Bridgewater College adds Master of Arts in Digital Media Strategy

bridgewater collegeBridgewater College has added a Master of Arts in Digital Media Strategy to its graduate program offerings.

The name Digital Media Strategy reflects the program’s focus on the strategic design of messages in a digital environment, which has restructured the way communication is produced, accessed and distributed.

“You see many more positions in the public relations and digital media fields that didn’t exist 10 years ago, such as digital media specialist and social media manager,” said Bridgewater College’s Dr. Jeffrey Pierson, Division Head of Communication, Literature and Arts. “Our MDMS students will graduate with the skills and knowledge they need to land jobs in a competitive market.”

The MDMS program, which officially launched in January, marks the second graduate program at the College (the school’s first athletic training master’s students will graduate in May). The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools approved the program in December.

The 39-credit-hour graduate program can be completed full-time, part-time or as a 4+1 in which BC undergraduates can obtain both an undergraduate degree and master’s degree in five years. Currently, 10 undergraduate Bridgewater seniors and one alumna have been admitted to the MDMS program and are taking their dual-enrollment electives this spring ahead of completing the program’s nine credits of fundamental core classes this summer. That cohort of students has an anticipated graduation date of May 2020.

Housed in the Department of Communication Studies, the MDMS program was created from an interdisciplinary perspective with classes in the art, English, computer science and music departments focused on teaching applied skills (such as writing, visual design, sound editing, videography, photography and web design) and theoretical knowledge that will allow graduates to design effective communication campaigns. Graduate students will complete 30 credit hours of classes that take a deeper dive into topics such as digital writing genres and process, digital media campaign targeting and analytics, digital persuasion and interactive web development. Electives (nine credit hours) include intercultural communication, long-form multimedia journalism, travel writing, augmented reality writing and more.

Real-world applications of the digital strategy skills and communication tactics learned is a focus of the program, through both service-learning assignments and the completion of a master’s project for a local organization. The master’s project, which begins in the fall semester and is completed in May, totals six credit hours. Each student will be matched with either a for-profit or nonprofit organization for which they will complete a comprehensive digital communication project that requires a cross section of skills taught in the program, including website design, photography, videography, writing and social media analytics.

The application deadline for a June 2019 program start was Feb. 1. Accepted applicants will be notified March 1. Applications for a fall 2019 program start will be accepted through June 1.

Bridgewater College is a private, four-year liberal arts college located in the Central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Founded in 1880, it was the state’s first private, coeducational college. Today, Bridgewater College is home to nearly 1,900 undergraduate students.

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