Program in Media Arts and Sciences

Now in its fourth year, the alternative freshman-year Program in Media Arts and Sciences (MAS) enrolled 23. These students took special Media Lab recitation sections of two core freshman subjects, pursued Media Lab Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (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 2002–2003, the MAS graduate program received 460 applications, a 29 percent increase over last year. From these, 50 new students (including 13 women) were offered admission, 40 for the master's program and 10 for the doctoral program. This brought the total MAS enrollment to 132, which included 35 women, 1 underrepresented minority, and 56 foreign students. Of the total, 66 were master's candidates and 66 were doctoral candidates. Forty-seven advanced degrees were awarded during the year (34 SM and 10 PhD). The program offered 34 graduate subjects.

In addition, MAS faculty and research staff collectively advised and supported 34 graduate students from other MIT departments and programs. These include the Departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Urban Studies and Planning, the Harvard–MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, the Biological Engineering Division, and the Sloan School of Management.

The largest undergraduate presence continued to be our UROP students, more than 279 of whom participated in research projects at the Media Laboratory. Many of these 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

Joseph Paradiso was appointed associate professor of media arts and sciences. Dr. Paradiso, who received his PhD from MIT in physics in 1981, was a research scientist at the Media Laboratory from 1994 until his faculty appointment. Prior to that he worked at ETH in Zürich and the Draper Laboratories in Cambridge.

David Reed was appointed adjunct professor. Dr. Reed earned his BS, MS, EE, and PhD degrees from MIT in electrical engineering and computer science.


Justine Cassell, who had been an associate professor without tenure in MAS, was promoted to associate professor with tenure. She heads the Media Laboratory's Gesture and Narrative Language group.

Chair Appointments

In addition to his appointment, Professor Paradiso was named Sony professor of media arts and sciences. John Maeda was named to a new professorship established in memory of Muriel R. Cooper.


Professor Brian Smith resigned to accept a faculty position at Pennsylvania State University effective September 2002.

Honors and Awards

Faculty Awards

Judith Donath, along with graduate students Fernanda Viegas, Ethan Perry, and Ethan Howe, participated in an exhibition entitled "Artifacts of the Presence Era" at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston.

Scott Manalis received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

Edwin (Ted) Selker, along with Media Laboratory research scientist Henry Liberman and graduate student Hugo Liu won the Outstanding Paper Award from the Association for Computing Machinery for "A Model of Textual Affect Sensing Using Real-World Knowledge."

New Books/CDs

William J. Mitchell
Program Head
Professor of Architecture and Media Arts and Sciences
Dean, School of Architecture and Planning

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


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