We are excited to introduce revamped IMA Program requirements and an upgraded curricular design that officially goes into effect January 1, 2015. 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 was a two-year process involving 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 and present it for approval by the IMA Graduate Committee, the Film and Media Studies Department, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Hunter College Senate, and by New York State.

Program Requirements Prior to January 1, 2015

To fulfill the 48-credit degree requirement, the student must take:

  • IMA 701 – Social and Historical Roots of Mass Culture
  • At least two additional ANALYTICAL seminars 6 credits
  • Interdisciplinary Research in ancillary field 3 credits
  • Ten workshops within: WORDS, VISIONS*, CHANNELS* 30 credits. Students must take at least two courses and no more than four courses within each creative cluster. Some workshop courses may qualify within more than one cluster as indicated in the course description.
  • IMA 781 – Collaborative Media Project/Creative Residency
  • IMA 788 – Master of Fine Arts Thesis Project

Program Requirements After January 1, 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will the new program requirements become official?

Spring 2015 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?

Students who matriculated prior to fall 2014 are subject to the program requirements that were in place when they entered the program. We encourage students who began in the fall of 2013 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. Placing out of Visual Culture, Documentary 1, and Advanced is rare.

To place out of Emerging Media 1 or 2 or the History and Theory of Emerging Media contact Professor Ricardo Miranda.

To place out of Documentary 1 or 2 or the History and Theory of Documentary contact Professor Shanti Thakur.

To place out of Visual Culture contact Professor Martin Lucas.

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.

If I’m exempted from a requirement, does that change the number of credits required for a degree?

No. You must still complete the 48 credits required for a degree.

Does it matter in what order I take the required courses?

We designed the curriculum to function sequentially, with first level and second level foundational courses reflected in the course prerequisites. See the “Curriculum Map” (link) for a recommended course path.

What if I prefer to take more elective courses?

Elective courses are primarily taken after you complete the required courses and pass your 1st Crit. Some elective courses can be taken after you complete the first level of foundational requirements. Check the prerequisites. Registration preference will be given to students who have completed all foundational requirements.

Many elective courses have Social and Historical Roots and Tools and Techniques as pre-requisites, but these courses are not offered regularly. What do I do?

Don’t worry. The new requirements fulfill the prerequisites. The pre-requisites for all elective courses have been updated to provide alternate prerequisites (e.g. Visual Culture, Documentary 1, and Emerging Media 1), depending on the course in question. Social and Historical Roots and Tools and Techniques remain as prerequisite options for those students who took them under the former curricular structure. Eventually, they will be removed as pre-requisites.

What if I want to take more classes outside of the IMA Program?

With the Interdisciplinary Course option (formerly a requirement), you can take one three-credit course outside of the program.

Requests to take additional courses outside the program must be submitted to the Program Director, along with a rationale supporting the request.

Students are limited to a total of 12 credits from outside the program, including transfer credits. For instance, a student with 9 transfer credits can only take 3 additional credits outside the program.

How do I get transfer credit?

You must present your transcript along with supporting material such as syllabi and course work to the Program Director. Only graduate level courses related to the IMA Program curriculum will be considered for transfer credit. The program will make transfer credit decisions on a case-by-case basis.

Is there a limit on transfer credits?

Yes, 9 credits. This limit is set by Hunter College.

What if I want to do an independent study?

Independent studies are rare and reserved for extraordinary circumstances. Independent Study proposals must first be approved by a full time faculty member and then by the Program Director. The proposals should provide a rationale detailing a compelling need sufficient to override independent studies’ drain on faculty and program resources.

Can I do an independent study with an adjunct professor or someone outside Hunter College?


Can an independent study satisfy one of the program’s course requirements?


Can I take advanced studio more than once?

Yes. You can take it twice for credit.

If I matriculated prior to the fall of 2013, do I still have to satisfy the Words, Channels, and Visions requirements?

Since the program has eliminated the Words, Channels, and Visions course distinctions, current courses no longer fall under one of those categories. Instead, you must take a minimum of 10 production courses and 3 analytical courses. Most courses are classified as either analytical or production, and you can find that information in our website’s “Courses” section.

Can a course designated as analytical ever count toward the production requirement or vice versa?

Yes. Several courses have an analytical and production component with an emphasis that may vary by semester and instructor. Discuss your request with the Program Director.

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.

When should I take a leave of absence?

The Graduate Leave of Absence form states: “such leaves of absences are approved only for reasons of documented disabling illness, maternity, military service, or other unusual circumstances.”

What constitutes “unusual circumstances?”

If the IMA Program determines that you have compelling creative, professional, or personal reasons for requesting a leave, then we will recommend to the College that your request be approved. To date, the College has approved all leave of absence requests endorsed by the IMA Program. If you have a unique job opportunity, artist residency, or research or production on a project that requires you to be away from New York for an extended period, then you should talk to us about getting a leave of absence.

What’s the difference between a leave of absence and just not registering for any classes?

A leave of absence freezes your time to degree deadline. Students who do not complete their degree within five years, must request an extension. The IMA program and the College reserve the right to deny time extension requests. Therefore, if you are going to be away from the program for a semester, and you have legitimate reasons supporting your absence, then you should make your absence an official one by applying for a leave of absence. This helps the IMA program and the college, as well as the students.