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Do you want to go further with your artistic abilities? This terminal degree program allows you to build on your foundation and expand beyond the traditional arts. As an MFA candidate, you will hone your craft in digital media and build proficiency in subjects like digital sculpting, digital painting, character design, and other specializations within the digital media industries.

The program culminates with an advanced thesis project that lets you develop and showcase an original body of work that is both personal and reflective of your strongest capabilities as a digital artist. We welcome a diversity of interests, ideas, and backgrounds.

The MFA in Digital Arts program allows you to make the jump from traditional to digital media and equip yourself with the 2D and 3D art skills most relevant to today’s careers in games, animation, and other visual media production environments.

Who Should Pursue This Degree?

If you aspire to turn your artistic capabilities into a sustainable career, or simply pick up where you left off in a previous arts program — particularly in the direction of 2D or 3D digital art production — this program may be for you. Ideally, applicants to the Master of Fine Arts in Digital Arts program will have had foundational coursework or formal training in the following: drawing, figure drawing, color theory, composition sculpture, 3D modeling, animation, and digital painting. Applicants with a background in architecture or design may be accepted but will need traditional media rendering skills and a demonstrated proficiency in color and composition.

As a student in this program, you will:

  • Learn the Tools of Digital Artists

    Gain familiarity with the tools and techniques most commonly used for digital painting, 3D sculpting, and more.

  • Tailor Your Elective Coursework

    Focus on the skills and specializations that matter most to you; take advantage of independent study opportunities to design your own courses.

  • Build Your Professional Portfolio

    The MFA thesis project is your chance to make a personal statement and demonstrate your strongest capabilities as a digital artist.

Academic Roadmap

As an MFA student, your studies will begin with a handful of required courses that will form the basis of your digital arts toolkit. From there, you’ll be able to choose from a wide selection of elective offerings in digital art, fine art, animation and production, or project coursework — narrowing your focus in the direction of the skillsets that most interest you. In addition to your regular coursework, you’ll be working toward your final thesis project under the guidance of faculty advisors.

Admissions Requirements

In addition to other basic admissions requirements, applicants to the MFA program must submit an art portfolio.

View all requirements

Topics Covered

By the time they graduate, students in the MFA program will possess the following qualifications:

  • Extensive 3D production experience, including the ability to use the most current 2D and 3D graphics applications in the industry, as well as traditional fine arts skills such as drawing, sculpting, and painting.
  • A deep understanding of the 3D graphics production pipeline, including the creative process and ability to manage projects from brainstorming to completion.
  • Strong research skills, especially as they relate to art history, character design references, and anatomy.
  • A specialization in modeling, sculpting, or character art, as well as a unique and highly developed personal voice as demonstrated by their thesis.

Full-Time and Part-Time Options

The MFA program is flexible to your schedule and can be pursued either full-time for two years or part-time for four years. The part-time program will require some coursework during regular daytime hours.

Full-time sample course sequence

Part-time sample course sequence

MFA Thesis

Your thesis begins with a one-semester Thesis Pre-Production course, during which time you will research, develop, and refine your thesis topic proposal. You will then work on your approved thesis project for two semesters under the guidance of a faculty advisor.

Thesis Work Examples

Upcoming Event

DigiPen Degree Program Deep Dive Series: Graduate Degree Programs

Join us online for the DigiPen Degree Program Deep Dive Series! Sunday, September 20 at 4:00 p.m. PDT, we’ll have faculty members and students live on stream to share their insights and take your questions about our graduate degree programs.

DigiPen Degree Program Deep Dive Series: Graduate Degree Programs

Sunday, September 20, 2020 - 4:00pm

Join us online for the DigiPen Degree Program Deep Dive Series! Sunday, September 20 at 4:00 p.m. PDT, we’ll have faculty members and students live on stream to share their insights and take your questions about our MFA in Digital Arts and MS in Computer Science degree programs.

RSVP Today

Student Projects

In addition to your thesis project, you’ll have the opportunity to collaborate with your peers on team-based student projects — including games and films — as part of your elective coursework. These projects give you firsthand experience creating 2D and 3D digital assets in a setting that reflects the professional studio environment. These are just a few projects MFA students have helped create.

Career Outlook

Graduates of the MFA in Digital Arts program can pursue a number of career paths in the game and digital media industries. Thanks to a heavy emphasis on elective coursework, you’ll be able to tailor your studies to these and other job types.

Potential Careers

3D Modeler

A 3D modeler is responsible for creating the creatures, objects, and environmental features for video games, simulations, animations, and other visual media, as well as 3D-printed objects. A 3D modeler must know how to capture the look, weight, and proportion of an object from all angles and work efficiently with sophisticated 3D art tools.

Character Artist

A character artist has the difficult but important job of creating the 3D characters that will typically be the focus of the player’s attention in an interactive video game. In many cases, the character artist will be responsible for both the modeling and texturing of the 3D character, being sure to create a model that can be properly rigged and animated.

Concept Artist

The concept artist creates visualizations to guide the rest of the art team and ensures a consistent visual style for animations, video games, movies, and other media. They must be able to illustrate rapidly to represent new ideas, working from the creative direction and input of a creative director or art lead.

Entry-Level Job Titles

  • 3D Artist

  • Animator

  • Technical Artist

  • Environment Artist

Senior-Level Job Titles

  • Art Lead

  • Art Director

  • Senior Artist

  • Senior Character Artist

  • Professor of Fine Arts

The cover art for Hannah Patten’s comic book GRL PWR.

A DigiPen MFA student turned real women’s stories of harassment and assault into superhero origin stories.

Trang “Sushie” Ta and Jesse Munguia stand next to each other in the DigiPen MFA lab.

With the help of the McMillen Foundation art scholarship, two DigiPen students are eagerly pursuing their dreams of making art for video games.

Audio-animatronic Rocket Raccoon welcomes riders to the Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout at Disney's California Adventure theme park

A DigiPen student’s unique academic pursuits prepared her for a job with Disney she didn’t know existed — that is, until Disney came and told her themselves.

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