Share This Post


Apply Today: MFA in Video & Media Design at Carnegie Mellon University

Apply Today: MFA in Video & Media Design at Carnegie Mellon University

Apply to The School of Drama Graduate Video & Media Design MFA

The School of Drama Graduate Video & Media Design Option is a conceptually rigorous, hands-on and innovative three–year program, which teaches advanced technical skills in a critical context.

This program is designed for forward thinking and fearless artists working at the forefront of media technology and the Arts. Course work is focused on experimentation and collaboration. Classes like Expanded Theater and Mediated Reality explore state of the art image creation and display technologies as new forms of meaning production, while Future Stages (the flagship collaborative class), is where Graduate students from the Design & Directing programs work with the Senior Actors to devise new works exploring the rich potential of technologically savvy performance.

Video & Media Design graduate students are encouraged to think critically about media technologies, as well as their impact on individuals, relationships and society, and to explore these issues in the form and content of their work. The Graduate Seminar & Graduate Concept Studio provide background context for these engagements, using the legacies of several Western critical traditions to help students develop new and contemporary vocabularies. The program also leverages CMU’s advanced curricula in a variety of disciplines across the university to provide Graduates with an in-depth yet flexible course of study. Cross-departmental projects with the Schools of Art, Architecture, Computer Science, Robotics, Human Computer Interaction and others are enthusiastically supported. Indeed, a key asset of this program is the ability to tailor your course of study based on your interests and career goals.

Finally Graduate Video & Media Design students participate fully in the ambitious School of Drama production schedule across 4 theaters. All CMU productions are student designed and produced, with close faculty support. Graduate students are involved in at least one production per semester, which range from one-act plays to full-scale main-stage productions and “devised” or experimental works.

Facilities, Equipment and Software available for Media Design students:

Studio 201:

* Studio 201: empty; as designed for Steve Yockey’s Wolves – Directed by Ian Williams, Media Design by Kevin Ramser; and during Future Stages Class.

  • “Studio 201,” a 15,000 sq ft, flexible media lab, housing large wheeling rear-screen units, moving walls, lighting, sound and video cameras & projection equipment. This is where Future Stages is taught.
  • A 450+ seat “fly” proscenium mainstage & 2 fully equiped black box theaters in the Purnell Center.
  • A wide variety of video projectors from tiny picos to Panasonic professional units (4k – 20 K).
  • Multiple camera systems from low res surveillance cameras to 4K resoultion Lumix Gh4 systems.
  • Multiple up to date Mac & PC towers for production and class work.
  • In addition to the extensive CMU computing services basic deisgn software the Media Design Option works regulary with: TouchDesigner, Millumin, Unity 3D, Cinema 4D, Maya, Unreal Engine, Max/MSP/Jitter, Isadora, Q-lab, Watchout, D3 Designer, Vectorworks & Autocad.


* William Golding’s Lord of the Flies in The Chosky Theater – Directed by Caden Manson; Media Design by Kevin Ramser & Dan Sakamoto

The School of Drama Video & Media Design Option is an intensive three-year course of study providing a solid theoretical grounding in the history and contemporary issues surrounding media technologies and extensive practical experience through class-work and productions.

All VMD Grad students design a thesis production, which is fully mounted and technically supported as part of the School of Drama season.

Graduates have a wide range of skills and the proven ability to work across many performance and entertainment disciplines, including theater, film, television, dance, opera and live events.

The curriculum is designed to allow time for students to take advantage of the wide variety of resources at Carnegie Mellon University for in-depth study. From 4K videography to animation, 3D technologies (motion capture, modeling, VR & AR environments), to creative coding (openFrameworks, python, C#, JavaScript, etc), students work with Faculty advisers to create their ideal curriculum.

A growing focus is on creative coding for performance contexts, and there is an active course schedule across the College of Fine Arts, Computer Science & Engineering (Robotics) to pursue these areas with “best in class” faculty and facilities.

School of Drama alumni and visiting artists share their expertise with students through project work, visiting lectures, workshops and professional development seminars. As students ready themselves for graduation, alumni introduce them to the profession during Showcases in New York City and Los Angeles.

Edward 2 by Christopher Marlowe Directed by Stephen Eckert
Media Design by Kevin Ramser.


* Stubenville – A newly devised work by Eleanor Bishop & Cast; Rauh Theater; Media Design by Dan Sakamoto.


* Touch Designer workshop in the media lab


* Expanded Theater students skeptically working with the Oculus Rift.


Apply to The School of Drama Graduate Video & Media Design MFA

Questions about the program, contact:

[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

Lawrence Shea
Associate Professor, Video & Media Design
School of Drama
Carnegie Mellon University
Purnell Center for the Arts
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890


Share This Post

%d bloggers like this: