Master Media Design and Communication

Tweejarige opleiding in het Engels

In het kortOpbouwPraktische informatie & toelatingsvoorwaardenLocatie

The Piet Zwart Institute's English-taught two-year master programme in Media Design and Communication has two study streams: Networked and Lens-Based.

Our master programme in Media Design and Communication has two study streams:

1. Networked (DIY technologies, free/open source software and tactical media design). We offer a master programme focused on a critical engagement with the culture of the Internet and computer media, their artistic design, technology and theory. It is a small course with a highly international community of students and teachers, and a strong emphasis on personal contact and collaboration.

2. Lens-Based (photography, animation, moving image design). This master programme will be a stimulating and supportive context for your development as an innovative creator of distinctive moving and still images. Streaming media, gallery installations, mobile-phone movies, cross-media narratives combining feature film and game projects, DVDs, database film technologies, moving image billboards displays, site-specific projection projects: you will be encouraged to create work for a range of new forms and delivery platforms.

Staff and students of the Networked and Lens-Based routes will collaborate closely during theory classes and study projects.

Piet Zwart Institute

This programme is offered by Piet Zwart Institute.

Lees meer over deze opleiding

Brochure aanvragen

Master Media Design and Communication

Ik wil brochures aanvragen voor meer dan één opleiding

Brochure aanvragen
Vul alle velden correct in om het formulier te versturen.
Vraag de brochure aan


Programme structure

The master programme we offer is a two-year full time, intensive study programme with a strong international, interdisciplinary, artistic, experimental and critical research orientation. You will work in a small group of up to 20 students and have intensive interaction with your tutors. The programme combines:

  • artistic design practice
  • theory and critical research of media, culture and the arts
  • technological learning and study


The three aspects mentioned above are covered by three core elements of the curriculum:

1. Thematic Projects, running one trimester (12 weeks), typically supervised by international guest teachers (who can be artists, designers, media theorists or activists) and addressing one particular subject or issue of contemporary media. Their goal is to realise practical work, but they always include a theory syllabus and address cultural issues in relation to information society and culture. Thematic Projects have had such subjects as: What is 'hosting', online and socially? What are Open Media? What is a book, whether analog or digital? Can urban planning be compared to computer programming and can this be mapped in the streets? What is privacy in the age of "Web 2.0"? How can you realise media designs by soldering electronic hardware?

2. Technical Course, a from-scratch introduction into media programming that teaches you to create your media and think up solutions that do not come out of the box or off the shelf. It focuses on web technologies including HTML, CSS, Python, MySQL, Javascript and PHP. The Technical Course often explains general computer science concepts, such as finite state machines and recursion, and then teaches you how to express them in a programming language (Python, but sometimes also Javascript and PHP) and create interesting hacks and works with it. You get individual guidance and tutorials based on your own work projects. The technical course is meant for students with and without previous knowledge of computer programming.

3. Theory Session, a weekly seminar on cultural theory related to media, covering not only media theory in the narrow sense, but also aesthetics, philosophy, history of art, design, music and literature, politics. Consider it a general forum of reflection of the larger issues we deal with during media work. The subjects and readings are linked to the thematic projects. A thematic project on hosting, for example, has been accompanied by introductions into ethnography and cultural anthropology, while a thematic project on Open Media has been accompanied with both media and political theories that reflect "openness" in often critical ways.

4. In addition, there are:

  • group critiques, where students present and discuss their current work
  • excursions to exhibitions, conferences or media/arts spaces
  • a great number of guest presentations and tutorials every trimester
  • and last not least two days every week for individual tutorial appointments with staffers.

The three aspects of the programme and curriculum - artistic design practice, study of technology and cultural theory - are closely intertwined. To give a simple example: a media player which you can fill with music, but not download from, manifests a technological issue that is also a cultural and political issue (of media "producers" vs. "consumers", copyright and intellectual property) and has implications for artistic work.

The course is taught in English, lasts two years and will ask your full time commitment.


Programme structure

The Lens-Based programme focuses on approaching animation, digital photography, and moving-image design as a single expanded field. It is a two-year, full-time, international, English-language study programme. You will be encouraged to develop fluency across the whole range of lens-based media, to create your own individual visual language, and to employ your developing fluency and skills to create ambitious individual and group projects.

It is a strongly research orientated master programme, with an emphasis on the connection of practice and theory. The course focuses on practice-led research through project-based work, always in tandem with theoretical exploration of related topics.

The programme comprises six study trimesters. The first four are dedicated to thematic projects, technical lessons and theory sessions. The last two are for your individual graduation project. Next to the staff tutors, we invite international practitioners and theorists as guest lecturers and tutors. You will also have opportunities to create interactive, networked, and database projects in co-operation with students from the Networked programme within the Master Media Design & Communication.

Public events

Related to the curriculum

In addition to our curriculum, taught by our core faculty and invited project leaders, we organise an ongoing public event series based on issues related to the curriculum, but reaching beyond the framework of the seminars. The public events are an important resource for students, tutors and guests, serving as bridge to the city and building a community around areas of interests.

Research Opportunities

PZI programmes

The Master courses in Media Design & Communication are affiliated to the international research programme Communication in a Digital Age at the Piet Zwart Institute.

This project investigates the future of communication design in relation to the most current technological and social developments of media and communication. As a master student, you can attend all its conferences, lectures and workshops, have visiting research fellows as personal tutors, and contribute your own projects to its published research.

Research in the Lens-Based programme is in association with the research programme (lectoraat) Communication in a Digital Age of the Piet Zwart Institute. Current research in the programme focusses on the development of practice-led research projects.

These research projects may take several forms:

  • commissioned projects in partnership with other media institutions
  • studio based practice-led research on agreed topics with multiple outcomes
  • critical essays and articles

Waar ga je studeren?

Statisch beeld van de kaart


Blaak 10
3011 TA Rotterdam

Meer info en route

Bereken je persoonlijke reistijd met het OV

Bereken je persoonlijke reistijd met het OV


Please contact:

Piet Zwart Institute
+ 31 (0)10 794 4716