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. 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.

New IMA Program Requirements and Curriculum

We are excited to introduce revamped IMA Program requirements and an upgraded curricular design. All our changes are designed to enhance the IMA Program and achieve our educational and artistic goals for our graduate students.

Updating the IMA curriculum has been more than a two-year process.It has involved all IMA faculty members, in consultation with students and alumni. During the 2013 – 2014 academic year, elements of the new curriculum were implemented on a provisional basis. This provided us with an opportunity to refine it based on faculty and student experiences during this past year. We then adjusted our proposed changes accordingly, and the college recently approved them.

Our new curriculum has been voted on and endorsed by the IMA Graduate Committee, the Film and Media Studies Department, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Hunter College senate. We anticipate its inclusion in the June CUNY Chancellor’s Report, with official implementation set for spring semester 2015.

Eliminated Requirements:

  1. Eliminated the Words, Channels, Visions course clusters and associated requirements;
  2. Eliminated IMA 781 Collaborative Media Project/Creative Residency as a 3-credit requirement;
  3. Eliminated IMA 792 Interdisciplinary Research as a requirement; and
  4. Eliminated IMA 701 Social and Historical Roots of Mass Culture as a requirement.

New Program Requirements:

Students must take the following courses:

  • IMA 700: Visual Culture Seminar
  • IMA 702: History and Theory of Emerging Media (formerly The History of New Media)
  • IMA 709: History and Theory of the Documentary (formerly History and Criticism of the Documentary)
  • IMA 750: Emerging Media 1 (formerly IMA 760 Tools and Techniques of Digital Production)
  • IMA 751: Documentary 1 (formerly IMA 740 Documentary Expressions)
  • IMA 752: Emerging Media 2 (new course)
  • IMA 753: Documentary 2 (formerly IMA 741 Non-fiction Production)
  • EITHER: IMA 754 Advanced Studio: Emerging Media (formerly IMA 795.71 Advanced Studio Channels), OR: IMA 755 Advanced Studio: Documentary (formerly IMA 795.61 Advanced Studio Visions)

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 Program Guidelines.
  • 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 Program Guidelines.
  • 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 Program Guidelines.

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

[LINK to change in program requirement proposal]


When will the new program requirements become official?

The implementation date is set for the spring 2015 semester. For students entering the program in the fall 2014 semester, we urge you to take what will officially become the 1st semester foundational requirements so that you will be prepared when these requirements are activated in your 2nd semester.

Who will be subject to the new requirements?

Students entering the program in the fall of 2014 or later will be subject to the new program requirements.

What impact does the new curriculum have on current students?

Current students are subject to the program requirements that were in place when they entered the program. For students who enter the program in the fall of 2013, we encourage you to follow a course of study that aligns with our new curriculum.

The collaborative residency and interdisciplinary requirements were transitioned from 3 credit courses to non-credit program requirements. Current students can choose whether they want to satisfy these requirements by registering and paying for 3 credit courses under the current curriculum, or by completing these as noncredit requirements in accordance with the new curriculum, which creates 6 additional credits students can use for other courses.

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 exploring ways to expand our summer course offerings, including the possibility of running required foundational classes during the 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.

Do the new requirements change the timing of the 1st crit?

Under our current requirements, students must present at their 1st crit in the semester in which they complete their 5th production course. Under the new requirements, students will crit after completing the Visual Culture Seminar and their foundational production requirements. Ideally, students will also have completed their other analytical requirements by this time.

Have you raised the total number of credits required for graduation?

No. Our degree requirements remain at 48 credits.

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.

Will the new requirements delay my progress through the program?

No. In fact, by eliminating the words, channels, and visions distribution requirements, we have made it easier for students who want to move quickly through the program to do so. We have also preserved a part-time option and reasonable opportunities to tailor your path through the program to meet your particular circumstances and goals.

Why have course titles and numbers been changed?

These are primarily cosmetic changes designed to present a more coherent and clear curricular design. Our goal is to make it easy for our students to understand program requirements and student options.

Were students consulted during this process?

Yes. Many of the changes resulted from specific student feedback.