Courses & Requirements

The requirements below apply to those students with a 2019-2020 catalog year. Students are required by college policy to follow the major (and minor) requirements found in the catalog in effect at the time they declared their first major. To find your catalog year, please visit your Grades and Academic Records found in myOxy and access the catalog that matches your catalog year.

 

Media Arts and Culture

Overview

The Media Arts & Culture Department (MAC) integrates the study of film and media, digital and visual culture, and media production, working with students to engage an increasingly participatory media landscape. We produce graduates who are media literate, technologically savvy, critically engaged, and culturally and historically informed.

Our students research and write about a broad range of topics in the fields of film and media; they create a wide variety of audiovisual media, including fiction, documentary, and experimental work; they advance media making beyond the screen into installation, public, and mobile spaces; and they learn new tools for digital scholarship. Students produce senior comprehensives capstone work in one of two concentrations: Critical Media or Media Production. All students, regardless of their project choice, are expected to push the boundaries of media scholarship, project form, and modes of audiovisual communication.

Note that given its rigor and course sequencing, it is not possible to complete the MAC major in less than three years. Students must declare the major by the end of their sophomore year. In order to do so they must have successfully completed both of their gateway courses with a C+ or better and have met with a MAC faculty adviser to map out a formal plan of study.

It is therefore strongly recommended that students initiate gateway coursework and faculty consultation in their first year. At least one gateway course must be completed by the end of the fall sophomore semester to ensure students are on track for the declaration deadline.

If interested in a study abroad semester, this must occur in the fall of junior year, as junior majors must be at Occidental in the spring for required advanced-level coursework. MAC Senior Comprehensives is a year-long fall/spring semester process, and so majors must commit to being present at Occidental for a full senior academic year.

Given the demand for the MAC major and the particular sequencing of classes, transfer students are not able to pursue the MAC major but are welcomed to consult with MAC faculty in developing a five-course MAC minor.

Major Requirements

The Media Arts and Culture Major requires a minimum of 48 units.

COURSEWORK

Two Gateway Courses

Students are required to take two of the three 100-level gateway courses listed below by the end of sophomore year, receiving a grade of C+ or higher in each, in order to advance in the MAC major. One gateway course must be completed by the end of fall sophomore year in order to ensure timely completion.

MAC 143Introduction to Visual and Critical Studies

4 units

MAC 145Introduction to Digital Media and Culture

4 units

MAC 146Aesthetics of the Cinema

4 units

Four 4-unit MAC courses at the 200-level or above

Students are required to take at least four 4-unit MAC courses at the 200-level or above. (These are in addition to the MAC 390 Junior Seminar and 400-level Senior Comprehensives courses, which are separate requirements.)

Note the concentration specific requirements below when selecting these classes:

  • Critical Media Concentration students must complete at least two critical or historical media studies courses at the 200-level or above by the end of junior year. These can be chosen from MAC 241, MAC 244, MAC 246, MAC 248, MAC 250, MAC 252, MAC 260, MAC 295 or a pre-approved study-abroad course. Critical Media students are also required to take one 200-level course with a media production component before graduating. This can be fulfilled by MAC 240, MAC 242, MAC 245, or MAC 250, or a pre-approved study-abroad course.
  • Media Production Concentration students must complete MAC 240 and MAC 355 by the end of junior year. Students intending to produce fictional comps work must also complete MAC 220 by the end of junior year. Media Production students are required to take at least one critical or historical media studies course at the 200-level or above before graduating. This can be fulfilled by MAC 241, MAC 244, MAC 246, MAC 248, MAC 250, MAC 252, MAC 260, MAC 295 or a pre-approved study-abroad course.

Junior Seminar

The college's Second-Stage Writing Requirement is fulfilled by completing the MAC 390 Junior Seminar in the spring semester of junior year. See the Second-Stage Writing Requirement section below for full details.

MAC 390Junior Seminar in Media Theory and Criticism

4 units

Senior Seminar

Students will satisfy this requirement by selecting the appropriate Senior Seminar sequence:

  • Critical Media Concentration: The MAC 490 Senior Seminar in Critical Media is a year-long pro-seminar with 2 units conferred in the fall and 2 additional units in the spring.
  • Media Production Concentration: The MAC 491 Senior Seminar in Media Production is a 4-unit fall course. Students must also then enroll in the 2-unit MAC 492 Advanced Editing course in the spring of senior year to scaffold post-production on their comprehensives project.

Elective Units

Students may choose from the following elective options to bring their total units in the major to 48:

  • Take additional MAC classes.
  • Take pre-approved courses from other Occidental departments. These include any Art History, Studio Art, Theater, Music (MUSC, not MUSA), or Computer Science classes and the following additional courses: CSLC 225, CSLC 226, CTSJ 212, CTSJ 261, CTSJ 361, DWA 281, ENGL 178, ENGL 280, ENGL 281, ENGL 380, JAPN 271, WRD 285, WRD 286, WRD 301A maximum of 10 units from other Oxy departments can be counted as MAC elective units. 
  • Take pre-approved courses while studying abroad. Eligible students may apply to study abroad in the fall semester of junior year; students must be back in spring of junior year for the MAC 390 Junior Seminar and Advanced-Level coursework.
  • Enroll in 2-unit INT 200 media internships through the Hameetman Career Center. A maximum of 4 internship units can be counted as MAC elective units.
  • Take pre-approved Art Center College of Design Exchange or other transfer credit courses. A maximum of 8 Art Center or other transfer units can be counted as MAC elective units.
 

Second-Stage Writing Requirement

All students majoring in the department must successfully complete the Second-Stage Writing Requirement by completing the MAC 390 Junior Seminar with a grade of C+ or higher. Students not receiving this minimum grade will need to take an additional critical media class senior year, pre-approved by the Department Chair, and receive a grade of C+ or higher in order to complete the Second-Stage Writing Requirement.

Comprehensive Requirement

Media Arts & Culture comprehensives projects can take one of two forms: Critical Media or Media Production. Students pursuing the Critical Media concentration can produce projects that take a range of forms including research papers, websites, video essays, or other hybrid forms of research creation. Projects are often either a 25-page essay or a 7-10 minute video essay and 5-page video statement. Students pursuing the Media Production concentration produce 7-10 minute video works across a range of fictional, experimental, or documentary-based forms. Please note prerequisite coursework for each comprehensives track in the major requirements above. 

Students will receive a letter grade in their MAC Senior Seminar(s) based on course expectations set by the instructor. Additionally, student comprehensives projects will be assessed in late March/early April by the primary faculty advisor and will be given a “Pass" or “Fail" designation that is provided to the Registrar as indication of whether or not the College Comprehensives Requirement has been fulfilled. See the Senior Comps Page of the MAC Department Website for more detailed information on Pass/Fail assessment measures. A designation of “Pass with Distinction" may occasionally be granted to projects that departmental faculty agree surpass the standard expectations for senior comprehensives.

College Honors

A student with an overall GPA of at least 3.5 overall and 3.6 in the major who has demonstrated excellence in departmental courses can submit a proposal for an honors project in the fall of senior year for completion in the spring of senior year. For further information on honors requirements and timelines, refer to the Senior Comps Page of the MAC Department Website and consult your faculty advisor.

Minor Requirements

Students wishing to minor in Media Arts & Culture must complete five 4-unit MAC courses selected in consultation with a MAC faculty advisor.

  • At least three of these courses must be at the 200-level or above.
  • One relevant pre-approved study abroad class can be counted towards completion of the minor, provided that the class transfers back to Occidental as at least 3 units.
  • Two 2-unit MAC offerings (from amongst MAC 110, MAC 210, or a relevant INT 200 media internship opportunity advised by a MAC faculty member) may be counted in lieu of one of the five 4-unit classes.

Alternately, Media Arts & Culture is also a contributing department to the Interdisciplinary Writing Minor and the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies Minor.

Transfer Credit Policies

Major

Given the distinct course approaches engaged by MAC, particular required courses in the major must be completed at Occidental: Gateway classes: MAC 143, MAC 145, MAC 146; Required Production Concentration Courses: MAC 240, MAC 355; Junior Seminar: MAC 390; and Senior Seminars: MAC 490, MAC 491, MAC 492.

A maximum of 8 pre-approved Art Center College of Design Exchange or other transfer credit units can be counted as MAC elective units.

Given the demand for the MAC major and the particular sequencing of classes, transfer students are not able to pursue the MAC major but are welcomed to consult with MAC faculty in developing a five-course MAC minor.

Minor

For Oxy matriculants, no transfer courses are accepted for the minor. For students who transferred to Oxy or returned from a leave of absence, the one study abroad course permitted in the minor requirements can instead be a transfer course.

Online Courses

Any requests for online transfer courses must be assessed by the chair factoring in the institution’s accreditation, hours of lecture/contact, nature of assigned readings/ screenings, nature of written analytical and reflective assignments, nature of other projects, exams, or assignments, and the level of discussion/ presentation/ reflection demonstrated by the course. Please provide a full syllabus for chair’s consideration.

Courses