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Earn an Online Media Arts and Animation Degree

Online media arts degree programs nurture your creativity and cover the technical skills to create digital portfolios. The digital media arts consists of a number of different fields (such as film, radio, books). As a result, many schools teach how to use various, industry-standard software and how to produce content on digital platforms to reach a target audience.

Did You Know?

The National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) has supported film festivals that present documentaries, short films, narrative films, and international works.

What Does Media Arts Consist Of?

As defined by the NEA, media arts consists of a number of different types of art using a variety of mediums to share work with an audience. Though many different definitions may be found, typically media art includes projects that explore technological and aesthetical tools. Often, this includes art and other types of content that use technology to create or share with a market.

As a result, the types of art that fall under the category of media arts is extensive. In fact, just some of the different methods of sharing media art include:

Screen-based projects:

  • Film
  • Television
  • Internet
  • Interactive
  • Mobile
  • Video Game
  • eBook

Sound-based projects:

  • Radio
  • Podcasts
  • Audio

Print-based projects:

  • Books
  • Catalogs
  • Journals

This is just a sample of some of the different methods artists have of producing and sharing media arts with their audience. Therefore, there may be many other forms of media art. Plus, whenever new technologies are created, new forms of art will be introduced, new types of content will be created, and audiences will view or interact with the content in new ways.

As a result, media arts as a field is constantly evolving to find new ways of creating, producing, editing, and sharing art. Therefore, there are a wide variety of degrees that you can pursue in the field of media arts, which range from 3D animation to digital media to film.

Online Media Arts Degree

Different Online Media Arts Degree Options

Media arts covers many aspects and components of digital platforms, types of media, and producing that content for a specific audience. As a result, there are many different types of degrees and degree names that are placed under the umbrella of online media arts degree programs.

Some of the degrees that fall under media arts are listed below with a description and some examples of courses you may take. Remember that these are just examples and specific courses and titles may vary from school to school.

Also, as you read the following list, keep in mind that the difficulty of courses usually increases the higher the degree you pursue. For example, an associates level digital media ethics course usually requires less critical thinking and analysis than a doctorate level course with the same name. Consider your current education level and your goals to find the appropriate degree level for you.

Online Digital Media Major

An online digital media major focuses on how digital technology has affected communication and artistic practices. This degree typically offers students flexibility to cross boundaries and examine once-separate disciplines.

As a result, while pursuing a digital media degree, programs teach how to create and share digital content for media outlets or providing various types of content for businesses and organizations. Programs may also analyze data and analytics to provide content that a specific market is looking for.

Common Courses in Online Media Arts Degree Programs

Usually, online digital media majors have the chance to choose from a variety of courses that study the different components of media from a cultural and historical context. Some of the common courses you may take while pursuing an online media arts degree in digital media may include:

  • Foundations of Digital Media
  • Digital Media Ethics
  • Communication, Media, and Gender
  • Public Relations Techniques in a Digital Age

Online Media Arts and Animation Degree

Online media arts and animation degrees teach how art, design, and technology come together to help animators create new worlds for a number of different platforms. Many programs also look at the business side of animation and how to complete jobs within a budget.

Typically, while pursuing a 3D animation degree, programs are designed to examine the entire process, from concept to production and all the way through editing. Therefore, some of the topics you may study in media arts and animation include:

  • Conceptualization
  • Modeling and Construction
  • Postproduction
  • Animation Software
  • Storyboard Creation

Common Online Animation Courses

In order to analyze the topics listed above, courses may include each of the aspects of animation, from ideas to postproduction. Some of the courses while pursuing an online media arts degree in animation may include:

  • 3D Modeling and Animation
  • Basic Design and Color Theory
  • Character Design, Rigging, and Animation
  • History of Animation

Online Film and Media Arts Major

As popular entertainment continues to increase its influence in shaping our culture, online film and media arts majors typically examine how to create media that matters. In order to do this, programs usually look at teaching a variety of skill sets that may include the following techniques:

  • Photography
  • Film
  • Video
  • Digital Media
  • Writing
  • Editing

While each of these technologies may be studied individually, or as a concentration, many media arts degrees look at how each of these skills can come together to create impactful films. Some programs are designed around group projects in order to teach the complete process of making a film.

Common Courses in Film

Many online film and media arts programs teach how to think analytically about the role that film, video, and digital media play in modern society. Courses may range in topics from storytelling to artistic expression to reflect trends and transformations in the film and media industries.

Some of the courses may include:

  • Intermediate Screenwriting
  • Film and Video Production
  • Censorship and Media
  • Broadcast and Multimedia Journalism Management

Online Digital Design Degree

Online digital design and web design degrees focus on leveraging applications and data to teach how to create compelling online user experiences. Typically, this includes using industry-standard tools to create and maintain websites and applications.

Some of the topics you may study while pursuing an online web development and design degree include:

  • UX design and interface usability
  • Solve technology-related problems
  • Recommend effective system design
  • Client-side and server-side languages

These are just some examples of the most common topics you may study in web design. Remember that each school has a unique design, and as such specific courses, subjects, and software may vary depending on the school.

Common Courses in Digital and Web Design

Online courses in digital and web design are focused on preparing students for rapidly changing technologies. Many programs also incorporate portfolio courses while pursuing your degree so that you can continue building projects to showcase various skills and knowledge. However, every program is different.

Some of the courses you may take in web design include:

  • Object Oriented Analysis and Design
  • Cybersecurity and Information Assurance
  • Principles of Programming
  • Advanced Web Development

What Is Media Arts and Animation?

Animation is the process of displaying still images in a rapid sequence to create the illusion of motion. These images can be hand drawn. However, now most often animation is created using sophisticated 3D computer software.

Often, people assume that animation is only used for cartoons, movies, or video games. However, animation also has many roles and important uses in industrial and scientific research, especially now that animators and scientists have the ability to apply physics in computer models and animation.

There are three main types of animation, which are:

  1. Traditional: The traditional method of animation is hand drawing every single frame. It is scanned into a computer, and then combined with sound.
  2. Stop Motion: During this process, animators use photographs one motion and frame at a time, and then load the images into a computer the same was the traditional method.
  3. Computer Generated: The fastest way, with the best results, is by using computer software to create films and models.

What Is Web Design?

Web design is the process of conceptualizing, planning, and building a collection of electronic files and pages and organizing and arranging them to fit a specific purpose. One goal is to create a user-friendly layout. Therefore, web development and design includes creating and choosing the layout, colors, text styles, structure, and graphics to reach a target market.

Some of the elements of a user-friendly web design include:

  • Navigation
  • Multimedia
  • Compatibility
  • Technology
  • Interactive

Typically, effective web design incorporates all of these aspects to make it easy for users to access the information they are looking for. This may include using graphics, images, and infographics as well. Web development and design also has to take into account the target audience of a site and what attributes they expect to see and interact with on websites.

What Is Digital Media Arts?

Digital media arts is the use of digital media and technology to create artistic practices and communication. Typically, this includes a number of different topics, such as interactive design and digital media project management.

However, digital media arts is focused on how storytelling and creating compelling messages has changed with contemporary technology. Often, digital media arts covers various disciplines and how audiences, or a target market, interact with and consume art, technology, and science.

Different Online Media Arts Degree Levels

Typically, there are four levels of online media arts degrees, plus certificates. Each of these degree levels focus on expanding your understanding of the many aspects that make up media arts and digital communication.

The five levels of online media arts degrees, and certificate programs are:

  1. Online Associates Degree in Digital Media Arts
  2. Online Bachelors in Media Arts
  3. Online Media Arts Certificates
  4. Online Masters in Digital Media Arts
  5. Online PhD in Media Arts and Sciences

Normally, in order to purse each degree level, schools require that students complete the degree prior. For instance, in order to apply for a masters degree in media arts, you usually need a bachelors degree.

However, in order to pursue a bachelors degree, you typically don’t need an associates degree. Also, some programs offer an undergraduate certificate, which doesn’t require that you have a bachelors degree. On the other hand, a graduate certificate does require an undergraduate degree.

What Can I Do with an Online Media Arts Degree?

Upon earning your online media arts degree, there are a variety of careers that you can pursue in the field. Typically, these careers depend on the focus or concentration of your media arts degree, as well as the level of degree you have earned.

If You Have a Bachelors Degree

For instance, many of the positions below require that candidates have a bachelors degree.i However, many art director positions look for candidates with a number of years of experience. Some candidates may earn a masters degree to make up for a lack of experience.ii

Many companies look for computer programming candidates who have a bachelors degree. However, those with only an associates degree may be hired if they can show the skills and knowledge that a particular company is looking for.iii

Salary and a Media Arts Degree

Some of the common careers for those with a media arts degree, and the 2016 median annual salary for these positions, are:

  • Multimedia Artists and Animators: $65,300iv
  • Computer Programmers: $79,840v
  • Graphic Designers: $47,640vi
  • Art Directors: $89,820vii
  • Postsecondary Teachers: $75,430viii

In order to become a postsecondary teacher, many schools require that candidates have earned a PhD in their field.ix However, some fields and some community colleges may hire candidates who only have a masters degree.

Take Action & Earn Your Online Media Arts Degree

Are you creative? Are you passionate about technology? Do you want to learn how to combine your creativity and your passion for technology to reach a target audience?

Learn more about an online media arts degree by clicking on any of the sponsored listings on this page. You’ll find program descriptions, courses, and admissions requirements. Contact your favorite schools directly to request more information!


[i] bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/multimedia-artists-and-animators.htm#tab-4 [ii] bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/art-directors.htm#tab-4 [iii] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-programmers.htm#tab-4 [iv] bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/multimedia-artists-and-animators.htm#tab-5 [v] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-programmers.htm#tab-5 [vi] bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/graphic-designers.htm#tab-5 [vii] bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/art-directors.htm#tab-5 [viii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm#tab-5 [ix] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm#tab-4

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