Career Guide to JMU Majors:
Media Arts & Design
Integrated Advertising and Corporate Communication
Digital Video and Cinema
Admission and Progression Standards:
Visit the Major Snapshots site to learn more about the admission and progression standards of this major.
Description of MajorMedia Arts and Design is offered as a major at JMU. The School of Media Arts and Design incorporates the study and fields of mass communication, journalism, digital media/multimedia and mediated visual and aural expression. It offers a program of study that prepares students for careers in the media and/or a corporate environment; careers that rely on mass media and related areas of expertise or graduate study in mass communication and related areas, such as advanced visual communication or digital production. A student who has an interest in working in print journalism, broadcast journalism, television/video production, corporate communications, or interactive multimedia would find one of the four concentrations offered through this major to fit his or her interests. The School of Media Arts and Design also offers interdisciplinary minors in Creative Writing and Film Studies. A student who has an interest in this major must declare SMAD-Preparation, successfully complete SMAD 101, Intro to Media Arts and Design and apply formally to the major at the School of Media Arts and Design. Admission reviews are conducted once per year, during the spring semester.
Tell me more about this field of study
Media arts and design studies how people influence and relate to one another in written and visual symbols and through mediated communication (print, electronic and online). These communication messages are delivered through a wide range of media and design careers. Converged Media developers generate and manipulate graphic images, animations, sound, text and video into computer-based interactive products for news, entertainment, training, education and persuasive purposes. Digital Video & Cinema creators shoot, edit and assemble videos within both artistic/cinematic and corporate/educational realms. They take into account audiences and goals, then create productions that utilize proper mood, pace and context. Video, film and television camera operators set up, position and operate equipment in studios or on location to photograph people and events. Journalists write and edit news reports, commentaries and features for newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations and web sites. Corporate Communicators use print media, photography, web media and advertising principles to communicate corporate goals to employees, customers and other external publics.
Tell me more about specialization
There are four concentrations to choose from within the Media Arts and Design major: Integrated Advertising and Corporate Communication, Digital Video and Cinema, Converged Media or Journalism.
This professionally-oriented Integrated Advertising and Corporate Communication concentration provides students with knowledge and skills to create and manage advertising and corporate communication programs emphasizing new media. In addition to theoretical concepts underlying advertising and corporate communication, students learn strategic creative writing, effective message design, management, and media production. Students also learn strategic planning, implementation and evaluation of new media technologies, and research and analysis of current trends and applications. The program reviews ethical and legal issues involving the creative advertising process, corporate communication, and the use of new media. Students planning careers in integrated advertising and corporate communication should obtain a broad liberal arts education to better understand the characteristics that make the diversified communication process effective across various media and organizations.
The professionally oriented Digital Video and Cinema concentration helps students develop practical and analytical skills in digital video through class work, internships and experience. All concentrators are exposed to theories, design principles, legal issues and applications of film and video. Those interested primarily in the study of cinema, as opposed to production, can emphasize classes that look at filmmaking from an analytical or critical perspective. Those interested more in the actual production of films and videos can take coursework aimed at developing skills in shooting, editing, composting and disseminating. The concentration utilizes a state-of-the-art, high-definition (HD) video production facility for both field and studio-based productions, allowing access to some of the finest educational lab space available anywhere. Students shoot, edit and output entirely in HD. Students in this concentration also develop a critical understanding of how movies tell stories, convey information and affect audiences. Students will examine the narrative conventions of film and television and investigate how story materials are created for today’s convergent media. This concentration is complemented by the College’s Interdisciplinary Minors in Film Studies and Creative Writing.
Converged Media students focus on skills needed to create multimedia productions, such CD-ROMs and DVDs, but primarily for the World Wide Web. A strong emphasis is placed on hands-on opportunities such as class projects and internships. Students engage in audience/user analysis, usability research and interface design, then utilize text, images, animation, sound and video to convey a message. The concentration emphasizes both artistic and technical elements in the creation of interactive media products. Design principles and artistic applications (such as Photoshop and Illustrator) exist side-by-side with technical elements such as XHTML, XML, CSS, database design and a limited amount of computer programming. Students also learn about strategic and managerial issues including instruction on content management, domain name acquisition and management, search engine optimization, e-commerce and Web 2.0 utilization.
The professionally oriented Journalism concentration, enables students to develop writing, editing, and information-gathering skills needed to work in newspapers, magazines, websites and related fields through course work, internships and practical experiences. Students learn to research, discriminate among sources, recognize news values, apply basic news style rules and write under deadlines. They are able to articulate the role of editors and use copy editing guidelines. Basic news, beat reporting, feature and entertainment news all receive coverage. Layout and design courses are also part of the concentration. Students explore aspects of visual journalism and new media applications to lead and moderate online communities. Students are exposed to the role of corporate communicators in writing news releases and generating news coverage. The concentration also emphasizes legal and ethical issues faced by journalists.
Common majors or minors that complement this major
There are no common combinations but some examples may be Art, Communication Studies, Creative Writing, Computer Science, Educational Media, English, Film Studies, Marketing, Music Industry, Political Communication, Political Science, Psychology, or Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication.
Openness to understanding others and a sense of professional drive are appropriate to this very competitive field. Interest and skill utilizing present and future technologies is crucial. Ability to work well under pressure is a plus! Good grades and related experiences are essential.
Many graduates choose typical career paths associated with this major. However, some graduates choose unrelated careers that utilize skills and experiences developed during their years in college. Keep in mind, that some fields will require graduate study or further training. The listing below offers examples of possible career paths and is not meant to be comprehensive.
Who employs graduates?
Advertising Agencies, Cable Stations, Colleges/Universities, Corporate Environments, Federal, State and Local Government Agencies, Firms Marketing Consumer Goods, Military, Motion Picture Studios, Newspaper/Magazine Publishers, Public Relations Firms, Publishing Companies, Special Effects Studios and Television Stations.
Many opportunities are available as a result of well-organized programs. Getting involved in practicum and directed projects can help students to learn by doing. The Breeze, WXJM, and Curio are examples of programs students could gain practical experiences related to their field of study.
View our list of internship coordinators for each major.
What are JMU graduates doing with this major?
Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians
Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts
Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators
Multimedia Artists and Animators
A Day in the Life of a Media Planner
A Day in the Life of a Writer
VAULT: Log in, Click on Guides and search for over 700 professions and 100 industries.
A broad range of resources on career fields, internships, and job search information is also available in the Career & Academic Planning Resource Center.
A few titles from our Resource Center related to this field include:
© Career & Academic Planning, James Madison University,
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from JMU Career & Academic Planning. Content for each major has been written/reviewed by faculty in the respective department and is revised each year. Requests to update content can be submitted to the Career Guide editor, Barbara Daniel.