Frequently Asked Questions
I've decided to declare a MAS major-- who should I talk to?
You should meet either of the co-Directors, Prof. Olsen (Studio Art) or Prof. Shaer (Computer Science) before declaring your major. Do this as soon as possible, once you have decided.
Do I need to have an emphasis in Media Arts or Media Sciences?
No. You may design your major to balance studies between Media Arts and Media Sciences. The emphasis on either Media Arts or Media Science is optional.
I'm an incoming student, and am interested in MAS, but not sure -- which should classes should I start with?
Consult the Course Catalog about the introductory courses that any MAS students must take. Please note that some of the introductory Art Studio classes have enrollment caps and an application process, and may be difficult to get into. You should contact the professor teaching the class the semester prior to your enrollment about applying to the class.
I plan to go abroad my junior year, how should I plan to structure my major?
Do the pre-requisite classes (see the Course Catalog) as soon as possible - these will allow you to take the needed 200 level classes in your second year. Ideally, you should have 6-8 of your major units in place before you go abroad, depending on what offerings the abroad program has in related course work. Schedule a meeting with one of the Co-Directors during the fall semester of your second year, to review your plans.
What study abroad programs offer good options for the MAS major?
There are several good programs in Australia, the U.K. and New Zealand. Check with the Office of Study Abroad for more information on where prior MAS students have gone.
Is there an MAS minor?
No. If you are more interested in concentrating in Media Science or Media Arts, consider doing a minor is CS or Art Studio (focusing on digital media classes).
I want to double major, as well as go abroad, how should I do this?
This is not an easy option, and you may want to re-think this idea, for two specific reasons. The MAS major is already a double major of sorts, and because it is production oriented, does not fit well with another major (or vise versa). Second, your studies and subsequent work (portfolio) will speak for itself, and is far more relevant and valued.
A major is essentially a way to focus a course of study. Better to use your time here in the way that best allows you to develop and challenge your education and goals. Keep in mind that a course cannot count twice in two different majors and you would need to substitute it with an equivalent course.
Can I do an MAS thesis? Who should be my advisor?
The MAS thesis offers a year-long opportunity to develop independent research and production with honors. Students interested in proposing a thesis must have a minimum 3.5 GPA in the major, and the support of a faculty advisor in the Art or CS departments. Normally, the honors process needs to obey the guidelines of the corresponding department (Studio Art or CS) so make sure you consult those guidelines. An interdepartmental review will occur at the end of the fall semester, to determine whether the student should continue her project as a 370 in the Spring and convey its decision to the student by December 20th. In a case where it is recommended that the Senior Thesis not be continued into the second semester, a student would receive credit for 360 work on the completion of a schedule of work previously agreed to between the thesis advisor and the student.
Thesis proposal should normally be discussed with the primary faculty advisor during the spring prior to senior year. Proposals for thesis projects must be submitted in writing, detailing the scope for the project, research methodology, project timeline, and must be accompanied by an electronic portfolio of at least 4 MAS projects. Proposals are due on August 25 before the beginning of the student's senior year.
How is MAS different than CAMS ?
Both the Media Arts & Sciences major and the Cinema Media Studies major share an interest in media. The primary difference, however, is that the MAS major is production oriented. All MAS core classes require that you learn the production skills while also engaging in a larger social, critical framework. A MAS major means that you will work actively both in the creative and analytical side of technology, though you may choose an emphasis on the arts or sciences components in the more advanced classes.
What kinds of career options are available for MAS majors?
There is a wide variety of career options for MAS majors. Both our contemporary culture and the global economy have shifted dramatically with the continued emergence of digital technology, information systems and visual communications. Studies in MAS can be broadly applied to a host of related fields and interests -- computing & networks, media & information, arts & culture, design & architecture, scientific visualization, etc. See the study in the NYT "Where the Jobs Are".
What kinds of work do internships offer?
Most of the local MAS related internships offer the opportunity to be active producing a serious project, event or project, not the common staple of office filing and clerical work. As you review the list of postings, consider what skills may be needed and what you can walk away with from the internship. While many are unpaid internships, having a solid portfolio of projects and skill sets is hugely valued in today's marketplace. Check the Wellesley CS & MAS linkedin group and the MAS-students Google group for ongoing postings.
I'm worried about preparing for a job or internship, what should I be doing?
Make it your practice of developing your portfolio. Talk to professors and other students if you have a specific interest, and need help or suggestions. The Art Department often offers a lunch time workshop on portfolio development.