Earned Credits: 32 - 35
The M.A. in Transformative Social Change: Social Impact Media program provides students the opportunity to develop a deeper historical and contemporary understanding of how media has been used to create powerful social cause campaigns. Guided by faculty with years of experience in the field, students can explore courses including:
- Impact Analysis: Developing the Tools for Impact
- Social Impact Media: Stories for Change
- Feature-Length Documentaries and Outreach Campaigns
- Cutting Edge Social Media Tech and Its Potential
As demonstrated by recent events—including the Occupy Movement, the Arab Spring, and Black Lives Matter—social media has played a significant role in organizations, communications, and ultimately taking action for underrepresented and oppressed populations. Saybrook’s M.A. in Transformative Social Change: Social Impact Media Specialization is the first graduate-level social change degree program at an independent, nonprofit institution focused on the global impact of social media on transformative social change.
Driven by their need for social change, students in the Social Impact Media Specialization will participate in the creation and development of rich media campaigns—including documentaries, interviews, and videos for social media channels such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Throughout the M.A. in Transformative Social Change degree program, students will create campaigns and develop new metrics for measuring impact and bring about the determinate influence on specific movements and social causes. They will also take part in the construction of a repository for empirical research as well as qualitative and quantitative analysis regarding the relationship between society, cause, and media across cultures.
As scholars, practitioners, and activists, graduates of the M.A. in Transformative Social Change: Social Impact Media Specialization will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge to a successful career in numerous areas, including nonprofit, filmmaking, research, teaching, political campaigning, and government.
More program information can be found in our academic catalog.
Residential Orientation (RO)
All new students in the M.A. and Ph.D. Transformative Social Change degree programs begin their studies with our one-time, two-day Residential Orientation (RO). ROs are held two days ahead of the Residential Conference at the start of the fall and spring semesters in California. Attendance at the entire RO is an academic requirement.
Residential Conference (RC)
All students are also required to attend a five-day Residential Conference (RC) held off campus at the beginning of each semester. These RCs offer didactic/topical, research, and practice-oriented seminars, in-person sessions introducing each core course in the program, and group meetings of the program as a whole. The RCs also involve informal exchanges with other students and program faculty for mentoring and socialization to the field.
Residential Conference Requirement
M.A. students are required to attend until formally enrolled in a master’s thesis or project. Doctoral students attend until they have advanced to doctoral candidacy (upon satisfaction of essay orals).
No academic credit is given for attendance at the RC. Students who attend a seminar at an RC and wish to study the topic further may register, with the permission of the seminar instructor and the department chair, for a 1-credit independent study course (ALL 8100) following the RC. Each course is individually designed and negotiated with the seminar instructor. Not all RC workshops, courses, and seminars are eligible for the follow-up independent study credit. Students will need to review their program plan to confirm the 1-credit independent study will satisfy degree requirements.
Social Impact Media: Stories for Change
The aim of this course is to empower students to analyze and deconstruct media narratives and to recognize their use of visual and aural language constructs to develop and elicit empathy from the viewer. Students will critically analyze the cultural and societal influences on narrative and the importance of story to unite cultures and trigger social change. Students will apply this critical awareness to distinguish and classify storytelling strategies as they connect to specific kinds of subject matter, approach, types of media, and expected goals or outcomes. 3 credits
Social System Transformation Theory
The aim of this course is to empower students to be able to critically evaluate social systems and become participants in their co-creation and transformation. The course enables students to recognize and analyze social systems and societal paradigms as they present themselves in various domains of human experience, develop a critical understanding of how humanistic values, developmental ideas and norms can be applied to social systems, and develop the ability to create strategies for changes in such systems and norms so that they will improve the well-being of the people who participate in them. 3 credits
Creating Outreach Campaigns for Social Impact Media
The aim of this course is to deepen understanding and engagement around the role film and narrative can play in advancing social change. Students will explore the differences between film distribution and impact, what it means to design and manage outreach campaigns, the role of an “impact producer” in this, and the various forms of social change that are possible with film. At the completion of the course, students will be able to discern the impact potential of different narrative forms and connect them to broader opportunities for social change. 3 credits