Columbia College Chicago Launches New Civic Media Master’s Degree Program

(CHICAGO) May 4, 2018—Columbia College Chicago today announced a new Master’s in Civic Media program that will combine media practice and civic engagement to drive social change—equipping graduates with a broad range of media skills to create positive community impact.

Students in the program, which launches in January 2019, will work closely and collaboratively with diverse communities to create, design, deploy, and assess civic media projects that strengthen democratic participation, inform city planning, and shape public policy, among other objectives.

“As an urban institution, we must connect with our communities and be a resource to solving systemic challenges,” said Eric Freedman, dean of Columbia’s School of Media Arts. “Sustainable civic dialogue and localized action requires collaboration, an understanding of complex social formations, and a commitment to engaging with a broad range of media practices. We are training our students to act strategically around issues of equity, access, and inclusion. By developing partnerships across the city, our goal is to have a true long-term impact on overall quality of life for communities across the greater Chicago area.”

The degree will have applications for both new and experienced professionals in fields including journalism, government, corporate relations, non-profit administration, advocacy and social activism, and urban planning and community development, Freedman said.

Course elements will include strategic communications, design thinking, collaborative project development, cross-platform storytelling, journalism and media practice, information analysis, data visualization, and user experience design. Students will be matched with a community partner and work on real-world challenges as they develop their leadership and engagement skills.

Columbia offers highly experienced multidisciplinary communications faculty, state-of-the-art media facilities, and a location in the heart of the nation’s third-largest media market, Freedman noted. Most classes in the one-year, three-semester program will be offered on Friday evenings and Saturdays to accommodate working professionals.




Columbia College Chicago is a private, nonprofit college offering a distinctive curriculum that blends creative and media arts, liberal arts, and business for nearly 7,500 students in more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Dedicated to academic excellence and long-term career success, Columbia College Chicago creates a dynamic, challenging, and collaborative space for students who experience the world through a creative lens. For more information, visit


Anjali Julka