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

Hear that? It’s the final countdown (for Early Decision I apps)!

Our Dean of Admissions, Shawn Abbott, has given you sound tips on selecting your school/college at NYU and everything you need to know about applying ED. We’ve also mentioned in past blog posts additional application tips, how to highlight your personal and academic fit a la NYU’s member question (formerly known as the ‘supplemental essay’), and to not feel bad about selecting ‘Undecided’ as your program of interest.

Though, with 230+ programs of study offered in our 10 undergraduate colleges and 3 degree-granting campuses…it can be tricky determining which is your best match, especially when you’re trying to decide between two or three seemingly-similar majors!

BUT DON’T FRET! We’re here to help. Hence, the inaugural post of a series I shall dub “This or That?” (I’ll work on a flashy 90s title card later)!

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

*Before I go into the differences between the two, it’s worth noting that the programs both focus on preparing their students with flexible skills for very quickly-evolving industries. Internship experiences, along with the fundamental grounding in the liberal arts, in both majors are critical in shaping what students ultimately decide to pursue in their careers.


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) so as to have a specialized beat while also engaging more with the liberal arts. After you’ve declared your journalism major, you have the option of going toward either the traditional journalism route (and choosing to be print or broadcast/multimedia)  or the media criticism route. The resulting degree is a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Journalism.

As a former journalism student, I’d chosen Cinema Studies as my secondary major, and in my Advanced Reporting and other courses, 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 was told to write about any movie news that interested me!

Many of my friends in journalism double-majored in politics with aspirations to be the next Anderson Coopers, and some chose social and cultural analysis to hone their profile-writing craft. It was always fun asking my peers what their second major was and how they were utilizing it in their pieces! I think being ‘forced’ to double major really exposed and enlightened us all to different disciplines and become mini-experts in our fields, which undoubtedly helped after our undergraduate experience.

Media, Culture, and Communication

The Media, Culture, and Communication major in Steinhardt (lovingly referred to in the NYU community as MCC) is definitely one of the harder programs at NYU to describe in one simple post. But I’ll try to break it down.

The curriculum focuses on critiquing communication across cultures, media, and technology, and 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 and Transcultural Communication; Images and Screen Studies; Interaction and Social Processes; Persuasion and Politics; and Technology and Society. The resulting degree is a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Media, Culture, and Communication.

Quite a number of my friends and former students I’ve met have gone on to work for production departments and well-known publications in major cities all over the U.S. and 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. Neither is MCC a gateway program to advertising and PR careers (though I’ve known graduates to also go into those fields). Again, it really depends on what you want for yourself, your academic pursuits, and future career that really determine the job you have post-graduation.

Hopefully this clears up some confusion about the two majors, and as always, feel free to reach out to us for more clarification. Join us in the coming weeks for our next installment of This….or….That!

And best of luck to our Early Decision I applicants!

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