Apr 17, 2024  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
    
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Digital Media Studies, M.A.


Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Degrees and Programs (A-Z)

The Master of Arts in Digital Media Studies is designed to provide students with the necessary tools and skills to thrive as creative professionals in the ever-evolving industry of digital media production. The degree responds to a cultural shift toward media convergence and emphasizes the importance of adaptability and embracing constant change and innovation. It combines strategic communication and business skills with production and design competence in the areas of photography, video, graphic design, gaming and software programming.

The program rests profoundly on three pillars:

  • Creation and completion of hands-on industry-standard digital media projects;
  • Extensive training in relevant and industry-standard communication skills, both written and spoken;
  • Strong focus on conceptual and analytical skills, both visual and text-based, as well as technical skills.

The degree also emphasizes teamwork and network building. Students will not only graduate with an industry-relevant production portfolio but also with a network in place to demonstrate readiness for a career in the field.

The Digital Media Studies master’s degree requires 36 hours of study. Students are required to take 9 hours of Core Curriculum courses, 6 hours of courses in Theoretical Foundations and 12 hours of  Practical Applications courses in design and production. Students then select 3 additional hours in the area that most interests them. The course work is followed by a six-hour capstone experience in the form of a master’s project, master’s thesis, graduate internship, or comprehensive examination. Students are required to make a B- or better in all courses counting toward the degree and maintain a 3.00 or better GPA.

Admission

Students must have a GPA of 3.00 or better or have met the HSH admission GRE requirement to be accepted into the program. To be considered, students will submit a production portfolio accompanied by a statement of purpose. The portfolio (see guidelines below) should demonstrate significant experience in the field. The statement of purpose should clearly define the student’s goal with this degree and outline how the degree builds on the student’s previous experience and education in the field. If the selection committee deems the student’s experience and skills in the field as insufficient, students may be provisionally accepted into the program, but will be required to complete specifically recommended preparation courses within the first two semesters. Students may take the core classes (listed below) in conjunction with these recommended preparatory prerequisites but may not progress to further coursework until these prerequisites are completed.

Portfolio Guidelines

All portfolio pieces must be accessible online. We do not accept physical objects such as slides or CDs. If passwords are necessary to access the pieces, it is the student’s responsibility to communicate them. The committee will not reach out if pieces are not readily accessible. No more than 20 individual pieces should be submitted. The applicant must make clear his or her involvement in the production of each piece. Examples for successful portfolio pieces are written strategic or creative writing materials, graphic design examples, a 15-minute film documentary, a series of digitally prepared photographs with a theme, a website, an app or a game. The most important function of the portfolio is to demonstrate to the selection committee that the intentions outlined in the statement of purpose may be achieved, based on the student’s existing experience and skills.

Applications are accepted for review twice a year, from January 15-April 15 and from August 15-October 31. Admission decisions for fall are usually made by the end of April and for spring by the end of November.

Equipment and Software

The university provides on-campus labs equipped with computers and the software needed for coursework. Students who wish to work from home may need to purchase equipment and software. A DSLR camera and a computer are highly recommended for students concentrating in Production Design.

Degree Requirements


Core Curriculum (9 hours)


Must be taken in the first year.

Elective (3 hours)


Select ONE additional course from the list below or from the Theoretical Foundations and Practical Applications areas.

Capstone Experience (6 hours)


Program Summary


Core Curriculum: 9 hours

Theoretical Foundations: 6 hours

Practical Applications: 12 hours

Elective: 3 hours

Capstone Experience: 6 hours

Total: 36 hours

Notes:

Based on student demand and industry trends and innovations, new courses are introduced under the DMST 5931 rubric - Research Topics in Digital Media Studies-  on a regular basis. If a scheduled course is not listed in the curriculum, consult with your adviser to determine whether it falls under the theory, design or production area. Students are also allowed up to a total of two Independent Studies courses in the Practical Applications and/or the Electives sections; DMST instructor permission is required. In these classes, students work on a one-on-one basis with a faculty member to create projects specifically designed to match their interests and skill levels. These classes allow students to go far beyond the skill levels and expectations of the other classes offered and may be used to create a highly competitive skill set in a specific subsection of Digital Media Creation.

No more than 6 hours of undergraduate coursework may apply toward the DMST degree. DMST adviser permission is required for taking undergraduate coursework.

Students who have earned an undergraduate degree from UHCL will not be able to take cross-listed courses in the curriculum for master’s-level credit that they took for undergraduate credit.

Career paths in public relations:

Public relations is a flourishing industry with a predicted growth of the workforce of 10% in the coming years. Career paths in public relations range from working for a multinational corporation to working for a large public relations agency or a small boutique public relations firm. Government agencies and nonprofits are also prominent employers of PR practitioners. Other job opportunities in public relations include gathering facts and data to keep track of public concerns and current trends affecting the public and corporations, creating promotional events to gain awareness and support of a specific product or client, and collecting data for news releases to promote awareness.

Career Opportunities in production and design:

Career opportunities in the digital media production industry include TV stations, film production companies, post-production houses and the media or PR departments of large companies. Due to the increased affordability of the production tools, there is a constantly growing and evolving freelance market for digital media production specialists. Freelance opportunities include event videographers and photographers, photography, video or audio editing specialists and independent game or app designers, to mention just a few. The greater Houston area has a very vibrant digital media production industry with strong employment opportunities in all of the above fields.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Degrees and Programs (A-Z)