The MA in Civic Media, Art & Practice is an intensive 12-month program centered around the production of a creative thesis project that will be situated within the theories and methodologies explored during coursework. Through the lasting connections forged with a wide array of organizational partners encountered during the program, CMAP graduates will be well-positioned to create their own avenues for work across a range of careers -- from leadership roles in innovation offices of municipal governments to creative digital roles at foundations and corporations focused on social responsibility -- implementing technologies and practices for civic engagement. APPLY TODAY for Fall 2017.

Is CMAP the right program for you?

CMAP strives to produce leaders of the knowledge economy and aims to help empower young entrepreneurs, socially-engaged artists, and civic leaders who will embrace innovative and dynamic career opportunities. There are an increasing number of careers in communication and innovation within the public or non-profit sectors that call for this kind of multi-faceted expertise. In CMAP, students will gain experience working with government, international aid organizations and community-based organizations, and will be prepared for a variety of roles as creative leaders, makers and thinkers.

Whether you are coming straight out of an undergraduate program and want to pursue an advanced degree or have been working in industry and are looking to refine your skills and position yourself more strongly in the field of civic media, we suggest you consider applying. APPLY NOW for Fall 2017.

Core Elements of the CMAP Experience

Engaged Research

Engaged Research with Faculty Fellows from Across the College

CMAP is supported by a core of faculty from Emerson College who are Engagement Lab Fellows. This group consists of nine professors from across the college (School of Arts, School of Communication, and the Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies). Their mission is to cultivate an intellectual community at Emerson College committed to research, pedagogy and practice of civic media. Our fellowship program is at the core of this mission, bringing together faculty from the Emerson community, and beyond, to build intellectual capacity for engaged research--research with direct application to people’s lives and livelihoods.

International Scope

Teaching Assistantships in the Salzburg Academy of Media and Global Change

Each summer, CMAP students interested in the education field or global development work may opt to serve as teaching assistants in the Salzburg Academy of Media and Global Change, working with undergraduates from all over the world to guide their own rapid prototyping of civic media projects. During the intensive three-week long academy, students study how culture, media, and technology can impact social movements, civic life and governance. This provides CMAP students the unique opportunity to teach others what they have learned, core to the pedagogical mission of the program.

Academic Collaborations

Leverage a Network of Top Research Institutions Based in Boston

The Engagement Lab has been working with the Center for Civic Media at MIT, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, and the Tisch School for Citizenship at Tufts, to form a Civic Media Consortium. This consortium will be used to facilitate the sharing of courses, research, and graduate students across campuses. CMAP students could collaborate on research projects, take courses at other institutions, and propose their own projects for consideration.

Real-World Collaborations

Partnerships with External Organizations

External organizations will sign up to work with a CMAP cohort for a period of 12 months. The Engagement Lab has a strong track record of working with partner organizations, from NGOs and global advocacy organizations to cultural institutions and city governments. The Lab will cultivate partnerships to support each CMAP cohort, while partners will be encouraged to work with the Engagement Lab across cohorts on multiple facets of a single project or multiple projects.


The core experience and outcomes of the CMAP program are centered around thesis projects. Students should think of the 12-month experience as structured primarily by creative works that they are expected to produce, in certain cases scaled projects in partnership with an external organization. These projects will highlight the relationship of media, art, and practice that the program strives to explore, across a wide range of approaches to the art & design of civic media: e.g., a participatory digital campaign, mobile app, public art installation, interactive curriculum, virtual platform, or game. These projects will bring to life the theories and practices that CMAP students explore throughout the year.

The Structure

The 12-month program will consist of three courses in the fall and spring terms, and two courses in the summer.

Fall Semester (12 credits): (seminar, studio, production elective)

  • VM 655: Topics in Media Studies I (Civic Media Theory and Methods)
  • CM 622: Civic Media Design Studio I
  • Elective from list of available courses (see below)

Spring Semester (12 credits) (seminar, studio, production elective)

  • VM655: Topics in Media Studies II (Civic Media Theory and Methods)
  • CM622: Civic Media Design Studio II
  • Elective from list of available courses (see below)

Summer Semester (8 credits)

  • VM 698 Masters Thesis (4 credits)
  • CM XXX: Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change (4 credits)
  • Or CM 622 Civic Media Design Studio III (4 credits)
  • Or Elective from list of available courses (4 credits)

The following list of electives are available to the CMAP Program (offerings alternate between Fall and Spring). If students wish to take an elective outside of this list, approval must be obtained by CMAP faculty. Students may also take directed study courses.

CC 628 Entrepreneurship and Creative Problem Solving CC 636 Negotiation and Group Process CC 643 Global Communication CC 647 Organization Communication CC 651 Persuasion CC 688 Learning and Development

JR 623 Data Visualisation JR 632 Long-Form Multimedia Storytelling

GM 612 Global Public Relations GM 630 Interactive and e-Communication in Global Environements GM 636 Creative Thinking and Problem Solving in a Global Environment

MK 620 Public Relations Management MK 627 Integrated Communication Strategy in Digital Culture MK 648 Media Management Strategies MK 653 Web Page Development and Management

TH 625 Performance: Theatre and Community TH 514 Theatre Studies Seminar TH 540 Puppetry TH 579 10K and Under: Writing the Small Arts Grant TH 589 Playwriting Workshop

VM 600 Business of Modern Media VM 606 Writing for Interactive Media VM 613 Foundations of Image and Sound Production VM 618 Interactive Media VM 621 Graduate Documentary Production VM 623 Advanced Documentary Production VM 625 Computer Animation VM 628 Experimental Media Production

Directed studies with approved supervision may also be taken as electives for CMAP

Core Courses

Topics in Media Studies The core seminar course will be required in fall and spring semesters and introduce students to such core theoretical principles of civic media as critical media studies, public and political art, theories of democracy, social movements and governance. In addition to understanding the primary theoretical debates, students will learn methodological approaches such as participatory action research, grounded theory, design research, ethnography, content analysis, and social network analysis.

Civic Media Design Studio This two-class sequence introduces concepts, methods and practices of civic media. The studio provides opportunity for students to make media in expressive or design modalities, and to develop skills in working with partners. The studio will provide a guided space in which to critically evaluate case studies in Civic Media and develop production, project management, and evaluation skills. Students hone collaborative development and production skills that correspond with their project.

Production Electives will focus on production elements of the curriculum. These allow students to complement the theory and method seminars with concentrations in production-oriented courses. Below is a sample of the production courses that would align with the CMAP program. This list is not complete, but offers a sample of the type of courses CMAP will offer to students.

  • JRL623: Data Visualization
  • MK653: Web Page Development and Management
  • MK627: Interactive Communication Strategies in Digital Culture
  • VM613: Foundation of Image and Sound Production
  • VM618: Interactive Media Production
  • VM625: Computer Animation
  • VM621: Documentary Production
  • GM636: Creative Thinking and Problem Solving in a Global Environment
  • GM636: Interactive and e-Communication in a Global Environment
  • CC640: Web-based Communication Strategies
  • CC652: Emerging Communication Technologies