Students interested in studying interactive media will want to seek a degree that offers training in computer programming, digital media and animation. Undergraduate and graduate programs are available at many schools in the U.S.
Interactive Media Schools
Here are a few schools that offer programs that may prepare students for careers in the field of interactive media.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Programs Offered||Tuition (2015-2016)*|
|University of Southern California||Los Angeles, CA||4-year, Private||Bachelor's & Master's||$50,277 (undergraduate), $39,984 (graduate)|
|Carnegie Mellon University||Pittsburgh, PA||4-year, Private||Bachelor's & Master's||$50,665 (undergraduate), $40,625 (graduate)|
|Fashion Institute of Technology||New York, NY||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$5,230 (in-state), $14,230 (out-of-state)|
|Savannah College of Art and Design||Savannah, GA||4-year, Private||Bachelor's & Master's||$34,970 (undergraduate), $35,325 (graduate)|
|The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division||Pittsburgh, PA||4-year, Private||Diploma, Associate's & Bachelor's||$17,016|
|Bradley University||Peoria, IL||4-year, Private||Bachelor's||$31,480|
|Marist College||Poughkeepsie, NY||4-year, Private||Bachelor's||$33,840|
|The Art Institute of Philadelphia||Philadelphia, PA||4-year, Private||Bachelor's||$17,916|
|The Illinois Institute of Art - Chicago||Chicago, IL||4-year, Private||Bachelor's||$17,592|
|North Central College||Naperville, IL||4-year, Private||Bachelor's||$35,421|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
School Selection Criteria
Those who wish to become interactive media designers and developers should take care when choosing an interactive media school. Keep these considerations in mind when looking at programs:
- People in these careers often specialize, so students should make sure the specialization area they are interested in is highlighted in the program. Specialization areas include game development, music video production, desktop applications and real-time 3-D design.
- As many interactive media designers and developers are self-employed, students who want to go into business for themselves should choose a program that includes business courses such as marketing, ethics, business law and finance.
- Prospective students may want to look for schools that require the creation of a portfolio project, which they can use to demonstrates skills to potential employers.
- When looking at schools, prospective students may want to find out about computer lab facilities, so that they can be sure they will have access to top-of-the-line interactive media software and computer equipment.
Associate's Degree Programs
Associate's degree programs in interactive media introduce students to fundamental concepts in design, information technology and communications. Students in these two-year programs must also fulfill general education requirements. At some schools, programs are available in online formats.
Bachelor's Degree Programs
At the bachelor's degree level, it is possible to major in interactive media or to choose the subject as a concentration within a broader media studies program. At some schools, Interactive Media Studies is also offered as a minor. Interactive media programs are highly interdisciplinary, combining computer science concepts with studies in communications and journalism. Students may also be required to complete one or more practicums or internships prior to graduation.
Master's Degree Programs
Both Master of Science (MS) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Interactive Media programs are available. Students take high-level computer and design courses that can provide preparation for careers in a broad range of industries. Some programs require students to choose a particular professional concentration, such as multimedia production, social media or user experience design. In order to graduate, master's students may be required to complete a capstone internship, final project or thesis.
Undergraduate certificate programs in interactive media cover both the technological and aesthetic aspects of media production. Students may gain experience with computer programming, audio production and video editing. In post-baccalaureate and graduate certificate programs, students may explore more advanced concepts in the field. Some of these programs can be completed entirely online in order to accommodate the needs of working professionals.
Interactive media is a broad field that students may train for through a number of different programs that offer specializations in many areas. Because the programs are so varied, students should consider their career goals when deciding on a school.