Media Arts and Culture
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. In accordance with College Policy, students must declare the major by the end of their sophomore year. In order to do so they must have successfully completed two 4-unit courses in MAC, one of which must be a designated gateway course. In accordance with College Policy, students must attain a minimum 2.0 grade point average in these two courses in order to be accepted as a major. It is therefore strongly recommended that students initiate coursework and meet with a MAC faculty member to map out a plan of study in their first year.
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 entering as juniors are not able to pursue the MAC major but are welcome to consult with MAC faculty in developing a five-course MAC minor.
The Media Arts and Culture Major requires a minimum of 48 units.
One Gateway Course
Students are required to take one of the three 100-level gateway courses listed below by the end of sophomore year and before declaring the major. Please also note the Overview information above regarding the need to also complete an additional 4-unit MAC class of your choosing by the end of sophomore year in order to declare the major.
|Introduction to Visual and Critical Studies
|Introduction to Digital Media and Culture
|Aesthetics of the Cinema
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, MAC 250, MAC 255, MAC 270, 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.
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.
|Junior Seminar in Media Theory and Criticism
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 4 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.
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 361, DWA 281, ENGL 178, ENGL 280, ENGL 281, ENGL 380, ENGL 382, JAPN 271, WRD 285, WRD 286, WRD 301. A 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.
Honors in the Major
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 adviser.
Students wishing to minor in Media Arts & Culture must complete five 4-unit MAC courses selected in consultation with a MAC faculty adviser.
- 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.
Second-Stage WritingAll 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.
Students will satisfy this requirement by selecting the appropriate Senior Seminar sequence. Note that MAC Senior Comprehensives is a year-long process:
- Critical Media Concentration (6 units total): The MAC 490 Senior Seminar in Critical Media is a 4-unit fall course in which students develop their senior comprehensives project. In the spring of senior year, students will enroll in a 2-unit MAC 493 Directed Research course in order to meet completion assessment benchmarks and prepare for public presentation of the project.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.
- Media Production Concentration (6 units total): The MAC 491 Senior Seminar in Media Production is a 4-unit fall course. In the spring of senior year, students will enroll in a 2-unit MAC 493 Directed Research course in order to meet completion assessment benchmarks and prepare for public exhibition of the project. Media Production Concentration students must also complete MAC 492 Advanced Editing in order to be prepared for senior comprehensives postproduction, which can be taken during or in advance of spring senior year. 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 comprehensive track in the major requirements above.
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.