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

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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, 120 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 MFA Program is designed around four interdependent pursuits:

CollaborationThe Research Groups are a hallmark of our distinctive curriculum. With close faculty mentorship, small clusters of students collaborate for at least three terms on a thematic project.

PedagogyDANM prepares students for a future in teaching through practical experience. Students are awarded teaching assistant positions as part of their overall support packages. Opportunities exist to teach one's own class and to serve as faculty a research assistant. These experiences contribute to our alumni success in academic careers.

New PraxisNew Praxis in DANM is comprised of “critique” and “practicum” which provide students with both the critical vocabulary and practical skills necessary to pursue their own individual goals as artists. This aspect of our program reflects upon the world in order to change it by translating ideas into action.

StudiesStudies in DANM include required core seminars and electives. Core courses explore an array of recent methods and approaches in digital arts and culture. Electives explore specific topics by engaging in dialogues at the intersection of theory and practice, leading to the MFA thesis project and paper.

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.