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Minor, Media and Politics: Curriculum

The interdisciplinary minor in Media and Politics focuses on the interests and needs of students in a contemporary era when the distinction between politics and media is increasingly blurred.

The minor is offered jointly by Northwestern University in Qatar and Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar. It capitalizes on the strengths of both universities to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the interrelationship between politics and mass media, the theoretical frameworks that help make sense of this relationship, the ability to synthesize insights from multiple disciplines, and the skills to communicate this knowledge to the modern world.

Learning goals

The interdisciplinary Media and Politics minor emphasizes the following skills: 


The Media and Politics minor capitalizes on the strengths of NU-Q and GU-Q to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the role of mass communication in political, diplomatic, and policy-making processes, as well as the role of politics in the shaping of mass media products and policies. The coursework prepares students to better understand how politicians, diplomats, and policy-makers influence, and are themselves influenced by, the media in its myriad forms.


The Media and Politics minor introduces students to key issues and theoretical frameworks for studying and analyzing the complex interrelationship between media and politics. The coursework prepares students to better understand and apply theories in the fields of media and politics.


The Media and Politics minor balances breadth and depth to accomplish a crucial learning aim of synthesis, enabling students to assess, critically analyze, and interact with data from multiple sources and disciplines to enhance both the quality of their work and their abilities to solve complex and important problems of the modern world. The coursework and assessments allow the students to form a holistic and inclusive understanding of the interrelationship between media and politics.


The Media and Politics minor emphasizes the importance of clear and persuasive communication. It is not enough in the modern world to have knowledge; we must be able to communicate a narrative of that knowledge in a clear, concise, accurate, and powerful manner, using a variety of media.


The minor is open to NU-Q students and GU-Q students only. NU-Q students who fulfill the following requirements will earn a minor in media and politics. Georgetown students will earn a certificate in media and politics.  


How to Declare

Interested NU-Q students should contact their academic advisers to complete a minor declaration form; students must complete the online application for the Media and Politics minor as well.


Requirements for completion of the minor

  • Six courses: 3 courses at NU-Q + 3 courses at GU-Q
    • The three NU-Q courses should be in media studies, politics, or related courses that relate to your specific interests; at least one should be taken at an advanced level. Specific courses should be approved in consultation with your Media and Politics mentor.
    • The three GU-Q courses should be in politics, media, or related courses that relate to your specific interests; at least one should be taken at an advanced level. Again, specific courses should be approved in consultation with your Media and Politics mentor.
    • Please refer to the list of courses previously accepted for the Media and Politics minor.
    • Students must make the case for course inclusion based on their own learning goals and those of the minor. That is, students interested in the minor must generate—in consultation with their mentor—a course plan based on their interests and learning goals.
    • Grades for individual courses will be assessed by the professors of record, not the Media and Politics committee. For the achievement of the minor, each of these courses must receive the grade of C or higher.
  • E-portfolio
    • Each of the six courses must be documented as follows: a representative/culminating piece of work; any selected relevant artifacts (e.g., videos, images, presentations); and a brief (500-word) written reflection on the experience of the course as part of the minor.
    • One documented meeting per semester (including feedback and next steps) with your Media and Politics mentor using the Mentor Supervision Form. Additional meetings may be required based on progress.
    • At least one co-curricular enrichment activity (e.g., lecture, workshop, field trip) relevant to the minor; attendance/participation must be documented along with a written reflection describing its connection to the minor.
    • For more details, see the E-Portfolio Guidelines.
  • Reflective essay and oral presentation
    • NU-Q students will write a 2000-to-3500-word reflective essay on their learning experience and give a formal presentation of their reflections to the university community, to be completed no later than the spring semester of their senior year.
    • The Media and Politics committee (including representatives of both NU-Q and GU-Q) will assess the essay and presentation (for more details, see the Reflective Essay Guidelines and Rubric, and the Oral Presentation Guidelines and Rubric).
    • Students must pass both components at a satisfactory level or higher to achieve the minor.

Media and Politics E-Portfolio Guidelines


The e-portfolio is a cumulative project that gathers Media and Politics coursework, co-curricular experiences, artifacts, and reflections.


The e-portfolio functions as an online repository for both student organization and learning and for advisor mentoring and monitoring. On the student end, it organizes and stores Media and Politics materials and facilitates reflection, interdisciplinary and experiential connections, and critical evaluation. On the faculty side, it facilitates student-advisor interaction and monitoring of progress. Students can upload files to their Northwestern Box accounts.


The e-portfolio is meant to be a platform that provides a foundation for documenting progress in the minor and storing materials for the final assessments (reflective essay, oral presentation). Therefore, successful completion of the e-portfolio entails fulfilling all requirements of the basic checklist, on a pass/fail basis.

E-Portfolio Checklist

To be eligible for the Media and Politics minor, the student’s e-portfolio must contain:

  • Documentation of each of the six courses: (1) a representative or culminating piece of work (essay or other final assessment); (2) related artifacts (e.g., videos, images, presentations) that add value to and illuminate the learning experience of this course; (3) a written reflection on course-specific learning and how this course relates to the minor and the student’s interests and goals.
  • Documentation of once-a-semester meetings with your Media and Politics mentor, recorded in the Mentor Supervision Form, including bullet points of topics covered, feedback, and next steps.
  • Documentation of at least one co-curricular enrichment activity (e.g., lecture, workshop, field trip) relevant to the minor; attendance/participation must be documented along with a written reflection describing its connection to the minor. Optional but encouraged: Document additional co-curricular experiences to enhance the final essay.


Media and Politics Reflective Essay Guidelines

Purpose of Assessment

The goal of the essay is to prompt the student to consider the interdisciplinary connections between classwork, concepts, and experiences associated with the minor. The student should use this opportunity to clearly and succinctly communicate an original written narrative that is supported by proper use of sources and evidence, strong organization, and effective style. In particular, thinking about the interdisciplinary connections in relation to one’s own learning journey is key to success in this assignment. 

Guidelines for Essay

The essay should be no more than 3,500 words, but no less than 2,000 words. It should focus less on a chronological survey of the courses taken and more on thematic links between coursework, concepts, and experiences. Over the course of this essay, the student should identify and explain these connections, apply these ideas in-depth to a relevant example, and engage in self-reflection about his or her learning experience.

Rubric Components

The essay should cover the following three components, in an original, well-organized, coherent, and clear manner:

  • Thematic links: What ideas and concepts have formed a common theme or themes across your coursework in Media and Politics? The political power of documentary film? The concept of “identity” or “social constructivism”? A pattern in the politicization of media? A commitment to speak truth to power? What idea has left the greatest impression on you, or shaped your understanding of the relationship between politics and media? Identifying this thematic link and explaining how and why you have done so forms the core of your essay and oral presentation; it is the key step in the process of organizing the disparate material you have encountered in Media and Politics in a cohesive way.
  • Relevant example: What object, media artifact, phenomenon, or experience has crystalized this theme for you? Have you been involved in organizing or participating in an event? Has your experience with a local (e.g., the blockade) or international (e.g., Brexit) issue of contemporary importance galvanized your understanding of the relationship between media and politics? How have your extra-curricular experiences (such as an internship, residency, or job) helped you better understand key issues in media and politics? Did this experience clarify your thinking about the interrelationship between media and politics in the real world? Find an example of something tangible that focuses and clarifies your theme for your audience. How does this example express the theme that you found across your learning experience in the Media and Politics minor?
  • Reflection and self-assessment: What does your experience with the Media and Politics minor mean to you? How did your understanding of the relationship between media and politics change over the course of the minor/certificate? What influenced and shaped those changes? What will you do differently now? What will you do now? Discuss and evaluate the trajectory of your learning during the Media and Politics minor. Make it personal and bring it alive for your audience. At all times remember, this is your learning experience, and we want to hear about what it means to you.

 Download the essay rubric

Media and Politics Oral Presentation Guidelines

Purpose of Assessment

Oral communication is prepared, purposeful presentation of a central message supported by one or more forms of relevant, organized materials. It is designed to increase knowledge, foster understanding, and/or promote change in the listener’s attitudes, values, beliefs, and behaviors. By completing this assessment, students will be able to communicate a clear message that is supported through strong structure and organization, display a mastery of vocabulary, tone, and diction for the audience at hand, and establish a persuasive case for the argument through use of authoritative and relevant sources. 

Guidelines for Presentation

Students are required to pre-record a 10-minute presentation that will be showcased online at the NU-Q website, where both NU-Q and GU-Q communities can view and comment on them. Students will be expected to engage with these comments are part of their virtual question-and-answer session. These guidelines provide technical specifications and deadlines for Spring 2021. In general, an excellent presentation will contain a central message that is compelling, precisely stated, memorable, and strongly supported, reflecting your learning experience over the course of your Media and Politics minor.

Specifically, your oral presentation should include a specific introduction and conclusion, and ideas should be presented throughout in a clear and coherent order, including appropriate grouping and sequencing of ideas that explain the principle arguments. Ideally, the presentation delivery should be imaginative, memorable, and compelling. At all times, language choices should aim to enhance the effectiveness of the presentation. Wherever suitable, you should use appropriate and relevant types of supporting materials. Priority should be given to highlighting the artifacts and reflections from your e-portfolio that best encapsulate your learning experience in Media and Politics.

Rubric Components

  • Content and Message: The main point/thesis/bottom line/take-away of a presentation. A clear and central message is easy to identify; a compelling central message is also vivid and memorable. Ideas and content are clearly related to the central message, and strongly support the argument. Organizational elements such as introduction, conclusion, and transitions are utilized to enhance the presentation’s cohesiveness.
  • Language and Delivery: Language and delivery choices support the effectiveness of the message by making the presentation vivid, imaginative, expressive, and organized. Language is grammatical, clear, balanced, and appropriate to the topic and audience.
  • Evidence and Sources: The grouping and sequencing of ideas and supporting materials in a presentation reflects a purposeful choice among possible alternatives. Appropriate and relevant types of supporting materials, such as explanations, examples, illustrations, visuals, statistics, texts and/or media from relevant and approved authorities, as well as other kinds of information or analysis, are provided to support the principle ideas.

Download the presentation rubric

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