New media design is an RIT New Economy Major. This collection of degree programs is forward-thinking and future-forming, and helps prepare you to excel in the multidisciplinary nature of our modern, dynamic economy.
Gain the skills to design cutting edge interactive solutions–from mobile apps to fully immersive digital environments.
Develop projects at RIT's MAGIC Spell Studios, a state-of-the-art facility featuring a fully functional film sound stage, sound mix and color correction post-production studios, a 4K Dolby Atmos theater, and multiple media laboratories.
A two-course, two-semester capstone project pairs you with students from the new media interactive development major to collaborate on projects for corporate clients looking for solutions to digital challenges facing their organizations.
Through real-world client engagements, students address digital challenges with the creation of AR and VR projections, games, and physical and mobile experiences. Past industry partners include Constellation Brands, Eastman Kodak, Forbes, Rochester Regional Health, and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Every day, millions of people engage in interactive digital experiences, from smartphones and smart TVs, to tablets, wearables, gaming systems, and more. In the new media design degree, you’ll explore dynamic aspects of digital design–visual design, user experience design, interaction, motion graphics, and technology–that give you the skills you need to create captivating, interactive media.
What is New Media?
New media is an ever-changing form of digital communication that engages, immerses, and entertains its users.
The term new media was first coined in the mid-80s to refer to the impact computing was beginning to have on traditional forms of media, such as newspapers, radio, and television. But as digital platforms began to evolve beyond the internet, new media came to encompass all types of information and entertainment accessed by our computers, phones, and tablets. New media now encompasses anything that integrates communication, computing, and technology – from social media (Facebook, Instagram) and streaming services (Spotify, Hulu, Amazon Prime), to highly interactive digital technologies like wearables (Apple Watch, FitBit), virtual reality, augmented reality, and gaming.
RIT’s New Media Design Degree
In the new media design degree, your course work will help you build the skills you need to design for interactive media. These courses include visual design foundations, 2D and 4D design, animation, information design, user interface design, user experience design, 3D modeling, motion graphics, web and multimedia technologies, usability research, and programming. You’ll gain the skills needed to design cutting edge interactive solutions from mobile apps to fully immersive digital environments.
Design for interactive media requires collaboration with programmers skilled in interactive design. As a new media design student, you’ll benefit from close collaboration with students in RIT’s new media interactive development major, which focuses heavily on programming and interactive development. Courses in this major address the computing and programming side of new media design, with classes covering topics in mobile development and alternative interfaces, website design and implementation, physical/wearable computing, game design, game development, design and media production, interactive audio, and more. Both programs share core courses in programming and design, enabling students in both majors to develop the complimentary skill sets needed for success in the industry.
Your senior year concludes with New Media Design Capstone I and II, a two-course, two-semester capstone project in which you’ll team up with students from the new media interactive development major to work on a project for a corporate client looking for a solution to a digital challenge their organization faces. You’ll gain the teamwork experience needed as you learn to develop, navigate, and leverage the designer-programmer-client relationship. With many courses both project- and team-based, you’ll build a robust portfolio of interactive projects, positioning you well to showcase your skills, capabilities, and knowledge to prospective employers upon graduation. View samples of new media team projects to see what our teams have created.
Careers in Digital Media
Digital media is everywhere and we interact with it daily, on phones and tablets, on wearables, and in gaming. As a result, careers in digital media, new media design, and design for interactive media are booming. With a new media design degree, you will graduate with the skills and the experience to launch a career in visualization design, interactive design, and user experience design for digital advertising, marketing, social media, mobile app development, web applications, entertainment and gaming, and corporate design.
You’ll also be well positioned to utilize your skills in video and audio production, game design, 4D design, television streaming and broadcasting, interactive website design, graphic design, illustration, and more.
Connect with New Media Professionals
The School of Design maintains memberships in a variety of professional organizations that foster a community of design, new media, interactive design, and digital design professionals, including Industrial Designers Society of America, ACM Siggraph, Society of Environmental Graphic Designers, American Society of Interior Designers, American Institute of Architects, ICOGRADA, American Institute of Graphic Arts, and International Interior Design Association.
Creative Industry Day
RIT’s Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education hosts Creative Industry Day, which connects students majoring in art, design, film and animation, photography, and select computing majors with companies, organizations, creative agencies, design firms, and more. The 2021 Creative Industry Day will be a week-long virtual event where you’ll be able to network with company representatives and interview directly for open co-op and permanent employment positions.
Accelerated 4+1 MBA
An accelerated 4+1 MBA option is available to students enrolled in any of RIT’s undergraduate programs. RIT’s Combined Accelerated Pathways enable you to earn both a bachelor’s and an MBA in as little as five years of study. Learn more how you can prepare for your future faster with a Combined Accelerated Pathway.
Accepted Student Virtual Open House
Get to know the place where you’ll find your fit and form your future.
New Media Design, BFA degree, typical course sequence
Sem. Cr. Hrs.
New Media Design Interactive I
This course provides an introduction to key internet, web and multimedia technologies. Topics covered include computer-based communication and information, basic HTML, Adobe Flash and WYSIWYG editors, basic internet applications such as FTP, basic use of digital images, audio and video techniques, web page design, web animation for development and publishing. (Prerequisites: NMDE-111 or equivalent course student standing in NMDE-BFA program.) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Spring).
This course is an introduction to the visualization of form, thought and expression through the drawing process. Concepts are introduced by lectures, discussions, demonstrations, research, and assigned projects. Designed to provide a broad introductory experience, students will experiment with a wide variety of media, tools, techniques and subjects to develop drawing expertise and problem solving skills related to design and composition. Course work will be assessed through critique, facilitating self-assessment, and the growth of both a visual and verbal vocabulary. The focus of the course is to provide awareness of the full range of ways in which drawing is used as a tool for both self-expression and communication. (Undergraduate Art and Design) Studio 6 (Fall, Spring).
Choose one of the following:
This course is an introduction to the visualization of form, thought and expression through the drawing process. Concepts are introduced by lectures, discussions, demonstrations, research, and assigned projects. Designed to provide a broad introductory experience, students will experiment with a wide variety of media, tools, techniques and subjects to develop drawing expertise and problem solving skills related to design and composition. Course work will be assessed through critique, facilitating self-assessment, and the growth of both a visual and verbal vocabulary. The focus of the course is to provide awareness of the full range of ways in which drawing is used as a tool for both self-expression and communication. (Prerequisites: FDTN-111 or ITDI-211 or equivalent course.) Studio 6 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
Drawing II Workshop: Topics
This course is an investigation of the visualization of form, thought and expression through the drawing process. This workshop provides students with the opportunity to learn more about a particular experience in drawing while still covering required foundation elements. Different topics may be taken in the same semester. Topics may only be taken once. Concepts are introduced by lectures, discussions, demonstrations, research and assigned projects.. The focus of the course is to provide awareness of the full range of ways in which drawing is used as a tool for both self-expression and communication. (Prerequisites: FDTN-111 or ITDI-211 or equivalent course.) Studio 6 (Spring).
2D Design I
This course is a structured, cumulative introduction to the basic elements and principles of two-dimensional design. Organized to create a broad introductory experience, the course focuses on the development of both a visual and a verbal vocabulary as a means of exploring, developing and understanding two-dimensional compositions. Concepts are introduced through lectures, discussions, demonstrations, research, assigned projects and critiques. The course addresses a wide variety of media, tools, techniques both traditional and technological, and theoretical concepts to facilitate skill development and experimentation with process. Visual comprehension, the ability to organize perceptions and horizontal thinking that crosses other disciplines and theories, are key foundational components to the development of problem solving skills. Accumulative aspects of the curriculum included the exploration of historical and cultural themes and concepts intertwined with aspects of personal interpretation and experience. (Undergraduate Art and Design) Studio 6 (Fall, Spring).
This course will introduce students to video, photo, sound, and lighting equipment are used to create short-form time-based work. The basic concepts of art and design in time and space. The course explores elements of moving images, such as serial, narrative ordering, still and moving image editing, transitions and syntax, sound and image relations, and principles of movement. The course will address historical conventions of time in art and recent technological advances. In focusing on the relations between students' spacing and timing skills, 4D Design extends and supplements the other foundation courses, and prepares students for further work with time-based media. (Undergraduate Art and Design) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Fall, Spring).
New Media Design Digital Survey I
This project-based course is an investigation of the computer as an illustrative, imaging, and graphical generation tool. It develops foundational design skills in raster and vector image creation, editing, compositing, layout and visual design for online production. Emphasis will be on the application of visual design organization methods and principles for electronic media. Students will create and edit images, graphics, layouts and typography to form effective design solutions for online delivery. (This course is restricted to students in the WMC-BS or HCC-BS or NMDE-BFA or NWMEDID-BS or DIGHSS-BS program.) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Fall, Spring).
New Media Design Digital Survey II
Through formal studies and perceptual understanding, including aesthetics, graphic form, structure, concept development, visual organization methods and interaction principles, students will design graphical solutions to communication problems for static and interactive projects. Students will focus on creating appropriate and usable design systems through the successful application of design theory and best practices. Assignments exploring aspects of graphic imagery, typography, usability and production for multiple digital devices and formats will be included. (This course is restricted to students in the WMC-BS or HCC-BS or NMDE-BFA or NWMEDID-BS or DIGHSS-BS program.) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Fall, Spring).
RIT 365: RIT Connections
RIT 365 students participate in experiential learning opportunities designed to launch them into their career at RIT, support them in making multiple and varied connections across the university, and immerse them in processes of competency development. Students will plan for and reflect on their first-year experiences, receive feedback, and develop a personal plan for future action in order to develop foundational self-awareness and recognize broad-based professional competencies. Lecture 1 (Fall, Spring).
Choose one of the following:
General Education – Natural Science Inquiry Perspective
General Education – Scientific Principles Perspective
General Education – Mathematical Perspective A or B
General Education – Ethical Perspective
General Education – First-Year Writing (WI)
General Education – Artistic Perspective: History of Western Art: Ancient to Medieval
In this course students will examine the forms, styles, functions, and meanings of important objects and monuments dating from prehistory through the Middle Ages, and consider these works of art in their social, historical and cultural contexts. The primary goals of this course are to learn how to look, how to describe and analyze what we see, and how to use these skills to understand and explain how art visually expresses meaning. At the end of the term, students will have gained a foundational knowledge of the object, scope and methods of the discipline of art history. The knowledge obtained in this introductory course will also guide students in their own creative endeavors. Lecture 3 (Fall).
General Education – Global Perspective: History of Western Art: Renaissance to Modern
In this course students will examine the forms, styles, functions, and meanings of important objects and monuments dating from the European Renaissance through the beginning of the twentieth century, and consider these works of art in their social, historical and cultural contexts. The primary goals of this course are to learn how to look and how to describe and analyze what we see, and to use these skills to understand and explain how art visually expresses meaning. At the end of the term, students will have gained a foundational knowledge of the object, scope and methods of the discipline of art history. The knowledge obtained in this introductory course will also guide students in their own creative endeavors. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
New Media Interactive Design and Algorithmic Problem Solving I
This course provides students with an introduction to problem solving, abstraction, and algorithmic thinking that is relevant across the field of new media. Students are introduced to object-oriented design methodologies through the creation of event-driven, media-intensive applications. Students will explore the development of software through the use of a range of algorithmic concepts related to the creation of applications by writing classes that employ the fundamental structures of computing, such as conditionals, loops, variables, data types, functions, and parameters. There is an early emphasis on object oriented concepts and design. (This course is restricted to students in NWMEDID-BS or NMDE-BFA with at least 2nd year standing or GAMED-MN students.) Lec/Lab 6 (Fall, Spring).
New Media Interactive Design and Algorithmic Problem Solving II
This course provides students a continued introduction to problem solving, abstraction, and algorithmic thinking that is relevant across the field of new media. As the second course in programming for new media students, this course continues an object-oriented approach to programming for creative practice. Topics will include re-usability, data structures, rich media types, event-driven programming, loaders, XML, object design, and inheritance. Emphasis is placed on the development of problem-solving skills as students develop moderately complex applications. (Prerequisites: C- or better in IGME-101 or equivalent course and students in NWMEDID-BS or NMDE-BFA with at least 2nd year standing or GAMED-MN students.) Lec/Lab 6 (Fall, Spring).
New Media Design Elements II
Information design for static, dynamic and interactive multimedia integrates content with visual indicators. Legibility and clear communication of information and direction is important to the success of any user interface design. This course integrates imagery, type, icons, actions, color, visual hierarchy, and information architecture as a foundation to design successful interactive experiences. (Prerequisites: NMDE-102 or 112 or equivalent course and student standing in NMDE-BFA or HCC-BS or DIGHSS-BS program.) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Fall).
New Media Design 3D
A comprehensive course in visualization that extends previous experience and skills to include three-dimensional creation and design. The course will provide studies in 3D modeling, rendering and animation for use in virtual spaces, rich internet and mobile applications as well as motion graphic design. Digital 3D tools will be used for solving visual design and communication problems. Students will be expected to show evidence of growth in 3D asset creation and usage in the form of simple product renderings, interactive integration and story based animation. (This course is restricted to NMDE-BFA Major students.) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Fall).
New Media Design Interactive II
This course extends previous interactive design and development experience and skills to emphasize interactive design principles and development. The emphasis in this course will be on the creative process of planning and implementing an interactive project across multiple platforms. Students will concentrate on information architecture, interactive design, conceptual creation, digital assets, visual design and programming for interactions. (Prerequisites: NMDE-103 or ISTE-140 and NMDE-112 and NMDE-201 or equivalent courses.) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Spring).
New Media Design Animation
This project-based course provides training and practical experience in producing two- and three-dimensional animated sequences using off the shelf multimedia software. Students produce a number of short exercises incorporating original computer and non-digital artwork. Topics include key frame and tweening, cycling, acceleration, squash and stretch, backgrounds, inking, rotoscoping, sound, masking, multi-plane effects and space-to-time. Screenings of professionally made films will illustrate and provide historical perspective. (Prerequisites: FDTN-141 and NMDE-202 or equivalent course.) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Spring).
CAD Studio Elective‡
General Education – Social Perspective
New Media Design Motion Graphics
This course will deal with design concepts related to moving type. The impact of type as it moves, rotates, explodes, scales and fades will be considered. Legibility of the message will be studied in relation to delivery methods. Additional compositing, three-dimensional, camera tracking and special techniques and effects will be introduced during the class. (Prerequisites: NMDE-204 or equivalent course.) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Fall).
New Media Design Graphical User Interface
This course examines the user-centered and iterative design approaches to application and interactive development with a focus on interface design, testing and development across multiple devices. Students will research and investigate human factors, visual metaphors and prototype development to create effective and cutting edge user interfaces. (Prerequisites: NMDE-201 and NMDE-203 or equivalent courses.) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Fall).
New Media Design Elements III (WI-PR)
This course focuses on advanced visual communication within the current new media design profession. Through formal studies and perceptual understanding, including aesthetics, graphic form and structure, concept development and visual organization methods, students will design sophisticated solutions to communication problems. This course integrates imagery, typography, icons, user interface design, content creation and information architecture in order to design successful static, motion and interactive experiences. (Prerequisites: NMDE-201 and NMDE-302 or equivalent courses and completion of First Year Writing (FYW) requirement.) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Spring).
New Media Design Interactive III
A study of the application of information design theory and practice to the developing area of new media. Cartography and iconography will be viewed in the context of web and kiosk use. The delivery of consumer information, using interactive and dynamic media as the vehicle, will be investigated. (Prerequisites: NMDE-302 or equivalent course and student standing in NMDE-BFA program.) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Spring).
Art History Electives†
General Education – Immersion 1
New Media Design Capstone I
This course will focus on individual career preparation through topics such as resume development, job research, interviewing best practices, and creating or refining an online portfolio. Additional exploration and overviews will include the business aspects, practices, and workflows of the new media industry with a focus on designer/developer/client relationships. Students will integrate project workflows, management, team building, concept generation and prototyping through small team projects, and project research for NMD Capstone II. (NMDE-BFA 4YR or NWMEDID-BS 3+) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Fall).
New Media Design Interactive IV
Students will create innovative interactive product promotions and installations. The projects created in the class will embrace new technology and will focus on innovative solutions for real world design problems. An emphasis will be placed on researching new technology and using it in conjunction with solid interactive design skills to create innovative projects. (Prerequisites: NMDE-303 or equivalent course.) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Fall).
New Media Design Capstone II
This course will engage the New Media Design and related majors in a capstone production experience. The instructor will form collaborative student teams that will design, plan, prototype, and implement new media projects. Student teams will test their product with users and provide written feedback and analysis. Students will be evaluated on individual contributions and their team’s final capstone project. (Prerequisites: NMDE-401 or equivalent course.) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Fall, Spring).
New Media Design Experimental
This project-based course affords the student the ability to apply an experimental approach to integrating digitally generated content with new media techniques and processes in new, imaginative ways. Students will be encouraged to approach the computer as a medium of creativity to explore issues of narrative, identity, place, and visual reality vs. digital reality. Students will exhibit completed projects in a virtual or public forum. This course is topic based and can be taken multiple times for credit. Specific topics can only be taken once. The topics will include advanced concepts in 3D, UX, digital art and interaction design. (Co-requisite: NMDE-404 or equivalent course.) Lab 3, Lecture 2 (Spring).
General Education – Immersion 2, 3
General Education – Elective
Total Semester Credit Hours
Please see General Education Curriculum (GE) for more information.
(WI) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.
Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two different Wellness courses.
† Art History electives are non-studio courses searchable in SIS with the Art History attribute of ARTH.
‡ CAD Studio Elective courses are any College of Art and Design course with a studio or lab component, per catalog restrictions.
§ Professional Elective courses are any course offered by the following disciplines: GRDE, IGME, ISTE, IDDE, DDDD, SOFA, or photography (PHAP, PHAR, PHFA, PHPJ, PHVM, PHPS).
For all bachelor’s degree programs, a strong performance in a college preparatory program is expected. Generally, this includes 4 years of English, 3-4 years of mathematics, 2-3 years of science, and 3 years of social studies and/or history.
Specific math and science requirements and other recommendations
• Studio art experience and a portfolio of original artwork are required for all programs in the schools of Art and Design. A portfolio must be submitted. View Portfolio Requirements for more information.
Transfer course recommendations without associate degree
Courses in studio art, art history, and liberal arts. A portfolio of original artwork is required to determine admissions, studio art credit, and year level in the program. View Portfolio Requirements for more information.
Appropriate associate degree programs for transfer
Related programs or studio art experience in desired disciplines. A portfolio of original artwork is required to determine admissions, studio art credit, and year level in the program. View Portfolio Requirements for more information. Summer courses can lead to third-year status in most programs.
An image showing a tiger emerging from an ocean of pandemic, climbing toward a ray of light, has been selected as this year’s poster for the Imagine RIT: Creativity and Innovation Festival. The poster was designed by Luke Chen, a second-year new media design major.
Analytical thinking, complex problem solving, creativity, resiliency, and flexibility are among the top skills needed for emerging careers by 2025. Anticipating these rapid changes in the workplace—further accelerated by lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic—RIT is seizing on the opportunity to guide students to “new economy majors” that are multidisciplinary, transformative, and future-focused.