Master of Fine Arts in Computer Art


Program Description


The master of fine arts (M.F.A.) degree program in computer art is an artistic research and development program situated in the context of technology. The program is dedicated to a wide range of practices in art media where the computer plays a primary role. These art media may include computer-generated images, 3D computer animation, physical computing, creative computer programming, computer gaming, computer music, visual effects, multi-channel installation, and sonic art.

Students are expected to develop a strong record of professional practice in a variety of contexts, including exhibition, screenings, public intervention, installation, performance, workshops, gaming events, and viral media, among other forms of public engagement.

The M.F.A. computer art program is a supportive, demanding, and highly critical environment. You work with the three full-time computer art faculty, encompassing a wide range of conceptual, theoretical, and technical ground. As the computer art program is located in the Department of Transmedia, you are expected to form relationships with faculty and peers from related disciplines. Expanding outward, the Department of Transmedia has connections with other academic areas at Syracuse University, including women’s studies, architecture, studio arts, and computer science. When selecting courses, you are strongly encouraged to formulate an individual interdisciplinary path of study within the University as a whole.

Founded in 1980 by computer artist Edward Zajec, the computer art program has actively participated in developing the field of electronic art for 35 years. During that time, students have consistently created work that is free from paradigmatic constraints of traditional media. The program's alumni follow a broad variety of career paths, from academia to independent work to industry.

Why our program?

  • You are able to form relationships with faculty and peers from related disciplines in the department, including art photography, art video, and film. You can take advantage of the larger college and University and formulate an interdisciplinary path of study.
  • Our faculty members are practicing artists who show and perform their work internationally and are recognized with grants and fellowships, most recently an Art+Technology Lab grant from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Their research interests include feminist technology, experimental animation, visual music, artistic data visualization, interactive installations, digital performance, and virtual reality.
  • You can take advantage of global study opportunities for M.F.A. students and engage with an impressive array of nationally and internationally known visiting artists.
  • When you graduate, you will belong to a global network of enthusiastic VPA alumni.


The computer art program is housed in Shaffer Art Building, which is home to all programs and facilities in the Department of Transmedia. The computer art and animation facilities include an advanced audio production and scanning studio and the main computer lab.

Visiting artists


The Extra-Curricular Computer Art Organization (ECARO) provides a forum for computer art and animation majors to congregate and discuss related issues. ECARO helps students in the major establish a greater network with each other and anyone else who has an interest. It is helpful to have an extracurricular environment to discuss and work, where knowledge and information can be passed on throughout grade levels and majors without a restrictive structure. ECARO provides group critiques, tutorials, and brainstorming sessions. It is important for University students to build a connection with each other, encouraging communication between different fields of study and learning how to use input from peers. The University setting is demonstrated in ECARO, pulling together students who want to come out of their creative caves and work together to be better at what they do.


The computer art M.F.A. degree program requires 60 credits. Below are the general program requirements. Refer to Syracuse University’s graduate course catalog for detailed information about this curriculum and our courses.

Program requirements

Major studio: 24 credits
Studio electives: 12 credits
Art history or related academics: 12 credits
Free electives: 6 credits
Graduate seminar: 3 credits
Final presentation: 3 credits


Last updated Jun 2018

About the School

Our faculty offers rigorous and multi-faceted learning experiences that prepare student-artists for professional and entrepreneurial careers.

Our faculty offers rigorous and multi-faceted learning experiences that prepare student-artists for professional and entrepreneurial careers. Read less