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EMDD: Project planning graphic

Quick Facts

  Next Start Date: August 19, 2024

  • Delivery: 100% Online or Blended
  • Major Credits: 33 to 36
  • Thesis and non-thesis options
  • No GRE Required

Ball State’s mostly online (we call it low-residency) master’s degree in emerging media design and development was created for working professionals who want to manage and direct interdisciplinary teams that use advanced storytelling techniques to advance an organization.

You will gain skills in three key areas that are in high demand in the workforce: design thinking, human-computer interaction, and cross-platform storytelling. You will learn how to plan, develop, deploy, and test the effectiveness of communication design and stories.

This Program Might Be Right for You If... 

Our students come from creative backgrounds (e.g. English, journalism, theater, graphic design, photography, videography) and technology backgrounds (e.g. programmers, web developers, animators).

Our interdisciplinary approach allows students from diverse professional and academic backgrounds to boost existing skills with training in project management, design thinking, applied research, and cross-platform storytelling. Our graduates are able to succeed in their current field and expand their skill set to become professionals in areas they may not have previously considered.

Meet with an Advisor

Connect with Dr. Jennifer Palilonis, who can help you with a plan of study and answer questions about our program.

What It's Like to Pursue a Master's Degree in Emerging Media Design and Development

Our graduates are prepared for success as content strategists, user experience designers, product designers, project managers, and other leadership roles in corporations, non-profits, marketing firms, media companies, entertainment companies, consulting agencies, and more.

Courses are taught by engaged professors who have years of teaching experience, coupled with current experiences helping organizations with real-world strategic communication design challenges.

Professors work closely with partners external to the university, developed through faculty collaborations and advisory board relationships, and stay current on economic issues and business and state needs. Our partners include government agencies, corporate partners, nonprofits, and individuals.

We have designed the program with the mid-career professional in mind.While the majority of your coursework will be online, five days at the start of each semester you will meet in-person in the Greater Indianapolis area to work in a small group setting with your professors and classmates. This experience allows you the flexibility you need for your workplace, as well as the benefit of face-to-face interaction.The face-to-face sessions are held at Ball State’s Center for Academic and Economic Innovation at Launch Fishers, just a few miles north of Indianapolis (map).

The once-a-semester meetings have been grouped together and designed to fit as conveniently as possible around your work schedule. You will meet Wednesday evening through noon Sunday.

If you are looking for an on-campus experience. The EMDD degree is also available on our main campus in Muncie, Indiana.

Ball State’s online and distance education degrees give you that crucial combination of quality and value. You would be earning your degree from a university nationally known for its prowess in emerging media and its entrepreneurial approach to learning. These advantages are joined with tuition rates that are competitive and an experience that brings you personalized attention. We urge you to compare our value with any other program.

Not quite ready for our master’s program?

We also offer a graduate certificate that can be completed in three semesters. Courses in this program can apply to the master’s degree, if you later decide you want to pursue the full degree.

Course Requirements

The master's degree in in emerging media design and development (EMDD) is a 36-credit program that includes 18 credits of coursework and 18 credits working on creative projects and applied research. For a full list of required courses and their descriptions, see the course catalog.

View Catalog

Foundational Courses (18 Credits)

Foundational Courses (18 credits)

We’ve built a program that will work with your schedule. You can decide whether to take courses at the suggested schedule below, or take one course at a time.


  • EMDD 600 Usability and Evaluation Research Methods (3 credits)
  • EMDD 620 Emerging Media Design Thinking (3 credits)


  • EMDD 610 Theories and Frameworks in Human Computer Interaction (3 credits)
  • EMDD 640 Transmedia Storytelling and Publishing (3 credits)


  • EMDD 630 Nonlinear and Interactive Storytelling (3 credits)
  • EMDD 650 Interactive Media Design and Development (3 credits)

EMDD Student GroupLab Experiences (18 credits)

The applied lab experiences are the centerpiece of our EMDD program. This is where you will focus on solving real-world problems with partners outside the university. You can even complete projects for your current workplace. You will be required to complete either a thesis or creative project.

  • EMDD 660 Applied Research Lab (3-9 credits)
  • EMDD 670 Creative Project Lab (3-9 credits)
  • CRPR 698 Creative Project or THES 698 Thesis (3-6 credits)

In the Lab

During your lab experience you partner with either the company you work for or a company in the industry of your choice. Your lab project will be co-created between you, your adviser, and your partner. You will use design thinking, cross-platform storytelling, and usability and user experience research to solve a problem with your partner company. Learn what you might be doing by reading our student blog.

If you choose to write a thesis, you will design a study that is tied to your lab work and will focus on important topics related to the problem space.

For those who don’t want to write a thesis, you will produce a culminating project option that you can design with your adviser.

Ready to apply?

You will first need to check if you meet the admission requirements for the Ball State Graduate School. Then you may apply


Students from Other States

Ball State is authorized by the U.S. Department of Education to accept online students from all U.S. states. However, if you are considering a program that leads to professional licensure, some states may have additional regulations. Review our state authorization website if you live outside of Indiana and contact us if you have questions.

International Applicants

If the degree is offered only in an online format, U.S. policies will not allow you to come to the U.S. and take only online courses. However, you may be able to study online from your home country. 

International Students Studying Online Only

If you’re an international student, in addition to meeting the requirements above, you will first need to meet the admission requirements for international graduate students. For information about the international admission process, contact International Admissions.

If you are receiving sponsorship from your government for your studies, please confirm with your sponsor that you are permitted to enroll in online education courses. It is your responsibility to determine if you can enroll in online courses per your sponsor (if applicable), and the laws and policies of your nation and the United States.

International Students Studying on Campus 

You can only study on campus if the degree has either an on-campus or blended option. Online only degrees cannot be taken on campus. If you’re an international student and wish to study on our main campus in Muncie, Indiana, you will first need to meet the admission requirements for international graduate students. For information about the international admission process, contact the International Admissions

Admission deadlines for international students are earlier. 

Please review the admission deadlines from International Admissions so that there is plenty of time to review your application before enrollment deadlines.

Want to Learn More?

Do you have questions about this program or online learning? We’re here to help! You may request more information using our online form, or feel free to reach out directly to one of our staff.

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