This article talks about master’s degree programs in new media and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, and job and wage outlook.
Master’s Programs in New Media
All forms of computerized or digitized media products are part of the definition of new media. The interdisciplinary field of new media focuses on communications, computer technology, art, production, and design. Armed with a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in New Media, a graduate can become a visionary in the field and hone the skills and knowledge necessary for remaining at the forefront of new technologies. After they complete the program, graduates can expect to be equipped with theoretical knowledge and advanced technical skills related to new media. Coursework covers topic areas such as website design, graphic design, typography and digital audio production.
While prior work experience is not a requirement, applicants for admission would benefit from having previous work experience in a field that focuses on gaining a stronger grasp of current and cutting-edge multimedia tools. Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited school, ideally in an artistic or technological field. A portfolio is a requirement during the application process. The portfolio must contain examples of the student’s designs or digital artwork, and showcase the student’s basic understanding of the design, computer technology, and artistic techniques that will be in the program.
Coursework in an MFA in New Media comprises both theoretical and practical courses. Studio-based practical courses are devised to train students in current digital and computer techniques. Digital concepts, in addition to the roles of design and multimedia in society, are covered in the theoretical courses.
Core coursework is devised to provide students with a foundation in multimedia design. After they complete the core courses, students can opt for a specialization. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:
•Digital audio and visual production
•Interactive design and concepts
Once they complete core courses, electives may be available in subject areas such as computer graphics, gaming design, and computer animation. Before they graduate out of the program, students are required to complete a thesis in a chosen specialization, either as a production/design project or in the form of a research/document-based paper.
Program graduates can pursue various career options, including:
•Web and software designer
•File and database manager
Job and Wage Outlook
Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a slower-than-average job growth of six percent has been predicted for multimedia artists and animators. During the same decade, systems software developers and graphic designers are expected to see respective job growth rates of 22% and 7% (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, multimedia artists and animators brought in an average annual wage of $61,370, while systems software developers and graphic designers earned respective average annual wages of $93,350 and $44,150 (BLS).