A Unique Concentration

There’s no script for how to harness virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and other emerging technologies to tell stories that matter as they tackle the problems that challenge us. It’s being written now, by innovators in the media and entertainment fields, and by students and instructors in programs like ours, which boasts the nation’s first full-time curriculum on immersive storytelling and emerging technologies.

The ISET Area of Concentration offers hands-on, marketable experience employing the dominant emerging technologies for artistic expression, engaging storytelling, and social impact.

Fast-paced, innovative, and collaborative, ISET courses give you new perspectives on how technology shapes our relation to the world, to others and – most importantly – to ourselves.

Your ISET Experience

Are you ready to create new worlds, immerse viewers into the heart of your story, or solve complex problems using the latest in artificial intelligence and emerging technologies?

Through this highly collaborative project-based educational experience, you’ll push the boundaries of augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence storytelling, and explore innovative uses for these and other keystone technologies across disciplines. Guided by our faculty, artists in residence, research fellows, and guest lecturers, you’ll leverage immersive technology for entertainment and as a vehicle for change and problem-solving in medicine, public health, education, media arts, diplomacy, business, and beyond.

Courses cover everything from the theory behind immersive storytelling, to the future of cinematic gaming, to creating prototypes through artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data journalism. Experimentation is not just encouraged but expected. You’ll collaborate with instructors and students from a host of backgrounds, including computer programming, visual art, journalism, filmmaking, music, entertainment, and other fields. The stories you create will be designed to engage audiences and leave them thinking about—and perhaps even acting on—vital business, policy, and social issues.

Past student projects have included experimental art, data visualization, animation, oral history, aspects of ethnography, and narrative VR.

Transformative Tools

VR, AR, AI and other keystone technologies represent the next stage in the evolution of how we interact with information, entertainment, and one another. The applications are endless and extend far beyond entertainment, with transformations already underway in medicine, education, manufacturing, the media, and other fields. Imagine creating the tools that put nursing students inside augmented reality emergency rooms where they can practice treating life-like patients. Or walking viewers through a news event in an immersive format that lets them feel as if they’re experiencing it in real time. Or helping to create geo-engineered solutions that combat climate change.

The continued development of these technologies and applications will unleash unprecedented opportunity for innovation across multiple sectors and around the world. This transformation will only continue, and on a larger scale and an increasingly faster pace, as the technology matures and its market share increases.

With this focus on immersive storytelling, you’ll be well positioned for jobs in creative media, IT, 3D graphics, and product design, filling such roles as VR operator, senior gaming and VR engineer, VR director, experience designer, and AR/VR developer, among others. Course are taught in a multidisciplinary environment, so you’ll also be poised for careers across industries.
With its diverse talent pool and strong academic reputation, Johns Hopkins University is well-placed to become a leader in VR/AR/AI in fields destined to be transformed by these new technologies.

ISET Elective Courses Under Consideration

A focus on the industry's new and emerging developments means we are working to anticipate the next big thing. Therefore several elective courses are in-development for this concentration. To review the currently available courses, please visit the MA in Film and Media program's Degree Details and Courses page.

Immersive technology is revolutionizing the relationship between storytellers and their audiences. But we still know very little about the cultural, ethical, and psychological implications of such interactive interfaces. While it is clear the integration of VR/AR/AI will revolutionize multiple aspects of our society, careful consideration is required when extrapolating its benefits to media consumers. As the new medium evolves, students will learn how to evaluate empathy, identity, privacy, in addition to immersion, efficiency, and productivity.

This course will cover designing immersive tech concepts, stories, or games with social and cultural impact. Students will address the various components of immersive experience including narrative flow, art, interaction design, and social impact objectives. Each session will include case studies, industry best practices, and presentations by experts followed by in-class discussions.

Virtual reality is a powerful tool providing a 360-degree view of the story. It catapults participants right into the middle of the action, breaking physical and economic barriers by enabling them to travel into different environments and explore new realities. Each session will introduce students to VR films and review published 360 video formats. In addition to a comprehensive overview into the technology, its history, as well as current and future uses, students will learn how to plan, produce, and edit stories in VR.

The AR/MR course teaches students how to create new immersive AR formats for publication, exhibition, or other form of distribution. This course builds on skills learned during the Game Engine Camp and requires an understanding of Unity, Unreal Engine, 3D modeling, and animation. The course is organized in three sections: concept development, building & iteration, and optimization & testing.

This course provides students with the opportunity to learn how to create prototypes and to explore immersive storytelling using artificial intelligence, machine learning and data journalism. Students get hands-on experience using open source AI tools including Google Cloud, Microsoft Cognitive Services, and IBM Watson. In addition, to technical skills, students will learn key considerations related to ethics and standards of deploying artificial intelligence.

Voice commands, conversational interfaces, and chatbots are redefining how individuals engage with the world around them. These platforms carry new opportunities for storytelling, art, and media display. Students will learn the design principles of conversational interfaces and how to adapt messages and stories to each medium. Furthermore, they will be taught to build experiences for voice devices such as Amazon Alexa as well as produce media for messaging apps.

The internet of things provides storytellers an opportunity to rethink the traditional approach of media creation. Students will learn how to combine software and hardware to develop new forms of content. In this course, they will develop knowledge in JavaScript and Python which allows them to program microcomputers such as the Raspberry Pi and Arduino. In addition to programming, students will also use modeling skills learned in the game engine camp to produce 3D printed installations which are connected to the internet.


Students should be aware of state-specific information for online programs. For more information, please contact an admissions representative.

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