American Media and Popular Culture, MAS

The Master of Advanced Study in American media and popular culture at ASU offers working professionals and lifelong learners a dynamic education in US film, television, and digital media. Taught exclusively online by outstanding media scholars, critics, and filmmakers, the program explores the artistic, economic, and cultural dimensions of American media production through small classes in aesthetics, history, theory, and screenwriting.

Providing a comprehensive analysis of US film, television, and digital media across a range of texts and platforms, the MAS in American media and popular culture at ASU develops students into more critically informed writers, storytellers, consumers, and evaluators of American popular culture. The program's unique strength is its location at the intersection of a traditional humanities education and an emergent technological one; ASU's reputation as a leader in both access and innovation supports this approach. MAS alumni work in a variety of artistic and professional settings including Hollywood, academia, film festivals, journalism, and more.

2 years to degree
online degree
7 faculty

Degree Overview

This 30-hour program requires 30 hours of coursework and a written exam for the culminating experience. The ideal candidate will have an interest in innovative approaches to the study of film, television, new media, and screenwriting, using historic methods, critical theory, and creative expression as modes of analysis. The GRE is not required for the application.

How to apply

To apply for the MAS degree, visit the online application.  Be sure to select ASU online (not Tempe campus).

The application deadline is April 15th. Final deadline is May 31st.

  • Applicants must apply online
  • A nonrefundable application fee is required. Official transcripts must be sent to the ASU Graduate College Admissions Office.

More information on how to apply.  

The following supporting documents must be uploaded into the online application (please do not send hard copies or email attachments):

  • Applicants must submit a two-page personal statement that describes their past academic work, reasons for pursuing the MAS and the skills that prepare them for this degree.
  • three-page essay that assesses their knowledge of media theory and critical analysis skills. Applicants should demonstrate the ability to write well and construct a persuasive critical argument. Appropriate secondary sources should be used in this essay. The subject of the essay will be included in the online Graduate Admissions Application.
  • While letters of recommendation are optional, applicants may include two or three letters in their application. Recommenders should be former professors or supervisors, addressing the applicant's academic performance, motivation and character.
  • An interview via Skype may be requested before final admission decisions are made.

*The GRE is not required for this program.

*International students must have an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS score report sent to the Graduate College. English Proficiency Score requirements.

Tuition and Fees: Students whose campus is online will get charged the graduate online rate of $512 per credit hour with no cap. All students pay a program fee of $250.00 per course. This fee supports the development, construction and maintenance of the online courses. In addition, each session students also pay a FA Trust fee and a tech fee. For further information, please see ASU Online What it Costs.

The MAS program has broadened my understanding of media industries. I’ve become more sensitive to how I introduce, identify, and explain people in my stories. I want my stories to empower, educate, and move people!

—Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez, MAS 2014 graduate and radio journalist


The program requires students to complete 30 credits. Due to the nature of the program, it is recommended that students limit their classes to two or three courses in each fall and spring semester. The program may be completed in two years.

A minimum of 30 credit hours is required.

Requirements and electives


Core Courses




Written Exam


Total hours required


Courses and electives

The culminating experience will be a written exam taken in the final semester of the program while registered for other courses. Questions about the degree requirements can be directed to the program director.

  • FMS 502 Hollywood Film Historiography

  • FMS 504 Film Analysis*

  • FMS 520 Cultural History of US Television: Theory and Method

*Please note, this course cannot be substituted with MLS 504.

Some of the above courses have permissions requirements. Please see the MAS registration procedures for information on how to obtain proper clearance.

  • FMS 503 Media Industries

  • FMS 507 Crime and Violence in American Film

  • FMS 508 Race and Gender in American Film

  • FMS 511 Fundamentals of Cinema & Television Narrative

  • FMS 512 Intermediate Cinema & Television Narrative

  • FMS 522 Los Angeles: Movies and Culture

  • FMS 523 Film Authorship

  • FMS 590 Reading and Conference (independent study)

  • FMS 598 Special Topics (repeatable for credit when topics vary)

Some of the above courses have permissions requirements. Please see the MAS registration procedures for information on how to obtain proper clearance.

  • Written Exam* - Students must be registered for at least one graduate level credit the semester they are taking the exam.

*The recommendation is to take the exam in the last semester of the program when registered for other courses.

The MAS in American media and popular culture program has 30 full-time students, and admission is highly selective. In the last few years we have accepted only one-third of applicants. With just seven faculty teaching graduate courses, we have to keep the program small in order to work closely with students, helping them to develop knowledge of media and the critical, creative and communication skills to be successful in their careers.

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