Master of Arts Digital Communication & Media Arts

The MA in Digital Communication and Media Arts (DCMA) teaches students to bring stories to life. Transmedia is the art and craft of telling a story across a span of digital (and non-digital) media. Whether this be in the style that builds campaigns around franchises and popular fandoms, or the approach of splintering a story across media to take advantage of the affordances of each form, transmedia is the nexus to which all media converges. The program uniquely bridges two colleges (CDM and the College of Communication), resulting in a truly interdisciplinary degree that affords students the opportunity to apply theory and research to medium specific design practices and transmedia storytelling. This is a practical degree, in that it teaches students technical and artistic skills in various digital (and physical) media, while giving them the critical tools to become better communicators in a digital environment.

Career Paths

The Media Arts track of the DCMA program prepares professional media artists to be leaders in transmedia storytelling and media production. The skills they acquire will open up a range of career opportunities that include: online marketing, mobile communications, interactive media design, online content creation, web design, social media, digital product design and development. Students coming into the program with previous training or experience in a digital medium can prepare for roles in media art direction, project management and digital media management.

Professional Alliances

1871 metal signage

Alliances with the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center, professional incubators like 2112 and 1871, as well as a robust network the school maintains within the uniquely rich Chicago creative community, allow for real-world experience, insightful professional events, mentorship, internships and more.

  • LeAnne Wagner

    LeAnne is an experience designer who focuses on emerging user interfaces and digital fabrication. She brings a diverse background of professional experience, from advertising and graphic design to design thinking and product development. She is particularly passionate about projects that center on social impact and collaborating with community partners.

  • B Rich

    B. develops stories about complex concepts and issues across multiple media formats. This weaving of stories called transmedia has propelled him into game design, interactive design and virtual reality.

  • Samantha Close (CMN)

    Samantha’s research interests include digital media, theory-practice, fan studies, video game studies, gender, race, and Japanese media. She focuses particularly on labor and transforming models of creative industries and capitalism. Her documentary, I Am Handmade: Crafting in the Age of Computers, based on her most recent research project, is hosted online by Vice Media’s Motherboard channel. Her writing has appeared in several edited volumes and academic journals.

Faculty Highlight

blueprint of Wheelchair costume

LeAnne Wagner has been working on numerous projects, spanning a wide spectrum of design. She led a student group of students in a collaboration with the non-profit Magic Wheelchair. They developed a Mario Kart wheelchair costume, complete with Arduino-controlled LEDs, to light up the Halloween experience of a local boy. She also co-curated the Hey! Play! Exhibit at the Chicago Design Museum, and led a class to develop various interactive concepts to complement a potential new public art project lighting up the ‘L’ tracks around campus.

design class in session  

Media Arts Track

Students choose between two tracks: Digital Communication (offered through the College of Communication) and Media Arts (offered through CDM). The Media Arts track focuses on utilizing the distinct qualities of different media to best tell stories that span across multiple media forms. The program prepares professional media artists to be leaders in transmedia storytelling and media production.


School of Design Talks

We invite diverse speakers from across the globe who have created innovative responses to the personal, local, and global challenges of the 21st century to lead workshops and discussions.


Virtual Reality

VR filmmaking has arrived at DePaul and is based right here in the DCMA program—and we believe in learning through doing. Recently, a faculty team led by B. Rich produced a short horror film experience for VR to learn how this new media form really works. It’s been an exciting journey so far, and we’re excited to add new classes to our already rich offerings in AR/VR game development.

students at a desk  

Idea Realization Lab

The Idea Realization Lab (IRL) is a 4,500 square foot, student-driven makerspace that encourages the pursuit of thinking through making. IRL houses all types of creative equipment, from traditional woodshop tools to a variety of state-of-the-art fabrication tools, like 3D printers, thermal formers, laser cutters, and more.


Production Resources

The Equipment Centers and Production Office are the gateways to transmedia production needs like cameras, casting, or permits.

suit outfitted with lights  

Design Resources

In addition to the IRL, students have a wealth of resources available to them, including numerous computer labs, media labs, a new AR/VR lab, exhibition spaces, and a wide variety of professional media production equipment that all add to the quality of student projects.

Application Deadlines

Enrollment QuarterDomestic Student DeadlineInternational Student Deadline
FallAugust 1June 15
WinterDecember 1October 15

Admission Process

The graduate application process involves completing an online application, sending in your transcripts and submitting any supplemental material (e.g., letters of recommendation, certifications, etc.). To learn more about your program specific requirements, visit our Graduate Admission page.

Admission Requirements

Contact Graduate Admission

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