1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Prospective Graduate Students

This section answers most of the questions that occur to prospective and current applicants regarding the M.A. in Media, Culture, and Technology.  Please read the information below carefully and if you have questions not addressed here, you may contact the Director of Graduate Studies at DGS_MDST@virginia.edu


Applicants for the MA in Media, Culture, & Technology must have completed an undergraduate degree in an accredited college or university. Admission will depend not only on the achievement and promise of the applicant as attested through transcripts, writing sample, and two letters of recommendation, but also on the clarity of the applicant's personal statement and research interests, and on the compatibility of the applicant's interests with the resources of the department.

The application deadline is May 1, with priority given to applications received by January 15, for the following Fall.

1. Personal Statement

This statement should be two to three pages long. Its main task is to outline your intellectual background and interests, and why graduate study is best pursued in Media Studies at the University of Virginia. The personal statement is also an appropriate place to discuss any anomalies, challenges, or work history that is relevant to your academic path.

2. Writing Sample(s)

The writing sample should be approximately 20 pages of academic writing; this may be one long essay, or two shorter pieces. Your chosen writing sample should be academic in nature, showcasing your research and/or analytic skills. While it may reflect the precise academic interests for which you are pursuing graduate education, it is more important that it be an example of your strongest academic work.

3. Optional Media Sample

The media sample is an optional element of the application intended primarily for students considering graduate school after some time in the workforce. If you have a background in media production, you may wish to submit 1-3 examples of your professional or creative media work. This could include: journalistic writing; short films; video essays; digital media such as games, apps, or websites; photography; or audio media.

Even if you are not uploading media samples, you should click on the “Your Portfolio” tab to continue to the next phase of the application. When you review the application, you will receive a warning that this section of the application has not been filled out. You can ignore this warning and submit your application.

4. Graduate Record Examiniation Scores

The GRE is not required to apply to this program. 

5. Letters of Recommendation

The application requires two letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to your academic work and/or aptitude for graduate study. Most commonly, you should request letters of recommendation from faculty who have known you in an academic setting.

6. Faculty of Interest 

Please take the time to acquaint yourself with our faculty and their areas of expertise, using our website, reading their work, or reaching out via email. Consider who could best support your intellectual interests.

7. Application Procedure

Create your account and submit your application through the Graduate School’s application management system. All graduate applications to the University of Virginia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences are handled by the Admissions Office of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences .

*Fee waivers are avilable in some circumstances, through the office of Graduate & Postdoctoral DIversity Programs. Those who do not qualify for a fee waiver through this process may contact the Director of Graduate Studies for futher consideration of their needs.*

8. Master's Promotion Program for UVA Undergraduates

The Department of Media Studies offers an expedited admission process for UVA undergraduates seeking the MA degree. This process both eases the admissions process and allows students to take courses that will count toward the MA while still enrolled as undergraduates. In some cases, this allows for the completion of the BA and the MA in a total of five years.

Third-year students who wish to be considered for admission to this program should submit their application by May 15. Those students accepted into the program will take two graduate-level courses (5000 or above) in their final year of undergraduate study, which will be credited toward their MA degree. In the following year, they will continue at the University as MA students and fulfill the degree requirements for the MA in Media, Culture, & Technology (for a fuller description of these requirements, visit the MA Requirements page.) Students must complete their BA at the end of their fourth year and must remain in residence at the University for their fifth year.

Eligibility: This program is open to students from any major who can show reasonable preparation and purpose for graduate work in Media Studies.

Note: The credits for the two graduate courses taken in the undergraduate years cannot be counted toward the Media Studies major or toward the 120 credits required by the College of Arts and Sciences for the BA degree.

Applications should be submitted by email to the Director of Graduate Studies by May 1 of a student’s third year, and should include the following:

  • A 500-word statement of purpose outlining the intellectual interests to be pursued in the MA program. A strong statement will also include some discussion of how the applicant’s previous coursework in Media Studies has prepared them for graduate study.
  • A writing sample that demonstrates the applicant’s ability to mount and sustain an argument (see above).
  • The names of two endorsing professors in the Department of Media Studies. Endorsements mean that a faculty member in the department is willing to support your application; you should always confirm that this is the case before listing anyone in this capacity.

It is occasionally the case that students not ready to apply in May of their third year become interested in Master’s Promotion during the fall of their fourth year. These students can submit the same application materials to the Director of Graduate Studies by November 1, and may be admitted if there is sufficient capacity.

All students approved to enter the program will still need to apply through the Graduate School application in the fall of their 4th year (online applications open September 1). These students should indicate on the application that they have been accepted to the Master's Promotion program, and will have a streamlined application as a result. Thanks to a special arrangement with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, students do not need to pay an application fee in order to apply.