International Programmes 2023/2024

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.

Programme duration
4 semesters
Winter semester
Additional information on beginning, duration and mode of study

The Digital Narratives Master's programme is a four-semester full-time Master's programme with 120 ECTS. The language of instruction is English.


First semester: 12 weeks
Second semester: 12 weeks
Third semester: 12 weeks
Fourth semester: 4 weeks

Lecture periods are divided into attendance time and self-study time.

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

Our society is intertwined with the digital ─ especially in the storytelling, production techniques, and formats we use to tell stories. In the Digital Narratives Master's programme, media and culture creators gain the necessary theoretical and practical tools to critically engage and experiment with digital media, with a special focus on immersive technologies. A research-creation approach supports them in developing a professional career in a field characterised by ongoing transformations due to rapid technological developments.

The programme’s goal is the training of creative storytellers who master the narrative formats and production techniques of new digital media and experiment with them to develop innovative media formats. The programme combines academic and practical work and teaches students to question the affordances and limitations of digital technologies while engaging with current social issues and developing their own artistic and academic practices.

Key areas:

  • Conceptualisation, dramaturgy, design, and production of digital narrative projects (e.g. XR, web series, AI-powered experiences, apps, locative media, interactive graphic novels, immersive installations ─ to name a few)
  • Immersive technologies
  • Creative development and agile production structures and methods
  • Experimenting and iterating as a way of learning
  • Research creation
  • Theoretical debates and critical discourses in media studies and cultural studies
  • Critical analysis around the ethical, economic, social equity, gender and diversity, and ecological ramifications of digitisation
  • Social debates and responsibilities of creators

During the programme and as part of their MA thesis, each student develops a Master’s project with an allocated budget.The Master’s programme also prepares students for a practice- or art-oriented doctoral studies programme.

Course organisation

The MA Digital Narratives programme supports young creatives to develop their own artistic, practical, and theoretical skills, as well as their artistic position within digital culture in a collaborative and international environment. It is a space for learning to experiment, thinking and producing digital narratives.

The central elements of the MA Digital Narratives curriculum are:


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


Analysis and training in creative and agile methods for ideation, development, prototyping, and production of artistic projects; work in creative businesses and in interdisciplinary and collaborative work environments


Throughout the programme, students conceptualise, design, and develop a digital narrative project. During the first three semesters, they focus on concept ideation, development and prototyping of their ideas.


In the fourth semester, their project becomes part of their Master’s thesis, with the students distributing the project and written thesis in an 80%-20% ratio or vice versa. Their work is supervised and guided by professors, tutors, and the Digital Narratives and Production departments.


To complete their Master’s projects, students have access to the technical equipment of the ifs, support from the Production department, and allocated financial support of max. 4,000 EUR per student.

A Diploma supplement will be issued
International elements
  • International guest lecturers
Course-specific, integrated German language courses
Course-specific, integrated English language courses
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: approx. 320 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. 934 EUR per month

To obtain a residence permit, international students have to demonstrate sufficient funds to secure their livelihood. The required blocked amount for a student visa application is based on the current BAföG rate – the national standard that defines the absolute minimum of a student’s necessary expenses for an adequate standard of living. As of the winter semester 2022, international students must prove that they have sufficient funds to cover an amount of 934 EUR per month or 11,208 EUR per year. Note that this amount may change from year to year due to the ongoing increase in costs for housing, electricity, food, etc.

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

For financial support to cover tuition fees and/or living expenses, students can apply for an interest-free loan from the first semester (BA) or from the second semester (MA) onwards from the "Friends of the ifs Society". The approval of the interest-free loans depends on the financial situation of the applicant and the amount of funds available. Repayment of the loans begins six months after graduation or completion of studies.

For all ifs degree programmes (except the MA 3D Animation for Film and Games), the "Friends of ifs Society" awards scholarships to particularly talented students in need of financial support. The scholarships cover the tuition fees. After successfully passing the entrance exam, interested students can apply for both a scholarship and a loan.

Academic 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 programme


To ensure that the education certificates and diplomas acquired abroad comply with the admission requirements of the ifs (higher education qualifications), applicants can consult the following database: If your degree does not fulfil the admission requirements of ifs but you have a recognisable talent and previous adequate experience, you may be invited to participate in a separate admission’s procedure to demonstrate your individual artistic aptitude.

Please also check at the German embassy of your home country to determine whether you need to provide an APS certificate issued by the Academic Evaluation Center for your visa application.

Language requirements

Very good knowledge of English

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

Native English speakers are exempted from this.

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 one professor, 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

Content Bild
ifs Internationale Filmschule Köln © ifs

The ifs Internationale Filmschule Köln is a full study and professional training institution with an artistic-scientific focus serving aspiring media professionals. On 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 being 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, including a Student Academy Award.

The ifs portfolio covers Bachelor’s programmes in Creative Producing, Directing, Director of Photography, Editing Picture & Sound, Production Design, Screenwriting, and VFX & Animation, as well as Master’s programmes in 3D Animation for Film & Games, Digital Narratives, Entertainment Producing, Film and Serial Storytelling. The study programmes are carried out in cooperation with the TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences.

In addition, there are several professional training programmes for media professionals, ranging from the Non-Fiction Masterclass and the Entertainment Masterclass to the hitherto unique European Showrunner Programme.

For this reason, the organisational framework is structured on small numbers of students and a two-year admissions 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 film studies programme is thereby aligned with the principles of narrative film and storytelling. The combination of professional specialisation and interdisciplinary cooperation is characteristic for the education at the ifs. Early on, students work together with all the crafts involved in the filmmaking process, thereby generating important contacts in the industry already during their studies. Close collaboration with national and international teachers from both the industry and academia guarantees the students a first-class education, comparable to international standards.

The courage and will to promote ongoing development and change is what distinguishes the ifs. The school enjoys a constant flow of impulses and inspiration through its close collaborations in all the fields of the audiovisual landscape as well as through an ongoing critical evaluation of its study and professional training 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 filmmaking, thereby integrating new technological developments as well as promoting and conveying aesthetic and dramaturgical potential.

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

University location

Cologne (Germany), a city with a 2,000 year heritage, is a buzzing media hub. A third of Germany’s TV programmes are produced in Cologne. Key TV and radio stations, numerous renowned film and TV production companies, and more than 70 print and digital publishing companies are based in the city, drawing a creative and artistic crowd. In addition, a large and still growing number of exciting international productions are made in Cologne and North Rhine-Westphalia.

The ifs is located in Schanzenstraße in Cologne-Mülheim, which is the creative and media quarter – next door to TV production companies, studio facilities, publishing houses, a radio station and the municipal theatre.

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