Program in Electronic Arts School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Program in Electronic Arts School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Troy, NY
student ratio
total students
Not Reported
average amount to complete degree
January 1
fall application deadline
acceptance rate
2 Degrees Offered
degrees offered


Graduate Programs in Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Established in 1972, the Department of Art was the first integrated electronic arts program within a research university in the country. The department takes an integrated and multidisciplinary approach to the arts and emphasizes the use of experimental and electronic media in artistic practice and performance.

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs in Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute give students opportunities to create works that incorporate art practice with research.

Students' work reflects a number of areas, including music composition, installation, bio-art, documentary videos, gaming, immersive environments, performance art, and social activism. Students have opportunities to work with distinguished faculty members and alumni who have presented their art internationally in museums, galleries, and publications, as well as at festivals and performances.

Master of Fine Arts in Electronic Arts

The MFA in Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute consists of 60 credit hours of coursework. The curriculum for each student includes 3 history or theory courses, professional collaboration, electronic arts practice, and a master's thesis.

It also includes non-credit work such as participation in critiques and public performance or exhibition of work. Furthermore, students complete 2 qualifying reviews that demonstrate competency in interdisciplinary electronic arts.

Master of Fine Arts Graduate Thesis

The MFA master's thesis comprises the theoretical component of the program. It discusses a student's studio work and final thesis project in relation to the student's development, research, and goals. Students complete 2 qualifying reviews before they advance to enroll in their master's thesis credits.

Doctor of Philosophy in Electronic Arts

One of the first programs of its kind, the PhD in Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is an interdisciplinary program that incorporates arts practice with theoretical and historical research.

The curriculum for the PhD in Electronic Arts consists of a minimum of 90 credit hours including at least 18 hours of dissertation work. With the help of advisers, students create their own plans of study and generally complete their programs in 4 to 5 years.

The curriculum for each student also includes a proficiency evaluation, candidacy exam, and dissertation defense. Furthermore, it includes at least 1 research methods course that blends theoretical and historical research processes with arts practice.

Students also plan and attend colloquia each semester, which involve presentations from artists, researchers, theoreticians, historians, and curators from within and outside of the university.

Dissertation and Final Exam

After students achieve their PhD candidacy, they write dissertations that are based on original research that covers topics within their principal fields of study.

Students can choose to write their dissertations using traditional social science formats that present original bodies of research in electronic arts. Alternatively, they may choose to create innovative projects and dissertation texts.

Integrated Electronic Arts at Rensselaer (iEAR) Studios

The iEAR studios are an integral component of the graduate programs in electronic arts. They provide specialized facilities that students, faculty members, and visiting artists can use to take part in both individual and collaborative research projects. There are several art studios and facilities including the Advanced Computer Music Production Studio, Advanced Graphic Production Studio, and Sculpture Studio, as well as an art gallery.

Distinguished Faculty Members

The Department of Art employs "talented, dedicated, and forward-thinking" faculty members who are committed to art practice, research, and teaching.

For example, Associate Professor Ben Chang is an electronic artist who explores how virtual environments and experimental gaming intersect with contemporary media art. His work has been exhibited in a number of venues worldwide including Boston CyberArts, the Athens MediaTerra Festival, and the Vancouver New Forms Festival.

As another example, Professor Branda Miller has been a "cutting-edge videographer" for more than 20 years. Her portfolio includes an array of award-winning works that examine various aspects of environmentalism, consumerism, social behavior, and cyber culture.

Employment Opportunities

Students in the MFA in Electronic Arts program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute graduate prepared to pursue careers in academia, fine arts, and performing arts, as well as the media industry.

The program's alumni are artists, composers, performers, educators, computer animation specialists, and sound designers -- among other professions. PhD graduates obtain research positions at institutions that offer advanced creative study. They also pursue curatorial positions in museums and university galleries.

Financial Aid

Full-time graduate students in the electronic arts programs may qualify for research and teaching assistantships or fellowships. Assistantships include tuition waivers and stipends.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Established in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the oldest technological university in the United States. It is located in Troy, New York, in the northeastern region of the country.

The university offers over 145 bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs to more than 7,000 students.

Rensselaer promotes excellence across a full-range of disciplines. This diverse array of disciplines makes it possible for people to connect with and enrich one another in a manner that enhances the larger world.

Apply Now

Location & Contact

Program in Electronic Arts

School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

110 8th Street
Troy, NY 12180-3590
United States

Dr. Curtis Bahn

Graduate Program Director

Phone: 518-276-4032

Office of Graduate Admissions

Phone: 518-276-6216

Request More Info

Degrees & Award

  • Degrees Offered
    • Major Degree Levels Offered
    • Art/Fine Arts Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
      Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
  • Degrees Awarded
    • Master's Degrees 3
    • Doctoral Degrees 2
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported
    • * Shows the number of degrees awarded for the last academic year that data was reported.
  • Earning Your Degree
    • Part-time study available? No
    • Evening/weekend programs available? No
    • Distance learning programs available? No
    • Terminal master's degree available? No
  • Degree Requirements
    • Master's Degrees Not reported
    • Doctoral Degrees
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported


44% of applicants are admitted.
  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied 49
    • Accepted 22
    • Acceptance Rate 44
    • Enrolled 9
  • Applying
    • Application Fee - Domestic $75
    • Application Fee - International $75
    • Electronic applications accepted? Yes
    • Applications processed on a rolling basis? Yes
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Domestic International Priority Date
    • Fall deadline January 1st January 1st Yes
    • Winter deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
    • Spring deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
  • Entrance Requirements
    • Master's DegreesNot Reported
    • Doctoral's DegreesNot Reported
    • First-Professional's DegreesNot Reported
    • Other Advanced DegreesNot Reported
    • International DegreesNot Reported

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition & Fees *
    • Tuition & FeesNot Reported
    • *Average dollar amount (tuition & fees) required to complete the degree
  • Financial Support
    • Financial award applicants must submitNot Reported
    • Application deadlines for financial awardsJanuary 1
    • Types of financial support availableScholarship and/or loans

Student Body

  • Gender
    • Total Graduate Students16
    • Female Percentage38%
    • Male Percentage62%
  • Participation
    • Total Graduate Students16
    • Part-time Percentage6%
    • Full-time Percentage94%
  • Ethnicity
    • Hispanic / Latino13%
    • Black / African American0%
    • White / Caucasian73%
    • American Indian / Alaskan Native0%
    • Asian0%
    • Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander0%
    • Two or more races0%
    • Unknown14%


  • Faculty Breakout
    • Total Faculty35
    • Full-time Percentage91%
    • Part-time Percentage9%
    • Female Percentage29%
    • Male Percentage71%