Media Arts and Design Frequently Asked Questions

With a constantly changing media landscape, it’s best to identify what kind of a job you hope to have and then talk about how SMAD can help shape that career. SMAD provides students with a broad range of storytelling skills across multiple platforms, which has enabled graduates to succeed in many types of jobs, industries, and careers. You can find some examples and an overview of media-related fields here.

While our introductory course has more than 100 students, this is the only “large” class in SMAD. Most of our production classes are at or near 16 students per class.

The SMAD major is 39 credit hours. Students choose a concentration in either Creative Advertising, Digital Video and Cinema, Interactive Design or Journalism. 

Students can only have one concentration — either Creative Advertising, Digital Video and Cinema, Interactive Design or Journalism. Students select their preferred concentration when applying to the major.

It’s always a good idea to speak with an Academic Advisor regarding individual timelines. Most students admitted prior to the start of their junior year, who are “on track” with credit hours, have completed most of General Education and Major Requirements, should be able to complete SMAD coursework “on time.”

Yes! The relatively low number of credit hours (39) in the SMAD major means some students will choose a second major. Timely completion of JMU coursework requires careful planning, ideally in a student’s first year. Speak with your adviser(s) about developing a long-term plan for double-majoring.

Some of our common minors are: Art, British Communication & Media, Creative Writing, Educational Media, Film Studies, General Business, Music, Political Communication, Sport Communication, and Theatre. However, students should not feel limited by these choices. If you are interested in storytelling, then think about what kind of stories you want to tell. The answer to that question might be the answer to this one. Here's JMU's full list of undergraduate minors.

Applications for most students are once a year in late January. Incoming transfer students will apply during their first fall or spring semester at JMU. You can find details on the application process on SMAD's "Our Program" page.

Historically, SMAD can admit 60-80% of applicants to the major. That percentage fluctuates with the number of applicants that SMAD receives in a particular year.

Many SMAD majors have a Mac, and the SMAD department has only Mac labs, but student ownership of a Mac is not a requirement for success in the major.  SMAD labs are available for student use and provide access to all necessary hardware and software for student projects. You can find specific SMAD computer recommendations on this page

Our students are involved in many different types of clubs, organizations, and media outlets on campus. You can find the most common media-related organizations on this page.

No. Many of our students complete internships, but they are not a requirement for graduation. Students interested in internships should contact SMAD’s internship coordinator

Most study abroad opportunities are available to all students. Students can complete SMAD coursework in London, Ireland, Italy, New York, and Los Angeles. You can find details on those programs through JMU's Center for Global Engagment.

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