Visual Language and Interactive Media This is a Track

College : Arts and Humanities Degree :MA
Department : School of Visual Arts and Design Option : Thesis, Nonthesis
Program Websites :


In the Visual Language and Interactive Media track of the Digital Media MA program students explore new media in creative and research projects that foster a unique contribution characterized as innovative in approach.


During the first academic year, students take required courses as dictated by the student’s plan of study and electives suggested by their adviser. The MA graduate program coordinator is the adviser for all nonthesis students. The coordinator is also the adviser for all thesis students until a Digital Media MA faculty mentor agrees to work with the student. The faculty mentor then becomes the student’s graduate adviser.

In the second year, students who select the thesis option will complete core and required course work as well as thesis research. Thesis students must be accepted by a faculty member for supervision in order to carry out the required thesis study. Thesis option students are encouraged to begin this process immediately upon entering the program by meeting faculty who work in areas of interest complementary to the student’s. Nonthesis option students will complete core, required course work and electives as recommended by the MA program coordinator.   

Typically, students entering or continuing professional careers following the MA should select the nonthesis option. Those who plan to enter doctoral programs should select the thesis option.

Total Credit Hours Required:
36 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor's Degree

Required Courses—21 Credit Hours

  • DIG 6647 Science and Technology of Dynamic Media (3 credit hours)
  • DIG 5137 Information Architecture (3 credit hours)
  • DIG 5487 Principles of Visual Language (3 credit hours)
  • DIG 6432 Transmedia Story Creation (3 credit hours)
  • DIG 6136 Design for Media (3 credit hours)
  • DIG 6546 Previsualization and Concept Development (3 credit hours)
  • DIG 6551 Applied Interactive Story (3 credit hours) 

Thesis Option—15 Credit Hours 

  • DIG 6825 Digital Media Research Methods (3 credit hours)
  • DIG 6918 Directed Research (3 credit hours)
  • DIG 6605 Physical Computing (3 credit hours)
  • DIG 6971 Thesis/Research Report (6 credit hours)

Each candidate for the Master of Arts submits a thesis prospectus and preliminary bibliography on a topic selected in consultation with the adviser. The formal thesis is initiated by the preparation of a proposal that meets both departmental and university requirements for the thesis. Prior to enrollment into thesis credit hours, the adviser, in consultation with the student, designates a Thesis Committee to be further approved by the College Graduate Dean. This committee is chaired by the adviser and includes two or more additional faculty members from the School of Visual Arts and Design.

The members of the student’s thesis committee judge the proposal as the preliminary step to beginning the thesis. This committee must approve the Thesis Proposal before academic credit can accrue.

The thesis is a formal written document. The introduction cites similar, related, and antecedent work. The body explains the purposes of the project, the method of its production, and any evaluation that was performed. The conclusion includes plans for future work. The thesis also includes an archival copy of the resulting creative product. Both the thesis and the creative product must be delivered in digital form, acceptable by the UCF library according to its standards for digital dissertations and theses.

Thesis Defense

In addition to a written thesis, the final step in completing the thesis requirement is an oral defense before the thesis committee. Candidates must present their creative or research work and explain its creation in an oral defense. These presentations are made to the student’s committee in a public meeting that other faculty and students may attend.

Nonthesis Option—15 Credit Hours

Students selecting the nonthesis option are required to complete 6 addtional credit hours of required courses and 9 credit hours of electives:

  • DIG 6812 Digital Interaction for Informal Learning (3 credit hours)
  • DIG 5565C Digital Asset Management (3 credit hours)
  • Electives (9 credit hours)

Many graduate-level courses in the College of Arts and Humanities can be used as electives, based on an adviser-approved plan of study. In addition, other graduate courses may be used in place of those listed above, with permission of the adviser. These courses must be selected so as to ensure that at least one-half of the courses in the student’s plan of study are taken at the 6000 level.

Comprehensive Examinations

Digital Media MA students must take a Comprehensive Examination. The process is designed to evaluate both the students’ basic knowledge and competencies, and their ability to synthesize and apply what they know in depth—that is, both the breadth and depth of student learning in the Program. It is not intended to test specific course content for which students have already been evaluated and graded. The exam is designed to test the student's ability to respond and substantiate the response in a professional and educated fashion.

The Comprehensive Examination consists of five general categories. Students answer four questions in a total maximum time of four hours. Students will be given the opportunity to select one question from any four of the five categories,  i.e., 1. Technology and Theory:  development , effects, uses; 2. Media history:  New media, cinema, television;   

Independent Learning

Students who elect the thesis option engage in independent learning through the design and implementation of original research in the thesis process. Students who pursue the comprehensive exam option experience independent learning through their individual preparation for comprehensive exams. All students engage in independent learning in every Digital Media core course. A research paper or project is required in each of these classes. The papers and projects provide independent learning by requiring students to design and carry out research projects and develop analytical papers, some of which are submitted to conferences and/or journals for peer review. Internships and independent studies are also common opportunities for independent learning in the Digital Media MA Program.

Application Requirements

For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.

In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirements, applicants to this must provide:

  • One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended.
  • A bachelor’s degree in a media-related creative or technical field such as art, film, animation, theater, music, digital media, computer science, English or education in the arts.
  • Official, competitive GRE score taken within the last five years.
  • A written statement (not to exceed 250 words) describing the student’s personal goals, objectives, and research interests in seeking the degree.
  • Three letters of recommendation from former professors or employers who can address applicant’s ability to undertake graduate-level courses.

Desirable background skills for this degree include computer and software literacy. Examples include mastery of Macintosh and PC workstations that are configured with a diverse range of hardware and software for production and editing of images and sound for stories and messages.

Meeting minimum UCF admission criteria does not guarantee program admission. Final admission is based on evaluation of the applicant’s abilities, past performance, recommendations, match of this program and faculty expertise to the applicant’s career/academic goals, the applicant’s potential for completing the degree, and the current applicant pool.

Application Deadlines

Visual Language and Interactive Media *Fall Priority Fall Spring Summer
Domestic Applicants Jan 15Jul 15



International Applicants Jan 15Jan 15



International Transfer Applicants Jan 15Mar 1



*Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.


Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.


Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.