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Online Masters of Media Arts Degree

Online masters in digital media degrees teach how to create content on digital platforms to reach a specific audience. Typically, this includes using computer software and developing a complete understanding of the different technologies and platforms. Many programs in media arts also study how technology continues to impact the way people access news, advertisements, and other art forms.

Did You Know?

There are more mobile phones on the planet than TVs.

Online Masters in Digital Media: Basics

Digital media arts online masters degree programs analyze the different methods of producing digital content, how to edit that content in order to tell a story, and the platforms available to publish the content to reach a target audience.

As a result, media arts may include some of the following platforms and types of digital media:

  • 3D Animation
  • Web Design
  • Film and Video
  • Digital Communication

These, and other forms of digital media, can be produced for a number of reasons and for a number of different audiences. For instance, 3D animation can be used for video games and movies, as well as to enhance web design or written content. Animation is also becoming more popular in the scientific and health fields. Even textbooks may use animation to explain a concept or show a series of images.

As a result, pursuing an online masters in digital media may include a number of different topics and fields. Typically, all of these have similar overall goals and concepts, such as teaching the effectiveness of storytelling, how to use computer software, and how to use emerging technologies to more effectively reach a specific audience.

Online Masters in Digital Media

Admissions Requirements for Digital Media Masters Programs

While the specific admissions requirements vary from school to school, many schools that offer an online masters degree in media arts require applicants to submit the following:

  • Application
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcripts
  • Portfolio
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Resume
  • Test Scores (GMAT or GRE)

Remember that some schools have stricter requirements than others. This may include higher test scores or a higher GPA while earning your bachelors degree. Therefore, check with a few schools to find the perfect program for you.

Masters in Media Arts Degree: Graduation Requirements

In order to earn your online masters in digital media, many schools require that you show a proficiency in a number of topics and concepts in the field, as well as an adeptness with the computer software that is typically used in the industry. This may include how to incorporate various types of digital media based on existing human-computer interactions theories, principles, and research.

Some of the specific graduation requirements may include:

  • Maintaining a 2.5 GPA
  • Earning a C- or higher on all courses in designated degree program
  • Completing all required courses
  • Completing capstone or thesis project 

The type of capstone or thesis project may vary depending on the design and makeup of each school. This can be a digital portfolio or it may be a written project.

Some schools may also offer the option of completing your thesis as a collaborative project. Therefore, check with a few schools to find one that matches your goals.

How Long Does It Take to Earn an Online Masters in Media Arts?

Typically, it takes full-time students about two years to earn their online masters in digital media. However, this may vary from school to school. For instance, some schools may offer an accelerated program where you may be able to earn your degree faster.

Usually, it takes part-time students longer to earn their degree, depending on how many courses they take per semester. Keep in mind that many online programs are designed to create flexibility for students to earn their degree around personal and professional requirements. As a result, many schools offer the option to pursue your degree at your pace.

Media Arts Definition

Media arts is the artistic expression that amplifies and integrates the four traditional art forms by incorporating technological advances. As a result, media arts students need to cultivate both artistic abilities and a technological aptitude.

In 1994, the National Standards for Arts Education included media arts as the fifth discipline of art to enhance the existing four disciplines, which are dance, music, theater, and visual art. However, in 2014 the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards recognized the growing influence of technology, as well as the diversity of media arts, and embraced media arts as a completely stand-alone art form.

Different Types of Online Media Arts Masters Degrees

Media arts includes any type of art that uses technology to create or distribute digital content. This may include screen-based projects, mobile technologies, interactive, sound-based projects, and media-related printed content.

As a result, online masters degrees in media arts are offered in a number of different topics and fields to cover all of the different aspects of media arts and digital media. This can include different concentrations in overall media arts degrees or more specialized degrees.

Some of the different types of online media arts masters degrees are listed below, with a brief description of the topics in the field. 

What Is Communication and Media Arts?

As technological advances continue to shape our world, communication and media arts have taken on new meanings. Therefore, pursuing a masters degree in communication and media arts analyzes the multidimensional landscape of traditional and emerging media.

Programs typically focus on a hands-on learning approach using the latest technologies. Typically, these masters degrees are more broad-based and teach the skills and knowledge to create digital content for businesses, organizations, publications, and media outlets.

What Is Computer Animation?

To animate means “to give life to”. Therefore, 3D animation masters degrees discuss how to bring a static image or object to life. This may include using industry-standard technology and different techniques used in the field.

Some of these techniques include how to use computer software to apply different effects or physics. An example of this is creating flocks or herds of animals and enabling them to act collectively and individually, without having to hand-draw each individual animal. Software can also allow hair to wave with the wind or lay flat when wet.

What Is Web Design?

Web design includes every aspect of a website. Some of these aspects are the layout, colors, menus, content, images, and content, as well as both the server-side and client-side programming language. When done properly, web design allows end-users to access websites through the internet and web browser.

As a result, online web design masters degrees teach how to create and implement all of these different aspects in a user-friendly manner.

Online Masters of Media Arts Degree: What You’ll Learn

While pursuing an online masters in digital media, many programs focus on the entire process of creating digital content. This may include how to find and create a variety of media for a specific audience. Some of the types of digital media include news content, art, or even branding for businesses and marketing.

As a result, many programs teach how to design technology-based, digital media that balances artistic vision, commercial demands, and production realities. Some programs even teach the aspects of data and analytics to adapt and create new strategies and content to better serve your audience.

As a result, many programs have the goal of teaching the following concepts:

  • Gain a broader understanding of digital media from a global perspective
  • Create new models of socially and ethically-minded media
  • Develop technical proficiencies in digital media
  • How contemporary technology is changing communication practices
  • Designs and storytelling techniques that work across various media platforms

These concepts are the overriding goals of many programs under the umbrella of media arts. However, depending on your specific degree, or if you choose a concentration, these concepts may vary to fit the platform you’ve chosen. For instance, if you choose to pursue a 3D animation masters degree, the storytelling techniques you study will be different than if you chose a web design degree.

Important Topics in Online Masters in Digital Media programs

As technology changes the way we communicate, and the way we interact with news outlets and businesses, schools that offer an online masters in digital media teach the skills to utilize that technology and how to communicate more effectively in a digital environment.

As a result, some of the important topics in media arts include:

  • Human-computer interaction
  • Communications
  • Design
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Narrative structure
  • Explore the expression of time and space
  • Study character and story development

Typically, these concepts are tailored to fit the specific platform or form of digital media that you have chosen as your concentration. Also, many programs take these different topics and teach the concepts through group projects and collaborative experiences.

This format may help prepare you for the collaboration-oriented culture of the digital media arts field. However, each program has a unique design and the specific structure of programs, courses, and projects may vary.

Available Concentrations for Your Media Arts Masters Degree

Some of the platforms you may use to post digital media include web design, audio files (podcasts or books on tape), video, animation, written content, and many others. As a result, there may be a number of options available for you to choose a concentration for your online masters in digital media.

Choosing a concentration may offer you the ability to tailor your course of study to focus on one of the many aspects of media arts without committing your entire masters degree to that specific field. Therefore, concentrations may offer more flexibility for your degree.

Some of the concentrations that are available for online masters degrees in media arts include:

  • 3D Animation
  • Game Design
  • Interactive Design
  • Digital Video
  • Social Media
  • Digital Media Management
  • Digital Communication

Keep in mind that not all schools offer concentrations. However, many schools do offer various types of media arts masters degrees, some of which are listed above. Research a number of schools to find the perfect match for you.

Common Courses in Media Arts

With so many different components of the media arts field, and with so many various masters degrees available or concentrations, there are a number of courses you may take while pursuing your online masters in digital media.

Overall, courses look at how people interact with digital media and how technology is creating new ways of reaching an audience. This may include analyzing the different types of content or the different platforms. As a result, you may study how to use industry-standard computer software, as well as the creative process of working with a team.

Some of the courses you may take while pursuing your online masters degree in media arts include:

  • Digital Video Production
  • Interactive Multimedia
  • Principles of Game Design
  • Psychology of Media
  • Advanced Animation
  • New Media: History, Theory, and Methods
  • Foundations of Digital Storytelling
  • Interactive Marketing Fundamentals
  • Usable Design for Mobile Digital Media
  • Intermediate Programming for Digital Media

These courses may vary depending on the type of degree you’ve chosen to pursue. In addition, even programs covering similar topics in media arts may have a unique design and different names of courses. Keep this in mind while researching various digital media arts programs.

Common Careers in Digital Media

One of the common careers that graduates of an online masters in digital media pursue is an art director. While many companies look for art directors who have earned a masters degree and have a number of years of experience, more companies are looking for candidates who have earned a masters degree. In addition, some candidates are earning a masters in order to make up for a lack of experience.i

Typically, art directors are responsible for the visual style and imaging in magazines, websites, product packaging, and movie productions. Some of the other responsibilities include:

  • How to best represent a concept visually
  • Develop overall look and feel of a publication, advertising campaign, or film set
  • Lead graphic designers, set designers, and other staff
  • Coordinate activities with other artistic and creative departmentsii

In 2016, the median annual salary for art directors was $89,820 according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).iii

Get Started Here

Are you looking to earn a masters degree where you can combine your creativity and passion for technology? Then click on any of the sponsored listings on this page to read program descriptions and see specific requirements. You can even reach out to schools that get your attention and request more information directly.


[i] bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/art-directors.htm#tab-4 [ii] bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/art-directors.htm#tab-2 [iii] bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/art-directors.htm#tab-5

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