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Graduate Department of Media Arts and Technology

Prof. Miriam Langer, Department Chair 
Trolley Building, Room 136

Mariah Fox Hausman, MFA (Media Arts)
Miriam Langer, MFA (Media arts)
Angela Meron, MFA (Media Arts)
Stuart Gelzer, MFA (Media Arts)
Lauren Addario, MA (Internship Director)
Jonathan Lee, MA (Software Systems Design)
Rianne Trujillo, MA (Software Systems Design)

New Mexico Highlands University Mission
New Mexico Highlands University is a public comprehensive university serving our local and global communities. Our mission is to provide opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to attain an exceptional education by fostering creativity, critical thinking and research in the liberal arts, sciences, and professions within a diverse community. For more information about our mission, click here.

Master of Fine Arts in Cultural Technology (MFACT)
Master of Software Systems Design (MS)

Applying to the MFACT or MSSD Degrees 

Although the MFACT and the SSD programs adhere to the NMHU admission guidelines, the programs conducts their own selections and admissions process for all graduate applications. Applications are generally for full-time enrollment only, part-time study is discouraged. Applications are reviewed annually and students are encouraged to apply by March 1 for priority consideration. Students who are interested in applying for assistantships in particular are encouraged to apply early, since assistantships are granted based in part upon admission to the program.

Requirements for admission to the MFACT Program: 

To apply, submit the following via an emailed link to

  • Application form
  • Personal Objective Statement/ essay (600-1,000 words) demonstrating writing capabilities, which addresses the following: purpose in seeking an MFA degree at NMHU Media Arts & Technology, research interests, personal and technical strengths; what you bring to our program
  • Link to an online portfolio of best/relevant work, including detailed descriptions (2d work: 10- 20 samples, video: not more than approximately 5 min. reel) which demonstrates proficiency, research or exploration in: photography, videography, digital imaging, writing, exhibition, design, code, games, or hardware projects
  • Official Copies of all transcripts (Overall 3.0 average or better required)
  • Three (3) letters of reference from individuals familiar with the students’ abilities, work experience, and personal characteristics
  • Resume/CV

Requirements for admission to the MS Program: 

Students should submit the following:

  • An application form
  • A personal statement
  • Copies of all transcripts
  • Three letters of reference from individuals familiar with the students’ academic abilities, work experience, and personal characteristics
  • Links to three projects in your area of interest (code, games, or hardware projects); examples should be of your own work, if projects were group created, please include a write up detailing your role in the project for the MSSD program.

Full and Provisional Acceptance: 
To gain admission to the program, students should have at least a 3.0 overall GPA (based on a 4.0 scale). Students who do not meet these requirements but who demonstrate other strengths may be admitted to the program on a provisional status while they make up deficiencies. Students with a low GPA must maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA for the first year and then the provisional acceptance is waived. Students with a deficit in a certain area (photography, videography, and/or digital imaging) must take the course(s) in question at NMHU and must pass with an A in order to be admitted into the program and allowed to take graduate 500 and 600 level courses.

Successful applicants should demonstrate the ability to perform well in a challenging academic program, the interest and ability to perform creative research, and the personal communication skills necessary for the field of Media Arts or Software Systems Design. The successful applicant will possess goals and a career orientation that are congruent with the Media Art program’s philosophy and emphasis.

A personal laptop is strongly recommended for each graduate student in the department. The department provides industry standard software, but unfettered access through a personal computer is recommended.

To qualify for the degree you must earn a grade of B or better in every course. Grades of C or lower will not qualify for the MA or MS degree.

 Master of Fine Arts Program of Study

Students are eligible to graduate after completion of 60 graduate credit hours, a public exhibition of the final body of work, and once they have passed a final oral defense in conjunction with their accompanying written thesis document. MFA students must successfully complete at least 6 credits of qualifying cultural technology exhibit design and internship (regular and intermediate) with a cultural institution or other approved organization and 24 credits of required seminar/writing/critical thinking courses.

The remaining courses consist of studio and elective credits. Students wishing to become instructors in higher education should actively apply for the available teaching assistantship positions and/or take pedagogy-related classes as electives.

Year 1 Fall

618 History of Media Seminar* (3 Cr)

621 Studio I* (3 Cr)

5xx Elective (3 Cr)

First Semester Practice Review

Semester One credits: 9

Year 1 Spring

631 Media Theory* (3 Cr)

622 Studio II* (3 Cr)

655 Critical Practice I* (3 Cr)

First Year Review

Semester Two credits: 9

Year 1 Summer

698 Cultural Technology Internship I* (3 Cr)

Year 2 Fall

694 Thesis Research & Writing* (3 Cr)

623 Studio III* (3 Cr)

656 Critical Practice II* (3 Cr)

5xx Elective (3 Cr) or- Cultural

Technology Internship I/II* (3 Cr)

Midterm Evaluation/Review

Semester Three credits: 12

Year 2 Spring

624 Studio IV / Field Project* (3-6 Cr, Var)

595 & 526 (PICT)* (6 Cr, Odd)

MFA Qualifying Thesis Presentation/


Semester Four credits: 9

Year 2 Summer

698 Cultural Technology Internship II* (3 Cr)

Year 3 Fall

694 Thesis Research & Writing* (3 Cr)

699 Thesis** (1-6 Cr, Var)

5xx Elective(s) (3-6 Cr) -Or- 6xx

Critical Practice II* -Or- Cultural

Technology Internship II (3 Cr)

Semester Five credits: 9

Year 3 Spring

699 Thesis** (1-6 Cr, Var)

694 Thesis Research & Writing* (3 Cr)

MFA Thesis Defense

Semester Six credits: 6

Total MFA credits: 60

*Required course

** Summer internships are encouraged, but not required.

Studio: 18 Cr

Seminar/Theory/Thesis: 27 Cr

Elective: 9 Cr

Cultural Technology Internship: 6 C


Requirements for MSSD 

Degree Timeline

Year 1 

Note: all provisional requirements must have been met prior to enrolling in graduate level courses

Fall:      MSSD      SSD 600 

                                  SSD 541    


By the end of the semester:

Complete Program of Study and identify your committee chair and members. Deliver oral presentation to the entire Media Arts faculty.

Spring:      MSSD     SSD 545               


By the end of the first academic year:

Deliver a qualifying Oral Exam to the faculty. successful competition or the oral exam enables you to continue into the second year of the program. Note: a failing grade will terminate your continuation in the program. 

Please address the following in your visual/oral presentation:

  1. What is the scope of the field project/thesis?
  2. List references for others who have done projects that inspire or inform the work you are proposing.
  3. What do you hope to learn from the project that’s new to you and the field in general?
  4. What materials (hardware/software) do you need to achieve the project?
  5. What do you hope to learn from the project that’s new to you and the field in general?
  6. Who is the bet faculty team (you need two people in Media Arts and one person outside of the department) to help you achieve your goals?
  7. What is your timeline for completion?

Year 2 

Fall:        MSSD      SSD 534

Spring:   SSD 634
Field Project/Thesis

By the end of the second academic year:

Submit final draft of field project paper or thesis to committee for review at least two weeks before the oral defense.
Defend field project or thesis to committee in a public presentation.
Submit graduation clearance paperwork

Master’s Degree in Software-Driven Systems Design (MSSD)

Upon completing the program, Software Systems Design graduate students will have developed proficiency in a variety of programming languages and hardware solutions used by professionals in the fields of software development, web development, mobile development, game development, physical computing, and microcontrollers. Students synthesize their knowledge in a final field project or thesis.

Required Core: 23 credit hours 

MART 505 Digital Painting (3)
SSD 600 Principles of Software Designs (3)
SSD 541 Applied Algorithms & Architecture (3)
MART 610 Synthesis of Media Arts & CS (3)
SSD 534 Practicum (4)
SSD 634 Practicum (4)

Choose one: 

SSD 697 Field Project (6) OR 

SSD 699 Thesis (6)

Elective courses: 15 credit hours 

Choose 5 courses from the following: 

SSD 515 Game Development (3)
SSD 520 Mobile Applications (3)
SSD 525 Advanced Mobile Applications (3)
SSD 530 Advanced Web Applications (3)
SSD 531 Web Applications (3)
SSD 545 Ambient Computing (3)
SSD 552 JavaScript (3)
SSD 565 Patterns & Pattern Languages (3)
SSD 570 Interfaces (3)
MART 556 Physical Computing (3)
CS 573 Artificial Neural Networks (3)
CS 574 Machine Learning Algorithms (3)
CS 536 Human-Computer Interaction (3)

Core: 23 credit hours 

Electives: 15 credit hours 

Program Total: 38 credit hours 


Media Arts (MART), Courses in 

MART 505. Digital Painting (3); Fa
A course designed for students interested in learning how to use Corel Painter and the Wacom table tools to enhance their digital art skills. Painter is a digital studio application that aims to recreate the analog tools of an artist’s studio, painting, ink drawing, pastels, and other techniques.

MART 511. Graphics and Meaning (3); Fa
This course introduces a pictorial media design process of conveying messages through concept development and visual narrative problem solving. Students will explore symbolic graphic forms by reinterpreting meaning through icons, stencils, and primitive shapes within certain social and cultural parameters. Prerequisite: MART 573.

MART 513. Non-Linear Digital Video Editing (3); Sp
The study of video editing techniques and systems which have emerged from the intersection of television and computer techniques.

MART 515. Design Projects for the Community (3); Var
This course focuses on developing critical thinking skills for relating media content and for understanding how social and cultural issues impact public perceptions and behaviors. Through advocacy of a non-commercial cause, students will explore the many facets of an issue, identify key points to impact public appeal, develop a media promotional strategy, and employ visual communication skills to promote social change.

MART 517. Publication Design (3); Sp
The study of digital design, layout, typography, illustration, photo manipulation, and work processing applications in the preparation of printed materials. Prerequisites: MART 233 and 573.

MART 518. Principles of Multimedia (3); Fa
Learning the basic principles and applications used to create interactive animated movies, games and websites.

MART 522. HD Cinema Workshop (3); Sp
An advanced production course focusing on documentary and narrative video production as well as high-definition cinema production tools. Prerequisites: MART 221 or Permission of instructor.

MART 526. Multimedia Project Management (3); Alt, Sp, Odd
Through working on a creative team you will learn how to interact with clients, manage exhibition content, information flow, budget, and production schedule, and master the art of problem solving and trouble-shooting.

MART 527. Web Production Workshop (3); 2, 2 Fa
An introduction to producing websites, planning a website and using HTML, JavaScript, and dynamic HTML in the Dreamweaver authoring environment.

MART 528. Principles of Game Design (3); Var
This course provides the basic theories and implementation of game design. Students will study structure, strategy and work on developing their own games, digital or analog.

MART 534. Practicum (3); Var
A course designed to let graduate students develop leadership on multimedia projects. Prerequisite: Permission of Instructor.
MART 535. Selected Topics in Media Arts (1 – 4 VC); Var
Course in a topic or topics in media arts. May be repeated with a change of content.

MART 536. Experimental Video Production (3); Var
In this course students will explore approaches to and aspects of experimental storytelling using advanced high-definition video. Students will learn the basics of project proposal writing as well as how to secure funding and seek distribution for experimental projects. Prerequisites: MART 221 and 322.

MART 538. Advanced Multimedia Project Management (3); Alt, Sp, Odd
Through readings, class discussions, field trips and guest presentations, you will gain a mastery of exhibition content, the principles of exhibition design, the design of physical spaces, static and interactive exhibit elements and how to combine design, construction and multimedia skills. Prerequisite: MART 350 or 518

MART 541. Application Training in Media Arts (1); Var
This course is added to the schedule periodically to meet graduate students’ needs in terms of current industry standard software applications. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.

MART 546. Screenwriting (3); Fa
The study of the format, the writing styles, and the creative and technical techniques useful in the development of the dramatics screenplay for television and film.

MART 547. Digital Photography 3: Studio Lighting (3); Sp
This class introduces students to skills that are imperative in professional photography: studio lighting, portraiture, product photography, and macro photography. The techniques learned in this class will be introduced through lectures about historical and contemporary photographers and photographic movements. Professional modes of presentation, such as matting, framing, shipping, and archival treatments for gallery and commercial settings, will be addressed as well. This course is structured with assumption that you will create a sound, professional portfolio of work that is presentation ready by the end of the semester. Prerequisites: MART 443 and 445.

MART 549. Digital Photography 4: Photographic Installation (3); Var
This class explores the ever-evolving area of interactive photography. Starting with an introduction to 3D imagery through stereoscope and lenticular photography, the course will introduce students to new ways of thinking about photography as an interactive rather than an indexical tool. Students will research on contemporary photographic installation artists and will present their academic findings in the form of an oral presentation. The final class project will culminate in the creation of a photographic installation that uses at least one form of interactivity. Students will learn how to write professional artist’s statements to accompany their work and how to document their work. Prerequisites: MART 543 and 545.

MART 556. Physical Computing (3); 2, 2 Sp
This course focuses on physically interactive technology, enabling student’s work to sense and respond to its environment. This course is geared toward people interested in exploring new possibilities for screen-based and installation art, robotics, and “smart” architecture. The course begins with the basic theories of electronics and leads to fully functional interactive projects which react to physical interactions. Students build a series of working prototypes.

MART 557. Surround and Installation Workshop (3); Var
The course prepares students to create multi-media, interactive audio installations. Works for gallery and public art installation are given special emphasis in this course. Prerequisite: MART 366, 326, or 318

MART 559. Advanced Interactive Multimedia (3); Fa
A course designed for students interested in advanced multimedia and web development. This course is designed to relate directly to current professional standards in multimedia, interaction and web production.

MART 560. Alternative Photographic Techniques (3); Var
This course will focus on alternative processes and techniques: light box imagery, lazertran, imagery on silk, digital negatives, and cyanotypes. Students will also explore creative shooting options: hola cameras and lens babies. Throughout the semester students will examine and evaluate how alternative photographic techniques can be used to extend the meaning of a piece. Prerequisites: MART 233 and 443.

MART 561. Advanced Design Practice (3); Fa
This class is an advanced design class and an advanced practice class. The course projects will focus on targeting audiences, in a cohesive manner, with print, web, and interactive materials. How to identify users and buyers will be presented. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

MART 562. Video Effects (3); Var
The study of digital video, post-production techniques, such as chroma key production, image morphing, and video composing.

MART 563. Video Animation (3); 2, 2 Var
The study of 3D animation and modeling, using LightWave.

MART 564. Advanced Digital Cinema (3); Var
A capstone course in video production that requires the student to write, produce and direct a professional quality video piece. Prerequisite: MART 536 or permission of instructor.

566. Audio for Video (3); Var
The course prepares students to create multi-track audio for use in a variety of video and multimedia programs. Digital audio tools are given special emphasis.

MART 567. Character Animation (3); Var
This course focuses on character animation. Students will develop their skills in 2D and clay animation by learning the concepts of storyboarding, character movement, walk cycles, facial expression, audio syncing, and camera angles.

MART 568. Advanced LightWave Modeling (3); 3, 0 Var
The study of three-dimensional computer modeling techniques for virtual objects. Prerequisite: MART 363 or MART 563.
MART 569. Advanced Video Animation (3); Var
The study of advanced techniques of LightWave animation, including the use of metanurbs, inverse kinematics, multiple-target morphine, and quasi-cel animation. Prerequisite: MART 363 or MART 563.

MART 570. Advanced Design Practice 2 (3); Var
This class is an advanced design class, placing an advanced practice class-placing an emphasis on process as well as client relations. The curriculum will focus on accurately targeting audiences, for professional clients using print, web, and interactive materials. Students will learn how to most effectively position a unique brand in the market. Prerequisite: Permission of Instructor. Fa

MART 572. Distributed Network Production (3); Var
An advanced course in development and production for distributed networks, such as the internet, social networks, and other methods of networked communication and delivery. Prerequisite: MART 527.

MART 573. Typography II (3); Var
A study to typographic form and usage. The course covers the design and appropriateness of letter form systems in the communication process.

MART 575. Advanced Screenwriting Workshop (3); Fa
The goal of advanced screenwriting is to establish a workshop atmosphere where students can delve seriously and intently into the discussion of each other’s work. Students will be expected to complete a feature-length screenplay. Prerequisite: MART 546.

MART 577. Typography (3); Fa
This course explores the area of kinetic typography, an industry standard media form commonly seen in broadcast television media and film. A basic understanding of typography should have already been explored, as students will use their knowledge of vector-based software as a springboard for effects software. Animation on track paths, light, and camera angles come into play. Conceptual studies of environment-specific design will also be assessed and studied. Prerequisite: MART 573.

MART 590. Independent Study (1 – 4 VC); Var
Individual study arranged with an instructor. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

MART 594. Cultural Technology Mentorship (1 – 4); Var
A course designed to help students develop leadership skills and complete the necessary training for an AmeriCorps placement. Prerequisite: Permission of Instructor

MART 595. Exhibition Design (3); Alt, Sp, Odd
In this class students will be introduced to exhibition design principles. Projects include participation in designing a physical space with static and interactive elements and in combining design, construction, and multimedia skills to produce a final exhibit for public display. Prerequisite: MART 515 or 573

MART 596. Advanced Exhibition Design (3); Alt, Sp, Odd
This advanced course is for students who have already taken Exhibition Design. In this class students will expand their understanding of designing in a physical space, static and interactive elements, and combining design, construction and multimedia skills to produce a final exhibit for the public. Prerequisite: MART 495 or Permission of instructor

MART 598. Professional Internship (1 – 6 VC); Var
An external job placement in a position appropriate to the discipline. Both an instructor of record and an on-site supervisor are required. The position may be paid or unpaid. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

MART 600. Principles of Media Arts and Computer Science (3); Fa
An interdisciplinary investigation of the terminology, roots, assumptions and principles that underlie the merging disciplines of media arts and computer science. Cross-listed as CS 600.

MART 610. Synthesis of Media Arts and Computer Science (3); Sp
An interdisciplinary synthesis of the principles that underlie the merging disciplines of computer science and media arts. Cross-listed as CS 610.

MART 620. Multimedia Project Development (3); Fa
A study of the processes, techniques, and tools used in the development of sophisticated multimedia-based projects. The course focuses on both the theoretical and practical aspects of multimedia design and programming. A key component to the course is the completion of a project that combines the various tools and techniques discussed in the course. The course will also involve student presentations on the research related to their thesis or project. Cross-listed as CS 620.

MART 697. Field Project (1 – 6 VC); Var
Individual field research and writing in preparation of a graduate field project (equivalent to a thesis). Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

MART 699. Thesis (1 – 6 VC); Var
Individual research and writing in preparation of a graduate thesis. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

Software-driven Systems Design (SSD), Courses in 

SSD 515. Game Development (3); Sp
This course teaches the basic concepts of game development for casual games. Topics include: character movement, physics, collision detection, attacking, and scoring.

SSD 520. Mobile Applications (3); Sp
This course will cover building a native application from start to finish for Apple’s mobile devices using Objective-C in the Xcode environment. Topics covered include data presentation and handling, and basic user interaction.

SSD 525. Advanced Mobile Applications (3); Fa
In this course, students will work on a large scale native application for an Apple iOS device. Advanced features such as accelerometer support and geolocation will be taught. Students will complete the project in phases mirroring professional production.

SSD 530. Advanced Web Applications (3); Alt, Fa, Odd
Students will work on a large scale web application combining various technologies from previous web courses. Advanced features include responsive design for use across all major platforms. Prerequisite: SSD 531.

SSD 531. Web Applications (3); Sp
This course will combine web technologies such as HTML5, CSS3, PHP, Javascript, and ore to create web-based applications for modern platforms.

SSD 534. Practicum (4); Fa
Production level work with specific responsibilities to student’s previous coursework. Prerequisite: Permission if Instructor.

SSD 535-635. Selected Topics in Software-driven Systems Design (1-4 VC); Var
Selected topics in software-driven systems design. May be repeated with change of topic.

SSD 541. Applied Algorithms and Architecture (3); Fa
The purpose of this course is to understand and use discrete structures that are integral to software engineering. In particular, this class is meant to introduce logic, endianness, proofs, sets, relations, functions, counting and probability, algorithm analysis with emphasis to programming.

SSD 545. Ambient Computing (3); Sp
This course is an exploration of the world of the “invisible” computer. The student will use embedded computers & sensors to learn & then create a robust device that interacts with a specific environment. The course will examine a variety of schemes & approaches to developing computer programs for processors that have no keyboard or screen. We will examine the state of ambient computing technologies & adaptive algorithms. This course compliments the Physical Computing curriculum, but looks at processors that are move complex than the Arduino system. Prerequisite: SSD 541

SSD 552. Javascript (3); Fa
The purpose of this course is to teach Javascript basics and popular industry standard frameworks.

SSD 565. Patterns and Pattern Languages (3); Sp
Exploration of design patterns across several programming languages. Prerequisite: SSD 600.

SSD 570. Interfaces (3); Alt, Sp, Even
Exploration of alternative human computer interfaces. Prerequisite: SSD 600.

SSD 600. Principles of Software Design (3); Fa
Fundamental concepts in software design.

SSD 634. Practicum II (3); Sp
Production level work with specific responsibilities related to student’s previous coursework. Additional supervisory duties based on the student’s previous coursework. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

SSD 690. Independent Study (1-4 VC); Var
Independent study in systems-driven software design. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

SSD 697. Field Project (1 – 6 VC); Var
Individual research and writing in preparation of a graduate thesis. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

SSD 699. Thesis (1 – 6 VC); Fa, Sp
Individual research and writing in preparation of a graduate thesis. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.


This program is under the School of Business, Media and Technology