Graduate Digital Arts
The M.F.A. degree is an intensive, 60-credit studio degree designed to prepare students to become professional artists and/or to teach at the university level. Graduate students are typically awarded a technical assistantship in the first year and a teaching assistantship in the second year. The assistantship also includes a tuition waiver and stipend.
The graduate program in Digital Arts focuses on advanced study in creative expression using digital technology. Students work with digital imaging, interactive multimedia, digital video, 3D modeling and animation, 2D computer animation, and/or virtual reality. Graduate students can choose from one of our three areas of focus or work cross-disciplinary with various techniques and styles.
The focus of the curriculum is artistic expression using 3D animation techniques as a vehicle to communicate ideas. Therefore, as a graduate student, the emphasis is on content development, narrative and non-narrative structures, timing, effective motion, storytelling, and creative expression. Beyond mastering the technical aspects of 3D animation, graduate students are expected to push the creative envelope and produce thought-provoking work that can be shown in animation festivals, art shows, and public screenings. The current curriculum includes technical instruction in inverse kinematics, particle systems and dynamics, deformations, scripting, and compositing as well as advanced modeling, rendering and animation techniques using state-of-the-art software.
The emphasis in interactive multimedia is on creative expression using interactivity. Students can explore various areas of study within the Interactive Multimedia curriculum: World Wide Web art, CD-ROM/DVD-ROM based art, interactive digital installation art, technology-based performance art, immersive virtual reality, game design, etc. Regardless of their area of focus, graduate students are encouraged to create thought-provoking experiences for the viewer/participant. Students are able to merge their interests in imaging, animation, sound, video, interactivity and computer programming through interactive multimedia. Graduate students are expected to work on idea development as well as mastering the technical skills necessary to develop meaningful artwork. Technical instruction is provided using state-of-the-art software and hardware.
Graduate students focusing on digital imaging are encouraged to explore their artistic vision and realize their ideas through the creation of the print. Imaging students utilize digital painting, image manipulation, compositing, and montage. There is a strong focus on print technology, time-based imaging such as video art, installation art, and digital painting. Students in this area use various input devices including digital cameras, video cameras, scanners, and digital tablets to create their art. Students in imaging are encouraged to find and integrate new ideas surrounding the tools, formal composition, content, readings, and concepts and integrate them into their art. Graduate students in 2D imaging use state-of-the-art imaging software and hardware.
Cross Disciplinary Study
Although the Digital Arts MFA program has three distinct areas of focus, graduate students have the opportunity to merge art disciplines and investigate new directions. Students are also able to explore interests in disciplines outside of Digital Arts. For instance, a student may want to explore the integration of drawing, computer programming, sculpture, theater or film with their Digital Arts work.
Students must complete at least 21 of their minimum 60 semester credit hours of coursework within their specialization with 12 hours of studio electives also required. In addition, students must complete 9 credit hours in graduate-student-only courses known as Studio Critiques. These courses foster intensive group dialogue about individual students' work and also serve as a forum for the discussion of relevant contemporary art issues. Students are also required to take 6 hours art history seminar, 3 hours of graduate academic elective, a course (3 hours) on effective teaching (pedagogy), 3 hours of exhibition research, and an additional 3 hours of general elective at the graduate level.