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Digital Media Design Degree Requirements

The Master of Liberal Arts, Digital Media Design degree program is offered online with 1 course required on campus at Harvard University.

Getting Started

Explore Degree Requirements

Required Course Curriculum

  • Two people on a zoom call.

    Online core and elective courses

  • School building.

    On-campus elective course

  • Lightbulb in a hand.

    Capstone project

12 Graduate Courses (48 credits)

The degree is for individuals who are comfortable with using technology and web development tools such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

The program covers a broad range of digital media topics and culminates in a precapstone and capstone.

Online courses are primarily asynchronous, providing flexibility for international students and those with variable work schedules.

Required Core & Elective Courses

  • 2 computational design courses
  • 2 animation, film, and virtual reality courses
  • 1 emerging media and technology course
  • 1 instructional design course
  • 2 web design and development course
  • 3 digital media design electives
    • With 1 elective taken on campus (e.g., DGMD 1 From Ideas to Designs or DGMD 11 From Prototypes to Products)

Browse Courses →

Precapstone Tutorial & Capstone Project

You enroll in the precapstone and capstone courses in back-to-back semesters and in your final academic year.

In the precapstone, with your assigned research advisor you design an independent project that focuses on web and mobile applications; animation, film, or virtual reality; instructional design; or emerging media and technology.

Then, in the capstone, you execute the project — be it a website, film, mobile application, wearable device, or innovative online course. You receive guidance and support from your instructor and fellow degree candidates. The capstone is taken as your sole remaining degree requirement

Recent Capstone Topics:

  • ASL Conversation: A language-learning website promoting person to person interaction that connects the signing and non-signing community
  • Martial Art Movement Tracker: A wearable device to track the movement of a Taekwondo athlete
  • Swipe Left: The Age of Disposable Relationships (a film)
    Museum of Distilled Spirits: Development of a responsive virtual museum website using a modern JAMstack approach

Optional Graduate and Microcertificates

You can choose to concentrate your degree studies in a specific digital media design area and earn a certificate along the way.

Graduate Certificates:

Micocertificate:

On-Campus Experience

  • Calendar.

    Choose between the accelerated or standard on-campus experience.

  • Two people talking at a table.

    Learn and network in-person with your classmates.

Nearly all courses can be taken online, but the degree requires an in-person experience here at Harvard University where you complete at least 1 digital media design elective course (e.g., DGMD 1 or 11).

Choose between two on-campus experience options:

  • Accelerated on-campus option: Online course with an intensive weekend on campus.
  • Standard on-campus option: 3-week on-campus Harvard Summer School (HSS) course. This option is ideal for those who want a more traditional on-campus experience. HSS offers, for an additional fee, housing, meal plans, and a prolonged on-campus experience here at Harvard University. Learn more about campus life at Harvard.

International Students Who Need a Student Visa

To meet the on-campus requirement, you choose the standard on-campus option and study with us in the summer. You can easily request an I-20 for the F-1 student visa for Harvard Summer School’s 3-week session. For more details, see International Student Study Options for important visa information.

In-Person Co-Curricular Events

Come to Cambridge for Convocation (fall) to celebrate your hard-earned admission, Harvard career fairs offered throughout the year, HES alumni networking events (here at Harvard and around the world), and, of course, Harvard University Commencement (May).

Admissions

  • Diploma.

    Confirm your initial eligibility with a 4-year bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent.

  • Person climbing toward a flag.

    Take two courses in our unique “earn your way in” admissions process that count toward your degree.

  • Checking off a box.

    In the semester of your second course, submit the official application for admission to the program.

Below are our initial eligibility requirements and an overview of our unique admissions process to help get you started. Be sure to visit Degree Program Admissions for full details.

Initial Eligibility

Earning Your Way In — Courses Required for Admission

To begin the admission process, you simply register — no application required — for the following two, four-credit, graduate-level degree courses (available online).

These prerequisite courses count toward your degree once you’re admitted; they are not additional courses. They are investments in your studies and help ensure success in the program.

  • 1 computation design course
  • 1 web design and development course

The two courses don’t need to be taken in a particular order or in the same semester, but each course must be completed with a grade of B or higher, without letting your overall Harvard cumulative GPA dip below 3.0.

Applying to the Degree Program

During the semester of your second degree course, submit the official application to the program.

Don’t delay! You must prioritize the two degree courses for admission and apply before completing subsequent courses. By doing so, you’ll:

  • Avoid the loss of credit due to expired course work or changes to admission and degree requirements.
  • Ensure your enrollment in critical and timely degree-candidate-only courses.
  • Avoid the delayed application fee.
  • Gain access to exclusive benefits.

Eligible students who submit a complete and timely application will have 10 more courses after admission to earn the degree. Applicants can register for courses in the upcoming semester before they receive their grades and while they await their admission decision.

The Office of Predegree Advising & Admissions makes all final determinations about program eligibility.

Search and Register for Courses

The Division of Continuing Education (DCE) offers degree courses all year round to accelerate degree completion.

  • You can study in fall, January, and spring terms through Harvard Extension School (HES) and during the summer through Harvard Summer School (HSS).
  • You can enroll full or part time. After qualifying for admission, many of our degree candidates study part time, taking 2 courses per semester (fall/spring) and 1 in the January and summer sessions.
  • Most fall and spring courses meet once a week for two hours, while January and summer courses meet more frequently in a condensed format.

To Complete Your Degree

  • Trophy on a computer monitor.

    Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

  • Clipboard with a pen.

    Complete your courses in five years.

  • Graduation cap and diploma.

    Earn your Harvard degree and enjoy Harvard Alumni Association benefits upon graduation.

Required GPA, Withdrawal Grades, and Repeat Courses

GPA. You need to earn a B or higher in each of the two degree courses required for admission and a B– or higher in each of the subsequent courses. In addition, your cumulative GPA cannot dip below 3.0.

Withdrawal Grades. You are allowed to receive two withdrawal (WD) grades without them affecting your GPA. Any additional WD grades count as zero in your cumulative GPA. Please note that a WD grade from a 2-credit course will count as one of your two allowed WD grades. See Academic Standing.

Repeat Courses. We advise you to review the ALM program’s strict policies about repeating courses. Generally speaking, you may not repeat a course to improve your GPA or to fulfill a degree requirement (if the minimum grade was not initially achieved). Nor can you repeat a course for graduate credit that you’ve previously completed at Harvard Extension School or Harvard Summer School at the undergraduate level.

Capstone Preparation

As stated above, your capstone will have a main focus on 1) web and mobile applications 2) animation, film, or virtual reality, 3) instructional design, or 4) emerging media and technology.

Whatever focus you choose, you must have at least 2 courses completed in that area of interest before enrolling in the precapstone tutorial. If not, your enrollment will not be approved.

Courses Expire: Finish Your Coursework in Under Five Years

Courses over five years old at the point of admission will not count toward the degree.

Further, you have five years to complete your degree requirements. The five-year timeline begins at the end of the term in which you complete any two degree-applicable courses, regardless of whether or not you have been admitted to a degree program.

Potential degree candidates must plan accordingly and submit their applications to comply with the five-year course expiration policy or they risk losing degree credit for completed course work. Additionally, admission eligibility will be jeopardized if, at the point of application to the program, the five-year degree completion policy cannot be satisfied (i.e., too many courses to complete in the time remaining).

Graduate with Your Harvard Degree

When you have fulfilled all degree requirements, you will earn your Harvard University degree: Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in Extension Studies, Field: Digital Media Design. Degrees are awarded in November, March, and May, with the annual Harvard Commencement ceremony in May.

Degree Candidate Exclusive Benefits

When you become an officially admitted degree candidate, you have access to a rich variety of exclusive benefits to support your academic journey. To learn more, visit degree candidate academic opportunities and privileges.