Media Psychology Certificate

Brand Psychology and Audience Engagement combines the psychology of story, transmedia strategy, brand psychology with audience profiling to equip you to take advantage of a changing media environment.

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To find out more about the fully-accredited certificate program, see our contact page or email [email protected]

Certificate FAQs

/Certificate FAQs

The certificate programs at Fielding are fully accredited.  You earn course credit for that is transferable within Fielding or to other institutions at the graduate level.  In order to provide academic credit for the certificate, Fielding must confirm that students meet certain requirements.  These include completing a BA, BS or equivalent undergraduate degree.  For information, email [email protected].

Surprisingly, people get to know each other well in online courses when they are small such as at Fielding.  The courses are structured so that there are weekly discussion that require active participation.  The faculty will also contribute to the discussion, giving feedback weekly on the primary posts, making comments and asking questions.  We find that we recognize people by their “voice” within the first week or two.  Some students have gotten to be such good friends in courses online that the relationships continue when then class ends.  Some have even arranged to meet offline when they live close to one another.

Students in the course will be from the Certificate, Master’s and Doctoral programs at Fielding.  They will all have completed undergraduate education.  Most Fielding students are mid-career professionals who contribute a rich and varied perspective from their professional experience to course discussions.

The certificate is three courses.  Each course is 4 units, so 12 units total.  Two courses are required and the third is an elective from Fielding’s Master’s program curriculum.  Contact [email protected] for more information.

Fielding Graduate University is a fully accredited graduate school designed for adult learners.  It was founded in 1974 and has been at the forefront of innovative course delivery–online long before anyone had heard of a MOOC.

Unlike most online courses and programs, however, Fielding’s courses are:

  • Taught by experts in the field who personally design every course they teach
  • Updated continually to keep content current and to meet the needs of students who, as mid-career professionals, want to apply what they learn immediately, not “after graduation.”
  • Capped at 10 students per class to ensure quality feedback on discussion forums among students and faculty
  • Composed of a mix of Certificate, Master’s and Doctoral students who contribute a rich blend of professional and academic experience to discussion. It also means you are getting the same quality course content and attention that we give our Master’s and Doctoral students. This is not a watered-down version of content like you see in some places.
  • Designed to help you develop a professional and articulate voice in how you deliver content no matter what the medium
  • Integrate the use of media projects to expand your persuasive language from text to multiple media channels
  • Encourage creativity while giving your the grounding in fundamental theory that will be applicable no matter what the project, media or technology you undertake
  • Fully accredited courses mean that if you decide to pursue the full Master’s degree in media psychology at Fielding, you can apply all credits earned. You could also transfer earned credits to other Master’s programs pending their transfer unit policies.

For more information about the admissions process and timing, cost, potential for financial aid or other administrative issues, please contact [email protected].

For questions about things related to the course content, what it’s like taking a class online or how to use this certificate in the real world, check the FAQs, contact the lead faculty directly at [email protected] or [email protected].

Media psychology applies the power of psychological science understand how people use and are impacted by media and technology.  It is fundamental to the development of media content, technology functionality, messaging, media interventions, usability and design.  Psychology is about people.  It has a long history of applying theory and research to alleviate distress and promote growth and positive development.  That culture is inherent in everything we do with media psychology.  Read Dr. Rutledge’s posts on Why Media Psychology

Prospective students interested in financial aid should check with the Admissions and Financial Aid officers for any options and details.  For questions, please email [email protected] or the Financial Aid department at Fielding directly at [email protected]

There are a several differences between the certificate and MA degree programs.

The certificate:

  • 3 courses (12 units)
  • Streamlined application process
    • Transcript and degree verification
    • No letter of recommendation
  • Email [email protected] for complete details.

The MA program:

  • 10 courses (40 units)
  • More traditional application process
    • Letters of recommendation
    • Personal essay
    • Example of academic writing in addition to the personal essay
    • Current resume
    • Official transcripts and degree verification
      • International transcript evaluation required for non US schools
  • Email [email protected] for complete details.


The certificate courses are graded just like other Master’s program courses.  Students from the Certificate, Master’s and Doctoral degree students can, and do, enroll in the courses.  All courses earn full academic credit no matter which program you join.

Transfer Units

Students who wish to continue to earn the full Master’s degree may apply the units from the certificate coursework to requirements in the Master’s degree program.   For full information and any limitations on number of units that can be transferred, please contact [email protected].

Moving from Certificate to MA program

To enter the Master’s program from the certificate, you will go through the normal application process for that degree program.  The master’s application process requires additional items beyond that required  by the Certificate, such as:

For complete and up-to-date information, please consult the Fielding website at or  email [email protected]

These courses are not MOOCs.  They are small, student-centered discussion-based courses with weekly interaction among the students and faculty member.  The courses are capped at 10  students.  Under special circumstances they may go up to 12 but never more than that.

Courses are taught by PhD media psychologists who are experts in the field and who personally developed and built the courses. The class enrollment is capped at 10 students.  Faculty engage with students in discussions every week on the forums and are available by email for special issues.  Teaching Assistants sometimes help facilitate discussions, but the faculty are always present, participating and available.

Studying media psychology means you will be learning the core psychological principles that are applicable no matter what the message, brand or technology.

As a student, you will have the opportunity to evaluate brand effectiveness, assess strategy, create and test personas, and develop content plans based on project goals and audience profiles. You will learn how to create and manage content for effective marketing, branding and persuasive communications.

Former students have used this experience to redesign and market a video game design, influence community perceptions and generate support for a Domestic Violence Organization, rebrand an Indy rock and roll artist, reorganize internal training of an agricultural business, and create a marketing strategy for a mental health services business.

This certificate is ideal for people in advertising and marketing, business communications and social change agents–anywhere that a single product or concept must be clearly and accurately communicated for maximum impact.

Media psychology is the application of psychological science to the digital world.  At Fielding, we look at media from multiple perspectives: individuals as users and producers, social adaptation, and global impact.  Fielding’s media psychology program is one of the world’s first, aimed at the potential for positive social impact, advocacy and interventions.  Our primary objective is understanding the practical application of emerging technologies to a broad range of social, political, cognitive and developmental issues.

Media psychology encompasses an analysis of the psychological impact of evolving media content, presentation and development.  It also examines the benefits and risks of the information society, from traditional media—radio, television, and film—to new media—social networks, blogs, virtual immersive worlds, identity sites, and mobile communications. Students study the benefits of understanding human behavior when working with media applications, how media affects individuals and cultures, and how media can be used for socially constructive purposes. A higher level of expertise is needed to understand the evolving media landscape and its effect on human behavior. The future decades will see a growing need for individuals with the expert understanding of how media is impacting human behavior, how to use and create media for advocacy, as well as how to advise others on its creation and media strategy in order to affect positive social changes in our world.

Read a post by Dr. Rutledge on Defining Media Psychology

The application process for the certificate is very simple.  Applicants should be prepared to provide:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Email
  • Telephone
  • Start term desired
  • Proof of completion of a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree (or equivalent).

Students who are non-native English speakers should be aware that the courses are taught in English and require weekly written assignments.  Admissions is approved as soon as degree verification can be received.  This can take up to two weeks.  International transcript evaluation is required for non US schools.  Specific questions can be addressed to [email protected].

The certificate courses earn full academic credit.  Students who wish to continue at Fielding and earn the full Master’s degree may apply the coursework from the certificate to requirements in the Master’s or PhD degree programs.   To enter the Master’s or PhD programs, you will go through the normal application process for that degree program.  The Master’s and PhD application processes have different requirements and require additional items from the certificate admissions process.  These include:

  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal essay
  • Example of academic writing in addition to the personal essay
  • Academic transcript

For complete and up-to-date information, please consult the Fielding website at or for questions email [email protected]

Students at Fielding often take 2 courses per term.  This is considered “full time.”  However, many students who are balancing other demands such as family and career commitments, chose to take 1 course per term.  The certificate, therefore, can be completed in as few as 2 terms or within a calendar  year.

The certificate program is made up of three 4-unit courses.  For current costs, check Fielding’s website  Units are transferable into the full master’s degree program upon acceptance into that program.  For questions, [email protected]