This or That: Journalism vs Media, Culture, & Communication

Photo of television on top of a stool.

So you’re interested in breaking into journalism or the media industry and you’re looking for the best major to help you get there. Lucky for you, NYU offers several options that cover journalism and media. However, we know that with over 230 areas of study in our 10 undergraduate schools, colleges, and programs, it can be tricky to find the right home within the NYU-niverse. Especially when you’re trying to choose between two similar majors. But don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

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Journalism in the College of Arts and Science vs Media, Culture, and Communication in Steinhardt*

*Before I go into the differences between the two, it’s worth noting that both programs focus on preparing their students with flexible skills for quickly evolving industries. In addition, internship experiences are critical in shaping what students ultimately decide to pursue in their careers.

Journalism

The Journalism major in the College of Arts and Science (CAS) is for students who want to study reporting theory and practice. The program requires its students to take on a second major (typically within CAS). As a result, students use the second major to create a specialized beat. After you’ve declared your Journalism major, you choose between the print/online track or the broadcast track. The resulting degree is a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Journalism.

As a former journalism student, I chose Cinema Studies as my secondary major. In my Advanced Reporting class, I’d write pieces that were film/TV-related in some regard. My favorite term papers were about How I Met Your Mother and the new X-Men films. My two majors helped me land my senior year internship at MTV, where I wrote about any movie news that interested me!

A man asks a journalist a question during an interview

Many of my friends in journalism double-majored in politics with aspirations to be the next Anderson Cooper. Some chose Social and Cultural Analysis to hone their profile-writing craft. It was always fun asking my journalism peers what their second major was and how it fit into their pieces! Double-majoring exposed us to different disciplines and made us mini-experts in our fields. Plus, having that additional major gives you another dimension in the job market.

Media, Culture, and Communication

The Media, Culture, and Communication major in Steinhardt is one of the harder programs to describe in one simple post. But I’ll try to break it down. The first thing you need to know is everyone here calls it MCC.

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At its core, the curriculum focuses on critiquing communication across cultures, media, and technology. The skills gleaned from the program are applicable in countless fields, and not solely those in the media industry. Students must choose to focus in two of the five fields of study (though many of the classes for each overlap):

  • Global communication and media
  • Media industries and politics
  • Visual culture and sound studies
  • Technology and society
  • Interaction and experience

The resulting degree is a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Media, Culture, and Communication. Many students go on to work for production departments and well-known publications in major cities in the United States and around the world!

But wait! While it is true many MCC alumni (and journalism alumni, for that matter!) are employed at different media companies and organizations like Buzzfeed, NBCUniversal, and Capitol Music Group, they are by no means limited to only working in the entertainment industry. MCC is also not a gateway program to advertising and PR careers (though I’ve known graduates who also went into those fields). Again, it really depends on what you want for yourself, your academic pursuits, and future career that determine the job you pursue postgraduation.

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And if you’re not sure you want to major in either, both programs offer a minor! 

Hopefully this clears up some confusion about the two majors. As always, feel free to reach out to us for more clarification.