Interactive Arts and Media



At the forefront of emerging media and technologies, the Interactive Arts and Media Department provides degree programs that are technically rigorous and creatively challenging 

By learning how to create games, mobile apps, sound designs, interactive media and dynamic interfaces, students in IAM become creative technologists, able to design meaningful experiences in the worlds of entertainment, art, education and business.

About Us

The Interactive Arts and Media Department prepares students to create interactive art, media, soundworks and games that are innovative and compelling. 

Expert faculty and strong alliances with local and national industry partners ensure that our students emerge with a robust digital skillset anchored by hands-on, team-based experiences. State-of-the-art facilities like our motion capture studio, fabrication lab, and audio production suite give unrivaled access to industry standard tools that help students fully realize creative projects. Through close interaction with faculty, students gain more than technical skills—they learn how to learn so that upon graduation, they are prepared to keep pace with the rapid changes of an ever-shifting technological landscape.

With opportunities to interact with visiting artists and industry leaders, attend national conferences, intern at leading companies and work up close on real-world projects, IAM students acquire a rich and comprehensive education. Through Columbia College Chicago’s vibrant urban and diverse setting, IAM students receive many opportunities to create and exhibit culturally impactful projects throughout their college experience.


The Interactive Arts and Media Department prepares students to create interactive sound, art, media, and games that are innovative and compelling.  Through an inventive, current, and rigorous curriculum we develop life-long learning skills necessary to work in rapidly changing fields.  Our students emerge with strong foundations in aesthetics, theory, technology, cultural understanding, critical thinking, and creative problem solving. The combination of media theory and technology, enlivened by practice, prepares students for diverse and successful careers in: interactive art; multimedia; mobile/web design and development; interaction and interface design; and, game design and programming.


  • Computer lab classrooms

    State of the art classrooms contain projectors, whiteboards, printers, surround sound, AV units, high end software, applications and game engines.

  • Equipment Cage

    An extensive collection of equipment available on check out basis to IAM students. Assets include: high definition video cameras, digital SLR cameras, microphones, tripods, audio recorders, laptops, mobile devices, drawing tablets, etc.

  • Fabrication Lab

    A center for research in electronics, physical computing, tactile media, and advanced imaging. Assets include: computer controlled laser cutter, large format printer, solder stations, motion sensors, electronics components, (transistors, resistors, etc.) and a robotics locker.

  • Game Lab

    A center for student led game research. Assets include: PC and Console gaming hardware, including both current-generation consoles as well as an archived collection high definition AV system and a library of several hundred video game titles.

  • Lecture Hall

    State of the art auditorium with dual projection, surround sound and AV unit supporting game systems. Seats 65.

  • Lobby

    A versatile space for students to hangout, watch student videos, play games and socialize. Assets include: three large screen monitors, comfy chairs Foosball and various games and sports equipment.

  • Motion Capture Studio

    A 2000 sq. foot state of the art studio for the creation of 2D and 3D film and gaming. Assets includes: 12 camera motion capture system with flying rigs.

  • Open Lab

    A major hub of student work and research. Assets include three dozen computer workstations with superb hardware performance and the latest in high-end media production and application development software and game engines.

  • Project Room

    The Project Rm gallery exhibits work by the students, alumni, faculty, and staff of IAM. An extension of the classroom, the Project Rm encourages students to experiment, exchange ideas, and exhibit work within the larger Columbia College Chicago community. 

  • Sound Studio

    A room for advance audio and mixing. Assets include sound booth mixer, surround sound, and software to edit and mix the recordings.

State of the art classrooms contain projectors, whiteboards, printers, surround sound, AV units, high end software, applications and game engines.


Learning Outcomes

As a result of successfully completing program requirements, students will be able to:

Understand the Conceptual Foundations of their Discipline

  • Recognize how to apply ethical technology design solutions to real-world problems in civic, educational and community contexts.
  • Relate disciplinary frameworks (language, method, approaches) to the critical analyses of work in their field.
  • Identify and explain the influence of major historical and contemporary theories, works and ideas on social, interactive and mobile media.
  • Demonstrate understanding of fundamental narrative forms and structures as they relate to interactive art and media disciplines.

Create, Design and Innovate

  • Think and act as innovators, adept at using a variety of computational tools, technologies and processes to express ideas and solve design problems.
  • Exhibit proficiency in understanding and applying the principles of user-centered theory and work-flow to the creation of interactive applications and digital media.
  • Synthesize knowledge and skills — technically, conceptually and aesthetically —to build and refine a professional portfolio.

Write, Communicate and Analyze within their Field of Practice

  • Use professional writing practices to articulate ideas in various styles appropriate to particular audiences, contexts and purposes.
  • Make strategic use of digital media to deliver well-organized and professional oral presentations before groups.

Work Professionally and Collaboratively

  • Exhibit the professional behaviors, skills and work habits necessary to succeed in the global marketplace within their chosen field, including time-management and meta-cognition (learning to learn).
  • Demonstrate the social and emotional competencies necessary to perform and communicate responsibly in collaborative teams and group settings.
  • Recognize the functions, methods, vocabulary and roles that are unique to the programmer, the designer, and the artist within the iterative and collaborative design process.

Outreach & Research

As part of its mission, Columbia College Chicago’s “intent is to educate students who will communicate creatively and shape the public’s perceptions of issues and events and who will author the culture of their times.” Interactive Arts & Media students are utilizing emerging technologies to gain experience and create change in their communities and beyond. These include:

  • Specialized, community-building outreach projects 3G Summit on the Future of Girls, Gaming and Gender and the Fair Shot Project
  • Cutting-edge research projects like CONSTRUCT, an ongoing software research and development project in the area of “sensor fusion”
  • Internships and industry events
  • Student groups and exhibitions
  • Visiting lectures from leading contemporary artists, designers, and industry professionals

3G Summit Panel


3G Summit, The Future of Girls, Gaming & Gender, 2010