Our Story

Our Story


Mission Statement

The Robertson School of Media and Culture prepares effective and skilled communicators through quality instruction, advising and student services, based on real world applications. Through research, professional service and scholarship in applied communications, the School advances the knowledge and practice of a multi-disciplinary and evolving media environment. The School values truth, ethics, creativity, innovation, collaboration, cultural diversity, shared governance and community engagement.

Approved by the School’s faculty, February, 2011. This statement applies to both our undergraduate and graduate programs.


Virginia Commonwealth University was created in 1968 through the merger of two existing public institutions, the Richmond Professional Institute (RPI) and the Medical College of Virginia (MCV). Read histories of RPI and MCV from VCU Libraries.

Since the early 1960s, RPI and then VCU offered journalism courses through a journalism department, with advertising courses offered by the School of Business.

VCU established the School of Mass Communications in 1978 to prepare students for successful professional careers in the mass media and in the professions of advertising, journalism and public relations.

George T. Crutchfield was the School’s first director, having previously served as chair of the journalism department. The new school offered four sequences: news-editorial (print journalism), electronic media (broadcast journalism), advertising and public relations.

A Master of Science degree in mass communications was added to the undergraduate degree offerings in 1977; it was discontinued when discipline-specific master’s programs were created.

In 1995, an advertising track was added to the master’s degree with the creation of the Adcenter (renamed the Brandcenter a decade later).

School faculty added a scholastic journalism track to the master’s degree in 2003-2004; this was discontinued three years later because a change in Virginia teacher certification guidelines no longer favored teachers with master’s degrees.

A strategic public relations master’s track was approved in 2004-2005 and admitted its first cohort in 2005-2006.

A multimedia journalism master’s track was approved in 2007-2008 and admitted its first cohort in 2008-2009.

And in 2007, the school partnered with the VCU Department of English and the freestanding School of the Arts to offer an innovative interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Media, Art and Text (MATX) that admitted its first students in 2007-2008.