Theory based

Theory based (formally Track 1) concentrators may choose to study a particular historical moment, a medium, or a mode of textual production, in combination with theoretical studies that examine the categories of cultural analysis: for example, the distinction between high and low culture. Examples of areas of interest include but are not limited to film, gender/sexuality, digital media, television, post-coloniality, the novel, modern thought, the modern arts, sound, and theories of ideology and subjectivity. Productive work in some modern medium or textual mode is encouraged for all concentrators. MCM’s approach to production recognizes the inextricable link between theory and practice, and the possibility of a fruitful complicity between them. Production, in the sense defined here, is a theoretically informed sphere or practice, one within which acknowledged forms of cultural creation are tested and extended in close complementarity with the analyses conducted elsewhere in MCM.

College Writing Requirement

MCM concentrators must complete the College Writing Requirement by taking two writing-intenstive or WRIT courses.

11 Course Requirements:

Requirement Courses
3 core courses

a. MCM0150 Text/Media Culture: Theories of Modern Culture and Media (NOTE: This requirement should be completed before the senior year).

b. two of the following core courses:

  • MCM0220 Print Cultures: Textuality and the History of Books
  • MCM0230 Digital Media
  • MCM0240 Television Studies
  • MCM0250 Visuality and Visual Theories
  • MCM0260 Cinematic Coding and Narravity
  • MCM1110 The Theory of the Sign

No more than three courses from this list may count for concentration requirements. 

5 courses, of which a. one must be an upper level course numbered MCM1200 Special Topics in Modern Culture and Media (NOTE: Topics vary from year to year and instructor to instructor)

b. two must be senior seminars (MCM1500 Senior Seminars in Modern Culture and Media or MCM1700 Seminars in Production) (NOTE: Topics vary from year to year and instructor to instructor )

c. the remaining two must be at any level in MCM above MCM0260 
3 additional courses These courses may be in MCM or in related departments. The specific courses must be approved by an MCM concentration advisor as part of a coherent program of study.

Theory based Honors students may substitute MCM1980 Honors Thesis/Project Research in Modern Culture and Media (Part 1) for one of these "3 additional courses."

Other Requirements:

Focus Area Of the 11 courses required for the concentration, at least 3 courses must be in a focus area approved by a concentration advisor. These courses may be MCM courses, related courses, or a combination of the two, and they must represent a focus on some aspect of modern literature, theory, media, art or culture. Examples of possible focus areas are: mass/popular culture, gender/sexuality, language/ representation/subjectivity, narrative, digital media, film, modern thought, television, the modern arts, the novel, colonialism and post-colonialism. This is not an exhaustive list. Production courses may be in the focus area but must be in addition to the minimum 3 courses.
Production Work in production is encouraged but not required for Theory based concentrators. Of the 11 courses required for concentration, as many as 3 may be in production. These may be production courses offered by MCM (film, video, digital media) or courses in creative writing, painting, photography, journalism, etc., provided they do not bring the total number of concentration courses taken outside MCM to more than 3.

Double Concentrations:

Students who declare a double concentration may count up to two courses for concentration credit in MCM that are also counted towards concentration credit in another department or program.


Students who qualify for Honors in the Theory based track are eligible to apply to do an Honors project or thesis. Students should submit a letter of intent in their 6th semester, and a formal proposal, by the first day of their 7th semester.  Applications will be screened by the MCM Honors Committee. (Application forms are available in the MCM office.) If approved, a student must then register for MCM1980 (taken in the 7th semester), a one credit course which can count towards their Focus Area requirements, and MCM1990 (taken in the 8th semester), a one-credit thesis course in which they complete the Honors thesis.