Immersive Media (BA)
Students in the BA Immersive Media program develop the creative and technical skills central to producing augmented, mixed, and virtual reality experiences. Students are equipped to work as cross-platform developers in any number of media industries where immersion is transforming the way we experience and interact with the world. The degree program is for the next generation of film, television and media artists, game designers, user experience designers, creatives skilled in computation, and those in liberal and performing arts disciplines interested in pioneering emerging media.
At its core, students in the program develop skills in programming, interaction design, user experience, spatial computing, data visualization and other foundations of immersive practice and visual and aural experience; and they gain insight into the social and political power of immersive media. Students work collaboratively to build immersive experiences for a broad range of applications—beyond games and entertainment to healthcare, engineering, the sciences and other fields—and develop a robust portfolio that highlights the value of immersion as a new expressive frontier.
In the Classroom
What to expect your first year
In the first semester at Columbia College Chicago, you begin by taking Introduction to Programming, the foundation of all the work we do in Immersive Media. You’ll also have the opportunity to focus on a specialization by taking a minor course. In your spring semester, you will get your hands on some XR equipment in Immersive Environments I. You’ll learn about how all of the different immersive technologies work, the difference between augmented and virtual reality, and begin to realize your creative visions. You’ll learn how to explore emerging and immersive media as an artistic intervention to extend the reality of our everyday world. By the end of the year, you’ll have a foundation in immersive media theories and practices, from prototyping to deployment on popular platforms.
What to expect your last year
As a senior, you will take two semesters to develop an immersive media experience as part of a student team. You will take lessons from your minor course of study and implement them as part of a public-facing immersive experience. You have a lot of freedom and flexibility to pursue a creative vision that suits your career goals.
Outside the Classroom
You’ll get real-world opportunities to show your stuff while you’re in school. The opportunities differ from year to year, but in the past, students have tested their skills, networked with professionals, and shown off their work at events like:
- The Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco: the world’s largest professionals-only game industry event.
- The Chicago Toy and Game Fair: Indie Team Game Studio students are required to show there each year.
- The Augmented World Expo (AWE) the biggest industry events for augmented, mixed, and virtual reality.
- The VRAR Association of Chicago invites all students in this major to participate in career fairs and events.
- Industry Night and Manifest: Every year the Interactive Arts and Media Department hosts industry professionals from across the country at Industry Night, an opportunity for graduating seniors to show their work and network with potential employers. The day after Industry Night is Manifest, Columbia's college-wide celebration of student work where you'll find game students displaying their work to their fellow students, faculty, staff, and other members of the Columbia community.
Immersive Media alumni will find positions in a variety of industries that are all implementing immersive media. Employment is available at Microsoft, Facebook, Snapchat, Google, Adobe, CNN, NYTimes, Steam, Midwest Immersive, Moxie, Edelman, TIME Studios, 8i Studio, Ryot Games, Fader360, and With.In. Some examples of careers alumni might pursue include:
- Augmented Reality Designer and Developer
- Virtual Reality Design and Developer
- Immersive Information Visualization
- Immersive Media Artist
- Simulation Design and Developer
- User Experience Design for Immersive Media
- Immersive Storytelling
Related minors for Immersive Media majors
Our faculty members are academics and working professionals in the field. They’re award-winning immersive media designers, game designers, accomplished artists, and expert programmers. They’re dedicated teachers and scholars, bringing their knowledge of groundbreaking theories and techniques into the classroom.