Course Requirements

Students complete 12 courses (48 credits) to graduate from the M.A. in NMS program. This program consists of five courses and seven electives, which may be taken in NMS or a range of programs across the university.

Core Courses

The core provides the program with its unique identity. The Proseminar in New Media Studies, the program's gateway course, introduces students to theories of new media and the particular way the field of new media studies is framed by the program. NMS 502, 504, and 508 introduce students to three literacies that are crucial to the study and production of new media. In New Media, Old Media, extensive reading in the history of media studies foregrounds the necessity of historical/critical literacy and introduces students to the invariable relationship between technology and human communication. The production and interpretation of symbols on two-dimensional surfaces—computer screens, for example—is the focus of Design Rhetorics. Text and Image explores the dynamics of meaning in environments where static, moving, and live images interact with text and audio. The core is completed with a "capstone" experience; students may choose to develop a group-based project or individual portfolio in the Workshop/Portfolio Seminar.


Seven courses are chosen by M.A. students from a wide range of courses offered by programs across the University. The electives provide an opportunity for students to focus on areas that best suit their professional and educational goals for the program. Some elective courses (for example, in Human Computer Interaction) have prerequisites that students must fulfill before taking those electives. 


Internship opportunities may be pursued by students who wish to acquire significant on-the-job experience in the fields of publishing, professional writing, and related areas. A maximum of four quarter hours of NMS 506 INTERNSHIP, may be applied to the forty-eight quarter hours required for the degree.

NMS 501


Introduces the field of New Media Studies and the faculty who teach in it. Each week a different NMS faculty member will present his or her research and relate that topic to the wider field of NMS. Encourages students to clarify their course of study and build alliances with faculty and students with similar interests.

NMS 502


New Media, Old Media offers a critical examination of the rise of the information age and its impact on old media. This course will situate the NMS program in the historical/critical development of mass media and its relationship to power and meaning-making.

NMS 504


In this course we will explore the increasingly important dynamic between textual information and visual information. In this course we will read about how hypertext has changed the environment and nature of the written word, and we will examine how the Web has "remediated" previous media into a new dynamic. We will use this knowledge to perform analyses of visual and textual artifacts; students may also create their own artifacts.

NMS 505


Students will have a choice between a collaborative workshop or a more individually-centered portfolio development seminar. Each group prepares a digital media project for an existing community group, such as a social service organization. Those students preferring to work independently will, under the guidance of the advising professor, develop and defend a complete portfolio of their work within the NMS program. May be repeated for elective credit.

NMS 508


This course provides students with a theoretical foundation and practical skills in the design of rhetorically sophisticated new media objects. We will learn basic principles of visual composition, both by examining existing compositions and building our own. We will also seek to understand the way visual literacies and culture shape the rhetorical choices we make as designers and managers of new media projects.

NMS 506


In consultation with the director of NMS, students design a field experience under the direction of a project director in the field. The field experience may be derived from issues raised in courses, from thesis research, or from personal research interests.