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    Saybrook University
  Apr 25, 2024
2023-2024 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring Addendum 
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2023-2024 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring Addendum

M.A. Transformative Social Change, Social Impact Media Specialization

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Overview of Program

Social Impact Media students expand their scholar‐‐practitioner‐‐activist skills to include a deep knowledge of communication technology and its ability to cross cultural and geographic boundaries, uniting individuals and employing new technologies in the service of social change. Students in this Specialization will participate in the creation of media tools and develop technology‐‐driven campaigns to bring about measurable impact on specific movements and social causes. Students are provided with a theoretical grounding in transformative social change from which to explore and address specific concerns. These range from local issues such as violence prevention in schools to broader global civil society issues, such as social justice, peace, human rights, democratization, and multiculturalism. 

Social Impact Media Specializations students will include social activists, media producers, impact researchers and critical thinkers who become able to more fully explore, produce and analyze the power of media to create impact across cultures and within societies. This Specialization is a laboratory for students to develop a deeper understanding of the history and contemporary use of media to create powerful social change campaigns. It is an incubator where students develop the skills to create their own forms of media and outreach campaigns as well as identify effective metrics for measuring impact. 

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate leadership skills related to project development, stewardship and management focused on media projects and teams.   
  2. Construct stories and strategies of change that are grounded in humanistic values.  
  3. Analyze the relationship between media and cultural and social change. 
  4. Differentiate stories of change that are inclusive of global, multicultural, multi-generational social and environmental viewpoints. 
  5. Examine the intersection of one's own values and affected communities through developing a reflective and empathetic approach to stories of change.  

Career Opportunities

As scholars, practitioners, and activists, graduates of the M.A. 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. 

Program Requirements

Admissions Requirements

Applicants for the M.A. Transformative Social Change: Social Impact Media Specialization must submit the following documents:   

  • Application for Admissions   
  • An official transcript from an accredited university demonstrating successful completion of a master’s degree, with a 3.0 GPA or better;   
  • Professional resume or CV;   
  • Personal statement; and   
  • One Letter of recommendation 

University Learning Experience

All new students begin their studies with a Welcome Week. Welcome Week activities, including a degree program orientation, are held online during the week ahead of the start of the fall and spring semesters. Participation is strongly encouraged.

All students are also required to attend a 5-day Virtual Learning Experience (VLE) held online at the beginning of each semester. The VLE offers didactic/topical, research, and practice-oriented seminars, sessions introducing each core course in the program, and group meetings of the program as a whole. The virtual conferences also involve informal exchanges with other students and program faculty for mentoring and socialization to the field. Additionally, students are required to attend an in-person Community Learning Experience once every two years (fall of odd years).

M.A. students attend until they have begun their M.A. Project or Thesis.


Students may choose to participate in an optional semester-long Practicum in Professional Practice (TSC 8151), where they participate in twenty hours each week in a nonprofit, educational, community or governmental setting, and write up a review of that experience at the end of the semester. Participation in fieldwork is subject to the student’s state of residence. Contact the Admissions Department for more information. 

Program Specific Requirements

Residential Conference Substitution Process  

If students would like to substitute attendance at a professional conference for attendance at one of the VCs, they need to identify a faculty member who will sponsor them in this request. The conference must be at least five days, in accordance with Saybrook’s Virtual Conference. Students must complete the “Authorization Request to Substitute for Virtual Conference” form and submit it for approval no less than 30 days before the VC to be substituted.  

Following the conference, students must complete the “Confirmation of Attendance at Substitute Conference” form and send to their faculty sponsor. After review and approval, the faculty sponsor will then forward it to the degree Department Chair, who will complete the recording process. Tangible documentation of attendance for the entire event is required, along with a copy of the completed Authorization Request signed by the supervising faculty member and any other required academic work or learning product required by the supervising faculty member.  


Total credits: 33-36  

A credit hour for an online course represents 15 hours of instructional activity (e.g., engagement with web-based instructional materials) toward achieving specified student learning outcomes.  For online courses, the 15 hours of instructional activity may include but are not limited to synchronous or asynchronous lectures or webinars, interactive tutorials, and online discussions. A credit hour also assumes an additional 30 hours of homework, studying, and/or research. Partial credits are not granted.  

Mode of Delivery

Hybrid Online Learning Model  

The M.A. Transformative Social Change degree program combines online learning with periodic in-person residential conferences.  

For distance online or hybrid courses, the total hours of work typically required for any class of work reflects: 1) synchronous and asynchronous components that facilitate faculty-student and student-student interaction (virtual classrooms, discussion boards, and chats) and 2) independent learning components (readings, recorded lectures, written assignments, and quizzes).   

Length of Program

The degree completion time for a full-time student enrolled in the M.A. Transformative Social Change program following the default course sequence will range from 2 -3  years. Any breaks in enrollment and/or reduced enrollment may impact completion time.

Required Courses

Elective Courses

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