Majors & Programs

The Interactive Arts and Media Department provides degree programs that are technically and creatively challenging. We offer bachelor's degrees in Animation, Computer Animation, Traditional Animation, Game Art, Game Design, Programming, Interaction Design, and Music Technology. You can add a new set of skills to another major with one of our exciting minors.

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


Animation (BA)

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Whether you’re interested in classic 2D animation or interactive 3D worlds, our BA in Animation provides you with the technical skills to succeed in this growing, highly collaborative industry. The BA offers more curricular flexibility than the BFA, making it easy for you to take courses outside of the major. You’ll choose one of two concentrations: Computer Animation or Traditional Animation. Areas of study within these concentrations allow you to customize your degree. See the concentration descriptions for more information.

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Concentrations:
Computer Animation, BA

As a BA candidate in Computer Animation, you’ll take interdisciplinary coursework to prepare for graduate studies or a career in animation. In addition to core courses in Interactive Arts and Media and Animation, you’ll choose a concentration sequence in either Computer Animation or Visual Effects. You’ll have flexibility with electives, either working collaboratively with peers to create a six-minute animated film over two semesters or taking any three animation electives of your choosing.

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Traditional Animation, BA

As a BA candidate in Traditional Animation, you’ll take interdisciplinary course work to prepare for graduate studies or a career in animation. In addition to core courses in Interactive Arts and Media and Animation, you’ll choose a concentration sequence in either Hand-Drawn or Stop-Motion Animation. You’ll have flexibility with electives, either working collaboratively with peers to create a six-minute animated film over two semesters or taking any three Animation electives of your choosing.

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Computer Animation (BFA)

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Computer-based animation and imagery has transformed cinema, television and interactive gaming. As a Computer Animation major, you’ll gain technical skills in advanced computer-generated filmmaking and take electives in areas such as motion capture, character modeling, and animation performance. In your final year, you’ll collaborate on a team project and develop your own solo short film. You can apply to enter the BFA program after completing 45 credit hours.

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Traditional Animation (BFA)

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As a BA candidate in Traditional Animation, you’ll take interdisciplinary course work to prepare for graduate studies or a career in animation. In addition to core courses in Interactive Arts and Media and Animation, you’ll choose a concentration sequence in either Hand-Drawn or Stop-Motion Animation. You’ll have flexibility with electives, either working collaboratively with peers to create a six-minute animated film over two semesters or taking any three Animation electives of your choosing.

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Game Art (BA)

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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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Game Design (BA)

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You’ll design games and simulations in terms of gameplay, narrative, and user experience. Mastering a creative skill takes a tremendous amount of practice. That’s why you’ll make games in nearly every gaming class at Columbia and build your skillset over time. And you’ll learn from some of the best—our talented faculty members are experienced professionals who bring their passion for games into the classroom. In your final year, you’ll develop an entire finished game product with other game-related majors in a capstone experience we’ve designed to mirror the professional game-industry production model. Students in the Game Design major choose one of two concentrations: Game Development or Sound Design.

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Interaction Design (BA)

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Have you ever admired how easy it was to navigate an app or a website? Then you've experienced interaction design. In the Interaction Design program at Columbia College Chicago, you'll learn how to create intuitive electronic interfaces for a variety of consumers. Choose from one of four concentrations in Web and Mobile Development, Graphic Design, Smart Interfaces, or User Experience to shape a career perfect for creative artists interested in digital media or back-end developers with a strong eye for design.

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Music Technology (BS)

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Don’t just use music technology—create it. In our Bachelor of Arts in Music Technology, you’ll compose music, create new sounds, and design new apps, plug-ins, and cutting-edge technology. Draw on faculty expertise in music composition, programming, and audio technology, and discover the science of audio. Choose from one of the major’s five concentrations to improve yourself as a composer or get the training you need to develop the next generation of music technology.

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Programming (BA | BS)

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Programmers bring ideas to life. As a Programming major, you’ll create code that allows games, simulations, or other interactive experiences to function. You’ll prepare for a career as a scripter or programmer. Choosing a Game Programming or Application Programming concentration, you’ll work in a variety of team settings that will strengthen your collaboration skills. You’ll graduate with a portfolio of work that includes several completed games and/or applications. Choose from two concentrations, Application Programming or Game Programming, within the Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degree.

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Social Media and Digital Strategy (BA)

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Study Social Media and Digital Strategy at one of the first schools to offer a major in this exciting new field. Content creators, social media managers, digital strategy experts, and others are needed for nonprofits, companies, startups, artists, and more. You’ll learn how to write for specific social media platforms, manage brand awareness through social media, and incorporate digital marketing techniques and data analysis to reach your audience. The field is rich with internship opportunities to help you graduate career-ready with ample real-world experience.

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Animation Minor

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Designed for students outside the Cinema and Television Arts Department, the minor in Animation provides you with a solid grounding in the technique and theory of animation. In required core courses, you’ll study the history of animation around the globe; explore basic techniques, including object, hand-drawn and stop-motion animation; and draw digitally using industry-standard editing and storyboarding software, creating a story reel for a final project. Complementary majors include Game Art, Video Production and Audio Design.

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Game Art Minor

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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.


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Game Design Minor

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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.

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Motion Graphics Minor

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Motion Graphics is a growing practice that involves producing title sequences, television commercials, television network identifications, music video effects, and web and app-based graphic animations. This minor focuses on developing skills in design process, animation, and video capture for use in motion graphics projects for television, film and the web. Students who may wish to complete the minor include students from Cinema and Television Arts, Art and Art History, Interactive Arts and Media, and Photography.

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Programming Minor

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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.

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User Experience Minor

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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.

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Web Development Minor

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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.

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