Thoughts on the NYU ITP Department

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Have you heard of the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) within NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts? The department offers a 2 year graduate degree: Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.).  Here is their description of the program:

ITP is a two-year graduate program located in the Tisch School of the Arts whose mission is to explore the imaginative use of communications technologies — how they might augment, improve, and bring delight and art into people’s lives. Perhaps the best way to describe us is as a Center for the Recently Possible.

 

I attended one of their open houses last Friday on a whim – a friend was interested in the program and asked me to tag along. I discovered the program last year when doing research on wearable technology programs in NYC and was excited to check out the space in the NYU Tisch Building at 721 Broadway. They encompass one floor of that building with mostly open lab and work spaces; a few small classrooms, conference rooms, and offices; and a wood-working/machine shop and tech office in the back. It is a small program – they accept about 110 students each year, but like most studio and lab environments, the space was alive (and packed) with students and projects when I visited.

 

The program offers a 3 tier system of classes that are project based, where students take foundation courses, electives, and a thesis course in the last semester. A technical background is not required, but prior work experience is strongly encouraged. The average age of students is approx. 27-28 years old. The current student who spoke to us visitors had several years experience working as a design creative before she went into freelance work. She decided to attend ITP to gain the technical and project experience to found her own company. She described some interesting apps, wearable technology, and cyber-security projects she had worked on as projects for course, and her current work creating virtual reality (VR) content surrounding the European refugee crises.

 

Overall, I find the ITP degree very attractive. It plays into the physical creation aspect of wearable technology and embedded systems that I love. My one complaint (and this would not be a complaint to some people) is that housing the program in the art department makes the program unobtainable to most. There is little to no funding available for students, and most students must come from a wealthy or successful background, or take out a large amount of loans, to devote the necessary time to the program. However, as with most graduate programs, the main benefit is the students you work with and connections you make. The quality of both at ITP seemed top notch to me.

 

Have you heard of the program? Are you interested?

 

ITP is hosting one more open house on November 20th and will have a Winter Show of student projects on December 20th and 21st if you would like to visit.



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