What is Low Res?

The new Low Residency (or Low Res) Master’s program will provide an environment for makers of all stripes to explore the application and implication of new technologies in art, science, engineering, design and the humanities. However, the new program recognizes that the existing ITP graduate program needs to reexamine it’s accessibility, and looks to experiment with formats beyond the existing two-year residential masters program. The new program will attract people who need a more affordable and flexible format for graduate study in a series of intensive, immersive residencies across three locations combined with online classes and resources.

The intensive in-person sessions will involve full-time commitment and students will be expected to be wholly dedicated to the program during this time. The online sessions, while maintaining a high-level of academic rigor and work-load, aim to allow students to continue professional pursuits in parallel with their studies and course work.

What is ITP and IMA?

ITP is the Interactive Telecommunications Program, a two-year graduate program located in the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU whose mission is to explore the imaginative use of communications technologies — how they might augment, improve, and bring delight and art into people’s lives. Founded in 1979, it was the first graduate programs of its kind and remains among the most prestigious in the world. Perhaps the best way to describe ITP is as a Center for the Recently Possible.

IMA is the Interactive Media Arts Program, which was inaugurated at NYU Shanghai in 2013, initially as an undergraduate major. Developed out of ITP, IMA has distinguished itself within NYU Shanghai’s Liberal Arts curriculum and grown into one of the most popular programs on campus. Since then, IMA sister programs have taken root at NYU New York and at NYU Abu Dhabi. With the Low Res MA degree, the IMA program at NYU Shanghai is now expanding to encompass graduate-level education.

What is the difference between the Low Res and the ITP graduate program?

Both are graduate programs offering master’s degrees with classes small by design (12-16 students). ITP is a 2-year, full-time graduate program that requires 60 credits to complete the Master of Professional Studies (MPS) degree. An MPS is accepted as a “terminal degree” when applying for teaching positions at Universities. The ITP student experience in New York is very community oriented with all of the classes meeting in-person.

The two years at ITP allows for a wider and deeper research-oriented exploration, with enough time to find and follow unexpected ideas. Also, the larger student body at ITP allows for a greater diversity of curriculum and communities where people and classes have the time and space to forge into radical terrain. The sustained structure and discipline of the two-year collaborative residential experience leads to extremely deep relationships with the ideas, practices and most importantly people in the program.

In comparison, the Low Res is a 1-year, 32 credit program that grants a Master of Arts (MA) degree. The Low Res program requires study abroad in 3 different locations (Shanghai, Berlin and NYC) as well as online semesters during the Fall and Spring terms where students return to their home countries. Connecting the global locations increases the value for students as they benefit from the human network and diversity of contexts. Our colleagues across these sites have forged strong, ongoing relationships and community partnerships with local industry, non-profit organizations, cultural organizations, artists, designers, developers, thinkers, maker communities and more.

Given the smaller cohort of students and the 12-month sequence of online plus in-person sessions, the curriculum for the Low Res will be more directed than what is regularly offered at ITP. It will still provide students with ample room for personalized exploration and self-directed learning, but the courses will be more curated than the traditional residential program and designed specifically for students in the Low Res.

What kind of student will be better suited for the Low Res program?

The Low Res is a great option for working professional students who cannot take 2 full-time years away from their careers or homes. It’s also a great option for students who have the desire and flexibility to study in locations around the world and also have the discipline to stay focused during the online semesters to continue with their studies and hands-on project development. The program will serve to enhance and augment an individual’s existing career path as well as lay a foundation to pursue new paths of interest. A strength of this program is that it will allow students to build upon a professional foundation they have set for themselves and extend their reach into new terrain.

Students interested in creative approaches to design and education will find this program especially fertile ground for continued work and research. Also, students who may have an existing area of inquiry or professional goal will be able to leverage the program as scaffolding to offer cross-cultural insights and global context towards their own interests. Integrating personal and professional experience will be welcomed throughout the program.

Do I need technical or design skills before joining the Low Res?

No! You do not have to be a programmer or designer before joining the Low Res IMA. In fact, the more diverse your background the better! We would love to see dancers, poets, philosophers, lawyers, biologists, tinkerers, actors, policy-makers, musicians as well as programmers and designers all mix together and make something creative using interactive technologies. The technical skills and “learning how to code” will be incorporated into the curriculum.

The focus will not solely be on applied skills though. Rather, we want our students to explore and analyze interactive media from a humanistic, environmental, and communications perspective. Cultivating thoughts, ideas and conversations around the development, use and implications of the technology is the goal, not a fluency in any one specific tool.

Which classes will I take?

A full list of the courses currently being offered along with short descriptions is available on the Curriculum page. The IMA Low Res curriculum has been designed specifically for students enrolled in this program.  These courses have been developed as a sequence that will iteratively build upon one another. Note, a majority of the curriculum is currently fixed for all Low Res students with some flexibility in both the Berlin and Shanghai sessions, where students will have options for their elective course.

Can I take classes at ITP or transfer into ITP after this program?

The IMA Low Res and ITP are separate standalone programs. Students will not be able to cross-enroll in classes outside of their designated program. The Low Res curriculum and schedule has been designed specifically for its students and will be dedicated only to students enrolled in the MA degree.

Also, students in either program will not be eligible to transfer credits towards a degree in the other.



Can you tell me more about admissions for Low Res?

This program, like the ITP and IMA cultures from which it derives, is a creative, multidisciplinary environment in which diversity is valued and collaboration is encouraged.

A background in art, design, or computer programming is not required for acceptance into the program. We are looking for applicants from a diverse range of undergraduate educational and professional backgrounds who want a first-hand understanding of the production and implications of interactive media systems, from the devices and networks on which they run to the range of expressive possibilities which they afford. Demonstrating an interest in real-world challenges along with a desire to investigate current aesthetic, social, political, and ethical issues is encouraged.

Acceptance into the program is competitive; enrollment is limited to applicants who show exceptional promise and are interested in collaboration and experimentation. Students must be able to commit to the full program of one summer session in New York, one January term in Berlin, one summer session in Shanhghai, and two online semesters in the Fall and Spring.

All students entering the program must hold a bachelor’s degree which can be completed in any subject matter. No entrance examination is required. No GRE is required. However, an English language proficiency exam is required for students whose native language is not English. We accept TOEFL, IELTS and Pearson’s and Duolingo. Students can be waived from the language proficiency exam if they completed a bachelor’s degree at a university where English was the primary language used for instruction. Please refer to the Tisch Graduate Admissions site for more information on language proficiency.

When is the application deadline?

The primary deadline for applications to be a part of the next Low Res class is December 15.  We look forward to receiving your applications!

How many students are you accepting?

We are looking for 32 imaginative, ambitious and generous students to join the Low Res program.

How do I apply?


First, we encourage you to read through the entire Apply page.

Then, all students must apply through an online application form. Students must submit a personal statement, a resume or CV, 2 letters of recommendations, and official transcripts showing the conferral of a bachelor’s degree. A creative portfolio is also strongly encouraged. In terms of the creative portfolio, this should be documentation of practice highlighting relevant works in artistic, commercial, scientific, social, or other fields. We’d like to see what you’ve made! It can take the form of a personal portfolio, individual documents,  links to professional work, or any other format that shows us the kind of work you have done in your professional, personal, or academic time.

Students whose native language is not English also need to submit an English proficiency exam (TOEFL, IELTS, Pearson’s or Duolingo). Students can be waived from the language proficiency exam if they completed a bachelor’s degree at a university where English was the primary language used for instruction. Please refer to the Tisch Graduate Admissions site for more information on language proficiency.



What is the tuition cost for the Low Res?

Please refer to the NYU Bursar’s website for important links and updated tuition costs. The following is the finalized cost in USD per term for the 2022-2023 Academic Year of tuition and registration/services fees:

Summer 2022 NYC/Online (9 credits)  $18,414 plus $1,112 for fees Fall 2022  online (7 credits)  $14,896  plus $982 for fees January 2023 Berlin (3 credits) $6,384  plus  $0 for fees Spring 2023  online (7 credits)  $14,896   plus $982 for fees Summer 2023 Shanghai (6 credits)  $12,768  plus $908 for fees .

This does not include travel our housing costs to the various global sites.

How do I apply for departmental scholarship or financial aid?

Students from all stages in their careers are welcome to apply for graduate study in interactive media at IMA Low Res. However at any stage, affordability is probably the biggest hurdle for students to be able to attend graduate school. A main priority of the department is to work with all of our students, including international students, to create a feasible financial plan that will make graduate study at IMA Low Res more accessible to a wide range of students.

DEPARTMENTAL SCHOLARSHIPS  Tisch School of the Arts Scholarships IMA Low Res provides departmental scholarships funded by the Tisch School of the Arts on the basis of financial need, educational excellence and professional promise. All accepted candidates are encouraged to apply for scholarship aid by filling out the financial aid form that is included in the admission application. There is no shame in needing to apply for scholarship aid. Applying for financial aid will not impact admissions decisions. Financial aid requests are taken into consideration after applicants have been accepted. Scholarship consideration is competitive and we do our best to allocate funding based on a combination of need and merit. In particular, we are looking to support underrepresented students. IMA Low Res departmental scholarships range in size from a few thousand dollars up to full-tuition scholarships. Scholarships are applied toward tuition only (scholarships cannot be used towards covering fees, materials or living expenses). Scholarships can only be used to cover up to the 32 credits required to complete the degree. While scholarship aid is limited, most students who express need for financial assistance will receive some level of scholarship funding toward tuition with the hope that it will be enough to allow you to attend IMA Low Res. Students who receive departmental scholarship aid will receive an award letter with their admissions acceptance offer in the form of a Tisch School of the Arts scholarship. NYC Mayor’s Graduate Scholarship Program IMA Low Res is participating in the NYC Mayor’s Graduate Scholarship Program to provide an opportunity for full-time New York City government employees, with undergraduate degrees, to pursue graduate studies in interactive media! We will offer up to 1 full tuition scholarship for 32 credits for an NYC government employee via application only.  Applicants must apply both to IMA Low Res and also to the Mayor’s graduate scholarship program at the link above. —– Students who are U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens who wish to be considered for financial aid must complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Students are encouraged to look for outside sources of aid as well.  In addition to scholarships, most students will also take out loans to cover tuition, and living expenses. STUDENT LOANS All U.S. applicants who are 1) accepted and 2) filed the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), will receive a financial aid package from NYU.  U.S. applicants are strongly urged to complete the FAFSA by January 15. International students are urged to look for outside sources of funding well in advance of the acceptance notice, but will also be considered for IMA Low Res departmental scholarships. INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS IMA Low Res values the diversity that international students bring to the program and will consider international students for Tisch-based scholarships in the same way we do for U.S. applicants if you are selected for admission. Please note that Non-U.S. citizens do not qualify for US Federal grants and loans, and thereby cannot file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) from the U.S. government. International students can secure private educational loans from U.S. institutions if they have a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen. If financial aid is an important aspect of your application, don’t overlook funding opportunities from your home country, and from foundations that are internationally based, along with all possible personal, family and local resources. Here is the link to Tisch Student Affairs Financial Aid.

How will housing and travel be managed during the in-person sessions?

Students are welcome to live in any accommodation of their choosing during these sessions. NYU will provide access to short-term university housing in all three locations at reduced student rental rates. Travel to and from the different locations will be the responsibility of each student.

How do I navigate the visa processes for this program?

Students need to be eligible to obtain a student visa in China, the USA, and Germany as needed. Students may need to apply for a Schengen visa to travel to NYU Berlin depending on their citizenship. Everyone except citizens of the EU will also need travel authorization. NYU’s Office for Global Services (OGS) will assist IMA Low Res students with obtaining the necessary student visas for the in-person sessions in China, the USA, and Germany.

Does the US visa and/or Low Res degree qualify non-US citizens for work privileges in the US after graduation?

Because of the limited time spent in the US, the Low Residency program does not qualify non-US citizens for any specific work privileges. These work privileges are often referred to as “Optional Practical Training” (OPT) and “Curricular Practical Training” (CPT). For the New York portion, non-US students will enter the country via an F-1 Visa. This visa will allow for entry up to 30 days prior to the start date of the program and an exit date of up to 60 days after the program end date. Please contact us directly if you have questions specific to your own situation or status.



What sort of equipment do the Low Res students have access to?

The Shanghai summer session will be housed in the Interactive Media Art (IMA) Program Lab at NYU Shanghai, which is situated in Shanghai’s Pudong district. The New York summer session will be held at ITP’s new state-of-the-art multimedia production center located in the Center for Media, Technology and Arts (MTA) in downtown Brooklyn NY. In both locations, students can access a wide variety of digital production equipment for creating and prototyping.

These two programs are modeled after each other and have very similar resources to offer:

    • Classrooms: Large flexible classrooms with complete classroom technology set up including A/V projector systems.
    • Studio Area: Large flexible studio areas with access to hand tools, soldering irons, multimeters, glue guns, and other manual construction tools.
    • Media Equipment Room (ER): The ER allows students to check out media production equipment including laptops, graphic tablets, LED Projectors, microphones, audio field recorders, DSLR cameras, and more.
    • Electronics Prototyping Equipment: The ER also stocks electronics modules for students to check out and use in prototypes, including microcontrollers, sensor modules, network modules, and other electronic kits and modules that are more expensive than students would normally consider purchasing before they are familiar with them.
    • Digital Fabrication Studio: The DigiFab Studio includes state-of-the-art digital fabrication tools including laser cutters, 3D Printers, CNC milling machines, pick-and-place electronics assembly machines, electronics reflow ovens, and automated stencil cutting machines.
    • Traditional Fabrication Shop: The main shop contains band saws, circular saws, wood and lathes, sanding machines, jig saws, and other hand power tools

Will I have access to the IMA labs or equipment during the Fall and Spring online semesters?

At NYU Shanghai, students are welcome to access the IMA space and utilize the facilities any time they are open. At NYU New York, access to the facilities will be available on weekends with use of equipment and resources possible, but limited and dependent upon availability. At either site, if there is an event, talk or workshop open to NYU students and/or community members, Low Res students are welcomed and encouraged to attend.

The general expectation is that students will be working on their own during these times. Regardless of where you may reside, we will do our best to offer support and recommend spaces and resources to utilize when the program is not in residence.

Will I have access to other NYU facilities during the online semesters?

Yes. Low Res students will be able to access any “communal” NYU facilities, such as the library, gym or any other non-program owned space at both NYUNY and NYUSH. For spaces that are managed by individual schools/departments/programs at either location, access will be at their discretion. Access to other NYU Global sites will be at the discretion of each individual site. If you have specific needs or interests, please let us know and we will do our best to offer support.