IMA Program Structure

IMA Program Structure

With over one-third of the curriculum requirements devoted to writing, humanities, sciences and social sciences, we are making sure that all of the IMA BFA students explore the intellectual world around them.

IMA students will be required to take a series of liberal arts courses offered in the College of Arts & Sciences at NYU.  The IMA curriculum has a core set of foundation courses, and then students can choose from a wide range of numerous elective classes. Students can also expand beyond the liberal arts, to take courses in fine arts, business, social work, engineering or many other programs at the various colleges and schools at NYU.

The IMA foundation courses introduce students to the fundamentals of computational media through the lenses of design, technology, and culture. Then they will have the fundamental skills and the capacity and flexibility to discover and pursue their own interests through electives in courses that range from collaborative game production to critical analysis, from adaptive design to specialized elements of visual and audio design.

The BFA concludes with Capstone project in the last semester, which can be a group collaboration or an individual project.

New students, learn more about Registration here.

Breakdown of Requirements:

Liberal Arts & Sciences: 48 credits (16 core / 32 Liberal Arts)

Elective & Other: 20 credits

Major: 60 credits

128 credits total

 

 

Liberal Arts & Sciences Core (16 credits):

Writing the Essay: Art & the World (EXPO-UA 5: 4 credits)

Taken in the Fall term, this course mixes different artistic media to integrate students’ various professional interests and combine diverse practical and theoretical approaches to achieve a comprehensive grasp of the work that art can do in the world. Lectures and writing workshops focus on how to read complex texts for an understanding of their arguments and how to write elegantly crafted, well-reasoned papers supported by evidence. This course is designed to foster an appreciation of how the arts relate to each other and to society in a changing world. The course allow students to reflect on a range of social and ethical issues as they pertain to their own creativity.

Writing the Essay: The World Through Art (ASPP-UT 2: 4 credits)

Taken in the Spring term, this course is a continuation of “Writing the Essay: Art & the World. As such, this course mixes different artistic media to integrate students’ various professional interests and combine diverse practical and theoretical approaches to achieve a comprehensive grasp of the work that art can do in the world. Lectures and writing workshops focus on how to read complex texts for an understanding of their arguments and how to write elegantly crafted, well-reasoned papers supported by evidence. This course is designed to foster an appreciation of how the arts relate to each other and to society in a changing world. The course allow students to reflect on a range of social and ethical issues as they pertain to their own creativity.

Texts & Ideas (CORE-UA 400: 4 credits)

A foundations course with rotating topics. Past topics include: “Mixed Constitutions”, “Sex and the City”, “Arts and Publics
”, and “Doubles and Masks”.

Cultures & Contexts (CORE-UA 500: 4 credits)

A foundations course with rotating topics. Past topics include: “Urban Life in the European City, Ancient to Early Modern”, “Modern Arab Nations”, “Indigenous Australia”, and “The Black Atlantic”.

 

Liberal Arts & Sciences Electives (32 credits):

Students may select from departmentally pre-approved listings of liberal arts courses. 32 Liberal Arts electives – 8 courses including 1 course in each area listed below: 

1: Quantitative Reasoning OR something from the Math department or another relevant/related department (CS, Engineering)

2: Physical Science OR Life Science OR something from a relevant /related department

3: Societies & the Social Sciences OR something from a relevant /related department

4: Expressive Culture OR Open Arts course OR Art Department course OR something from another relevant/related department

 

Unrestricted Electives (20 credits):

Unrestricted electives, could be used towards a double major or minor credits

 

Major Requirements (60 credits):

Creative Computing (IMNY-UT 101: 4 credits)

In this course students will be asked to think beyond the conventional forms of human computer interaction (i.e. the keyboard and mouse) to develop interfaces that consider the entire body, the body’s capacity for gesture, as well as the relationship between the body and it’s environment. Students will learn the fundamentals of electronics and programming as they build projects using the Arduino microcontroller platform. Arduino is a small computer based on open source hardware and software. When used in conjunction with various sensors and actuators, Arduino is capable of gathering information about and acting upon the physical world. In addition to these physical computing techniques, students will also learn to harness the methods of traditional computation. The fundamentals of programming: variables, conditionals, iteration, functions and objects, will be explored through the use of the Processing programming language. Students will gain a deeper appreciation of the expressive possibilities of computation as they learn to author their own software, and not simply use that which has been provided to them. Additional topics will include digital modeling and fabrication using 3D printers and laser cutters, the manipulation, presentation, and exchange of data, algorithmic drawing and animation techniques, as well as control of images, video, and audio. Structured weekly exercises are aimed at building specific skills, however students are free to pursue their own diverse interests in their midterm and final projects.

Communications Lab (IMNY-UT 102: 4 credits)

In this foundation course, designed to provide students with a framework to effectively communicate through digital means, students will explore the possibilities of digital media by successively producing projects that make use of digital images, audio, video, and the Web. Students learn in a laboratory context of hands-on experimentation, and principles of interpersonal communications, media theory, and human factors will be introduced in readings and investigated through discussion. Imaging, sound, and video  will be examined, in the context  of fundamental web languages, such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript  to establish a diverse digital toolkit. Both traditional and experimental outputs, including online and interactive media platforms, will be explored. Weekly assignments, group and independent projects, as well as project reports will be assigned in each of the core areas of study.

Capstone Studio (ITPG-UT 1102: 4 credits)

The Capstone Studio course asks students to develop three components: 1) an interactive project and documentation, 2) a research paper, and 3) a personal portfolio. For the interactive project, students are asked to produce a working proof-of-concept that illustrates both their unique interests as well as evidence of competency within the field of interactive media production. Students are encouraged to develop their project around a theme , previously explored in their work. Projects will be presented and critiqued repeatedly throughout the capstone process to peers, faculty, and industry professionals. A final presentation of the interactive project will be delivered in week 10. The research paper will be a 4000-5000 word essay focused on some aspect of the interactive project. Culture, theory, philosophy, or history, the project context, and / or production methods can provide possible topics for research. For example, students may write about their project’s reception by a set of users specifically, or by users who are part of a larger culture, society, or market. It is important that students think beyond the project itself and situate it in a broader context accessible through research. Students will also be guided in the production of an online portfolio to showcase their work and accomplishments to the outside world. Graduates will be evaluated by their portfolio when applying for jobs, graduate school, artist residencies, grants, and the like. Portfolios will be tailored to the demands of each student’s future goals and target audience. Prerequisite: Student must be a senior.
Category: Studio

 

Elective Distribution — Students must take a minimum of two courses (or at least 8 credits) in each category:

    • Programming & Data
    • Physical Computing &Experimental Interfaces 
    • Media & Entertainment
    • Art & Design
    • Studies

 

Electives:

This is a sample listing of electives. Exact offerings will be available on a semester basis.

 

Category: Programming & Data

Reading and Writing Electronic Text (IMNY-UT 221)

This course introduces the Python programming language as a tool for reading and writing digital text. This course is specifically geared to serve as a general-purpose introduction to programming in Python, but will be of special interest to students interested in poetics, language, creative writing and text analysis. Weekly programming exercises work toward a midterm project and culminate in a final project. Poetics/text analysis topics covered include: the history of computer-generated writing in arts and literature; plain text transcription and character encodings; ethics and authorship in the context of computer-mediated language; poetic structure and sound symbolism; performance and publishing. Programming topics covered include: data structures (lists, sets, dictionaries); strategies for making code reusable (functions and modules); natural language processing; grammar-based text generation; predictive models of text (Markov chains and recurrent neural networks); and working with structured data and text corpora.

Prerequisites: Creative Computing (IMNY-UT 101) or equivalent programming experience

The Code of Music (IMNY-UT 222)

This course explores the elements of music through the lenses of computation and interactive design.

Each of the five course units focuses on one element of music (rhythm, melody, timbre, harmony, and structure), approaching it from the perspective of music theory, computation, and design. For each element, students listen to examples from different periods and styles, represent and manipulate the element in code, and create an interactive study around it. As students work toward their final projects, the class takes a more self-directed approach. Final projects can take the form of digital applications, spatial installations, or physical devices.

In-class coding and assignments will be done in P5.js, but students will be free to use other languages and frameworks for their final projects.

Prerequisites – Creative Computing (IMNY-UT 101) or equivalent programming experience

Networked Media (IMNY-UT 223)

The network is a fundamental medium for interactivity. It makes possible our interaction with machines, data, and, most importantly, other people. Though the base interaction it supports is simple, a client sends a request to a server, which replies; an incredible variety of systems can be and have been built on top of it. An equally impressive body of media theory has also arisen around its use.

This hybrid theory and technology course will be 50% project driven technical work and 50% theory and discussion. The technical work will will utilize JavaScript as both a client and server side programming language to build creative systems on the web. Technical topics will include server and client web frameworks, such as Express, HTML, CSS, templating, and databases. The theory portion of the course will include reading and discussion of past and current media theory texts that relate to the networks of today; included in this will be works by Marshall McLuhan, Wendy Chun, Lev Manovich, Philip Agre, Tiziana Terranova, and more.

In short, this course will be about developing full-stack web applications (such as anything from the beginnings of Google, YouTube, and Twitter to class registration systems and other purpose built system) as well as thinking, reading, and discussing the implications with a culture and media theory perspective.

Prerequisites – Creative Computing (IMNY-UT 101) or equivalent programming experience

 

Category: Physical Computing & Experimental Interfaces 

Designing Interfaces for Live Performance (IMNY-UT 243)

This course is designed to provide students with hands-on experience working with sensors and other electronics to design interfaces for a live multimedia performance.  Students will explore the expressive properties of sensors to control a variety of outputs such as light, sound, projection, and/or other media. The forms and uses of physical computing, computational media, and its application are explored weekly in both a hands on laboratory context, as well as weekly discussions of readings and existing performances.

Prerequisites – Creative Computing (IMNY-UT 101) OR A Quick Introduction to Physical Computing (IMNY-UT 103)

Introduction to Assistive Technology (IMNY-UT 241)

Assistive technology is a term that includes a wide variety of technologies for people with disabilities. This two-point survey course is designed to provide students with an overview of the field of assistive technology. Field trips, readings, and guest speakers will provide students with an understanding of current research and development as well as processes used in determining appropriate technologies. Weekly assignments and a final research project.

Prerequisites – Creative Computing (IMNY-UT 101) OR A Quick Introduction to Physical Computing (IMNY-UT 103)

Introduction to Fabrication (IMNY-UT 242)

An introductory course designed to familiarize students with all the IMA prototyping shop has to offer.  We will cover everything from basic hand tools to the beginnings of digital fabrication. You will learn to use the right tool for the job.

There will be weekly assignments, created to develop your fabrication techniques.  There will be in class lectures, demos, and building assignments. Emphasis will be put on good design practices, material choice, and craftsmanship.

 

Category: Media & Entertainment

Fairy Tales for the 21st Century (IMNY-UT 283)

Fairy tales, myths, and stories of magic have always served as a way for both children and adults to make sense of the unpredictabilities of the world around them. How do these stories serve us today? How do new technologies allow us to reinterpret them so that they have new meaning for our times? Through readings, weekly exercises, and a final project,  students in this course will explore the historic role and structure of fairy tales as well as the potential contemporary frameworks that allow us to entertain the impossible. Students will work with stories of their choosing however we will examine their implementation through traditional material and book art techniques, as well as projection mapping, 3D and VR (using Unreal Engine.)

Prerequisites – Communications Lab (IMNY-UT 102) OR equivalent coursework

Immersive Experience (IMNY-UT 282)

This course is designed to provide students with hands-on experience working with interactive and emerging applications for creating immersive experiences, with a focus on designing for virtual reality headsets. The class will also touch on related technologies, methods, and fields including experience design, virtual painting, augmented reality, interactive installation, and 360 video/audio. The course materials will also include readings and discussions on prior art/relevant critical texts.

Prerequisites – Communications Lab (IMNY-UT 102) OR equivalent coursework

 

Category: Studies

Big Ideas in the History and Future of Technology (IMNY-UT 203)

“Big Ideas in the History and Future of Technology” is designed to provide students with a critical perspective on current issues in technology in the context of the history, controversies, consequences, and ethical questions in emerging media. This first course in the series includes: in the first half –some seminal early works that imagine a future in which technology enhances/augments human intelligence and capabilities and how that might affect society; in the second half–2 classic works of fiction and some podcasts/ audio lectures that address questions relating to “What is Human.”

Writing Out Loud (IMNY-UT 202)

Writing Out Loud trains you to write more clearly, by asking you to write for public consumption — Reddit, Quora, AllRecipes, GitHub, Ravelry, and so on. You will concentrate on the parts of these sites that reward plain, concise expression; writing in those environments, you will gain a sense of context and genre appropriate for different audiences.

The subject of the class is factual or descriptive writing, in standard English. While there are many other kinds of writing — fiction or poetry; sentence fragments or dialect — this class is only concerned with sentences and paragraphs that explain things in ordinary language. In this class, your writing does not have to be impressive or stylish. It does have to be clear.

The course emphasizes revision, principally working with short answers, posts, and essays. The final project will be a short, conversation starting essay on a topic and in a forum of the student’s choosing.

 

Category: Art & Design

Design for Change (ITPG-UT 1012)

This 12- week course will examine the psychology of behaviour and apply that insight as a framework to affect change. The first half of the semester will focus on researching and discussing human behavior and looking at case studies of how behavioral theories have been applied to motivate change. In the second half of the semester students, working in pairs, will identify a societal issue that they are passionate about and develop a project that attempts, at scale, to move the needle on the issue in a positive way. This class is for students with passion for an issue and enthusiasm to apply their creative and technical skills to solve real problems in meaningful ways. The course is both a seminar class and a production studio. The second half of the semester students will focus on applying the learning. Students will identify a social problem that they hope to influence at scale. They will research and document the problem, develop a concept to influence the behavior associated with the issue and prototype (or build) their solution.

Art Strategies (ITPG-UT 1785)

Art is not a monolithic category! This class is an introduction to the diverse practices gathered under the category “Visual Art.” This world of visual art includes sound installation and performance, and happens not only in galleries and museums, but also on streets, parks, rivers, in nail salons and rowboats. Artists now are hybrid beings, bringing into their work personal orientations of race, class, gender – even interspecies interests, focuses ranging from law, neuroscience, beekeeping, and the legacies of 125 years of “modern” experimentation. Whether you want an introduction to art-making and the concerns that inform it, or have an established practice, this class is an opportunity to workshop new approaches for your own work, and begin to encounter the strategies and contexts of established artists working in the fields filed under Art. “Art Strategies” connects your studio practice with a survey class. In the spirit of “borrowing” or trying on, you may find newly resonant connections between your desire for expression, and an introduction to the practices and theoretical contexts of established artists. This 12-week class will cover 6 art strategies, combining research with bi-weekly assignments. You will work individually on assignments, and in teams to present research. The assignments are structured as responses to the strategy topic – for instance, how can you create a quick prototype for a project using appropriation as your framework? How can you use a lens of feminist critique? The class will be rich in individualized resources and critique, and will provide a topical survey of artists working in diverse ways. We will be conscious of the ways in which these practices integrate and challenge the uses of technology, and will also briefly address funding models, presentation, and contexts. Example strategies include agit-prop, appropriation, corporate drag, counterfactual fiction, ethnography, expanded cinema, fictional documentary, identity politics, institutional critique, intervention, irony, kitsch, post-internet, procedural actions, social practice, the archive, theater of the absurd. Movements we will look at include animal studies, bio-art, bio-politics, collectivism, Dada, environmental art, feminism (first-third wave), Fluxus, the post-natural, post-structuralism, post-black, occupy, queer theory, Situationists.

Readymades (ITPG-UT 1597)

This course is about taking old things and making them new. Loosely based on the tradition of Marcel Duchamp’s “Readymades,” students will re-imagine old technological devices and antiques as new media installations or art objects in the form of scientific, ethnographic, artistic and historic relics. By embedding new technology (sensors, micro-controllers and small projectors) into found objects, students will explore a combination of anthropology and new-media storytelling. Can we create interactive art devices that tell a human story? How do we maintain artistic control while building artwork that requires human interaction? How can we re-appropriate found objects in a meaningful way to create new-media installations? Possible projects include: time traveling typewriters, boomboxes from mars, ghost phones and musical bicycles. Pre-requisites include a flair for the absurd…and soldering.

 

Year One:

Fall Semester

 

Spring Semester

Course

Course

Creative Computing

CORE Writing the Essay: Art and the World  

CORE Texts and Ideas 

IMA Elective: Studies

4

4

4

4

Communications Lab

Core Writing the Essay: The World Through Art

CORE Cultures & Contexts

IMA Elective: Art & Design

4

4

4

4

Credit Total:

 

16 Credit Total: 16

 

Year Two:

Fall Semester

 

Spring Semester

Course

Course

IMA Elective: Media & Entertainment                                       

IMA Elective: Programming & Data  

Liberal Arts Requirement

Liberal Arts Requirement

4

4

4

4

IMA Elective: Physical Computing & Experimental Interfaces

IMA Elective: Media & Entertainment 

Liberal Arts Requirement

Liberal Arts Requirement

 

4

4

4

4

Credit Total:

 

16 Credit Total: 16

 

 

Year Three:

Fall Semester (Study Abroad)

 

Spring Semester

Course

Course

IMA Elective: Art & Design      

IMA Elective                                                     

Liberal Arts Requirement

General Elective

4

4

4

4

IMA Elective: Physical Computing & Experimental Interfaces

IMA Elective: Programming & Data

Liberal Arts Requirement                                                                                 

General Elective

 

4

4

4

4

Credit Total:

 

16 Credit Total: 16

 

 

Year Four:

Fall Semester

 

Spring Semester

Course

Course

IMA Elective: Studies                                                                                  

Liberal Arts Requirement

General Elective

General Elective

4

4

4

4

IMA Elective: Capstone Studio

IMA Elective                                                     

Liberal Arts Requirement                                                                                 

General Elective

 

4

4

4

4

Credit Total:

 

16 Credit Total: 16