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Graduate Degrees in Multimedia: Program Options

Master's programs in multimedia communications focus on content creation, including films, images and interactive media. Doctoral programs in digital media focus more on research than master's degree programs.

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Essential Information

Graduate students in master's or doctoral multimedia programs can usually select a concentration. Individual and group projects are critical components of the curriculum. A multimedia graduate degree program emphasizes teamwork, creative expression and technical skills. A bachelor's degree is required to enter a master's degree program, while a master's degree is typically needed to enter a Ph.D. program


Master of Arts in Multimedia

A master's program in multimedia communications is very project-based; students in this program typically choose a media specialty and develop a multimedia project that meets industry standards. The project will then be evaluated by a board based on its professionalism, interactivity and quality. Students will be educated on how to present themselves professionally on camera as well as directing camera work in studios and at locations. Initially, students gain a foundation in interactive technology theories. Later in the degree program, student teams will produce a large-scale art project. The concepts and topics that may be covered in this master's curriculum include:

  • Multimedia text
  • Multimedia technologies
  • Multimedia equipment
  • Creating interactive content
  • Advanced audio and video
  • Forecasting media trends

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Ph.D. in Digital Media or Digital Arts

A doctoral level degree in digital media awards its students a more theoretical and in-depth foundation in the field of multimedia. It also introduces new forms of artistic exploration, information and communication of knowledge. A Ph.D. in Digital Arts has a strong emphasis on artistic theories and technology aspects of art. There will be some courses in this program, but the emphasis is on the proposal, preparation and execution of a final doctoral project, followed by its defense. The types of topics that may be covered in course study include:

  • Media studies
  • Computer medium
  • Visual culture
  • Interactive design
  • Design of networked media
  • Experimental media

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) predicts job growth of 6% for multimedia artists and animators during the 2014-2024 decade. The median salary for multimedia artists in May of 2015 was $63,970. Those who hold advanced degrees in multimedia are more likely to gain higher-level positions, such as the role of art director. The BLS cited a median annual salary of $89,760 for art directors in May 2015.

Popular Career Options

Some universities offer students of the digital media Ph.D. an assistantship while they are pursuing the degree. This is a graduate assistant job that may earn students a few thousand dollars a month, and in some cases, tuition is waived. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) lists several industries as possible employers for multimedia artists, including video or film production companies, public relations firms, companies that develop and market software or other industries related to computer design.

Multimedia artists and animators looking to advance their careers may be interested in pursuing a Master of Arts in Multimedia or a Ph.D. in Digital Media or Arts. Both of these programs may culminate with a multimedia project.

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