University of Southern California
black horizontal bar for print styles

Institute for Multimedia Literacy

EGG 200
(213) 743-2198
Fax: (213) 747-8357
Director: Holly Willis


The Institute for Multimedia Literacy offers undergraduate students an opportunity to approach their chosen major field(s) of study through the critical application of multimedia scholarship and expression in the networked world. Students can pursue either a minor in digital studies or the honors in multimedia scholarship program. IML courses are open to students from all departments and schools. No prior experience with multimedia is required, but students should be willing to engage with new media technologies, ways of thinking and modes of expression.

Honors in Multimedia Scholarship

Program Overview

A century of mass media and the advent of digital communication have transformed the way ideas are expressed and understood across the university. As a result, the notion of literacy, which has traditionally referred to the reading and writing of printed materials, has fundamentally expanded to include new forms of expression. The Honors in Multimedia Scholarship program offers students an opportunity to learn new approaches to the production of knowledge through the critical application of multimedia.

The program includes a systematic introduction to the history, theory and practice of multimedia scholarship within a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary contexts. Over the four-year program, students develop and refine their abilities to conduct research and publish work in methods appropriate to their field of study: video, audio, image, web or some integration of these forms. The program is open to students from all disciplines.

In the honors in multimedia scholarship program, students participate in small classes taught by leading faculty members. The program enrolls primarily freshman and sophomore students but also juniors and seniors who are interested in integrating multimedia courses into their program of study.

Students are expected to integrate theory into the practice of multimedia scholarship; for this reason, courses include discussion of historical and theoretical material, instruction in basic research practices, as well as opportunities to develop skills in multimedia authorship, collaboration, leadership and creative thinking.

Year 1: Foundational study of the contexts, concepts and competencies of multimedia literacy, embodied in the languages of new media.

Year 2: Beginning integration of multimedia approaches within chosen disciplines and/or in conjunction with the university’s general education requirements.

Year 3: Development of proficiency with multimedia as a scholarly tool within a student’s own discipline or field of study.

Year 4: Completion of a year-long project that demonstrates mastery of discipline-based multimedia authorship.

Students may earn honors in multimedia scholarship by completing a minimum of 16 units of required course work culminating in a capstone thesis seminar during their final year.

To maintain small classes and allow for extensive discussion and project development, the Honors in Multimedia Scholarship program requires students to be highly motivated; there is extensive reading, writing and multimedia authoring. The required courses are not available for pass/no pass registration.

Inquiries regarding the program should be directed to:

IML 101The Languages of New Media I, or4
IML 104The Languages of New Media II, and2
IML 140Workshop in Multimedia Authoring, or2
IML 140Workshop in Multimedia Authoring (taken twice)2-2
IML 346Methods in Scholarly Multimedia2
IML 440Honors in Multimedia Scholarship: Multimedia Honors Thesis Project I4
IML 444Honors in Multimedia Scholarship: Multimedia Honors Thesis Project II4
IML Elective Course2

IML 140*Workshop in Multimedia Authoring2
IML 340The Praxis of New Media2
IML 400Web Based Scholarly Multimedia2
IML 420New Media for Social Change4
IML 466Digital Studies Symposium4

*IML 140 can only be taken twice for a maximum of 4 units. If it is taken twice to fulfill the lower-division requirement it cannot be taken as an elective.

Minor in Digital Studies

The minor in digital studies, offered by the Institute for Multimedia Literacy, explores the rich potential of digital media for critical analysis and creative discovery. Learning the exciting and dynamic potential of a broad array of tools and technologies, students create innovative projects, from photo essays to Web-based documentaries, from interactive videos to sophisticated Web sites, and from typography in motion to 3-D visualizations. Elective courses explore media for social change, the ethics of virtual worlds, transmedia expression and more, allowing students to use media in pursuit of their own interests and to enhance their major.

All digital studies courses combine theory and practice in lab-based seminars featuring hands-on tutorials to support students in producing sophisticated media-rich work; no prior experience is required. Participants in this minor gain powerful skills useful in future endeavors within or beyond academia, where the ability to work effectively with media is a crucial job skill.

Course Requirements
A total of 20 units is required to complete the minor: 4 units of core courses, 12 units of IML courses and 4 units of electives.

Course RequirementsUnits
IML 101The Languages of New Media I, or4
IML 104The Languages of New Media II, and2
IML 140Workshop in Multimedia Authoring, or2
IML 140Workshop in Multimedia Authoring (taken twice)2-2

12 units (minimum) from the following:
IML 340The Praxis of New Media2
IML 346Methods in Scholarly Multimedia2
IML 400Web-Based Scholarly Multimedia2
IML 420New Media for Social Change4
IML 466Digital Studies Symposium4

Electives (4 Units minimum)Units
AHIS 475Blackness in American Visual Culture4
AMST 446Cultural Circuits in the Americas4
ANTH 470Multidisciplinary Seminar in Visual Anthropology2 or 4
ANTH 472Visual Techniques in Anthropology: Stills4
ANTH 475Ethnographic Film Analysis4
ANTH 476Ethnographic Film Theory From an Historical Perspective4
COMM 411*Communication Criticism 4
COMM 412Communication and Social Movements4
COMM 422Legal Issues and New Media4
COMM 450Visual Culture and Communication4
COMM 455Advertising and Society4
COMM 456*Entertainment, Marketing and Culture4
COMM 458*Race and Ethnicity in Entertainment and the Arts4
COMM 465Gender in Media Industries and Products4
CTAN 330Animation Fundamentals2
CTAN 432The World of Visual Effects2
CTAN 448Introduction to Film Graphics-Animation4
CTCS 400Non-Fiction Film and Television4
CTCS 411Film, Television and Cultural Studies4
CTCS 412Gender, Sexuality and Media4
CTCS 478Culture, Technology and Communications4
CTIN 309Introduction to Interactive Entertainment4
CTIN 405LDesign and Technology for Mobile Experiences2
CTIN 462Critical Theory and Analysis of Games4
CTIN 483Programming for Interactivity4
CTPR 327Motion Picture Camera3
CTPR 335Motion Picture Editing3
CTPR 385Colloquium: Motion Picture Production Techniques4
ITP 300xDatabase Web Development3
ITP 301x*Interactive Web Development4
ITP 404x*Intermediate Web Development3
ITP 411xInteractive Multimedia Production3
JOUR 330Photojournalism
JOUR 405*Non-Fiction Television 4
JOUR 420*Advanced Photojournalism 4
JOUR 421Photo Editing for News Media4
JOUR 422Visual Journalism4

*Prerequisite required