The Media Literacy Certificate is a blended in-person/online undergraduate program housed in the Department of Communication and open to undergraduate students across the University of Massachusetts Amherst and non-matriculated students beyond the university. The undergraduate Certificate provides students with a unique opportunity to expand on their major/minor course of study with a program unique to the university.

The Certificate is a five-course, 18-20 credit program of study. The 18-20 credits are comprised of three required courses and two elective courses, chosen from a pre-approved list of Communication courses (see course list below). All undergraduate students matriculated at the University and all 5-College students will be able to pursue the Certificate in conjunction with their major course of study. Nonmatriculated students will also be able to pursue the Certificate. It is possible to fulfill all courses for the Certificate entirely online, which allows interested students beyond the immediate geographic area to enroll.

Enrollment and Advising

Interested students are encouraged to apply for enrollment in the Certificate course of study while enrolled in any of the required courses (Comm 121: Introduction to Media and Culture, Comm 335: Media and Education, or Comm 427: Media Literacy) and must complete their application no later than enrollment in the fifth and final course. Students must meet with the Media Literacy Certificate Program Director to develop a plan of study and Communication students will need to attend special advising sessions in order to plan their progression towards both the Major and the Certificate. In order to be awarded the Certificate, students must fulfill all criteria and submit a transcript to the Media Literacy Certificate Program Director for verification of grades in their final semester before graduation.

Please Note: If a student who has completed a certificate seeks clearance for a degree program that overlaps with that certificate program, the Registrar will note on the transcript that the certificate has been superseded by the degree.

All advising questions should be directed to Prof. Allison Butler at or 413-545-4609


Students who complete five eligible courses will receive a Certificate of Media Literacy, noted on their transcript. Students who work towards a Certificate in Media Literacy will complete five approved courses, focused on and complementary to media and youth, within the Department of Communication. Students must enroll in Comm 121: Introduction to Media and Culture as a pre-requisite for the Certificate; Comm 427: Media Literacy and Comm 335: Media and Education are the other two required courses in the certificate. In addition, students must complete two certificate electives, drawing from the defined list of Comm courses relevant to media literacy (see below). Certificate students must maintain a 2.9 GPA in the certificate and no courses with a grade lower than C will count towards the Certificate. No pass/fail courses will be counted towards the five courses.

If Communication students are interested in the Certificate, they must take three of the approved courses beyond the 36/38 credits required for a BA/SM in Communication. In other words, a maximum of two courses may “double dip” for both the Certificate and the Communication major.


Please Note: The following courses are typically offered as in-person classes during the fall and spring semesters and online during the summer term. In addition, Comm 287, 288, and 387 are often offered online during the January intersession.

Core Courses:

All three of the following courses:

  • Comm 121: Introduction to Media and Culture (3 cr)
  • Comm 335: Media and Education (4 cr)
  • Comm 427: Media Literacy (4 cr)

Elective Courses:

Any two of the following courses:

  • Comm 287: Advertising as Social Communication (4 cr)
  • Comm 288: Gender, Sex and Representation (4 cr)
  • Comm 319: Health Communication (3 cr)
  • Comm 336: Consumer Culture (3 cr)
  • Comm 338: Children, Teens and Media (3 cr)
  • Comm 387: Media, PR and Propaganda (4 cr)
  • Comm 397LR: Health Literacy (3 cr)
  • Comm 397SS: Youth, Democracy and the Entertainment Industries (3 cr)
  • Comm 397WW: Sports, Culture and Advertising (3 cr)