Media Arts Department Missions and Outcomes | Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Media Arts Department Missions and Outcomes

The MCAD Media Arts Department is dedicated to the study and mastery of the visual language of contemporary society: animation, film, photography, and interactive media.

Our curriculum blends rigorous technical and conceptual development as a means of identifying and fostering artistic vision. We seek to challenge and inspire each student to a high level of personal and social responsibility within their aesthetic practice as part of their preparation for a wide range of employment opportunities or graduate school education.


The animation program provides students with a broad historical perspective which fosters an appreciation of animation’s adaptability as an applied and fine art. Students are exposed to animation techniques using illustrated, stop motion, and computer-generated approaches. Animation majors develop their personal style through rigorous foundation studies after which they are encouraged to collaborate and expand their individual work. The program equips graduates to move into the world beyond with visual communication skills as well as up-to-date technical proficiencies.

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the history of animation through written critical evaluation of animated films and be able to analyze work in a historical context
  • Create work in a variety of animation techniques including hand-drawn, 3D animation, stop- motion and experimental methods
  • Implement the use of storyboarding, animatics, and essential preproduction techniques to develop a narrative concept
  • Constructively evaluate, interpret, and critique one’s own work, and the work of others
  • Exhibit knowledge of professional workflow, expectation, and market


An MCAD student majoring in filmmaking learns to create motion picture projects that shape experience, question perception, and transform the world. With a foundation of classic motion picture language, students master the structure of fiction, documentary, and multi-media forms with which they can experiment, collaborate, and create projects of any length or genre. Complementing this rigorous program of technical skills and aesthetic exploration is a lively dialogue between practice and theory that brings film history to life. Students seek out and learn from their own influences in film history. The program arranges special seminars, visiting artists, internships and production opportunities to best prepare students for careers in fine arts, advertising, TV, and independent filmmaking.

  • Reference the history of film through written critical evaluation and analysis
  • Show a working knowledge of visual composition, lighting, editing, and finishing
  • Demonstrate understanding of pre-production, production, and postproduction processes including budgeting
  • Demonstrate understanding of crew positions and their responsibilities
  • Structure motion picture projects to express narrative and theme.


The photography major at MCAD challenges students to consider photography as a way of knowing the world. To this end, our students become well-versed in the history, contemporary practices and cultural impact of the medium. Students are provided with a full range of technical skills that will serve them in both the applied and fine art fields. Students are encouraged and expected to explore their ideas from a personal perspective and with rigor.

  • Reference photographic history and theory, the relationship of photography to the visual disciplines, and the central position of photography in twenty-first-century visual culture
  • Demonstrate skills in the use of photographic tools, techniques, technologies, and processes sufficient to work from concept to finished work
  • Explain aesthetic and commercial applications of photographic techniques
  • Exhibit professional practices in terms of workflow and project management, including exhibition design, photobook production, and internet display.

Web and Multimedia

The web and multimedia environments major is dedicated to the exploration and combination of emerging technologies and traditional practices in media arts including the internet, virtual environments, software as a creative platform, art installations, screen-based works, and performances. The major investigates four central topics across the curriculum from technical, theoretical, and historical vantage points: the network, multimedia, interactivity, and generative practices. Majors are able to identify and evaluate relevant works, both historical and contemporary, as well as create and evaluate their own work within the theoretical and technical territory of each of these cornerstones. Web and multimedia environments majors graduate with a strong understanding of the four central topics and are versed in combining them to create projects in a multitude of mediums with aesthetic and intellectual significance.

  • Demonstrate fluency in screen-based aesthetics and practices including human to machine interaction
  • Create installations and events centered around meaningful intersection of multiple media
  • Produce interactive virtual environments for single and multiple users
  • Discuss contemporary and historic virtual environment trends and artists
  • Identify the most efficient solutions for programming problems
  • Constructively evaluate, interpret, and critique one’s own work, and the work of others