Undergraduate Program in Media Arts and Design

The College of the University of Chicago offers an undergraduate major and minor in Media Arts and Design. The digital aspects of this program are supported by courses and tutorials offered by the Forum for Digital Culture. The staff of the Forum also provide computational support for faculty projects in media arts.

In the twenty-first century, “media” and “design” have become central terms. Media often refers to a wide range of storage and communication technologies, as well as the cultures and systems they connect. Design is no longer a term used simply to describe surface aesthetics or ornamentation, but now encompasses a wide range of human interactions with technical devices, environments, and communities that shape daily life. Overall, designed digital and networked media inspire feelings of attachment as well as frustration with few rivals in any contemporary cultural sphere. If you consider the number of screens in your immediate vicinity, it becomes evident how substantial an impact media arts and design have on the ways we learn, work, play, think, act, and communicate.

The Media Arts and Design (MAAD) program focuses on these rapid developments in media and design that have changed the character of contemporary life, opening these phenomena up to historical study, theoretical critique, and hands-on experimentation. MAAD offers possible pathways through video game design, transmedia puzzle development, digital filmmaking, electronic sound design, digital storytelling, algorithmic theater, podcast development, data visualization, computational imaging, speculative design, and media history and theory.

Students focusing in Media Arts and Design will be trained in critical, formal, theoretical, and historical thinking and analysis. The curriculum fosters discussion and writing skills as well as creativity and experimentation. Students will gain the tools to approach today’s media environment and industries with critical, historical, and cultural perspectives.

Resources for students in this program are provided by the Media Arts, Data, and Design Center in Crerar Library, which includes the Hack Arts Lab and the Weston Game Lab. Additional resources are provided by the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation Media Center

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