Digital Arts and New Media: MFA: Collaboration, Innovation, Social Impact

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Please note DANM admissions are suspended for Fall 2024 - read an announcement here


DANM researches the creative potentials and social implications of emerging technologies and digital cultural practices. Our two-year MFA program emphasizes artistic and technological innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, and social action. Faculty closely mentor emerging artists to become deep thinkers, artistic innovators, and responsible leaders. 

DANM is driven by an ethos of empathy and cooperation, a passion for joining art and technology, and a commitment to positive change locally and globally. We understand digital media as a common ground for transdisciplinary research that generates profound shifts in perception, knowledge, and values in tandem with scientific discoveries and technological inventions. We are intrigued by the latest killer app and critical of the adverse effects of technoculture. Guided by a systemic approach, DANM strives to generate innovation that has broad social impact, shaping a more peaceful, equitable, and sustainable world.

DANM faculty are internationally renowned artists and scholars. Our Principal Faculty come from across the Arts Division and the Baskin School of Engineering. Our many Affiliate Faculty expand our expertise even further, offering students an unparalleled depth and breadth of mentors and interdisciplinary opportunities throughout a top-tier research university.

Since the first class of 2006, over 170 artists have earned their MFAs from DANM. Our alumni teach at universities and art schools, pursue doctoral research, work for major technology, media, and entertainment firms, lead service organizations, and have launched successful careers as exhibiting artists, entrepreneurs, and community organizers. Our growing alumni network offers past and present students valuable professional opportunities and support.

Read more about the application process here.


The DANM curriculum is designed to provide students with both the practical training and critical dialogue necessary to pursue their own individual goals as artists and cultural practitioners. The curriculum comprises core and research group-specific courses. Required core courses explore an array of recent methods and approaches in digital arts and culture. The research groups enable the student to pursue the construction of specific genealogies and theories with a sustained focus on a particular topic, by engaging in various dialogues at the intersection of theory and practice. While participating in the research group the students will also develop their thesis project and paper.

Research Groups

The DANM cohort is subdivided into research groups, each group of students focusing on a different research topic within the broader field of digital arts and new media. Each research group is led by a faculty member (or members) who serves as the faculty advisor to all students in their group. This faculty lead establishes a set of courses specific to their research topic, which are taken in addition to the core courses. Through these courses and faculty mentorship, students learn collaborative and practical research methodologies specific to their topic, have the opportunity to participate in professional-level academic research, and are provided a peer group pursuing similar research to their own. Coursework involves students working on faculty-initiated and -directed research projects, and creating their own related individual and collaborative projects. Research groups may also result in result in publications and exhibitions. The research experience and coursework in the research groups is intended to inform the student’s thesis project. Students are admitted into a specific research group, and generally take the courses specific to their group in their first year. 

PhD Opportunities at UCSC

DANM students whose work dovetails with faculty research in Film & Digital Media (FDM) and who have established a working relationship with FDM faculty will receive special consideration for application to the FDM Ph.D. program at UCSC.