre Studies (3)

This course offers an in-depth study of genres that appear in the media. Students learn a range of approaches to the study of genre, including formulaic, ideological, historical, cultural and audience response analysis. Students conduct primary research on a particular genre using selected approaches.

MDST 4500 Political Communications (3)

Students learn the role of the media on the American political process. Topics include the history and evolution of political media, the role of the press and its influence on the political process, and how media strategies are created, developed, and produced. Political advertising campaigns are analyzed. Prerequisite: MDST 1010.

MDST 4620 Media Practicum/Thesis (3-4)

With the instructor's approval and input, students enrolled in this course complete an individual project, exhibit or thesis to demonstrate their proficiency in media studies or practice. Students wishing to complete their degree at Webster Vienna Private University must select the thesis option and register for 4 hours. Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing, successful completion of portfolio review and permission of the instructor.

MDST 4950 Internship (3-4)

Students will participate in a professional media field experience within the industry of their major with a structured academic component. The industry setting will be the primary learning laboratory for students to explore and apply the knowledge and skills of their field of study and learn about the professional world. To further develop knowledge and competencies, students will participate in regular seminars, explore concepts, apply analysis and reflection to the internship experience. 

Students are offered assistance in the internship search process by the director of the School of Communications Internship Program and must secure a School of Communications approved, credit-bearing internship and submit an Internship Authorization Form before they are enrolled in the course and before beginning their internship. May be repeated for credit twice for a total of nine hours. 

Prerequisites: Students generally intern during the senior year. Permission is required to enroll in the course. Each academic program/major has specific eligibility criteria for acceptance into the course and students can check with their academic advisor about eligibility.