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Improve your portfolio, enhance your technical skill, and deepen your artistic ability with a master's degree in multimedia or Web design. With degree concentrations varying from animation to new media, it may be simpler to find a degree program that suits your goals as a student.

Careers in Multimedia & Web Design

Blending technology and artistic knowledge is essential for graduates of multimedia design programs. With a master's degree in art & design, you may earn a high level of training appreciated by hiring and promotions managers in a range of creative and technical fields. Careers for master's degree graduates in multimedia and Web design include:

  • Creative director
  • Graphic designer or interactive designer
  • Media coordinator
  • Multimedia designer
  • Pre-production coordinator
  • Production designer
  • Lead animator

Advertising, media, and management positions can be connected to training in multimedia or Web design. Focused years of graduate-level training give you the chance to keep your skills current, learn new techniques, and enhance your design portfolio.

First Steps Toward a Master's Degree in Multimedia & Web Design

Ready to take the next step in your education? Researching potential schools is an essential process. Follow these simple steps and learn more about different degree programs, coursework, and more for master's degrees in multimedia or Web design.

Step 1: Learn the Degree Distinctions

While all master's degrees related to multimedia and Web design offer similar high-tech and artistic training, distinctions between the different potential degrees can make a big difference. Whether you're interested in animation, video game design, or Web design, these degree programs can work for you. Take a look at the three different degree programs you may find when researching master's degrees in the field:

  • Master of Arts (MA): Generally known as an academic or professional degree, the MA offers training to industry professionals and future educators alike. Potential MA specialties include information design, and students may go on to continue their education, work as professors or educators, or enter the field as designers.
  • Master of Science (MS): At the intersection of technology and art, the MS focuses on current and emerging technologies. The MS shares its goals and structure with the MA degree, but may approach the discipline from a technical or business angle. Potential MS specialties include professional media practices, multimedia management, or Web design and development.
  • Master of Fine Arts (MFA): Considered an artistic degree, an MFA in multimedia & Web design includes studio classes, design feedback, and workshops. One potential MFA specialty is media design. The MFA is considered a terminal degree, meaning that no higher degree can be earned, and students may use this degree to teach in community colleges and universities.

All master's degrees generally follow the same path, starting with one to two years of graduate study followed by a year-long thesis project that must be presented to a panel. If you'd prefer to complete your degree requirements sooner than the standard--or if you'd like to take more time--you may find a campus-based or online master's degree program that fits your schedule.

Step 2: Learn About Coursework Requirements

Different multimedia and Web design schools require different coursework from their students. Some schools focus on the artistic aspects of the major, while others present a more technical education, and still others offer a mix of the two. Potential coursework for a master's degree in multimedia and Web design includes the following:

  • Design research
  • Effective copywriting
  • Brand development
  • Ethics of design
  • Design integration

Many schools post course requirements on their Web sites, and all make requirements clear to potential students. Learn more about the classes you may take before you set foot in a classroom (whether actual or virtual) by researching online.

Step 3: Choose Between Campus-Based and Online Master's Degrees

Because many master's degree in multimedia and Web design can be completed online, you have even more options as a student. Earn a master's degree online from anywhere in the world, or travel to a campus to study with peers and instructors. It's up to you to determine which type of degree program is right for you.

Take a look at some of the perks and challenges of each learning style:

  • Online master's degree in multimedia or Web design: Look to online degrees for convenience and accessibility. Many working adults choose to earn a master's degree online without reducing their hours at work.
  • Campus-based master's degree in multimedia or Web design: A campus-based degree offers hands-on training and networking with required class meetings. Many students prefer the interaction possible with a campus-based degree.
  • Hybrid online and campus-based master's degrees: Offering elements from both degree styles, these hybrid degrees include both on-campus requirements and online courses. Take a look at a graduate program's coursework requirements to determine which courses may be completed online.

No degree type is inherently superior to the other; it's up to your learning style and your needs as a student. Regardless of the type of degree you choose, it's important to get the details of potential programs before you submit an application.

Step 4: Use Online Master's Degree Resources

Take your research online to find schools, programs, and resources as you begin your degree search. Create a personalized list of MA, MFA, and MS programs in multimedia or Web design and resources:

Use the Web as a resource in your degree search, and you may begin to gain a fuller understanding of potential degree programs, schools, degrees near you, and more. Researching potential schools takes time, but the reward is the knowledge that you're making an educated decision about your future career training.

Step 5: Determine Master's Degree Program Accreditation

You shouldn't take a car to a mechanic you don't trust, and you also shouldn't trust years of education to a questionable institution. Fortunately, the accreditation process helps to ensure the quality of each potential degree program in multimedia & Web design. Without accreditation, the degree you earn may lack the value you worked and paid for as a student.

Determining the accreditation status of each potential school is an essential step to success. Third-party accrediting agencies review the academic and business practices of schools and make their findings known to the public. For more information on accreditation, see WorldWideLearn.com's Accreditation Answers page.

Be sure that potential schools are accredited, and that the accrediting agency is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. To simplify the process, the Department of Education keeps a current database of accredited institutions. The list is searchable by name, location, or accrediting institution.

Step 6: Zero In on Multimedia & Web Design Programs

After you've established the basic credentials and offerings from potential master's degree programs, it's time to shorten your list to only the strongest candidates. Use these categories to help narrow your list:

  • Program perks: Look for the benefits that different colleges use to lure you to their master's degree programs. Perks like professional internships, high-tech design studios, international student exchange programs, and special guest speakers are all designed to make individual schools more attractive to potential students.
  • Funding: Financial aid is another way that multimedia & Web design graduate schools distinguish themselves from one another. Scholarships and grants award talented students with financial aid, and accredited colleges and universities may offer federal financial aid to those who qualify.
  • Faculty: A strong and varied faculty is a highlight of any media design program. Avoid choosing a school on the strength of one faculty member; rather, base your application on a group of accomplished faculty with current knowledge of the industry.
  • Application: Prepare to submit undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, application fees, and other requirements. The most exclusive design schools typically also come with the most application requirements.
  • Location: Consider the town or city in which the potential school is located. Factors like cost of living, potential employment or internships, and transportation should be considered. Of course, students who earn a master's degree online may have fewer location concerns.

Researching individual master's degree programs may take time, but you can quickly see the rewards. You can save money on application fees by choosing only the schools that offer the best fit, and you can better personalize your application to show your interest in the unique program you've found.

Start Your Application for an MA, MS, or MFA Multimedia & Web Design

After you've completed the steps above, you should have a short list of the multimedia and Web design schools that suit your qualifications. Applying to only the schools that best suit you helps you save money on application fees and better personalize your application to individual schools. Begin the application process by keeping the following in mind:

  • Prerequisites. Most master's degree programs in multimedia & Web design require that students have completed a bachelor's degree program. Some programs may require certain coursework on an undergraduate transcript, such as HTML or design courses. Your work experience may also be considered as a prerequisite for the degree.
  • Entrance exams. You may need to provide the school with Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. If you are an international student, TOEFL exam scores help ensure that you are qualified to take courses in English.
  • Recommendations. Personal and professional letters of recommendation are an essential part of most application packages. Consider asking employers, former professors, and industry professionals for their recommendation. Avoid family members and friends unless they fit the above qualifications.
  • Other items. Applications vary, and the specific requirements and deadlines may change from school to school. You may need to write a statement of intent, include your undergraduate transcripts and employment history, and provide personal essays and other paperwork proving your credibility and ability.

In general, the most exclusive schools may also come with the largest amount of requirements for potential students. Apply to a handful of multimedia and Web design schools in order to compare financial aid packages and other details before you decide to commit to one program.

Researching potential degree programs in multimedia and Web design may be a time-consuming process, but you can save money in application fees and enter your degree program with the confidence that you're choosing the best school for you. Whether you're interested in Web design, animation, graphic design, or another facet of the industry, you can find a master's degree program that matches your needs.

Sources

  • Accreditation Listings, U.S. Department of Education
  • Best Graphic Design Schools, U.S. News and World Report
  • Best Multimedia and Visual Communications Schools, U.S. News and World Report
  • Department of Design, Central Connecticut State University
  • Media Design Courses, Full Sail University
  • FAFSA, U.S. Department of Education

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