The Media Design program is an applied research MA program housed in Emerson’s Engagement Lab. In contrast to traditional coursework, you’ll connect with community organizations  from the outset and work with those organizations as you formulate your thesis project.

At the Engagement Lab, media design takes on a distinctly civic nature. We are interested in the technologies, designs, and practices that support positive civic impact in the world. The design focus is oriented toward building stronger approaches to participation in the world: from supporting stronger community infrastructure, to using media to solve some of the largest social and civic programs of technology. In this regard, we understand media and design as:

Media are about the texts, narratives, technologies, and representations that guide our engagement in the world. Whether films, apps, games, art, pedagogy, or rhetoric, media as we understand it in this program are the ways in which we connect to civic life.

Design is understood as the process by which we engage in the world through media. We focus on participatory and human-centered design methodologies, where we explore ways that we can engage with communities. This incorporates how to build trust and reciprocity with communities, how to design interventions that include communities, and how to design facilitations and technologies that focus on social justice and meaningful engagement in the world.

A Civic Orientation

The Media Design MA is taught through the lens of civic media, which are the technologies, designs, and practices that produce and reproduce the process of being in the world with others toward a common good. Civic media, then, entails the ways in which we design media interventions to support positive civic and social impact in the world. These approaches prioritize social justice, equity, inclusion, and giving voice to those communities that are underserved.

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Students interested in pursuing Emerson’s MA in Media Design can choose from two program paths; A One Year Immersive Program or a Two Year Program Sequence.

Review curriculum requirements