International Programmes 2022/2023

MA Digital Narratives MA Digital Narratives

ifs Internationale Filmschule Köln • Köln

Master of Arts (MA)
In cooperation with

TH Köln (University of Applied Sciences)

Teaching language
  • English

The lectures will be held in English.

Mode of study
50 / 50 online and on-site
Programme duration
4 semesters
Winter semester
Additional information on beginning, duration and mode of study

Lecture periods

Blended learning
As of the winter semester 22/23, the MA Digital Narratives is being restructured as a blended learning programme in order to accommodate special needs identified in the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. The lecture periods are divided into attendance time (with in-person and online classes periods), and self-study time.

In-person lecture periods
The in-person classes are focused on practical lectures and project work, during which students will be intensely working on producing smaller digital narratives projects and/or their own MA projects in a collaborative group setting. The in-person classes will usually take place every day from 10am to 4pm CET. During the in-person lecture period, students are required to be at the ifs in Cologne, Germany.

Online lecture periods
The online classes are focused on theoretical lectures, one-on-one meetings, and project supervision sessions. The online classes will usually take place every day from 10am to 1pm CET.

Self-study periods
The self-study periods serve as spaces for students to work on assignments, their own theoretical research, project work and collaborative projects in a self-paced manner. During the online lecture periods and the self-study periods, students are not required to be in Cologne, Germany, but they must be available for regular online meetings.

Application deadline

Tuition fees per semester in EUR
3,750 EUR
Additional information on tuition fees

One-time registration fee: 400 EUR (for all students)

Tuition fee (per semester): 3,750 EUR (for international students)
Tuition fee (per semester): 2,750 EUR (for EU students)

Combined Master's degree / PhD programme
Joint degree / double degree programme

Shaping stories for the digital society

The MA Digital Narratives programme offers dedicated media and cultural professionals an opportunity to critically engage and creatively experiment with storytelling and production techniques for digital media, with a special focus on immersive technologies.

The programme combines theoretical and practical work in order to provide participants with the necessary tools to pursue careers in a field characterised by ongoing transformations as a result of rapid technological developments.

Students explore creative processes within dramaturgy and design, and deal with current theoretical debates and critical discourses in the fields of media and cultural studies. During the programme, students develop their own Master’s projects with an allocated budget, which is part of their MA theses.

Students will study and practice creative development and agile production methods for digital productions that will enable them to conceptualise, design and lead innovative and immersive narrative projects for digital platforms and genres such as XR, web series, apps, interactive graphic novels, immersive installations – to name a few.

The programme invites media and cultural professionals to question the affordances and limits of digital technologies while engaging with current social issues and developing their own artistic practices. The MA programme also prepares students for practice- and arts-based doctoral studies.

Course organisation

The MA Digital Narratives programme supports young creatives to develop their own artistic, practical, and theoretical skills as well as their own artistic positions within digital culture in a collaborative and international environment. It is a space to learn to experiment, think and produce digital narratives as part of an industry that is constantly in development.

The central elements of the MA Digital Narratives curriculum are:

Digital Culture
Critical analysis and research of media ecosystems ─ as spaces where debates around gender, diversity, social justice, ecology, and colonial histories are at play ─ and the new possibilities digital technologies afford to rethink these structures. Investigation of the social responsibility in the arts and media in digital societies.

Research and development of immersive narratives based on emerging technologies and audience engagement strategies in digital media.

Study and Practice of Creative Methods
Analysis and training on creative and agile methods for ideation, development, prototyping, and production of artistic projects and creative businesses in an interdisciplinary and collaborative working environment.

Project Conceptualisation and Development
Throughout the programme, students conceptualise, design, and develop their digital narrative projects. During the first three semesters, they focus on the concept, explorations and prototyping of their ideas.

Combined Master’s Project and Master’s Thesis
In the fourth semester, their projects become part of their Master’s theses, with the students distributing the projects and written theses in an 80%-to-20% ratio or vice versa. Their work is supervised and guided by professors, tutors, and the Digital Narratives and Production department.

Project Support
To complete their Master’s projects, students have access to the technical equipment of the ifs, support from the Production department, and receive financial support (max. 4,000 EUR/student) dedicated to their project.

A Diploma supplement will be issued
International elements
  • International guest lecturers
Course-specific, integrated German language courses
Course-specific, integrated English language courses
Pace of course
Mixed (e.g. fixed exam dates and duration, study content can be studied at any time)
Phase(s) of attendance in Germany (applies to the entire programme)
Yes, compulsory
Types of online learning elements
  • Online sessions
Tuition fees per semester in EUR
3,750 EUR
Additional information on tuition fees

One-time registration fee: 400 EUR (for all students)

Tuition fee (per semester): 3,750 EUR (for international students)
Tuition fee (per semester): 2,750 EUR (for EU students)

Semester contribution

The ifs is a cooperation partner of the TH Köln (University of Applied Sciences). Enrolment at the TH Köln (University of Applied Sciences) is mandatory for all ifs students.

Semester fee at TH Köln: 285.40 EUR (including the "Semester Ticket" for public transport as well as access to the TH Köln’s International Office or to its sports facilities)

Costs of living

Approx. 853 EUR per month

Funding opportunities within the university
Description of the above-mentioned funding opportunities within the university

For financial assistance to cover tuition fees and/or living expenses, students may apply from their first semester onward for an interest-free loan from the Student Education Fund, which is run by "The Friends of the ifs Internationale Filmschule Köln Society". Approval of the interest-free loans is based on the applicant’s financial situation and the funds available. Repayment of the loans begins six months after graduation/termination of studies.

"The Friends of the ifs Society" awards scholarships to Master’s students with outstanding academic achievements. Beginning in the summer semester of 2023, for the MA Digital Narratives one tuition fee scholarship may be awarded for a period of three semesters.

Academic admission requirements

The MA Digital Narratives programme is looking for applicants who seek to become professionals that are active both in practical and theoretical thinking around media and emerging digital technologies and narratives.

Each cycle, we bring together a group of diverse early and mid-career professionals who are interested in:

  • experimenting and iterating as a way of learning
  • the critical analysis of the societal changes brought on by digital technologies
  • diving into discussions around the ethical, economic, social equity, gender and diversity, and the ecological ramifications of digitisation
  • developing narratives for different emerging media formats
  • producing engaging digital narrative media projects
  • working with agile development and production structures and methods
  • being part of a growing network of creators and artists who are critically engaging with the narratives and technology that is defining today’s digital society

We welcome applications from people with various backgrounds, including but not limited to:

  • Storytelling
  • Film
  • Games
  • Journalism
  • Software / video game / web development
  • Communication studies
  • Design
  • Architecture
  • Theatre and performing arts
  • Media and Cultural Studies
  • Social Sciences and Humanities

People from other subject areas are also welcome to apply and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Further Admission Requirements:

  • A Bachelor’s degree with proof of at least 180 ECTS (or a similar academic or higher degree)
  • At least one year of specialised professional practice or similar professional project experience after the Bachelor’s degree
  • Proof of programme related aptitude for the MA Digital Narratives.
  • Very good knowledge of English

The ifs is a cooperation partner of the TH Köln (University of Applied Sciences). Enrolment at the TH Köln (University of Applied Sciences) is mandatory for all students.

Language requirements

Very good knowledge of English

B2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, e.g. proven by a TOEFL score of a minimum of 72 points (Internet-based) or equivalent test results

Application deadline

Submit application to

Applicants should submit their application via e-mail to:

You can find additional information about the programme at:

Support for international students and doctoral candidates
  • Tutors
General services and support for international students and doctoral candidates

The students are professionally supervised by two professors, numerous guest lecturers and members of the faculty. Tutors assist them in their study projects. In addition, students also receive support from the administration.

ifs Internationale Filmschule Köln

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ifs Internationale Filmschule Köln © ifs

The ifs ("Internationale Filmschule Köln") is an institution that includes both initial training and continuing education with an artistic-scientific focus serving aspiring media professionals.

As a result of the initiative of the NRW state government and the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, the school was founded in 2000 as a non-profit company. The Film- und Medienstiftung is the sole principal partner of the ifs. The ifs is consistently ranked as one of the best film schools in Germany, based on its outstanding student support, excellent teaching and project work, and active festival participation. It even won a Student Academy Award in 2012.

The portfolio of the ifs covers the following Bachelor’s programmes: Screenwriting, Directing, Creative Producing, Director of Photography, Editing Picture & Sound, VFX & Animation, and Production Design. The international Master’s programmes include: Serial Storytelling, Digital Narratives, 3D Animation for Film & Games, and Entertainment Producing as well as Film. The study programmes are carried out in cooperation with the TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences. In addition, there are several continuing education programmes for media professionals ranging from Acting to Masterclass Non-Fiction.

Individual and intensive supervision is the core focus of the initial training and continuing education programmes at the ifs. For this reason, the organisational framework is structured on a small number of students and a two-year admission cycle to the programmes. The education and training is focused on combining a foundation of scientific-theoretical and technical skills with artistic hands-on project work. The combination of professional specialisation and interdisciplinary cooperation is characteristic of the education at the ifs. Close collaboration with national and international teachers from both the industry and academia guarantees the students a first-class education.

The courage and resolve to promote ongoing development and change is what distinguishes the ifs from other schools. The school enjoys a constant flow of impulses and inspiration through its close collaborations in all of the fields of the audiovisual landscape and through its ongoing critical evaluation of its initial training and continuing education programmes. The primary focus lies on the media developments and innovations of the future. The ifs offers its students an innovative media education that imparts the artistic and technical skills and foundation for professional film making. Thereby, it integrates new technological developments. It thus also promotes and conveys aesthetic and potential for dramatisation.

The school is a member of CILECT and the International Association of Film and Television Schools. It cultivates partnerships with a global network of film schools and universities.

University location


Germany is one of the most popular destinations for international students. It is not only an attractive place to study; a German university degree is also highly valued by employers worldwide. Students in Germany benefit from a world-class education system.

Germany is the largest economy in Europe and the fifth largest in the world. Science and research have a long tradition in Germany and are highly valued.

Germany has been an immigration country since the 1960s – we are open-minded and tolerant. Over 80 million people live here – more than in any other country in the European Union (EU).

Germany is one of the founding states of the EU and supports the growing integration and closer union between the European states.

Germany is a safe country, also by international standards. It can also look back on a long and famous tradition of higher education. Compared with other countries, the tuition fees at German universities are not very high, and the cost of living is at the EU average. Students also enjoy a lot of reduced prices, for example at theatres, museums, opera houses, cinemas, swimming pools and other facilities.

Germany is located in the heart of Europe. From here, you can also easily explore its European neighbours.

German is one of the ten most widely spoken languages in the world, and there are many ways to learn German, be it through a course or with German flatmates.


Its metropolitan vibe, diverse student scene and a cityscape abound with cultural and historical treasures make Cologne one of Europe’s prime university cities.

Cologne’s origins date back to the heyday of the Roman Empire more than 2,000 years ago. The former settlement of Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium soon flourished into a major trading hub.

Today, Cologne is Germany’s fourth largest city with a population of slightly more than one million and has evolved as a main economic and cultural centre at the heart of Europe.

The city’s characteristic landmark and source of pride for every Colognian is without a doubt the magnificent Cologne Cathedral, locally known as the Kölner Dom. Towering over the quaint Old Town of Cologne at 156 meters, this masterpiece of Gothic architecture is the world’s third-highest cathedral and boasts around six million visitors a year, making it Germany’s most popular tourist attraction.

However, Cologne is by no means all about its Cathedral. It has plenty more charms to offer - more than 40 world-famous museums, 120 art galleries, the Cologne Opera, a vibrant theatre scene, a plethora of concerts and musicals as well as a city-wide passion for sports all testify to Cologne’s reputation as an international art and cultural metropolis. Visitors from all over the world are bound to feel at home immediately, as Cologne is a true melting pot of cultures. Close to one-fifth of its inhabitants have an international background!

Cologne’s economy is characterised by its amalgamation of different industries and trades. Home to the country’s most influential television and radio stations, Cologne is unquestionably Germany’s media capital and plays host to some of the continent’s biggest trade fairs. Quite a few of the world’s most renowned enterprises call the metropolitan region their home, in particular corporations operating in the automotive industry, biotechnology and life sciences, chemicals and pharmaceuticals as well as commerce and banking.