Skip to content

The Master of Arts in Social and Emerging Media (MASEM) program introduces students to state-of-the-art research methods, strategies and production practices for social and emerging media.

Students will learn to plan, research, write, produce and distribute professional media for multiple platforms. Specific areas of study include emerging media technologies, digital storytelling, visual design, audio and video creation, user experience production, audience and user experience research, media strategy and analytics, project management, media policy, law and regulation. The program blends technological expertise with the creative arts and promotes peer engagement and faculty mentoring.

Students will learn to approach media creatively and strategically, to understand and to respond effectively to media audiences and to engage users through compelling storytelling, arresting visual design, and adept implementation of the latest interactive technologies. This program will prepare students for work in a variety of fields that value strong written and visual communication skills, professional training in audio and video production, an understanding of new and emerging media platforms, technical savvy, training in research and data analysis, collaboration and teamwork, critical thinking and creative problem-solving.

Core Courses

MASEM students must take all five core courses.

SEM 601 Digital Storytelling

This course teaches the fundamentals of good storytelling while introducing techniques for engaging audiences across a variety of media forms. Students explore how sound, images, interactivity, immersive video, virtual reality and other emerging technologies are transforming storytelling practices in journalism, content writing, popular entertainment and the arts. By the end of the course, students will demonstrate what they have learned by creating their own digital storytelling projects.

SEM 602 Visual Design for Emerging Media

In this studio-based course, students learn how to integrate diverse practices of art and design as they pertain to web-based, social media and emerging visual communication. Students gain necessary skills to unify visual concepts through an engagement with aesthetics, lighting, platform modification and video presentation methods. This course also gives specific technical information regarding the use of the Adobe Creative Suite, and hands-on materials-based research with a range of tools for digital recording and output.

SEM 603 Audio and Video Production for Emerging Media

A graduate-level introduction to hands-on digital film production and post-production. Each student completes several short projects. Students are introduced to portable equipment at the cage and production facilities, including the black box studio space. Class is comprised of technical demonstrations, in-class shoots and critiques of student work. Basic history, theory and aesthetics of related media are presented. Special emphasis is given to the rapid concepting and shooting effective short social media content. The course also presents an introduction to producing content for augmented and virtual reality distribution.

SEM 604 Social and Emerging Media Strategy and Analytics

This course prepares students to learn and apply strategic digital communication principles for analyzing the impact of media messages. Students acquire knowledge and skills in media analytics to understand how audiences consume and interact with social and emerging media products. Using data recollection and analysis techniques, students learn how to interpret data strategically, for identifying relevant consumer insights to add into actionable plans that respond to challenges and opportunities.

MAPC 611 Emerging Technologies and Applications

Emerging Technologies and Applications covers the current and upcoming status of technologies in relation to professional communications and leadership strategies. This hands-on course explores open-source and emerging tools related to visual and aural media, immersive tools, mixed and virtual realities, alternative and embedded screens, physical computing, biosensors, trackers, etc., and how those tools provide essential data on how clients and users interact with products.

Elective Courses

Students must take two of the following elective courses.

SEM 610 User Experience and Audience Research

This course covers theories and research techniques needed for understanding digital audiences’ behavior and user experience towards media products. Social psychology and consumer behavior theories and concepts discussed in this class will help students to identify audiences’ needs, values and attitudes. Students learn to apply research techniques (e.g., surveys, interviews, focus groups, eye-tracking, facial mapping and user data retrieval) for understanding user interactions with content on social and emerging media platforms.

SEM 611 Media Creation and Project Management

This course introduces students to the processes of developing and managing media projects, including ideation, prototyping, planning and budgeting, media asset management, workflows and team communication. Students demonstrate their mastery of development and management concepts by researching, writing and presenting proposals for their own media projects.

SEM 612 Emerging Media: Industry, Policy and Law

This course explores how laws, policies and industry practices influence the development and viability of emerging media. It covers subjects such as media ownership structures and industry competition, intellectual property, defamation and privacy law, SLAPP litigation, employee non-disclosure agreements and wireless spectrum regulation. Students research and report on a course-related topic of their choosing.

SEM 613 Advanced Production in Emerging Media

In this intensive studio course, students develop both theoretical and practical approaches to working with emerging media technologies, including interactive interfaces, biosensors, spatial computing, mixed and virtual reality, immersive video and how artificial intelligence and machine learning are creating new ways of representation. After a survey and demonstration of how these technologies can be employed in creative projects, students pitch and produce their own projects that employ one or more of these technologies for their final assignments.

SEM 614 Motion Graphics and Visual Effects for Social and Emerging Media

This course is a practical introduction to 3D Motion Graphics and Visual Effects (VFX) for social and emerging media. Students will learn how to use motion graphics to create intros, logos, opening animations, animated data graphs and data visualizations. Students will also learn basic visual effects (VFX) techniques used in Hollywood to improve the production value of their video content. This is an intensive and hands-on class.

MAPC 612 Ethics and Communication Law

This course examines the role of law and ethics in communication. Topics include an overview of the American legal system, the First Amendment and other legal or ethical communication issues. Students learn about a wide range of communication issues including communication in the digital space. By the end of the course students will be able to recognize best contemporary ethical and professional practices in communication.


The capstone experience is the final course for the M.A. in Social and Emerging Media, and it culminates in a project that demonstrates the student's expertise in the field. The capstone course is largely independent, and students will plan and produce a project under the supervision of a faculty member which they will then present alongside their peers in a competitive exhibition. During their final semester, students register for SEM 700, which is an independent study with their faculty advisor. Students who choose to do so will have the opportunity to coordinate work on their projects with a nonprofit organization or a business in the Tampa Bay area.

Plan of Study

The following schedule illustrates how a student may progress through the MASEM program in one year based on expected course offerings. The program offers flexibility for those students who wish to complete the program at a different pace. Contact your advisor or program director for more information about alternative paths through the curriculum.

All MASEM courses are held on UT's downtown campus during the evenings. Students take one course at a time in an accelerated format. Fall, spring and summer courses meet twice a week for six or seven weeks and begin at 6 p.m., and two-week January and May term intensives meet five times a week and begin at 5:15 p.m.