Master's Degrees in Media Arts

A master's degree program in the media arts is an interdisciplinary course of study that can include topics in advertising, film or multimedia content. Read on for information about course topics, career options and salaries. Schools offering Multimedia Design & Development degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is Media Arts?

In the field of media arts, practitioners use photographs, text, video and sound to inform and entertain individuals or audiences. Media arts is an interdisciplinary field; it often includes topics related to journalism, audio recording, advertising, film studies and graphic design. You could earn a Master of Arts in Media Studies, a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Media Art or a Master of Science in Media Arts and Sciences. Related degrees include an MFA in Media Design.

Degree TypesM.A. in Media Studies, MFA in Media Arts, M.S. in Media Arts and Sciences, MFA in Media Design
Common CoursesInfluencing social change, ethics in media and design, the human-computer connection, media entrepreneurship
Online AvailabilityPrograms can be completed entirely online
Salary$63,630* (median salary for multimedia artists and animators in 2014), $54,890 (median salary for editors in 2014), and $85,610 (median salary for art directors in 2014)

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Learn in a Master's Program?

To be admitted into a master's program, you must have a bachelor's degree; you'll usually be expected to submit a creative portfolio as well. In a master's program, you might study topics like brand creation, computer animation, the cultural context of media, the media business and audio production. Additional courses could include:

  • Influencing social change
  • Ethics in media and design
  • The human-computer connection
  • Media entrepreneurship

Most master's programs can be tailored to the needs of an individual student; many programs will ask you to select an area of specialization, like sound design, film documentaries or animation. You'll usually need to write a thesis paper or create a final project in order to earn your degree.

Are Online Programs Available?

Some media arts master's programs can be completed online. These programs may be more flexible than campus-based programs; however, you'll still be required to visit your school's online learning platform one or more times per week to watch instructional videos and complete assignments. Similar to campus-based programs, online master's programs often culminate in a thesis paper or final project.

How Can I Use This Degree?

With a master's degree in media arts, you could find work as a multimedia artist, an animator, an editor or an art director. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), multimedia artists and animators often work in the film, advertising and computer industries (www.bls.gov). In 2014, multimedia artists and animators earned a median salary of $63,630, as reported by the BLS.

Editors may select and edit content for Web-based organizations, newspaper companies or periodical publishers. Art directors often choose artwork, plan digital layouts and oversee the visual direction of a project for advertisers and publishers. According to the BLS, editors earned a median annual salary of $54,890 in 2014; art directors made a median annual wage of $85,610 during the same year.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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