Study options

Master's Programme in New Media - New Media Design and Production

In a technology-saturated world, it is indispensable to understand and study the impacts that technology has on individuals, organisations and society. The New Media major brings together a multicultural group of students with very versatile skills and backgrounds. They all share the same passion of exploring the opportunities and challenges that new and emerging digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence and extended reality, open for communication, art, and design.
Department of Media prototyping

Degree:

Master of Arts (Art and Design)

Application period:

1.12.2020 – 4.1.2021

Language of instruction:

English

Duration:

2 years, full-time

Eligibility:

Relevant Bachelor's degree

Field of study:

Art and Design

Credits:

120 ECTS

Organising school:

School of Arts, Design and Architecture

Tuition fees:

For non-EU/EEA citizens, €15000/y (Master’s studies)

The application period has closed

Applying to master’s programmes

Major Description

In a technology-saturated world, it is indispensable to understand and study the impacts that technology has on individuals, organisations and society. The New Media major brings together a multicultural group of students with very versatile skills and backgrounds. They all share the same passion of exploring the opportunities and challenges that new and emerging digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence and extended reality, open for communication, art, and design. By exploring the field of new media through various topics, including media art and culture, interaction design, creative computing, and interactive narratives, the graduates of the major have unique competences to take on new and emerging professions within the broad spectrum of the new media industry.

The major also aims to provide a supportive and constructive environment for artistic, technical, and professional development. An environment where learning from failures is just as important as learning from successes. The students are encouraged to step outside of their comfort zones and get familiar with a variety of tools and skills, to understand the characteristics of digital media.

Graduates of the New Media major will be able to:

  1. Understand the complex demands and dynamics of the modern media landscape. Graduates understand the fragmented and complex nature of various forms of digital media and technology, and their impact on society.
  2. Analyse and criticize how technology shapes art, design, communication, and self-expression. Graduates critically assess and question the current trajectory of media technology and understand their roles and responsibilities in shaping the future.
  3. Apply a human-centric approach to digital design. Graduates are skilled in anticipating user values, translating them into product and service offerings and keeping humans at the center of the design process.
  4. Use broad understanding across the field of new media and advance in-depth skills in specialisation areas of their choice. Graduates have the benefits of both breadth of knowledge and cultivation of their research and working methods in the specialisation areas they feel passionate about.
  5. Apply their technical knowledge and skills in computational art and design to create new experiences, services, tools, and other creative productions. Graduates are skilled in not just using but also developing state-of-the-art tools for new media art and design.
  6. Describe and evaluate how interaction, generativity, and immersion are applied in new media art and design. Graduates identify the possibilities and limitations of developing interactive and generative systems or experiences.
  7. Consider and evaluate issues of sustainability, representation, and diversity in the field of new media. Graduates identify the visible and hidden environmental, cultural, and societal impacts of digital media infrastructures.

Language(s) of instruction

The language of instruction is English. Students can write their Master’s Thesis in English, Finnish or Swedish.

 

Content of the studies

Studies in New Media emphasise emerging fields and practices as well as related tools and technologies for communication, creative production, and distribution. The topics deal with some of the most burning questions of our time, such as how artificial intelligence is changing creative industries and society as a whole. Academic communication and writing are a part of the studies, and more research courses can be chosen if the student is planning to continue to doctoral studies.

The education is project-oriented, combining practice with theory, hands-on with minds-on. The first semester consists of introductions to the key topics and essential tools for new media art and design. The Spring semester of the first year of studies dives deeper into specific specialisation areas through advanced seminars and studios. The year concludes in a first-year capstone project, where students work individually or in small teams to create a larger project to demonstrate their development and reflect on their studies. The second year of studies is dedicated to elective studies, research skills, and completing the Master’s Thesis.

The core of the New Media major is built around the key themes of:

  • New Media Art and Culture: Media culture and media art are explored and discussed from a broad perspective to provide the students with a historical, social, and cultural understanding of the field. Additionally, the studies explore topics of sustainability, representation, interactivity, and immersion through research and creative practice.
  • New Media Design: Our new media design studies introduce theories, methodologies, and pragmatic considerations on design for the interaction between humans and wide range of systems and services, from desktop computers to embedded and ubiquitous systems.
  • Creative Computation: Students explore code as a creative medium in various contexts. Programming is taught at different levels, and it is not necessary to know how to write code before applying. Students with existing advanced coding skills may develop their craft further in the advanced studios, elective studies, and personal projects.
  • Physical Computing and Digital Fabrication: The connection between digital media and the physical world is introduced through tangible and embodied interaction. Digital fabrication workflows are used for prototyping and manufacturing tangible interactive objects.

Tracks within the study option

Students can choose to further specialise in specific areas by combining individual courses from the advanced seminars and studios according to their background and interests. Additional specialisation is also possible through elective studies. The student can freely choose 30 ECTS of elective studies. It is possible to choose individual courses or complete a minor subject.

Each student creates their Personal Study Plan (PSP), which is a practical tool to define a student’s own study path, compiling an optimal selection of courses that are aligned with the student's interests and programme requirements. PSP is also a useful tool for students to keep track of their studies. At best, it shows where students are with their studies and sets concrete milestones for them to follow.

For further information on studies, see Study Guide 2020-2022.

Post graduate opportunities

Completion of the MA degree makes a graduate eligible to apply for doctoral studies.

 

Internationalisation

The New Media major provides an excellent basis for an international career. A significant number of the department’s applicants, students, teachers and researchers are from abroad, and all of the courses are taught in English. Students and researchers are encouraged to network internationally and have the option to spend a part of their studies abroad through any of the exchange programmes offered by Aalto.

Aalto University is international by nature, welcoming thousands of degree and exchange students from abroad every year. These students join the diverse Aalto community not only through studies but also via multiple free time events, celebrations and extracurricular activities around the campus. Active tutoring programs and support services work hard to help international students integrate into the Nordic culture and feel at home in Finland.

Collaboration

The Major in New Media is situated at the intersection of arts, design and technology – bringing together talents from these different fields. This spontaneous environment sparks new ideas, gathers enthusiasts around them and gives birth to friendships, networks, and sometimes even startup companies.

Students are highly encouraged to freely choose their minors or elective study modules from other Aalto Schools to further give them a multidisciplinary edge. They also have the opportunity to take courses from other Finnish universities using The Flexible Study Right Agreement (JOO).

Focus areas of research

Research in new media is inherently transdisciplinary and focused on experimentation with new formats and genres as they emerge through the convergence of media and information communication technologies.

The major in New Media is part of the Aalto Media Lab. As a transdisciplinary laboratory, Aalto Media Lab is open for experiments and research in all areas and aspects of new media and digital design. Additionally, there are four research groups within the Media Lab that focus on specific research areas:

The research groups often offer possibilities for the MA students to work as research assistants on specific research projects.

Career opportunities

Our graduates have an excellent basis for an international career. Their future professional profiles relate to the various fields of new media design and research, including user experience design, interaction design, information design, interactive storytelling, new media art, software development and digital animation. As the field of digital media is in constant motion, graduates often get to define completely new roles in organisations. Novel titles and responsibilities are expected to emerge in the future.

Study-option-specific Admission Procedure and Evaluation Criteria

Applicants meeting Aalto’s general eligibility criteria for master's studies will be evaluated and ranked according to the evaluation criteria that has been decided in advance for each study option. The applications to Master’s Programme in Art and Media - New Media will be evaluated based on the following criteria.

Phase I

Artistic and/or design practice

What is evaluated

Demonstrations of artistic and/or design work or assignments

What we look for in an applicant/Admission requirements

 

Required documents:

  • Portfolio

What are we looking for?

  • Demonstration of your professional and personal artistic, design, academic and/or technical practice.
  • Demonstration of critical thinking, skills, and competence in one or more fields related to new media.

Method of demonstrating competence

Portfolio

 

Relevance of previous studies

What is evaluated

Content and quantity in relation to the applied study-option-specific requirements

What we look for in an applicant/Admission requirements

 

What are we looking for?

  • The applicant is expected to have completed their previous studies in the field of arts, design, media or technology.
  • Applicants with a background in some other field should demonstrate their competence and suitability to the study-option through the other requested documents.

Method of demonstrating competence

Transcript(s) of records, degree certificate(s)

 

 

Suitability

What is evaluated

Applicant’s further suitability to the study option, motivation, and commitment for studies/communication skills

What we look for in an applicant/Admission requirements

 

Required documents:

  • Motivation letter

What are we looking for?

  • Motivated applicants who demonstrate existing skills, development potential, and genuine interest to the field of new media.
  • Commitment to studying full-time in an international and transdisciplinary group of students.
  • Good communication skills demonstrated in the motivation letter.

Method of demonstrating competence

Motivation letter

 

Other areas of competence

What is evaluated

Work experience and other acquired knowledge/achievements e.g. publications, non-formal education, competitions

What we look for in an applicant/Admission requirements

 

Required documents:

  • Curriculum vitae

What are we looking for?

  • Work experience in the field of new media, art, design, or technology.
  • Artistic experience: exhibitions, grants, and residencies.
  • Achievements, competitions, publications
  • Non-formal education in the field of new media

Method of demonstrating competence

Curriculum vitae

 

Phase II

Artistic and/or design practice

What is evaluated

Demonstrations of artistic and/or design work or assignments

What we look for in an applicant/Admission requirements

 

Required documents:

  • Portfolio (already provided in phase I)
  • Creative Assignment
  • Written Assignment

What are we looking for?

  • Demonstration of your professional and personal artistic, design, academic and/or technical practice.
  • Demonstration of critical thinking, skills, and competence in one or more fields related to new media.

Method of demonstrating competence

Portfolio and study-option-specific assignments

 

Suitability

What is evaluated

Applicant’s further suitability to the study option, motivation, and commitment for studies/communication skills/ assessment of second phase assignments

What we look for in an applicant/Admission requirements

Suitability is evaluated based on the interview and the holistic evaluation of the application.

 

What are we looking for?

  • Motivated applicants who demonstrate existing skills, development potential, and genuine interest to the field of new media.
  • Commitment to studying full-time in an international and transdisciplinary group of students.
  • Good communication skills demonstrated in the interview.

Method of demonstrating competence

Interview

 

Evaluation process

The applicants will be first evaluated based on Aalto’s general eligibility requirements. Applicants meeting the general eligibility criteria for master's studies will be evaluated and ranked according to the evaluation criteria that has been decided in advance for each study option.

The selection process for applicants who meet the general eligibility criteria comprises of two phases: 

Phase I

In phase I, the applicants are evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Artistic and/or design practice
  • Relevance of previous studies
  • Suitability/Motivation letter
  • Other areas of competence

 

Phase II

In phase II, the evaluation is based on the following criteria:

  • Artistic and/or design practice
  • Suitability/interview

 

Study-option-specific documents requested

The documents requested from all applicants are listed on the Aalto University website (https://www.aalto.fi/en/study-at-aalto/applying-to-masters-programmes). In addition, applicants to this study-option are requested to provide the following study-option-specific documents:

Phase I

  • Motivation letter
  • Portfolio or work examples
  • Curriculum vitae

Motivation letter

Applicants must write a motivation letter of a maximum of 4000 characters in length, explaining why they wish to apply to the study-option in question, what their particular interests are in the field, and what their hopes and expectations are regarding studies at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. The letter should explain the applicant’s personal strengths, areas of interest, artistic and design visions and artistic objectives.

The lack of this application document will adversely affect the evaluation of your application.

Portfolio or work examples

Applicants should submit a portfolio that demonstrates the applicant’s artistic, design, research, and/or technical practice.

We understand that many of our applicants come from a research or technical background and may not have an artistic or design portfolio as such. Portfolios that highlight technical or research work are just as welcome as artistic or design portfolios. Additionally, we are not just interested in your professional work, but also in your passion projects, ideas, experimentations, and hobbies. Please provide some context for the evaluators how to interpret each work – is it professional work, class project, work-in-progress, personal hobbyist project etc. Clearly mention your own role for each work sample.

The portfolio can be submitted as a .pdf file that contains the actual work samples or as a .pdf file that contains a URL to a portfolio website. If you submit a .pdf portfolio, it should be limited to a maximum of 15 pages. Please do not include all the details of the work in the portfolio. You should be able to explain the most important aspects of each project in a condensed way. You may include links for videos, interactive content, or further information for each example. Please make sure that all links are clickable or that they can be easily copied from the file.

Maximum size of the Portfolio is 1.0 GB. Name the file Portfolio-lastname-firstname.pdf.

Lack of this application document will adversely affect the evaluation of your application.

Curriculum vitae

Applications must include the applicant’s CV (.pdf file) indicating personal information, educational background, work experience, exhibitions, publications and articles, awards and grants, study trips and positions of trust.

The lack of this application document will adversely affect the evaluation of your application.

Only the applications that fulfill the requirements and are ranked highest in the preliminary evaluation will be invited to phase II in the selection process.

Phase II

  • Portfolio or work examples (provided in phase I, re-evaluated during the interview)
  • Assignment 1 (creative task)
  • Assignment 2 (written task)

Phase 2 consists of an interview, evaluation of the applicant’s portfolio, and two assignments. The details of the assignments will be provided after phase 1.

Portfolio

The portfolio should already be submitted in the first phase, but it will be re-evaluated during the second phase. The applicant will present some examples of their portfolio in detail during the interview.

Assignments

  1. Creative task that evaluates the applicant’s artistic and design practice.
  2. Written task that evaluates the applicant’s quality of reflection and argumentation as well as the use of the provided source materials.

The assignments are evaluated separately before the interview, but they are not discussed during the interview itself.

Phase II Interview

Applicants that proceed to phase II are invited to a 20-minute interview where 10 minutes is reserved for general interview questions and 10 minutes for discussing the applicant’s portfolio.

A batch of students representing a variety of skills, backgrounds and talents are selected every spring. Grounds for the selection of students is based on a holistic review of the application, including proven artistic/designer talent, motivation and personal development potential as well as the applicant's academic history, cultural activities and previous activities in the field of new media. Deciding factors are demonstrated talent and suitability within the desired field of study. The suitability evaluation will be based on the interview and the submitted documents.

Final Selection

The final selection decisions will be made based on the evaluation conducted in phase II.

Language of application documents

The application documents must be written in English, Finnish or Swedish.

The application period has closed

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