the New School's online degree programs?
August 5, 2012 10:24 AM   Subscribe

I've been looking at Media Studies grad programs and the most attractive I'm come across is the Media Studies Masters at the New School. The catch is, I really don't want to move to NYC. Does anyone have experience with the New School's online MA programs? I've only been able to find one blog post about doing this particular program online, where the student was sort of defending it like, "This is NOT University of Phoenix!" Or thoughts on online MA's in general? I've taken one class online (through MassArt) and I learned a lot, but never felt like "Dang! That was a great class!" Which may or may not have anything to do with it being online....
posted by smb793 to Education (8 answers total)
One of the big points of going to grad school (in any subject, really, but especially something like media studies) is making connections with the industry. Unless you need this degree for something -- a promotion, licensure, whatever -- you're going to be missing a vital component of the (very expensive) New School MA program.
posted by griphus at 10:30 AM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Okay, I took a look at the Media Studies website and this is what you'll be missing out on:

Students in New York City have access to the exciting networking opportunities and professional resources that are only available in the world’s media capital. Students can also apply for internships, attend events on and off campus, and utilize the labs, equipment, and resources of a major university.
posted by griphus at 10:36 AM on August 5, 2012

doing this program online = waste of money. you might end up with a fancy degree, but interactions with your teachers and classmates are really what teach you things, and human connections are what will actually get you jobs and other opportunities. especially in media studies! online is not worth it.

seriously: i went to grad school at nyu (itp, the interactive telecommunications program at the tisch school of the arts). in-person critiques during classes, being able to work together on projects, the shared misery of crunch time at the end of the semester, meeting all kinds of interesting people i might never have otherwise—that's what made my $$$$ worth it.

is there a particular reason you don't want to move to new york?
posted by lia at 11:05 AM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Before considering any grad program, try to get really clear about what you want to do with the degree. What professional goals is it serving, or what concrete skills/clear project do you want to develop?

Unless you are very wealthy, don't enter a grad program based only on a nebulous idea of loving learning about the subject (I don't know if that is your idea; I mention it only because it is a pretty common idea among intelligent people who love learning).

If you can say a bit about your goals here, people might be able to help you assess whether the online NYU program - or some other program elsewhere - will actually help with them.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:13 AM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

To echo LobsterMitten, what is your end goal? Online or offline, MA programs have a tendency to be a time and money suck.

- will this degree increase your salary and career prospects?
If so, how? Networking? Name? Skills learned? Content learned? Internships?
posted by k8t at 11:24 AM on August 5, 2012

Agreeing with everyone else that really, if you're going to drop that kind of cash on a degree (especially a degree like media studies), then yeah, you really should live in NYC for the duration. I just finished my masters at a school back east. I wasn't in love with the city, but physically being there in class with my peers, dropping in for office hours with my professors, working in the library surrounded by other students, hanging out for beer and wings, going to networking events and student conferences were a huge part of my experience as a student and as a professional networking her way in a new market. Thanks to this, I regularly get tons of very job announcements in my inbox weekly. I have very deep professional contacts all over the country (and a few internationally!).

School was ridiculously expensive. Rent was ridiculously expensive. I missed San Francisco something awful. But I am SO SO SO glad I lived on the East Coast for year and immersed myself in the school experience. Really, so much of what you're paying for at a school like NYU is getting face time with the professors and their professional networks to help you land a gig and get real-world experience. You also get to watch them do top-level work, which makes it easier to recalibrate your expectations of what it means to do X job in Y field.

Now, I don't mean that online programs are useless--quite the contrary--my academic expertise is in designing and delivering effective online learning! However, like any instructional practice, it only shines in the proper situation and I don't think this is one of 'em.

Also agreeing you should be going in with a specific career plan or lead in mind for such a program. I watched a few of my classmates spending $60k+ to sit in classes and work on projects without a practical application in mind...and they're the ones still looking for jobs, elite school on resume notwithstanding.
posted by smirkette at 11:28 AM on August 5, 2012

Do you have a business plan or three? I would not start media studies or any media MA programme without a few now. You might actually have a better track record of success doing media work in the place that you are by doing an online programme than by moving to New York and competing as a newcomer against all those other people. Don't count out online programmes just because they do not appear mainstream. If you are getting better tutorial support as part of the bargain I say go for it, especially if you are planning to write a thesis.
posted by parmanparman at 5:57 PM on August 5, 2012

Hi! I go to the New School, and I was a TA for the Introduction to Media Studies class that all incoming students in the Media Studies program were required to take. I didn't myself go through the program, but I had a fair bit of conversation with my online students about their experiences. I do think that if you can move to New York you will want to do so. (Though perhaps this will be less necessary for some trajectories than for others. It would be helpful if you said what concentration you wanted to pursue.) Many of my students were planning to move to New York for the second year of the degree, or even for the second semester—have you considered doing something like this? It's only a year or two.

I can answer some more specific questions, but you might have better luck and more satisfying answers if you ask the admissions liaison to put you in touch with a student or two who has gone through the program online.
posted by felix grundy at 9:06 AM on August 6, 2012

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