Columbia College Chicago

Interactive Arts and Media

The Interactive Arts and Media Department provides degree programs that are technically and creatively challenging. We offer Bachelor of Arts degrees in Game Art, Game Design and Sound, Game Programming, and Interaction Design, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Game Programming. You can add a new set of skills to another major with a minor in Web Development, Game Art, Game Design, Programming, or User Experience. The department also participates in the Social Media and Digital Strategy Bachelor of Arts, as well as the Bachelor of Science in Music Technology.

Majors & Programs

For requirements and more information about these programs, visit the course catalog.

Game Design, BA


Designing games requires intense creativity and professional discipline. As a Game Design student, you’ll learn how to create engaging, fun game experiences while collaborating with a team to create high-quality products. Core courses emphasize the fundamentals of game design theory, their practical application, and the cultural and theoretical roles of game design in society. Students choose one of two concentrations in the major: Game Development or Sound Design. See the concentration descriptions below for more information.

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Game Design, Game Development, BA

As a student in the Game Development concentration, you’ll learn to design a wide range of games and simulations in terms of gameplay, narrative, and user engagement and experience. Essentially, you’ll learn how to make a video game fun and engaging. The curriculum includes advanced classes in game design theory and analysis in addition to game engine scripting and development. You’ll master effective game production techniques for both commercial-style and independent projects and will build a game in the collaborative senior capstone.

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Game Design, Game Sound Design, BA

As a Sound Design student, you’ll create and implement audio for industry-standard game engines and mobile devices. The concentration melds theory with practical application, and it appeals to audio engineers as well as musicians and interactive sound artists. You’ll acquire advanced knowledge of acoustics and digital audio, aesthetics of sound, and studio production technology and techniques. This concentration offers a broad knowledge of the game industry and prepares you to work in a professional sound design environment.

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Game Programming, BA


Video games are complex creations, and programmers are the people who make all the pieces work together. As a Game Programming student, you’ll learn to develop games, simulations and other game-like interactive experiences through a practical curriculum that provides a strong Liberal Arts and Sciences background. You’ll make applications from year one and gain professional discipline working collaboratively with your peers, graduating with a portfolio that will help you land a job as a programmer in a variety of fields.

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Mobile Media Programming, BA


In this program you’ll think and act as an innovator to create mobile media for smartphones, tablets and whatever portable, web-equipped hardware emerges next. As the desktop era fades, you’ll learn the programming-related technical skills you’ll need to create products at the forefront of interactive media design. The Interactive Arts and Media Department offers three different applied programming degrees, each tailored to a different kind of interactive media.

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Game Programming, BS


The bachelor of science in Game Programming is a rigorous program that combines mathematics-heavy course work with practical programming application. The degree prepares you for a career as a game software engineer or graduate studies in computer science. You’ll learn programming languages applicable to games, software development and fields that might not exist yet and take courses on advanced topics like artificial intelligence or graphics application. During senior year, you’ll work in a team environment developing work for your portfolio.

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Game Art, BA


If you’ve ever been awed by how cool video games look these days, you have game artists to thank. In the Game Art program, you’ll learn game-oriented computer art and animation concepts, from the most basic fundamentals to state-of-the-art techniques and tools. With our 3D-oriented curriculum, you’ll visualize, model, and animate characters and environments as game-engine-ready production assets. You’ll graduate with a deep understanding of the video game industry, 3D art creation and the production pipeline for 3D games.

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Social Media and Digital Strategy, BA


Columbia is one of the first schools in the country to offer a Social Media and Digital Strategy major; the undergraduate program prepares students to work in this exciting new field across industries. Content creators, social media managers, digital strategy experts, and others are needed for nonprofits, companies, artists, start-ups, and more. This major draws from already established programs in Advertising, Business and Entrepreneurship, Interactive Arts and Media, Journalism, and Public Relations. This field is rich with internship opportunities, helping you graduate career-ready with ample real-world experience.

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Music Technology, BS


The Bachelor of Science in Music Technology connects course work in music, audio arts, and information technology to educate artists and designers in the interdisciplinary foundations of modern musical practice. This curriculum focuses on the impact of technology on music’s creation, presentation, representation, and distribution since the beginning of the 20th century while preparing our students for professional musical life in the 21st century.


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Interaction Design, BA


Interaction designers are in-demand design professionals who create intuitive electronic interfaces for a variety of consumers. As a student in this program, you'll invent creative, user-centered design solutions that will prepare you for a career within the expanding fields of interactive design and development. This program is ideal for both the creative artist with an interest in digital media development and the back-end web developer, coder or mobile programmer with an aesthetic eye, strong work ethic and impulse to innovate.

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Game Art Minor


As a student minoring in Game Art, you’ll learn how to use a variety of software tools to create sophisticated visual concepts for games and simulations. You’ll learn to integrate art assets, including characters, environments, animations and visual effects, into a variety of game engines. Our curriculum requires you to work collaboratively with students across disciplines, helping to build your communication skills and prepare you for workplace success. This minor complements a major in Animation, Illustration, Film or Creative Writing.

Requirements for the Game Art Minor

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Game Design Minor


The Game Design minor is a comprehensive track that teaches you to design games in terms of gameplay, fun, user experience and system design. You’ll learn advanced theory and use state-of-the-art techniques and tools to create engaging, immersive game experiences. Our curriculum requires you to work collaboratively with students in multiple disciplines, helping you build your communication skills and preparing you for success in your chosen creative industry. This minor complements a major in Animation, Illustration, Film or Creative Writing.

Requirements for the Game Design Minor

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Programming Minor


Programming isn’t just for full-time coders. Industries beyond software development often require fluency with coding and application development skills, and a minor in programming offers you a distinct edge no matter your industry. In addition to required core courses for this minor, you can choose from multiple elective tracks depending on your interests, from app development to game programming to simulations. This minor complements a major in Journalism, Marketing or any Interactive Arts & Media program.

Requirements for the Programming Minor

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User Experience Minor


If you’re interested in designing digital interfaces and products that are useful and intuitive, consider a minor in User Experience. You’ll learn how to create compelling, participant-centered work through a practical curriculum that emphasizes user interaction, audience behavior, engagement, metrics and observation, all grounded by theory classes in interface design, information architecture, research and prototyping. This minor complements a major in Design, Advertising, Journalism, Marketing, Television or Game Design.

Requirements for the User Experience Minor

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Web Development Minor


Possessing a fundamental understanding of web development, social media and user-centered design is imperative in this day and age—especially for creative professionals. The minor in Web Development equips you with the technical knowledge you need to be competitive in your industry. You’ll learn state-of-the-art programming languages and use them to create interactive websites with dynamic content. This minor complements a major in Graphic Design, Fiction, Marketing, Arts and Media Management, Journalism, Television or Film.

Requirements for the Web Development Minor

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