ProgramsBA: Design Media Arts



The Design Media Arts (DMA) undergraduate program emphasizes innovative creation with digital and mass media within the context of a public research university. The curriculum features a solid foundation in form, color, space, motion, typography, and interactivity, followed by a broad selection of area studies courses in video, visual communication, network media, game design, and narrative. The program culminates with the Senior Projects classes where each student defines their own senior project based on individual interests within the areas of interactivity and games, video and animation, and visual communication and image.

This uniquely challenging and diverse program invites students to balance aesthetic sensibility with logical reasoning, formal theories with practical application, and contemporary thought with historical perspective. Most courses are taught as studios of no more than 22 students, which encourages individual growth and fosters a sense of community within the department.

Rather than focusing on narrow professional development, our curriculum fosters experimentation across a range of different media. We privilege a social outlook, process, experimentation, and personal growth over conservatism and commercialism and we search for students who share the same goals. We strive to provide a broad education that encourages young people to make new connections, to analyze complex situations, and to think critically.


The undergraduate curriculum begins with a series of foundational courses in preparation for the major, and moves into core upper-division classes which comprise the major itself.

Preparation for the Major

  • 8
    Media Histories
  • 10
    Design Culture
  • 21
    Drawing and Color
  • 22
  • 24
  • 25
  • 28

Core Lecture Courses

  • 101
    Media Arts Introduction
  • 104
    Design Futures

Core Studio Courses (choose 6)

  • 152
    Tangible Media
  • 153
  • 154
    Word + Image
  • 156
    3D Modeling and Motion
  • 157
    Game Design
  • 161
    Network Media
  • 163
  • 155
    Interactive Animation
  • 158
    Game Engine

Special Topics

  • 160
    Special Topics in Design Media Arts
  • 172
    Topics in Video and Animation
  • 173
    Topics in Visual Communication and Image
  • 171
    Topics in Interactivity and Games

Senior Project

  • 159
    Capstone Senior Project in Design Media Arts

In addition to classes taken within the DMA department, students complete a series of general education courses and are encouraged to take other electives from the university to broaden their experience. A complete list of all DMA classes with descriptions is available in the UCLA General Catalog and individual class websites can be found on the DMA Classes website.


The Department of Design Media Arts accepts first year and transfer applications for Fall quarter only. Each applicant must complete the University of California Application and the DMA Undergraduate Supplemental Application, including a creative portfolio.


  • High school graduates
  • Students transferring from California community colleges or other accredited universities

How do I apply?

Admission to the Department of Design Media Arts is a two-step process.

Step 1
Students must complete the University of California Application. The University of California uses a single online application for all nine undergraduate campuses. The UC application opens August 1, and the regular filing period is October 1 - November 30. Please note that only applicants who indicate Design Media Arts as their first choice major on the general application are considered for admission to the Design Media Arts major at UCLA.

Step 2
All applicants for the Design Media Arts major must also complete the DMA Undergraduate Supplemental Application. The DMA Undergraduate Supplemental Application Worksheet, which includes detailed information about the portfolio requirements, can be found in the Important Documents section below.
The supplemental application is only available after submitting the general UC application with DMA selected as the major.

Access to the UCLA Arts Supplemental Application is granted on a rolling basis to all applicants who have completed the UC Undergraduate Application between November 1-30. Approximately 1-6 business days after submitting your UC Undergraduate Application, you may access your department supplemental application. On November 15, all applicants who have completed the UC Undergraduate Application during the October 1 - November 30 filing period and selected Design Media Arts as their first choice major may access their department supplemental application at To log in, you will need your UC Application ID. The Supplemental Application must then be completed and submitted online no later than December 15.

Transfer Students

For transfer students, the Department of Design Media Arts is a two- to three-year program, which fully integrates computers and other digital technology into the curriculum. The majority of transfer students need three years to complete the program. This uniquely challenging curriculum invites students to balance their aesthetic sensibility with logical reasoning, formal theories with practical application, and contemporary thought with historical perspective.

Design Media Arts will consider sophomore transfers. For more information about admission criteria for sophomore transfers, please visit

Admission to the Design Media Arts major is based on evidence of creative talent and academic achievement and is very competitive. The most important admission criteria is the supplemental application which requires a portfolio of creative work. While it may be beneficial to complete the courses listed below as recommended preparation, there is no guarantee they will transfer as exact UCLA equivalents. Substitutions for lower division requirements will be determined by the department in the summer following admission. Syllabi or other descriptive course documentation may be required for consideration.

Recommended (not required) preparation for the major: one course each in drawing, color theory, two-dimensional and three dimensional form, digital media computer design, programming for media arts, letter forms and typography, design culture, and interactivity and media arts, and two courses in design history.

Non-UCLA students may also take DMA preparation for the major courses here at UCLA during Summer Sessions:

Change of Major



Change of major applications will be considered only for current UCLA students who have successfully completed at least one quarter at UCLA and are in good academic standing. The number of accepted applicants is based on the current total enrollment of undergraduates in the department. If there is no additional enrollment space for a specific year, change of major applications will not be considered. The next application date will be in Winter Quarter 2023 for consideration of admission for the Spring Quarter 2023. The Supplemental Application will open November 15. Supplemental Applications must be submitted online no later than December 15 at 11:59 pm. Students may not apply for admission to Design Media Arts more than two times during their residency at UCLA. Previous coursework in Design Media Arts does not guarantee admission, but DESMA 8 and 10 are highly recommended.

The Department prefers that students have fewer than 90 units at the time of application to ensure a normal degree completion time. Students with more than 121 units (excluding AP and Design Media Arts courses) will not be considered. The portfolio is considered most heavily in the admission process and will be reviewed by the senate faculty of the Department. More information on the change of major process and the portfolio requirements can be found in the Change of Major Supplemental Application Worksheet available in the Important Documents section below.

Students who would like to change their major to add Design Media Arts as a major must attend a mandatory information session on October 5, 20, 28, or 31, 2022. Info sessions are held in Fall quarter only and will be held on Zoom. Students can RSVP for the Change of Major Info Sessions here.


UC General Undergraduate Application due
Change of Major Petition due
DMA Undergraduate Supplemental Application and portfolio due
Any updates to your first choice major on the UC application must be made by November 30th. Check back in the Fall for information on how to join a SoAA info session.

For general questions regarding the UCLA admissions process, please refer to the University of California Admission website or the UCLA Undergraduate Admissions website. You can find more information about applying to the School of Arts and Architecture on their website. For specific questions about applying to the Department of Design Media Arts, please email Helen Tran, our Admissions Counselor and Student Advisor, at You can also reach out to the Laura Young at the School of Arts and Architecture Office of Admissions at