Master of Arts in Transdisciplinary New Media

Paris College Of Art

Program Description

Master of Arts in Transdisciplinary New Media

Paris College Of Art

Designed for those who are interested in exploring the wide-ranging creative field of New Media that goes beyond traditionally defined art and design disciplines, this program employs methods of transdisciplinary practice through collaborative teamwork. Through a shared creative process, students will re-frame their current understanding of different tools, technologies, theories and methods, developing hybrid systems and solutions that go beyond any one discipline.


At PCA, students can complete either a Masters of Art (MA) or a Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in Transdisciplinary New Media. The first two semesters (fall and spring) of these programs follow a common curriculum. Then, students either go on to complete a full-time summer term to receive the MA degree or continue for two semesters of study in the following academic year (fall and spring) to receive the MFA.

Graduates of both the MA and MFA will go on to apply their skills to collaborative projects in domains as varied as online and traditional publishing, video games, art installations, exhibitions, live performances, web design, interaction/interface design, software development, service design, etc. As well, the MFA, which is considered a terminal degree in this field, will open the doors to teaching opportunities in higher education for our graduates.

The program is open to any applicant who has successfully completed an undergraduate degree (BFA, BA, BSc, BID, BArch, etc.). To encourage this transdisciplinary approach, candidates from varied backgrounds-including art, design, programming, business, literature, philosophy, science, music and theory-are actively encouraged to apply. Because we want to encourage students with varied skill sets and perspectives some students may be required to take preparatory summer undergraduate courses or pre-requisites: applicants without a BFA are required to have at least two semesters of Art or Design History; applicants with non-technical backgrounds will be required to attend a summer undergraduate Digital Crash Course prior to enrollment; and certain elective courses may be made mandatory to shore up skills that may otherwise be lacking. The PCA Digital Crash Course is comprised of 3 two-week intensive courses including: Video, Web (HTML, CSS, PHP), and Processing.


Master Classes as a Component of the Core Studio

Each semester, a selection of master classes are proposed to bring highly accomplished professionals into the classroom within the framework of the Core Studio course. For one intensive week, all graduate students will engage in this period of collaborative workshops that allow for professional networking and varied perspectives on the art and design world today. Master class faculty, enrollment limits, schedules and projects vary. Participation in the Master Class is required, as it is an integral component of the Core Studio course.

Core Studio I

6 credits, Fall Only

Introductory phase: students draw upon their previous knowledge and experience to contribute to the collaborative process. Projects are set to test preconceived ideas and the limits of students’ understanding.

Core Studio II

6 credits, Spring Only

An increased understanding of the team dynamic and the student’s role in the collaborative process enables a higher level of conceptual development. Methodologies are defined and tools and materials identified.

Core Studio III

6 credits, Fall Only

Projects at this stage will be designed and realized independently by the group with an advanced level of understanding and ambition.


Each Core Lab class builds on its predecessor, so that over three semesters, students have had an opportunity to be introduced to a wide variety of tools and techniques.

Core Lab I

3 credits, Fall Only

Introductory phase: students master the relatively familiar tools and techniques such as digital photography, editing and lighting, video and film production/post production, web design and sound design. Projects illustrate the standard workflow, are set to test preconceived ideas and the limits of students’ skills.

Core Lab II

3 credits, Spring Only

Intermediate phase: students are introduced to 2D and 3D animation techniques and visual programming. Team-based projects may be implemented here.

Core Lab III

3 credits, Fall Only

Advanced phase: students are introduced to iterative design processes, pervasive application programming, clusters and peripherals.


Intro to Research & Methodology: Design Process Methods

3 credits

Research and Methodology is a wide field that involves an inter- and multi-disciplinary approach. In this course, students will be introduced to the basic tenets of research in order to support their reasoning with respect to the design process. Foremost, they will learn to formulate a design research problematic; engage in data gathering and analysis; differentiate between primary and secondary research sources; carry out quantitative and qualitative research. Students will be introduced to the basic tenets of design research and methodology supporting data gathering and analysis with respect to quantitative and qualitative research in a design context.

Intermediate Research & Methodology: Physical, Cognitive and Cultural HF, Ethnographic Research

3 credits

This course focuses in depth on various research methods currently used to inform the design process. It builds on knowledge and skills acquired in the first semester to introduce students to specific research methods for designers. The course will cover research in physical human factors; cognitive human factors; cultural human factors; and ethnographic fieldwork. Students will learn how to apply these methods to the design process through hands-on projects requiring a multidisciplinary approach.

Advanced Research & Methodology: Applied Projects

3 credits

Advanced research and methodology requires an appreciation of designers’ use of intuition, bricolage (tinkering) and improvisation. Building on the knowledge acquired during the first year, students will progress from ambiguity to uncertainty to explicit knowledge by applying the specific methods learned in previous courses. Empathy, inspiration, alternative data approaches will be explored as additional knowledge informing the transition from abstract to concrete ways of knowing in the design process.

MA Degree Project

6 Credits, Spring Only

After their second semester, students embark on an MA Degree Project that includes a 20-30 page written thesis and corresponding body of work, culminating in a public exhibition or conference. With the help of faculty, students work in small teams – publishing jointly like in scientific communities – on sponsored projects. Non-credit tutorials are defined on a case by case basis to help students in areas of their original research.

MFA Thesis

6 Credits, Spring Only

In their fourth semester, students embark on an MFA Thesis project that includes a 40-60 page written thesis and corresponding body of work, culminating in a public exhibition or conference. With the help of an advisor, students may work either in self-defined teams – publishing jointly like in scientific communities – or work solo. Non-credit tutorials are defined on a case by case basis to help students in areas of their original research.


App Culture: DIY Software Development

3 Credits

(Offered on a rotating basis starting Y3, Fall)

Smartphones, PDAs and digital tablets and their corresponding application ecosystems (iTunes, Google Store, etc.) have created enormous opportunities for small software development teams to quickly create and publish their work with highly simplified logistics. This collaborative course focuses on the development and publishing of an iPhone App in less than 15 weeks while working in teams of 2 or 3.

Emotion and Design

3 Credits

(Fall, Offered Year 2)

This course moves beyond consideration of physical, human and cultural factors to address the importance of emotions for design from product design, to fashion and style. How do emotions, affects, feelings and/or sensations inform the design of products, style and services? Students will explore how people engage with and interact with design artifacts and interfaces from a sensorial and experiential standpoint as well as in terms of the specific types of emotional relations they establish with them.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated January 12, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept., 2017
Full time
Start date Sept., 2017
France Paris, Ile-de-France
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