First master of fine arts degree to be offered at UCSC

UC Santa Cruz has established its first Master of Fine Arts degree program in Digital Arts/New Media. The innovative new program will draw from a variety of disciplines including graphic arts, three-dimensional and environmental arts, music and sound design, film, video, and theater.

"The Digital Arts /New Media program promises to become a center for innovation and exploration in the study and application of digital technologies in the arts," noted Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor John B. Simpson.

UCSC has experienced heavy demand for digital arts courses over the past several years. The Department of Film and Digital Media, launched in 1996, has rapidly grown to more than 400 majors.

"This is a reflection of our goal to increase graduate programs at UCSC," said chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood. "It represents a significant milestone in the expansion of our Arts graduate programs."

The M.F.A. in Digital Arts/New Media will include research and courses relating to a number of advances in information technologies including:

o Computer simulations that incorporate the body's presence

o Movement and proximity with computer processes

o Construction of environments

o Utilization of genetic programming to create software for cinematic scenarios

o 3D computer modeling and animation with sound manipulation and design

o Research on animal anatomy to design organic movements in 3D

o Scientific visualization using vision, sound, and touch to understand data

o Speech synthesis and language tutoring

o Virtual museums

The new interdisciplinary master's program will also include collaborations with UCSC's Baskin School of Engineering, as well as faculty in other divisions.

"It unites artists who deliver content, with engineers who deliver hardware and software," said Edward Houghton, dean of UCSC's Arts Division. "Many faculty experts will bring their diverse skills to bear addressing different projects and issues. It's very exciting.

"The new program is a response to the challenge of the 21st century, which has increasingly become graphically oriented and digitally connected," he added.