Major Requirements

Minimum of 48 units.


Gateway Courses

Students are required to take at least two of the three 100-level gateway courses listed below:

MAC 143Introduction to Visual and Critical Studies

4 units

MAC 145Introduction to Digital Media and Culture

4 units

MAC 146Aesthetics of the Cinema

4 units

Four 4-unit MAC courses at the 200-level or above

Writing Requirement

MAC 390Junior Seminar in Film Theory and Criticism

4 units

Senior Seminar

Students will satisfy this requirement by selecting the appropriate Senior Seminar sequence (Critical Media: MAC 490; Media Production: MAC 491 & MAC 492).

Additional track-specific requirements:

Critical Media Track: Critical Media comprehensives students must have taken at least two critical or historical media studies courses at the 200- or 300-level (in addition to MAC 390) before the end of junior year. The MAC 490 Senior Seminar in Critical Media is a year-long pro-seminar with 2 units conferred in the fall and 2 additional units in the spring. 

Media Production Track: Media Production comprehensives students must complete MAC 240 and MAC 355 by the end of junior year. Students producing fictional comps work must also complete MAC 220 by the end of junior year. 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.

Elective Units

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 course from other Occidental departments (such as Art & Art History, Theater, Music, Critical Theory & Social Justice, English, or Computers Science) determined in consultation with their faculty advisor
  • 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 for 2-unit INT 200 internships through the Hameetman Career Center
  • take pre-approved courses at Art Center College of Design (Occidental College has an Exchange Program with the Art Center, which offers various technical courses in media software which should be explored for relevance with their faculty advisor)


All students majoring in the department must successfully complete the second-stage 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 pre-approved critical media class in the senior year to complete the second-stage writing requirement.


Media Arts & Culture comprehensives projects can take one of two forms: Critical Media or Media Production. Students pursuing the Critical Media track 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. Students pursuing the Media Production track produce 7-10 minute video works across a range of fictional, experimental, or documentary-based forms. Please note prerequisite coursework for each comprehensives track in the major requirements above.


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, consult your faculty advisor on honors requirements and timelines.


Occidental students may take courses in the Art Center at Night Program at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. See College Catalog Section on Art Center Exchange. These classes can count towards general College units for graduation but cannot fulfill MAC major requirements without pre-approval of the faculty advisor.