Ryan Alessi takes you through the details of JMU’s School of Media Arts and Design.

School of Media Arts and Design Frequently Asked Questions




All SMAD students learn to be storytellers and specialize in one of four concentrations: Creative Advertising, Digital Video and Cinema, Interactive Design, or Journalism.

All SMAD students learn to be storytellers and specialize in one of four concentrations: Creative Advertising, Digital Video and Cinema, Interactive Design, or Journalism.

What kinds of media projects do SMAD majors produce in their classes?

Examples of students’ media work include advertising campaigns, documentaries, short films, apps, and websites, as well as print, broadcast, online, and multimedia news. Students also may become involved in the JMU Ad Club; Dog House Productions, a filmmaking group; the Breeze campus newspaper, which publishes in print and online; and Breeze TV. Students in all the concentrations have the opportunity to compete in regional and national contests; those in the Interactive Design concentration also compete in a client-focused contest on JMU’s campus.

Does SMAD have any alumni I’ve heard of?

Yes. Prominent SMAD alumni include Jim Acosta, CNN’s chief White House correspondent; sports journalist Lindsay Czarniak; and Lawrence Jackson, former White House photographer in the Obama Administration.

As a first-year student, how will I apply to the School of Media Arts and Design?

All first-year students in JMU may apply for admission to SMAD in January, but transfer students, those with at least 30 hours of previous college coursework, may apply in September if they enter in the fall. Admissions decisions are made by a faculty committee. SMAD is able to admit about 220 students per year. Students who are not admitted on their first try may reapply.

Where do SMAD majors get jobs?

When SMAD majors graduate, they have solid skills for doing working in a variety of media. Their skills also are transferrable to work in other industries that do inhouse media. SMAD alumni are working at such companies as Deloitte Digital, CBS News, Bloomberg News, the Washington Post, and the Federal Reserve.

Is the SMAD degree a B.A. or a B.S.?

SMAD majors may pursue either the bachelor of arts or bachelor of science. The BA requires a philosophy course and proficiency in a foreign language, while the BS requires a science course and a math course.

Is it possible to do a double major or a minor?

Yes. Many SMAD students double major or have one or more minors. Popular minors include Film Studies, Creative Writing, Sport Communication, and Political Communication. Many students also have a second major. Students must have 120 credit hours to graduate. Because the SMAD major requires just 39 hours, students also can complete general education requirements and choose from a number of second majors.

If I study abroad, will I be able to take courses toward my SMAD major?

Yes. Nearly half of all SMAD majors study abroad, or away from campus within the United States. Programs that offer SMAD coursework are located in London, Ireland, and Urbino, as well as JMU in LA and the New York film program.

What if I want to have an internship?

Internships are available with a variety of media employers. Students can do them for course credit or on their own. SMAD has a staff member designated to assist students with finding internships. Students are strongly recommended to do multiple internships.

Are there opportunities to network with alumni and employers?

Yes. SMAD Day, a networking event, takes place each fall. In addition, alumni and other employers routinely visit campus. Some employers come to campus and recruit SMAD students directly for internships and jobs.



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