Master of Science in Digital Media

About the Program

Master of Science: 63.0 quarter credits

Digital Media, also known as New Media, is an exciting, and rapidly expanding hybrid field of research, study and practice. Over the past decade, it has grown from a highly specialized activity to an approachable subject that sparks global attention in areas of entertainment, business, engineering and health care.

The MS in digital media is a hybrid course of study created to offer students research and career opportunities in 21st century media applications. This two-year program offers comprehensive studies in advanced digital design including 3D modeling, animation, interactivity, gaming and digital media history, theory and methods.

The curriculum for the Master of Science in Digital Media offers a mix of academic course work and project-related activities. Projects consist of funded grant research opportunities, industry-sponsored projects and independent, student-generated and faculty-approved projects. 

Professional Opportunities

Opportunities abound for individuals who master the artistic and the interactive aspects of digital media design. Three-dimensional, fully interactive and immersive environments have become the norm in research and practical applications. As the field expands, the need for qualified artists, researchers and New Media entrepreneurs grows.

For more information, visit Drexel's Graduate Studies in Digital Media web page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Admission Requirements

The MS in Digital Media is an advance course of study. A successful applicant for admission will have a baccalaureate degree, a minimum 3.2 undergraduate GPA and assumed production skills in 3-D modeling, animation and interactivity.

Proof of basic competencies is demonstrated by undergraduate transcript and/or portfolio review. For qualified candidates lacking production skills, we offer a series of pre-graduate classes. Satisfactory completion of the classes qualifies one to apply for graduate admission. Pre-graduate classes may include some or all for the following:

CS 171Computer Programming I3.0
CS 172Computer Programming II3.0
DIGM 100Digital Design Tools3.0
DIGM 505Design and Interactivity3.0
DIGM 506Animation and Game Design3.0

 

For additional information on requirements and how to apply, visit Graduate Admissions at Drexel University.

Degree Requirements

Students are required to take a Digital Media History, Theory and Methods course and an advanced seminar for a total of six credits, as well as a minimum of nine courses in advanced modeling animation and interactivity.

During the first year, students also take three New Media Project courses (9.0 credits); these courses provide opportunities to work on funded and unfunded research and industry projects under the guidance of a graduate faculty member. With faculty approval, students may also work on personally designed projects relevant to problem solving in a student's specific area of interest.

In addition, students are required to take 12.0 credits (a minimum of four courses) of directed studies in support of developing knowledge in an area—outside of media and design—to which digital media skills may be applied. The set of directed studies will be determined by the students and their graduate advisors. Possible areas for this focus include, but are not limited to, computer science, information science, bio-medical technology, social science, humanities and education.

Thesis Project

During the second year of study, each student develops and produces a master's thesis project. By the third week of the fall term students submit a proposal to the Digital Media Graduate Committee. Upon approval of the proposal, the student works toward thesis completion, including:

  • an oral presentation to the college
  • a written statement to the committee
  • a copy of the completed media work for the graduate program archive

The thesis project must demonstrate domain knowledge of the agreed upon classes. The media component of the project must demonstrate expertise in 3D modeling/animation and/or interactivity.


Summer Prerequisite Courses
Design and Interactivity
Animation and Game Design
Required Courses
DIGM 501New Media: History, Theory and Methods3.0
DIGM 502Advanced New Media Topics3.0
DIGM 520Advanced Interactivity I3.0
DIGM 525Advanced Animation I3.0
DIGM 526Advanced Animation II3.0
DIGM 530Advanced Game Design I3.0
DIGM 531Advanced Game Design II3.0
DIGM 580Thesis Preparation3.0
DIGM 540New Media Project (3.0 credits, taken 3 terms)9.0
DIGM 620Digital Media Workshop3.0
DIGM 630Digital Media Group Workshop3.0
DIGM 650Public Venue Seminar3.0
DIGM 651Publication and Presentation3.0
Thesis 9.0
Directed Studies9.0
Total Credits63.0

Sample Plan of Study

Students must complete two prerequisite courses in the summer, prior to beginning the graduate program: DIGM 505 Design and Interactivity and DIGM 506 Animation and Game Design.

First Year
FallCredits
DIGM 501New Media: History, Theory and Methods3.0
DIGM 520Advanced Interactivity I3.0
DIGM 525Advanced Animation I3.0
 Term Credits9.0
Winter
DIGM 526Advanced Animation II3.0
DIGM 530Advanced Game Design I3.0
DIGM 540New Media Project3.0
 Term Credits9.0
Spring
DIGM 502Advanced New Media Topics3.0
DIGM 531Advanced Game Design II3.0
DIGM 540New Media Project3.0
 Term Credits9.0
Summer
DIGM 540New Media Project3.0
DIGM 580Thesis Preparation3.0
Directed studies3.0
 Term Credits9.0
Second Year
Fall
DIGM 620Digital Media Workshop3.0
DIGM 680Thesis Development3.0
Directed studies3.0
 Term Credits9.0
Winter
DIGM 630Digital Media Group Workshop3.0
DIGM 680Thesis Development3.0
Directed studies3.0
 Term Credits9.0
Spring
DIGM 650Public Venue Seminar3.0
DIGM 651Publication and Presentation3.0
DIGM 630Digital Media Group Workshop3.0
 Term Credits9.0
Total Credit: 63.0

Facilities

The Digital Media Program operates several labs including a state of the art combined green screen/motion capture studio as well as 2.5 ton 3-degree-of-freedom motion platform. All labs and classrooms are equipped with powerful Dell and Boxx Technologies Workstations running Windows and Unix operating systems and Mac computers running OS X. Software includes a host of Adobe products and Autodesk 3ds Max and Combustion; Alias Maya; Softimage XSI and Behavior, Pixar RenderMan Pro Server along with RenderMan Artist Tools for Maya and RenderMan for Maya; Pixologic Z-Brush; Apple Shake; MotionBuilder; GarageGames; NextLimit RealFlow, and SideEffect's Houdini.

Courses

DIGM 501 New Media: History, Theory and Methods 3.0 Credits

New Media: History, Theory and Methods. This advanced seminar class examines parallel developments in modern art and computer technology beginning in World War II to the present. It will survey writings and works of major contributors to the field.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit

DIGM 502 Advanced New Media Topics 3.0 Credits

Advanced Seminar in New Media Topics. This Seminar is dedicated to topical readings and in-depth discussions in Digital Media ranging from virtual reality to digital art and the socio-cultural impact of the Internet.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: DIGM 501 [Min Grade: C]

DIGM 505 Design and Interactivity 3.0 Credits

This course focuses on the understanding and comprehension of the basic tools and strategies for design within a two-dimensional environment. In addition to design, web development and interactivity will be covered, including a discussion of various display platforms, including mobile development.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Can enroll if major is DIGM and program is MS.

DIGM 506 Animation and Game Design 3.0 Credits

This course focuses on the understanding and comprehension of the basic tools and strategies for animation and game production. This course will focus on the production of digital assets using standard modeling and animation software, along with their integration into a game engine.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Can enroll if major is DIGM and program is MS.

DIGM 512 Shader Writing and Programming 3.0 Credits

Shader Writing and Programming. Development of custom output shaders allows for the use and manipulation of materials for use in production render engines. This course focuses on the basic components of shaders including reflective, translucency, and illumination models.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: DIGM 501 [Min Grade: C] (Can be taken Concurrently)

DIGM 515 Digital Matte Painting 3.0 Credits

Digital Matte Painting. Digital matte painting and set extension are methods of integrating live action footage into lush and believable CG environments. By using physical construction as a basis for a digital environment, greater integration between live and CG plates can be achieved.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: DIGM 512 [Min Grade: C]

DIGM 518 Particle Systems and Artificial Intelligence for Visual Effects 3.0 Credits

Particle Systems/Artificial Intelligence for Visual Effects. Particle systems can be used to stimulate natural phenomena as well as create ethereal effects through the use of scripting and mathematical expressions. In the same way, digital crowds can be created to populate a scene with autonomous characters. This hybrid course addresses software applications and trigonometric functions for advanced animation by digital media designers.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: DIGM 515 [Min Grade: C]

DIGM 520 Advanced Interactivity I 3.0 Credits

This course focuses on the development of interactive media across a variety of platforms. Human-Computer interaction and layout are discussed along with implementations on mobile and PC based platforms. Dynamically created web content and integration with databases, as a server-side component, will also be covered.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Can enroll if major is DIGM.

DIGM 525 Advanced Animation I 3.0 Credits

This course delves into advanced topics in animation, including procedural modeling and dynamics. Emphasis will be placed on the development of natural phenomena in a simulated environment and physically accurate movement of characters.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Can enroll if major is DIGM.

DIGM 526 Advanced Animation II 3.0 Credits

This course delves into advanced topics in animation, including light transport and crowd simulation. Also discussed will be integration of acquired data, specifically from motion capture sources. Multi-layer rendering output and shaders for production will be discussed.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Can enroll if major is DIGM.
Prerequisites: DIGM 525 [Min Grade: C]

DIGM 530 Advanced Game Design I 3.0 Credits

This course sequence covers advanced gaming topics, including mobile games, motion capture, artificial intelligence, real-time effects and shaders, and advanced user interfaces.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Can enroll if major is DIGM.
Prerequisites: DIGM 525 [Min Grade: C]

DIGM 531 Advanced Game Design II 3.0 Credits

This course sequence covers advanced gaming topics, including mobile games, motion capture, artificial intelligence, real-time effects and shaders, and advanced user interfaces. The group project will follow an Agile software development methodology with weekly Scrum sprints for iterative project development.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Can enroll if major is DIGM.
Prerequisites: DIGM 530 [Min Grade: C]

DIGM 540 New Media Project 3.0 Credits

New Media Project. Students work on funded and unfunded research and industrial projects. With faculty approval, students may work on personally designed projects relevant to problem solving in a student's area of interest. Each student is required to complete it three times. This course may be repeated up to four times for credit.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Can be repeated 4 times for 12 credits
Prerequisites: DIGM 520 [Min Grade: C] (Can be taken Concurrently)

DIGM 547 Organic Modeling 3.0 Credits

This course will be an intensive exploration of organic modeling. Through lectures, demonstrations, class critiques and individual feedback from the instructor, the best approaches to modeling organic forms will be explored.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Can enroll if major is DIGM.
Prerequisites: DIGM 526 [Min Grade: C]

DIGM 560 Advanced Concepts and Applications in Interactive 3D Environments 3.0 Credits

Advanced Concepts/Applications in Interactive 3D Environments. Advanced concepts/applications on adding interactivity to 3D environments via an assortment of software packages including 3D Max, Director and Flash. This course focuses on the optimized integration of 3D objects in environments with interactive authoring tools.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: DIGM 501 [Min Grade: C]

DIGM 580 Thesis Preparation 3.0 Credits

This course instructs on Thesis proposal writing within a Digital Media context, covering style, performing research, assigning credit and reference, and topic exploration and expansion.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Can enroll if major is DIGM.

DIGM 605 Advanced Techniques in Computer Generated Imagery 3.0 Credits

Advanced Techniques in Computer Generated Imagery. Students create electronic media assets that effect the stimuli, bearings, and responses of human cognition to phenomena of light and sound. Student works explore integrations of visual and aural illusions to affect alterations in audience-perceived realities.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: DIGM 518 [Min Grade: C] (Can be taken Concurrently)

DIGM 616 Immersive World Building 3.0 Credits

Immersive World Building. Students investigate various emerging technologies for immersive content creation. Focus is on the production of 3D animated environments. Special production issues and concerns to dome planetaria and theatrical (IMAX) venues are considered. Interdisciplinary activities are strongly encouraged.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: DIGM 605 [Min Grade: C]

DIGM 620 Digital Media Workshop 3.0 Credits

This course addresses issues in the field of Digital Media, with emphasis on a single, comprehensive project. Examples of topics include stereoscopic production, mobile game development or training through game development.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Can enroll if major is DIGM.
Prerequisites: DIGM 531 [Min Grade: C]

DIGM 630 Digital Media Group Workshop 3.0 Credits

The course addresses topical issues in the field of Digital Media, with emphasis placed on a single, comprehensive group project. Examples of topics include stereoscopic production, mobile game development or training through game development.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Can enroll if major is DIGM.
Prerequisites: DIGM 531 [Min Grade: C]

DIGM 641 Interactive TV DVD-ROM 3.0 Credits

Interactive TV DVD-ROM. Students work to develop strategies for meaningful retrieval of mass amounts of media (video, still images, sounds, and text) for television DVD-ROM players. This course will cover basic and advance forms of digital information storage and retrieval to and from TV DVD-ROM media.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: DIGM 501 [Min Grade: C]

DIGM 650 Public Venue Seminar 3.0 Credits

This group project course is focused on creating public venue works, either performance-based, interactive or web-distributed. The distinguishing mark of graduate research is an original contribution to knowledge and this course is intended to design and implement a media piece to be viewed by a large group of people.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Can enroll if major is DIGM.
Prerequisites: DIGM 531 [Min Grade: C]

DIGM 651 Publication and Presentation 3.0 Credits

This course instructs on the submission of portfolio and thesis work including journal publication, conference presentations, contests and competition and public performance venues.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Can enroll if major is DIGM.

DIGM 670 Gaming I 3.0 Credits

Gaming I. Students learn to solve 3D game design problems working with game programming techniques and leading cross platform software.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: DIGM 518 [Min Grade: C] and DIGM 560 [Min Grade: C]

DIGM 671 Gaming II 3.0 Credits

Gaming II. Building upon skills developed in Gaming I, students form small teams and work to develop and implement original 3D game designs.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: DIGM 670 [Min Grade: C]

DIGM 680 Thesis Development 3.0 Credits

Thesis Development results in a project including the production of original media assets, a written paper to the Graduate Committee, an oral presentation and demonstration delivered to the general College, and submission of a copy of the thesis project including all media assets to the Digital Media Graduate Program Archive.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Can be repeated 4 times for 12 credits
Prerequisites: DIGM 670 [Min Grade: C] (Can be taken Concurrently)DIGM 605 [Min Grade: C] and DIGM 641 [Min Grade: C]

DIGM 690 Advanced Special Topics in Digital Media 3.0 Credits

Advanced Special Topics in Digital Media. This class is reserved for occasional special topics in Graduate Digital Media Studies. It may include seminars, studio and classes taught by visiting faculty.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: DIGM 502 [Min Grade: C]

DIGM 699 Independent Study 0.5-6.0 Credits

Provides faculty guidance in subject matter not covered in standard courses offered.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Can be repeated 3 times for 6 credits
Restrictions: Can enroll if major is DIGM.

Digital Media Faculty

Frank J. Lee, PhD (Carnegie Mellon University). Associate Professor. Human-computer interaction; cognitive engineering and science; intelligent software agents for games and education.

Interdepartmental Faculty

Ted Artz, BFA (Tyler School of Art, Temple University). Associate Professor. Digital media.
Paul Diefenbach, PhD (University of Pennsylvania) Associate Program Director, Game Art & Production. Assistant Professor. Game development, real-time rendering.
Jeremy Fernsler, BA (Pennsylvania State University ). Assistant Teaching Professor. Digital effects artist; compositor and animator for the feature film visual effects industry.
Troy Finamore, MS (Drexel University) Associate Program Director, Interactive Digital Media. Assistant Teaching Professor. Advertising, design and interactivity.
Nick Jushchyshyn, MFA (Academy of Art University) Associate Program Director, Animation and Visual Effects. Visual effects, digital media and animation.
David Mauriello, BA (Lafayette College). Assistant Professor. 3D modeling and animation.
Glen Muschio, PhD (Temple University). Associate Professor. Digital media, society, communication.
Jervis Thompson, BS (Drexel University). Associate Teaching Professor. Digital media, interactive multimedia.
Michael Wagner, PhD (Vienna University of Technology) Program Director, Digital Media. Associate Professor. Educational use of digital media and computer games.
Jichen Zhu, PhD (Georgia Institute of Technology). Assistant Professor. Developing humanistic and interpretive framework of computational technology, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), and constructing AI-based cultural artifacts; interactive storytelling, games and software studies.
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