Program in Media Arts and Sciences

In its third year, the alternative freshman year program of the Program in Media Arts and Sciences (MAS) enrolled 22. These students took special Media Lab recitation sections of two core freshman subjects, pursued Media Lab UROP research projects, and participated in two new MAS undergraduate subjects on design and research. We view this program as a first step toward establishing a full-fledged undergraduate program in the future.


For 2001–2002, the MAS graduate program received 356 applications, a 10.5 percent increase over last year. From these, 56 new students (including 12 women) were offered admission: 44 for the master's program, and 12 for the doctoral program. This brought the total MAS enrollment to 151, which included 44 women, four underrepresented minorities, and 56 foreign students. Of the total, 84 were master's candidates, and 57 were doctoral candidates. Fifty-two advanced degrees were awarded during the year (40 SM and 12 PhD). The program offered 35 graduate subjects.

In addition, MAS faculty and research staff collectively advised and supported 32 graduate students from other MIT departments and programs. These included Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautics and Astronautics, Materials Science and Engineering, Health Sciences and Technology Program, Technology and Policy Program and the Sloan School of Management.

The largest undergraduate presence at the Media Laboratory continued to be our UROP students, more than 250 of whom participated in research projects at the Media Laboratory. Many of these undergraduates pursued their undergraduate theses under MAS faculty supervision. In addition, the Program in Media Arts and Sciences offered eight undergraduate subjects, and four MAS faculty members and staff conducted freshman seminars or served as freshman advisors.

Faculty and Staff

New Appointments

Cynthia Breazeal was appointed assistant professor of media arts and sciences. Dr. Breazeal received her MS and ScD degrees from MIT in electrical engineering and computer sciences in 1993 and 2000, respectively. While a graduate student at MIT's AI lab she served as a consultant for Walt Disney Imagineering, Inc., where she worked on interactive robotic characters and was also a visiting scientist at the Santa Fe Institute. At the Media Laboratory she will head the new Robotic Presence research group.

Chris Csikszentmihályi was appointed assistant professor of media arts and sciences. He received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1994, and an MFA from the University of California, San Diego in 1998. He went on to become an assistant professor of electronic art at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. At the Media Laboratory he will head the new Computing Culture group.

Honors and Awards

Faculty Awards

John Maeda was honored with the "special award" of the Mainichi Design Prize for 2001. The award is Japan's oldest and most prestigious design award, presented each year to "the designer, group, or organization judged to have the greatest impact on design."

John Maeda was also the recipient of the 2001 National Design Award from the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. The award recognizes a body of exceptional and exemplary work in graphic or multimedia design.

Scott Manalis was selected by Technology Review as one of the 100 "brilliant young innovators, all under 35, who will have a deep impact on how we live, work, and think in the century to come."

Joseph Jacobson was one of eight scientists to receive Discover magazine's 2001 Award for Technological Innovation. These awards recognize groundbreaking work of far-reaching impact with relevance to our daily lives.

New Books

Vanessa Stevens-Collela, Eric Klopfer, Mitchel Resnick, Adventures in Modeling published by Teachers College Press.

Cynthia Breazeal, Designing Sociable Robots, published by MIT Press.

Stephen Benton
Allen Professor of Media Arts and Sciences

More information about the Program in Media Arts and Sciences can be found on the web at


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