Student wearing a VR headset

Narrative and Emerging Media, MA

The Los Angeles-based MA in Narrative and Emerging Media (MA-NEM) focuses on the development of a creative practice and critical understanding of emerging storytelling and immersive experience content creation in augmented, virtual and extended reality, and short-form digital, streaming and virtual production. The program is a collaborative effort between the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.


Program description

MA-NEM learners will study the field and marketplace of emerging media, learning the technology, tools and techniques they need to tell stories with both creativity and integrity. Students will acquire production skills and create a professional portfolio using innovative tools and methodologies, learning to capture and create content for workflow in multiple industries while obtaining professional-level competency to lead teams of producers, engineers, writers and artists across different technologies. Students will gain understanding of how to produce for and interact with both new and established industries embracing these technologies. Students will also master methods for integrating values of equity and social justice into their research and their working practice, while remaining cognizant of the needs of communities impacted by their work, as well as ensuring diverse creators tell stories from their own perspectives. Central to the program will be enhanced insight on research, development and, in key sectors, a heightened grasp of finance and business model challenges for their future in emerging media. 

The MA-NEM curriculum arms students with cutting-edge techniques in visual storytelling. While many of us are familiar with documentary and animation storytelling, other techniques may sound new. “Virtual production” is akin to a special effects course for film, and uses green screen and Unreal Engine combined. AR/VR/XR content is spatial in nature—much like video games, but in this case, focused on narrative storytelling. Finally, 360 video is flat video captured using a camera that can film in every direction; you may have seen 360 video on YouTube. 

For degree requirements, admission requirements, deadlines and more, visit ASU degree page.

ASU California Center

Students earning this degree will study at the ASU California Center at the Herald Examiner Building in downtown Los Angeles. The center was custom-designed with emerging technology curriculum in mind, including two studios, one with a large green screen that allows for virtual reality productions, virtual sets and a control room, and another with a large Planar LCD wall, which allows for immersive film and video shoots (such as those used in “The Mandalorian”). MA-NEM students will have the opportunity to learn and work in these spaces to create compelling visual storytelling.

Program director

Peabody winner and XR pioneer Nonny de la Peña is leading the Los Angeles-based Narrative and Emerging Media graduate program.

STEM designation

This degree has STEM designation, and students earning this degree are eligible for STEM specific Scholarships and OPT extension for International Students.