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Master of Science in Visualization

The Master of Science in Visualization integrates art and technology to prepare students to be creative and pragmatic leaders. The program will help you develop focused expertise and a broad foundation of knowledge in the artistic, scientific, cognitive, and technical foundations of the discipline.

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About the Program

Our program enhances your artistic and technical skills through creative application. As a master’s student, you’ll select an area of focus within our curriculum and complete a research thesis or capstone project. 

Areas of Emphasis

  • Computer animation
  • Interactive design
  • User experience design
  • Computer graphics
  • Gaming
  • Virtual reality
  • Augmented reality
  • Data visualization

Curriculum

We offer a thesis and a non-thesis option for the Master of Science in Visualization.

Read departmental requirements for the M.S. program

M.S. Thesis Option

The thesis track requires students to pursue and complete a thesis over a focus topic in significant depth. This track is recommended for students who want to pursue careers in research development or further academic study. It typically requires two semesters to complete.

Curriculum for Thesis Option 32 credit hours
Prerequisite Courses* 0 credit hours
Required Courses 4 credit hours
Selected Core Electives 12 credit hours
Free Electives 8 credit hours
Research Hours 8 credit hours

*Prerequisite courses are to be taken as directed on admission. They will not count as credits toward the degree.

Thesis

The thesis is the culminating activity of the curriculum. Your research must be documented, written, and presented at a public defense. Thesis research is done under the guidance of your advisory committee and submitted to the Texas A&M thesis office and a competitive venue.

View thesis research from former students

MS Non-thesis Option

The non-thesis track allows students to tailor the curriculum to their individual career aspirations. In this program, you’ll focus on improving your skills and developing a portfolio. You will identify a practical basis for your capstone project in concert with your advisory committee. Capstone projects demonstrate mastery of a known practice, and should be executed in approximately one semester.

Curriculum for Non-thesis Option 36 credit hours
Prerequisite Courses* 0 credit hours
Required Courses 4 credit hours
Selected Core Electives 12 credit hours
Free Electives 19 credit hours

*Prerequisite courses are to be taken as directed on admission. They will not count as credits toward the degree.

Prerequisite Courses 

Students admitted into our master’s program will receive instruction on which prerequisite courses they must take during their first year. All prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of “B” or better. These courses will not count for credit toward the degree.

Students with deficiencies not addressed by the prerequisite courses will not be admitted into a master’s program.

Required Courses

For M.S. Thesis Option

For M.S. Non-thesis Option

Selected Core Courses (12 hours)

Free Electives

Thesis Option: Choose 8 credit hours from the list below.

Non-thesis Option: Choose 19 credit hours from the list below.

  • VIZA 613: 3D Modeling and Animation (4 hours)
  • VIZA 614: Form, Installation, and Environment (3 hours)*
  • VIZA 615: Computer Animation (4 hours)
  • VIZA 616: Rendering and Shading (3 hours)
  • VIZA 617: Advanced Animation (4 hours)
  • VIZA 622: Design Communication I (4 hours)*
  • VIZA 623: Design Communication II (3 hours)
  • VIZA 625: Multi-media Web Design (3 hours)
  • VIZA 626: Generative Art (3 hours)
  • VIZA 627: Design Communication III (3 hours)
  • VIZA 643: Time-based Media I (4 hours)*
  • VIZA 647: Color Photography (3 hours)
  • VIZA 654: Digital Image (4 hours)*
  • VIZA 656: Image Synthesis (4 hours)*
  • VIZA 657: Computer Aided Sculpting (3 hours)
  • VIZA 662: Physical Computing for Art & Design (3 hours)
  • VIZA 665: Digital Compositing (4 hours)

*If not taken to fulfill one of the specific divided electives listed above.

Students can take undergraduate level courses designated as 300-400 level, with approval of their advisory committee chair.


Support from the Start

You’ll be assigned an academic advisor upon admission to the program. The advisor will help choose your first-year courses. They will also assist in locating a visualization faculty member to chair your advisory committee who has expertise in your chosen focus area. 

Your committee chair will help you find at least one two graduate faculty members (one from outside the visualization department) to fill your advisory committee. Once your committee is in place, they will guide and assist with graduate degree planning, research methods, and thesis work.


Mentoring from Industry Professionals

Every summer, select visualization graduate students participate in a Summer Industry Workshop. During this intensive course, students work all day for 10 weeks to produce professional-grade short films. Students are mentored by professionals from top-of-the-line animation studios.


FAQ about the M.S. program

Do you offer the program online?

No, our master’s programs are offered face-to-face only.

What’s the difference between the MFA and M.S. programs?

The MFA program is a terminal degree in arts and students are qualified to teach at the university level. MFA students build the career paths to the electronic arts industry or academia focusing on animation, visual effects, interactive arts, film, gaming and emerging technologies. The M.S. degree can be used to enhance your technical skills to develop the career paths to the electronic arts industry or academia.

What’s the difference between the thesis and non-thesis option?

The thesis option culminates with a written thesis that is used to present your research. The non-thesis option culminates in a final project that is used to demonstrate your research. This option is usually best for those who are focused on improving their skill set for advancement in their careers.

Do I have to have an artistic or technical background?

Yes — both. Our students need technical skills and artistic talent to be successful. We want to see proof of these abilities in your transcript and portfolio when applying.

Will I have other opportunities to interact with companies?

Since 1999 we have been running a very successful summer course with instructors from industry (ILM, Pixar, R&H, Disney, Dreamworks, and Reel FX so far). We plan to continue this offering. Many of our students also participate in internships.

The Department of Visualization also holds advisory board meetings twice a year where members take the opportunity to meet our students and see student work. Members of the board come from animation, gaming, architecture and graphic design companies.

Is there a Career Resources Center available for the students?

There is a career center on campus, however, placement for visualization students is primarily accomplished through industry visits and networking with former students and recruiting staff at the various companies. We also hold a Viz Industry Fair every year that allows students to connect with prospective employers working in high-level positions in some of today’s leading Industry and receive professional feedback on their work.

What benefits does the Texas A&M University visualization program offer that I could not receive at other universities?

It is one of only a handful of programs that stresses both the technical and the artistic aspects of the field. Our success in student placement in challenging and rewarding positions is unrivaled. Our students have excellent access to professors and equipment, and our cost is among the lowest of all such programs.

How long will this program take to complete?

In general, this program will take two years to complete.

Who will be part of my advisory committee?

This committee is composed of a chair and at least two additional graduate faculty members. The chair and one of the members must be visualization faculty. The third member must be from outside the visualization faculty. Committee chairs assist in finding graduate faculty members to join the committee.


How to Apply

Students wishing to enter our master’s program should have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as graphic design, art, or computer science. You’ll be required to submit your portfolio when you apply to our program.

Learn more about the M.S. admissions requirements

FAQ about the admission process

What do we look for in an applicant?

We look for open-minded individuals with technical skills and artistic talent who are ready to conduct research in an area of visualization.

How can I prepare academically for the MS program?

Applicants wishing to improve their chances for admission or to avoid the need for taking prerequisite courses should consider the following preparation guidelines:

  • Mathematics Two semesters of calculus and one semester of linear algebra.
  • Computer Science Proficiency in a high-level programming language (such as C/C++, Java, or Python) and a course in data structures.
  • Art and Design At least two semesters of foundation courses such as drawing, figure drawing, painting, sculpture, design, color theory and photography.
What are the prerequisites for applying to the MS program?

Students must possess a 4-year bachelor’s degree in a related field. Example majors include, but are not limited to, arts-related fields such as fine art, design, and architecture; technical fields such as computer science, and engineering; or a variety of other fields with a strong visual emphasis.

Is a GRE score required for admission?

No, our M.S. program does not require a GRE score at this point.

Is a portfolio required to apply?

Yes, an online portfolio is required to apply and should showcase recent, high-quality work.

Read more about the Master of Science application requirements

How does the admission process work?

Submit your application at Texas A&M GradCas along with a non-refundable application fee. The fee may be waived only in exceptional cases for low-income applicants and McNair Scholars.

Your application should include the following:

  • Official transcripts from all colleges or universities you have attended
  • 3 letters of recommendation (academic references preferred)
  • Statement of intent essay
  • Résumé or Curriculum Vitae
  • Link to your online portfolio

Read more about the Master of Science application requirements

What are the admissions deadlines?

Evaluation of applications will begin on January 15 and continue until the cohort is filled. Note that some scholarships require applications to be submitted in full by January 15 to receive full consideration.

What kinds of financial aid does the program offer?

We have been able to offer financial aid to many, but not all, admitted students. We have found that most of our students who seek assistantships are able find them by their second semester here, though this is not guaranteed. Their skills are in high demand.

There are a small number of fellowships available. The fellowship awards process is very competitive, based primarily on GRE scores and past academic performance.

For more information on financial dia, visit financialaid.tamu.edu.

Who can I go to for questions?

Dr. Jinsil Hwaryoung Seo, Graduate Program Coordinator
hwaryoung@tamu.edu

Staci Dunn, Graduate Program Administrative Coordinator
sdunn@arch.tamu.edu

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