Program Description

The MFA Program in Integrated Media Arts (IMA) offers advanced studies in nonfiction media making. The IMA Program educates multi-disciplinary, socially engaged media makers in a diverse range of skills across the media landscape. Working with faculty from film, video, emerging media, and journalism backgrounds, students learn to conceptualize, create and distribute innovative, politically and socially engaged expression using contemporary media technologies.

The IMA Program offers a 48-credit course of study, combining analytical seminars, interdisciplinary research, and creative workshops in writing, visual communication, and media production, and culminating in an advanced thesis project and paper. IMA students can also engage in collaborative production labs, intensive tech workshops, a teaching mentorship program, and outside creative residencies. The IMA Program’s robust non-credit offerings include the IMA film screening series, visiting artist lectures as well as master classes and student critiques with prominent artists and media makers. Student work in the program has included single channel documentaries, interactive websites, handmade electro-mechanical devices, public exhibitions, interactive installations, transmedia narratives, live performances, and rich media for the expanding spectrum of screen based platforms. The IMA program has an ongoing commitment to the role of sound in nonfiction media, to learn more about sound studies in the IMA program click here. Building on a foundation of research and analysis, IMA students explore and create new ways to advance information and ideas, balancing critical thinking with aesthetics, contemporary issues with an historical perspective, theory with practice, and traditional methods with new technologies.

We invite you to see our full course listing and descriptions for a sense of the innovative IMA MFA curriculum.

Program Requirements and Curriculum

Students must take the following courses:

  • IMA 700: Visual Culture Seminar, or IMA 701: Social and Historical Roots of Arts and Culture
  • IMA 702: History and Theory of Emerging Media
  • IMA 709: History and Theory of the Documentary
  • IMA 750: Emerging Media 1
  • IMA 751: Documentary 1
  • IMA 752: Emerging Media 2 (new course)
  • IMA 753: Documentary 2
  • EITHER: IMA 754 Advanced Studio: Emerging Media, OR: IMA 755 Advanced Studio: Documentary

Students must complete the following non-credit requirements:

  • Collaborative Residency: Students are required to complete a Collaborative Residency, which can be an in-house project or external creative residency that must be defined in conjunction with the graduate adviser and must involve collaboration among different media makers. For more information see the IMA Collaborative Residency Requirement.
  • Critique Sessions: Students must pass two critique sessions in order to begin work on the Thesis Project. Students who do not pass either the First or Second Critique after three attempts must withdraw from the IMA Program. For more information see the IMA Critique Policy.
  • Thesis Requirements: To graduate, students have a maximum of two years to complete the creative component of the Thesis Project, present this project to a panel of three advisors in a Thesis Defense, submit a Thesis Paper that is approved by the Primary Thesis Advisor and conforms to the College’s guidelines for Master’s Theses in Arts & Sciences, and exhibit the Thesis Project in the IMA Program’s Thesis Show. For more information see the IMA Thesis Guide.

Students must fulfill all degree requirements within five years of matriculating.


Can I place out of requirements?

In some cases, students can place out of requirements based on prior graduate study or the equivalent in professional experience. To do so, we require a substantive correlation between the student’s experience and the course content and projects of the class in question. To place out of a course, you must make a written appeal to the program director and course instructor that includes a detailed rationale along with relevant supporting materials.

What if I am part-time?

Our new program requirements have been designed to apply to part-time and full-time students. Ideally, incoming students will take the 3 required 1st level foundational courses in the fall semester. If you can only take 2 classes in your first semester, we recommend that you take the Visual Culture Seminar and either Documentary 1 or Emerging Media 1.

Why aren’t all the foundational requirements offered every semester?

Unfortunately, we do not have the requisite resources to run courses in both the fall and spring semesters. We have offered required production courses and technical workshops during the winter term (January) and we hope to do so again.

What about offering required classes during the summer?

We are expanding our summer course offerings including running our required foundation classes during summer session.

What if I really want to focus in one discipline primarily?

You will get that opportunity once you have completed your 1st crit. Students have flexibility in shaping their academic and creative focus once they have completed the foundational requirements. We have instituted these requirements because we want to ensure that all of our students develop solid grounding in integrated media prior to concentrating in one area.

Will I be able to take any electives before completing my foundational requirements?

Yes. Some electives can be taken starting in your 2nd semester. We have created prerequisites that support a tiered curriculum, while preserving student flexibility.