International students, do you consider yourself more artistic or technical? Or maybe you are a little of both—a creative thinker with an appreciation for coding, logic, or research? Is theater or music production your passion, but you also love tinkering in the lab and working with your hands? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then the Media X program at University of the Pacific might be the ideal fit for you.
Established in 2016, the Media X major at Pacific combines creative media and technical studies. Courses focus on expressive design and its development, management, distribution, and analysis. Working across disciplines, you are able to mix and match your career interests, whether it is computer science, singing, engineering, graphic design, or performance art.
In addition to academic possibilities, Media X enables career opportunities, too: the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently designated Pacific’s Media X program as a STEM major, which means international students pursuing a Media X degree are eligible for an additional twenty-four months of OPT.
Is Media X right for me?
Media X incorporates a flexible curriculum that goes beyond traditional classroom elements, including digital technology, fine arts, emerging media, and content engineering. The program focuses on small class sizes, collaborative student projects, and a demanding but supportive work environment.
As an international student applying to Pacific, you have a choice of three main tracks in Media X:
1. Maker Path: production, performance, and design
Sample courses: web design, film production, screenwriting, songwriting
Students work together to create short films, commercials, public service announcements, theater performance pieces, and more. You might be in front of the camera, learn how to operate a camera, capture sound on set, manage an AVID editing bay, or animate game play.
2. Manager Path: creative entrepreneurship, persuasive communication, and social media
Sample courses: public relations, microeconomics, entertainment law
This track is all about business development and entrepreneurship in emerging media. Students take courses in marketing, consumer behavior, communications, and analytics. You will help create and promote your fellow students’ creative-tech endeavors.
3. Analyst Path: research, interpretation, and analytics
Sample courses: applied statistics, communication theory, macroeconomics
Students with a penchant for numbers, logic, and research—and a passion for arts and media—gravitate toward this track. You will study data analytics, research methods, and market testing to support creative media projects and student start-ups.
Of course, you can choose electives from other tracks. This is a cross-discipline do-it-yourself major, after all. Want to write a pop song about big data? Yes, you can create a number-one hit, and a classmate can help you produce the video while another student helps it go viral on TikTok.
This is a program that really helps you understand that there is more than one thing that you can be good at. That there’s more than one thing that you can explore, and there’s definitely more than one way to get to the career you want.”— Angela, Media X major, ’20
Getting hands-on experience, getting creative
Being a Media X major gives you hands-on experience that emphasizes creativity, self-motivation, organization, production, communication, and collaboration. At Pacific, you learn the foundations of your intended field—be it website development, journalism, video content, or digital marketing—and you learn to be a leader.
“You go into internships and to professional work knowing what you’re handling more than someone who’s been coding their entire college career,” says Brandon (Pacific ’20), who worked on the student Media X team that produced A Yosemite Welcome, a 360-degree virtual reality short film about the beauty of Yosemite Park, led by a John Muir historic interpreter.
Mike Doherty, associate professor of engineering and computer science, says one of the greatest benefits of the major is the interdisciplinary curriculum, along with the collaborative atmosphere.
“You’re not isolated in a department. You’re not in a silo somewhere where you’re only learning one very specific specialization. You have access to all kinds of expertise,” says Doherty. “In the long run, what this means is, as you’re building projects and working with other students, you can build teams that have different skills and different disciplines to work together to produce bigger projects with much more extensive perspectives.”
Infinite career possibilities
Media X prepares international students for high-demand careers in creative technology sectors. A capstone project and an internship or practicum are required for graduation. You will be gaining real-world experience, building your resume, and creating a portfolio while completing your studies.
Courses are offered at Pacific’s main campus in Stockton, and in Sacramento, the California state capital, just an hour away. Perfectly situated for internships and career networking, Pacific is less than two hours from San Francisco and San Jose’s Silicon Valley, giving you access to leading tech and creative media companies, such as Google, Pixar, Twitch, and Facebook. Los Angeles—the film and television capital of the world—is just five hours away by car.
Indian student and Media X major Ramesh landed an internship at Vrnaculars, a virtual-reality company in Silicon Valley. As part of his role in the media department, he worked on VR/AR storytelling content for clients. “We were writing stories, films, and developing their content. I got to go out on a lot of road trips!” he says.
Watch Ramesh’s video about his experiences in the Media X program >
Small class sizes mean you have direct access to Media X faculty, and students are encouraged to take advantage of Pacific’s strong alumni network. That means you can network with Pacific graduates who work for companies and organizations like Apple, Lucasfilm, NASA, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and NBC News.
We’re definitely really lucky to have alumni who are involved in the media industry who come here and help us learn.”—Amaris, Media X, ’19
Making your own way at Pacific
From animation and business analytics to engineering courses and coding, this multi-faceted program is built for ambitious, creative students with diverse interests. Media X graduate Angela (Pacific ’20) concurs. “This is a program that really helps you understand that there is more than one thing that you can be good at,” she says. “There’s more than one thing that you can explore, and there’s definitely more than one way to get to the career you want.”
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