Boston Digital Media Colleges with Degree Program Summaries

Feb 15, 2019

Boston has several schools less than five miles from its downtown that offer digital media programs. Learn about the degree programs, admission info, and program requirements for three of these schools to make an informed education decision.

Boston Colleges with Digital Media Programs

There are three noteworthy schools in the Boston area that offer undergraduate or graduate programs in digital media. Find information about the schools and their programs below, as well as well as a description of a community college that offers a specialized 2-year program in media arts.

  • The largest of these schools, Northeastern University, is a private non-profit institution with a renovated section of its library devoted to digital media resources and equipment. The university is located about two miles from downtown Boston and offers a professional master's degree program in digital media.
  • Another option is the bachelor's program in writing with a digital media major, offered by the writing department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), located just under two miles from the downtown. Students at this school can attend a public reading series focused on presenting digital media pieces.
  • Students can also find an undergraduate program at Emerson College, a 4-year, private institution located less than a mile from downtown Boston. The school is part of an association of area colleges dedicated to supporting performing and visual arts education.

Comparison of Schools

The following table can provide you with a statistical snapshot of the three private schools featured in this article. Notable figures include undergraduate tuition for the 2017-2018 school year.

Northeastern University Massachusetts Institute of Technology Emerson College
School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, private not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2017) 21,489* 11,466* 4,459*
Campus Setting Large city Midsized city Large city
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $23,688 (graduate)* $49,892 (undergraduate)* $44,832 (undergraduate)*
% of First-Year Undergraduate Students Receiving Any Form of Aid (2016-2017) 75% 84%* 76%*
Undergraduate Acceptance Rate (2017) 27% 7%* 46%*
Undergraduate Retention Rate (2016-2017) 97% 99% (full-time students)* 88% (full-time students)*
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (students beginning in Fall 2011) 87% 94%* 81%*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

Northeastern University

When students first enter Northeastern's graduate-level digital media program, they're arranged into long-term groups that remain in place throughout the program's duration. Thus, students progress through the entire program with the same group of peers, an arrangement intended to foster leadership, collaboration, and project management capabilities.

Master of Professional Studies in Digital Media

The digital media program at Northeastern offers six areas of concentration: digital media management, interactive design, 3-D animation, digital video, social media and game design. Students in all concentrations study areas like web creation for content management systems, creative practice in information technology (IT), digital storytelling, and sound design. They're also required to complete a thesis.

Students in the digital media management track take concentration classes, such as interactive marketing and project management, while the interactive design curriculum incorporates coursework like usability and human interaction, information design, and interactive typography. Students pursuing an emphasis in 3-D animation take courses on topics like compositing, 3-D modeling, and character animation.

In the digital video concentration, students complete classes in digital editing and camera lighting, while in the social media emphasis, they study subjects like content strategy and the management of social media channels. The game design concentration incorporates instruction in game development, design basics, and game engine fundamentals.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

MIT's digital media major can be found within the school's Writing and Humanistic Studies Department. The program offers instruction that spans digital narratives to nonlinear communication. Students who enroll in a degree program in writing can also select a major in science writing or creative writing.

Bachelor of Science in Writing with a Digital Media Major

The digital media curriculum at MIT comprises courses on such topics as interactive narrative and interactive fiction and poetry. Students additionally undergo study in subjects including Web-based media communication, the digital word and video games. Digital media majors also complete a senior thesis, which includes an initial verbal presentation, a final written revision, and a subsequent evaluation.

Emerson College

The Department of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson has a faculty of approximately 60. Students can earn a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in media production. Within this program, they can select from 12 specialization options, including one in interactive media. The interactive media focus affords students the opportunity to work with DVD, Web, and CD-ROM formats.

Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies or Bachelor of Fine Arts in Media Arts Production with a specialization in interactive media

To earn the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Media Studies or the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Media Arts Production with a specialization in interactive media, students must complete coursework in subjects such as media arts history, media theory, and foundations in media arts production. Students also choose a minimum number of credits from among topics including motion graphics, new media audio, feature film writing, computer animation, new media aesthetics, and Western art, to name a few.

The curricula for both programs encompass upper-level electives in disciplines like history, political science, and philosophy. However, BFA candidates also take 16 credits in focused interactive media study. In addition, they're required to complete two semesters of a production workshop class during their senior years, as well as a yearlong thesis project.

Other School Options

Students can find additional digital and interactive media courses at 2-year schools, such as Bunker Hill Community College, a public school less than two miles from downtown Boston. The institution offers an Associate in Science in Visual Design program with an emphasis option in integrated media design.

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