The Master of Science (MS) in Media Advocacy enhances students’ abilities to lead and contribute to mission advancing efforts for a wide variety of organizations – from advocacy and lobbying organizations, trade and labor groups, and non-profit entities, to strategic communication and government affairs departments. Created through a collaboration between Northeastern University’s School of Journalism and School of Law, the degree uniquely combines foundations in governmental structures and the legal system with sophisticated training in the latest communication techniques. These include social media, web communications and videography, as well as data analytics and data-driven storytelling.

As today’s organizations – from government entities to nonprofits to large corporations – increasingly understand the ways in which they must effectively communicate in visual, textual and audio forms, they are seeing a substantial need for employees and thought leaders who possess these media skills. In response, the MS in Media Advocacy equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary to apply research-driven strategic communication techniques and multi-media skills in diverse formats. The program incorporates diverse disciplines, including data and information visualization, and the opportunity to specialize in specific areas such as civil rights or environmental policy, experience design and more. With this inclusive curriculum, graduates will be prepared to directly and indirectly advocate for organizations, ideas and initiatives in a multitude of fields, while also becoming media-empowered citizens in a global, media-driven society.


The MS in Media Advocacy’s courses and areas of focus are designed to prepare students to become contributors and leaders in the essential activity of advocacy across cultural, political, social and economic spheres of influence. Students will have the opportunity to:

  • Gain the ability to become an effective advocate with an introduction to legal reasoning, legal systems, and other persuasive frameworks;
  • Learn and apply research-driven journalistic and strategic communication techniques;
  • Learn and apply advanced multi-media skills in visual, textual and audio formats for online- and social media environments;
  • Develop and apply data-driven narratives and issue-driven storytelling;
  • Focus those frameworks and approaches to issues in specific areas, such as civil rights, civil liberties, health and environment.


The MS in Media Advocacy consists of 32 – 36 credit hours. Designed for four semesters of study, the program can be accelerated to be completed in as little as one year. Students take 14 credits of required core courses from Area 1, which covers the fundamentals of effective advocacy and the legal and ethical frameworks for advocacy practices, and 9-12 credits each in Area 2 – Advocating for Change and Area 3 – Skills for Effective Advocacy. Through the selection of courses in Areas 2 and 3, students can elect to focus their studies and professional skills building on a specific realm of advocacy, such as civil rights or environmental policy, and in advocacy techniques, such as data-driven storytelling, video, experience and information design, and VR/games for engagement and decision-making.

Area 1: Required Core Courses -The Nature of Effective Advocacy (14 credits)

JRNL 5400 Media Advocacy in Theory and Practice (4 CH)
JRNL/COMM Advocacy Research Methods (4 CH)
LW 6400 Introduction to Law, Policy and Legal Argument (4 CH)
LW 7667 Law and Ethics of Advocacy (3 CH)

Area 2: Sample Electives – Advocating for Change (select 9-12 credits)

COMM 5230 Representations of Race and Difference (3 CH)
JRNL 6202 Perspective on Journalism Ethics (4 CH)
JRNL 6300 First Amendment in the Digital Age (4 CH)
JRNL 6301 Historical Perspective on Media (4 CH)
JRNL 6354 Public Policy and the Press (4 CH)
LAW 7329 Environmental Law (3 CH)
LAW 7335 Health Law (3 CH)
LAW 7428 Government at the State and Local Level (3 CH)
LAW 7488 Sexuality, Gender and the Law (3 CH)
LAW 7512 Problems in Public Health Law (3 CH)
LAW 7597 Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Clinic (6 CH)
LAW 7600 Current Issues in Health Law and Policy (3 CH)
LAW 7606 Drug Law and Policy (3 CH)
LAW 7617 Economic Perspectives on Health Policy (4 CH)
LAW 7649 Law and Social Movements (3 CH)
LAW 7650 Dynamic Lawyering for Systemic Change (3 CH)
LAW 7651 Human Rights in the United States (3 CH)
LS 6180 Health Law Survey (3 CH)
LS 6181 Health Regulation and Compliance (3 CH)

Area 3: Sample Electives – Skills for Effective Advocacy (9-12 credits)

ARTD 5001 Arts in the Public Sphere (4 CH)
ARTD 5202 Photographic Media in Cultural Context (4 CH)
ARTD 5582 Collaborative Video and Community Engagement (4 CH)
ARTE 5901.02 Storylab (4 CH)
ARTG 5100 Information Design Studio 1 – Principles (4 CH)
ARTG 5110 Information Design History (4 CH)
ARTG 5310 Visual Cognition (4 CH)
ARTG 5330 Visualization Technologies (4 CH)
ARTG 5600 Experience Design Studio – Principles (4 CH)
ARTG 5610 Design Systems (4 CH)
ARTG 5620 Notational Systems for Experience (4 CH)
ARTG 6310 Design for Behavior and Experience (4 CH)
ARTG 6320 Design of Information-Rich Environments (4 CH)
COMM 5255 Visual Communication Culture (3 CH)
COMM 5260 Media Production and Critical Theory (3 CH)
GSND 5110 Game Design and Analysis (4 CH)
GSND 6320 Psychology of Play (4 CH)
JRNL 5309 Documentary Production (4 CH)
JRNL 5310 Photojournalism (4 CH)
JRNL 6310 Multimedia Journalism (4 CH)
JRNL 6340 Fundamentals of Digital Storytelling (4 CH)
LAW 7350 Negotiation (3 CH)
LAW 7635 Lab Seminar in Applied Design and Legal Empowerment (2 CH)

Please note that no more than eight credit hours may come from outside the College of Arts, Media and Design (CAMD) and the School of Law (SOL).  A minimum of twelve credit hours must be from CAMD and SOL, each.  Exceptions allowed on case by case basis in consultation with the program advisor.

Course Descriptions


Sarah Jackson, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Northeastern University

Matthew Nisbet, Professor of Communication Studies and Affiliate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University

Matthew Carroll, Professor of Journalism at Northeastern University

Dietmar Offenhuber, Assistant Professor in the Department of Art + Design and Public Policy at Northeastern University

Woodrow Hartzog, Professor of Law and Computer Science at Northeastern University

John Wihbey, Assistant Professor of Journalism and New Media at Northeastern University


Please visit the CAMD Graduate Studies website for detailed admission information including a listing of required application materials and answers to frequently asked questions.