The MA program in Digital Media engages students in theoretical frameworks, methods, and critical media practice related to computational, interactive media. Through rigorous creative and research projects, the MA prepares students for continued study in a PhD program or employment within the industry. Working closely with an innovative faculty and technology partnerships in downtown Orlando, students will employ emerging technologies to communicate interactive narratives and experiences, while also producing cutting-edge research in interactive media.
Beginning fall 2019, the Nicholson School of Communication and Media’s communication, digital media, and Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA) programs will all be located at UCF Downtown, a 21st-century campus with access to arts, culture, nightlife and business.
The Digital Media MA combines theory and practice to train the next generation of interactive media scholars and practitioners. Part of the first wave of UCF’s state-of-the-art downtown campus, students in this program have unique opportunities to participate in socially impactful research and artistic production. In the first year, students gain an introduction to aesthetic, theoretical, programming, and design approaches to interactive media, while gaining valuable foundations in research and storytelling. In the second year, students either pursue a thesis or creative studio production path, while learning about contemporary topics and emerging Artificial Intelligence (AI) research and design. Throughout the program, students are encouraged to create portfolio-ready pieces and/or present their work at conferences, thus preparing them for future professional, artistic, and scholarly success at the forefront of interactive media.
The program focuses on the following areas:
- Theory and Practice: The program trains students to pair theory and practice, regardless of the path they choose through the program. Students will learn to develop theoretically sophisticated creative works and to pair creativity with research. This is accomplished by providing students with a solid foundation in aesthetic, design, programming, and theoretical approaches.
- Narrative and Experience Design: The program also emphasizes interactive storytelling and an understanding of how to design compelling experiences specifically for interactive media. This is accomplished through coursework on these subjects, and the time allotted in the program’s plan of study for students to develop in-depth creative and research projects that put the concepts learned in coursework into play.
- Social Impact: The MA in Digital Media also takes advantage of the creative, research, and business opportunities available through the program’s downtown Orlando location to provide students with a range of real-world, socially impactful research and creative experiences. Course projects and students’ own creative and research work benefit from the social, cultural, and economic context of a thriving downtown sector.
- Professional and Scholarly Outcomes: The MA program offers two equally in-depth and rigorous tracks—the Thesis or Creative Studio Production paths. The required coursework provides the foundational skills and knowledge needed for students to create an exhibition or publication-ready projects.
Total Credit Hours Required: 36 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor’s Degree
Required Courses: 24 Credit Hours
Thesis Option: 6 Credit Hours of Thesis and 6 Credit Hours of Electives
Students choosing the Thesis option will take all required courses, along with two electives (one in Fall and one in Spring of their second year in a typical program road map). The electives may come from any COM, DIG, or FIL prefix or other as approved by the graduate coordinator. Many graduate-level courses in the College of Arts and Humanities can be used as electives, based on an adviser-approved plan of study. These courses must be selected so as to ensure that at least one-half of the courses in the student’s plan of study are taken at the 6000 level. In addition, students will take 6 hours of DIG 6971: Thesis credit (3 in Fall and 3 in Spring in a typical program road map).
Each candidate for the Master of Arts submits a thesis prospectus and preliminary bibliography on a topic selected in consultation with the adviser. The formal thesis is initiated by the preparation of a proposal that meets both departmental and university requirements for the thesis. Prior to enrollment into thesis credit hours, the adviser, in consultation with the student, designates a Thesis Committee to be further approved by the College Graduate Dean. This committee is chaired by the adviser and includes two or more additional faculty members from the Nicholson School of Communication and Media.
The members of the student’s thesis committee judge the proposal as the preliminary step to beginning the thesis. This committee must approve the Thesis Proposal before academic credit can accrue.
The thesis is a formal written document. The introduction cites similar, related, and antecedent work. The body explains the purposes of the project, the method of its production, and any evaluation that was performed. The conclusion includes plans for future work. The thesis also includes an archival copy of the resulting creative product. Both the thesis and the creative product must be delivered in digital form, acceptable by the UCF library according to its standards for digital dissertations and theses.
- DIG 6971 - Thesis 6 Credit Hours
- Electives 6 Credit Hours
In addition to a written thesis, the final step in completing the thesis requirement is an oral defense before the thesis committee. Candidates must present their creative or research work and explain its creation in an oral defense. These presentations are made to the student’s committee in a public meeting that other faculty and students may attend.
Non-Thesis Option: 12 Credit Hours
Students selecting the non-thesis Creative Studio Production option are required to complete 6 additional credit hours of Studio (DIG 6571: Studio 1 and DIG 6572: Studio 2) and 6 credit hours of electives.
The electives may come from any COM, DIG, or FIL prefix or other as approved by the graduate coordinator. Many graduate-level courses in the College of Arts and Humanities can be used as electives, based on an adviser-approved plan of study. These courses must be selected so as to ensure that at least one-half of the courses in the student’s plan of study are taken at the 6000 level.
For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.
In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirements, applicants to this must provide:
- One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended.
- Official, competitive GRE score taken within the last five years.
- A written statement (not to exceed 250 words) describing the student’s personal goals, objectives, and research interests in seeking the degree.
- Three letters of recommendation from former professors or employers who can address applicant’s ability to undertake graduate-level courses.
Desirable background skills for this degree include computer and software literacy, but these are not required as coursework addresses these areas.
Meeting minimum UCF admission criteria does not guarantee program admission. Final admission is based on evaluation of the applicant’s abilities, past performance, recommendations, match of this program and faculty expertise to the applicant’s career/academic goals, the applicant’s potential for completing the degree, and the current applicant pool.
|*Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.
Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.
Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.
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