MFA: Digital Animation and Interactive Media

The Digital Animation and Interactive Media track provides opportunities for students with backgrounds in animation to develop their own creative visions for multidisciplinary and collaborative activities in a research environment. In collaboration with the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD), the definition of digital animation extends beyond the traditional through the exploration of new and emerging technologies. Real time graphics and virtual environments, performance animation, game art, responsive and interactive media and installations are some of the areas in which we expand the applications of digital animation. These investigations form new ground for the design and creation of meaningful content by the animation designer.

Students in this track are required to complete 60 credit hours of study to receive a MFA in Design. The program takes three years to complete, and only under exceptional circumstances is the track completed in less time. This includes core design courses, thesis project and writing development, and open electives in the themes of studio/lab, history/theory/criticism, and collaborative/interdisciplinary studio. Students work closely with a three-person thesis committee to develop their thesis topics and the vehicles best used for their development.


The Digital Animation and Interactive Media program leading to the Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Design is formulated for students intending to work as designers in the digital animation and interactive industries and in colleges and universities teaching animation and interaction related courses.

The curriculum philosophy is one of learning through experimentation and practice. Year One is constructed as an Exploration year, in which students choose new experiences that will enhance their current understanding of new media. Year Two is a Practice and Application year which demands continued exercising and rehearsal of new practices. Year Three results in Synthesis, in which students demonstrate a deep understanding of the craft and its context.


Example Course Plan

Courses marked with * are required in the semester shown. Electives and other courses represent the credit hour requirements and suggested distribution, but are flexible in the order that they are taken.

Total Credit Hours: 60

Autumn Semester

DESIGN 6200 Foundation for Grad Studies, 3 credits
DESIGN 6400 Graduate Studio, 3 credits
Elective, 3 credits
Elective 3 credits*

Spring Semester

DESIGN 6300 Exploration in Graduate Design Studies, 3 credits
DESIGN 6400 Graduate Studio, 3 credits
Elective, 3 credits
Elective, 3 credits*

Program Milestone: First Year Review with all Design Faculty (first week of May) - Research Orientation


Electives, 4-9 credits

Autumn Semester

DESIGN 6400 Graduate Studio, 3 credits
Elective (AAEP 7709 recommended), 3 credits
Elective (Studio Elective), 3 credits 
Elective*, 3 credits

Spring Semester

DESIGN 6400 Graduate Studio (DAIM Section), 3 credits
Elective (AAEP 7725 required), 3 credits
Elective, 3 credits
Elective*, 3 credits

Program Milestone: Second Year Review with Thesis Committee


Electives, 4-9 credits

Autumn Semester

DESIGN 7998 Thesis Project Development (Research Elective), 3 credits
DESIGN 7999 Thesis Writing (Research Elective), 3 credits
Elective, 3 credits

Spring Semester

DESIGN 7998 Thesis Project Development (Research Elective), 3 credits
DESIGN 7999 Thesis Writing (Research Elective), 3 credits
Elective. 3 credits

Thesis Defense: Project Exhibition, Oral Defense

Category Descriptions

Courses providing hands-on experiences that advance skill applied in creative research or to understand and incorporate experimental or applied practices in any discipline.

Courses providing strong emphasis on history and analytical methods, as well as the philosophical, political, material, and context for works related to design, animation, or interactive media and specific research interests.

Courses providing opportunities to study and interact with another discipline beyond design.

Courses include: 6200, 6300, 6400, 7998, and 7999.

For detailed information about forming Thesis Committees, the first year review and Thesis Committee Review, please see the Department of Design Graduate Studies Handbook.

Career Prospects

Students graduating in the Digital Animation and Interactive Media track of the MFA have careers that include:

  • CG generalist or specialist
  • Augmented Reality Designer
  • Design Director/Manager
  • Design Educator
  • Design Researcher
  • Human-Computer Interaction Designer
  • Experiential Designer
  • Game Designer
  • Mixed Reality Designer
  • Interaction Designer
  • Motion Graphics Designer
  • Multimedia Designer
  • User Experience (UX) Designer
  • User Interface (UI) Designer
  • User Interface (UI) Research
  • User Experience (UX) Strategist
  • User Experience (UX) Researcher
  • Visual Communication Designer
  • Visualization Specialist
  • Virtual Reality Designer

Student Portfolios 

This voluntary listing of digital portfolios represents our current students' professional preparation at varying levels of experience. It also provides insight into some of the learning experiences provided by courses in our program.

Prospective employers may reach out to students directly about freelance employment opportunities. Employers seeking to hire for internships and/or full-time opportunities are encouraged to work with the Center for Career and Professional Success to post openings via Handshake.

Example DAIM Projects

The below images link to projects featured on an external website dedicated to our annual Spring Exhibition, which occurs at the OSU Urban Art Space.