Digital Media Schools in New York City with Degree Summaries

Feb 26, 2019

There are several schools within approximately nine miles of New York City's downtown that have digital media programs. Read an overview of three schools' programs, requirements and admission info, and find out which school is the right one for you.

New York City Schools with Digital Media Programs

Digital media encompasses a variety of fields, such as computer-aided drafting, art, technology, digital media production, website design and communication. In New York City, students can pursue digital media programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, which can be found at city, state and private schools. Read summaries of the programs at these three schools, and use the accompanying table to get a statistical snapshot of each college.

  • The City College of New York, located roughly six miles from downtown Manhattan, is the flagship college of the City University of New York (CUNY) system. City College offers several programs in electronic design and media through its art department.
  • The Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan's Garment District is found in the center of the city. Part of the State University of New York (SUNY), it was originally established for people training to work in the apparel industry and currently offers cutting-edge programs in the arts, business and communications, among other areas.
  • Located in Brooklyn just four miles from downtown Manhattan, the Pratt Institute is a liberal arts college with an art-based focus. Digital design and media programs are offered through the institute's art and design school.

Comparison of Schools

The following table includes information about undergraduate tuition and financial aid, as well as acceptance, retention and graduation rates. Note the acceptance rates at the individual schools - they're not all that easy to get into!

The City College of New York (CUNY) Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY) Pratt Institute
School Type 4-year; public 4-year; public 4-year; private not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2017) 16,001* 8,846* 5,035*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $6,940 in-state; $14,330 out-of-state* $5,483 in-state; $14,863 out-of-state* $50,038*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Any Form of Aid (2016-2017) 86%* 73%* 84%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) 46%* 47%* 57%*
Retention Rate (2016-2017) 86% for full-time students; 73% for part-time students* 89% for full-time students; 44% for part-time students* 88% for full-time students*
Graduation Rate (for students who began in Fall 2011) 50%* 77%* 66%*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

The City College of New York (CUNY)

With the exception of the Bachelor of Arts (BA) program, applicants to any of the following programs at City College must submit a portfolio. Applicants to the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program may also need to sit for an interview. Bachelor's programs require general education coursework.

Bachelor of Arts in Art - Studio Option

The studio option in the BA program is designed with a 21-credit elective block that students use to focus on an area of art, such as electronic design and multimedia (EDM). Required art courses in the BA program include introductory visual art, 2-D and 3-D design and art history. EDM electives include classes in typography, digital photography, multimedia design and digital video.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Electronic Design and Multimedia

The BFA program begins with foundational principles of design and then proceeds to courses in advanced design for visual communications media. After taking core classes in art history and art, students take major classes in graphic and electronic design, illustration and digital video. Students are required to create and defend a thesis to graduate.

Master of Fine Arts in Digital and Interdisciplinary Art Practice

Applicants to this program need an art- or computer-related bachelor's degree and a portfolio of art, interactive or related computer work. During the 2-year program, students take courses covering different aspects of research and technology, and they participate in critique workshops that involve individual and group critiques. MFA students also teach and take a teaching course. A final thesis must be produced and defended prior to graduation.

Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY)

The bachelor's degree program at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) requires 30 credits of general education classes in addition to major courses. All students must submit a portfolio as part of their application materials, and they must have completed at least 60 credits toward a bachelor's degree prior to application.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Computer Animation and Interactive Media

Coursework in this program covers topics such as programming, history and principles of animation, storyboarding, motion graphics and 3-D computer animation. Seniors prepare and produce an interactive or animated project that is critiqued throughout all stages of production; this project can also be used as a career portfolio.

Pratt Institute

Pratt requires submission of a portfolio as part of the application process for any of its degree programs. Applicants to the digital arts MFA program must have a bachelor's degree in design, animation or art.

Associate of Occupational Studies in Game Design & Interactive Media

This program is designed as a professional degree with coursework that is entirely focused on art and design. Over the course of four semesters, students take classes in drawing, animation, motion graphics, interactive media and game production. During the final semester, students take a portfolio class that summarizes their courses and focuses on production of a portfolio. They also take a course in mobile app design.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Arts

The BFA program has 3-D animation, interactive arts and 2-D animation concentrations. Initial coursework covers basic drawing, 3-D design and art history, while later coursework includes computer graphics and required concentration classes. Animation concentration courses cover modeling, lighting, video editing and audio for digital media. Interactive arts concentration topics include design history, coding and visualization. All students in the BFA program produce a senior computer graphics project that can be used as a portfolio for job interviews.

Master of Fine Arts in Digital Arts

The MFA program offers areas of emphasis in digital animation and motion arts, interactive arts and digital imaging. During the first semester of the MFA program, students take courses in digital arts, imaging and programming languages and then proceed to take coursework in their area of concentration. All MFA candidates are required to produce a thesis project that also explains the research and production process of the project.

Other School Options

In the city, New York University offers bachelor's and master's degree programs in integrated digital media. Coursework in the program includes web design, motion capture and digital media. Lehman College, located in the Bronx, offers a bachelor's degree program in computer graphics and imaging. The CW Post Campus of Long Island University in Brookville offers a BFA program in digital art and design.

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