AET 101

Arts and Entertainment Technologies student performing original music live at Ride the Synthwave event sponsored by Nelda Studios

AET 101

AET 101: Introduction

AET offers exciting, future-facing career possibilities for students from a wide variety of backgrounds, across many fields of interest. Regardless of students’ specific interests, the most successful and satisfied AET students are those who approach their studies like future professionals. They get involved in our community by joining clubs, attending events, and sharing their work. They pursue opportunities such as: study abroad, minors, Bridging Disciplines Certificates, as well as pursue work at (and/or attend special events and programs presented by) the Department, the College of Fine Arts, UT, and our industry partners.

Frequently Asked Questions

I have never heard of this degree before and am not sure I fully understand what it is. Can you give me a general overview?

AET offers one undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Science, that equips graduates with the technological mindset needed to achieve their creative goals across the fields of visualization, sound, games, storytelling, and immersive experiences, in both digital and real physical spaces.

Working proactively with an advisor, you will navigate a series of Foundations courses and then be able to pursue more specialized topics within interactive design, immersive media, and themed entertainment.

A Brief History: In 2016, the Bachelor of Science in AET was created to offer students industry-aligned coursework in arts and entertainment fields. The primary mission of AET was, and continues to be, to prepare students for entry level career opportunities in entertainment technology fields.

Arts and Entertainment fields are not new. Before the creation of AET, a student might need to seek out classes from a variety of departments to graduate with the skills needed to enter the entertainment tech job market. For example, prior to AET, a student might have enrolled in art, theater, music, film, graphic design, and computer science courses to learn what they needed. However, AET's cross-disciplinary approach and commitment to industry standards, takes creative, design-thinking and directly links it to technical know-how, right here, in the only Bachelor of Science awarded by the College of Fine Arts.

Our cross-disciplinary focus on designing human experiences makes us pretty unique among our peer institutions.

I like the idea of a degree with some flexibility, but how will I know what courses to take?

AET Students are supported by mandatory academic advising each semester. AET fields are evolving with society. Therefore, coursework is frequently updated to keep pace with latest trends and provide you with new opportunities to expand your knowledge across the creative tech spectrum. We work closely with industry partners to ensure course content is up-to-date, interesting, and professionally relevant, so you can stay on track for your career goals.

Who should choose a degree in AET?

If the idea of working at the intersection of coding, digital art, audio, music, and lighting to create experiences excites you so much that you need to know about all these things in order to achieve your career goals, AET might be a good fit for you.

Our cross-disciplinary, tech-driven degree prepares people to work in entertainment technologies, which means that, though we use many of the same programming tools that you’ll find in computer science, music composition, or digital art and graphic design classes, we are preparing designers of the whole experience, rather than a narrowly focused discipline.

Our most successful and satisfied AET students are those who get involved in the community and take advantage of every opportunity the Department, the College of Fine Arts, the University, and the City of Austin have to offer.

Can I focus on illustration, animation, graphic design, or concept art in AET?

At the core of AET is user-centered design, code, and content to create interactive and immersive experiences. Illustration, animation, graphic design, and concept art are used in many courses as part of the pre-production and production processes. However, there is no dedicated course sequence that solely supports these disciplines. AET is about creating the whole experience, not just the visual or audio components.

Will I be able to find a job with my degree?

Finding a job involves many factors beyond earning a degree.

In AET, your career path begins as soon as you start your coursework. In AET courses, there is a heavy emphasis on documenting your processes and projects and compiling them into a professional portfolio, which you share and update each semester, and which showcases your growth and potential in AET.

In addition to technical skills, AET graduates demonstrate important “soft skills” that are attractive to prospective employers. They are strong team collaborators. They display leadership potential because they are organized, motivated, and can manage time and tasks.

AET has a dedicated Industry Relations team that will help connect you to mentorship and opportunities, as well as COFA Career Services, which will provide resources and coaching. However, the most powerful thing an AET student can do to succeed in the job market is to make the most of their time at UT by getting involved, networking with professionals, and creating and maintaining an outstanding professional portfolio well before graduation.

How may I internally transfer into the B.S. in AET degree?

Please see our admissions section for pertinent info.

Can I have two majors (AET and something else) or do a minor in another department?

Yes, the Department of Arts and Entertainment Technologies (AET) officially allows simultaneous majors. Please note that this does not change the admissions requirements for AET or other programs.

UT also offers many minors and Bridging Disciplines Certificates that complement the AET degree, such as Design Strategies, Business, Elements of Computing, Museum Studies, Studio Art, foreign languages, and many study abroad opportunities.

For those interested in pursuing a double major, a minor, or a certificate, be sure to meet with your academic advisers in each area to ensure you can complete the requirements.

Can I minor in Arts and Entertainment Technologies?

AET does not offer a minor. We do offer a Bridging Disciplines Certificate in Digital Arts and Media. Students should talk to their academic advisor about options for officially recognized minors and Bridging Disciplines Certificates offered at The University of Texas at Austin.

Who can I contact with questions about my degree plan and courses?

For more information on degree advising and course registration in AET, please contact your Undergraduate Academic Advisor Additionally, our faculty and administration are excellent resources.

This degree sounds very technical. What hardware and software will I need to get started?

To fulfill the requirements of our degree plan, incoming students will need a personal computing device and software that meets our technical specifications. Our recommendations are evaluated annually to align with our coursework and the latest industry technology. We want our students to be set up for success from day one with the right tools at their fingertips.

Laptops & Hardware

Recommended Manufacturers: Gigabyte, MSI, Razor, Asus, Alienware, Dell

Note: we DO NOT recommend Apple hardware due to graphics limitations and software compatibility problems. Students using Apple hardware may be unable to complete some class assignments.

Processor (CPU)
Intel i7 quad core or AMD equivalent
Intel i7/Xeon/i9 six core or AMD equivalent
Intel i7/Xeon/i9 six+ core or AMD equivalent
Memory (RAM)
16 GB
16+ GB
32+ GB
Hard Drives
500+ GB SSD
2 TB SATA Storage
2 TB+ SATA Storage
4 TB+ SATA Storage
Video Card (GPU)
or AMD equivalent
or AMD equivalent
or AMD equivalent
Screen Size
13 inch
14-17 inch
15-17 inch
Peripheral Connectivity
USB 2.0/3.0/3.1/C HDMI, Thunderbolt
USB 2.0/3.0/3.1/C HDMI, Thunderbolt
USB 2.0/3.0/3.1/C HDMI, Thunderbolt
3 year
3 year+
3 year+
Expected Lifespan
2-3 years
3-4 years
4-5 years

Peripherals & Services

In addition to a laptop, the following are strongly recommended:

  • External Mouse: 3 button minimum. 5 button is recommended.
  • Automatic Backup Service: Carbonite, Backblaze, or similar.
  • External Monitor: 24-27 inch, color corrected, HD1080, 2K, or 4K resolution.


AET students build proficiency with a variety of creative applications while in the program. Students must check with individual instructors regarding any specialized software necessary to complete coursework, as it will vary by class. A few that you may use while in the program are included below for reference.

Campus Computer Store

Once new students have been issued their official UT Austin student identification cards, they are eligible to purchase computers with educational discounts at the campus computer store. Students with paid tuition and fees receipts for the semester are eligible to purchase the software.

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Careers in Creative Technologies

student created projection on the Doty Fine Arts building at Austin Design Week 2021 opening night event

One of the exciting aspects of arts and entertainment technology fields is that new jobs are constantly being created. We’ve seen the adoption of game technologies across multiple sectors such as architecture, automotive, consumer goods, and healthcare. We’ve also seen experience design lead to innovation in retail, events, and travel services. Our program builds your creative talents in interactive design, immersive media, and themed entertainment to excel in these new economies and the world.

Explore Career Opportunities

Student Organizations

Longhorn Gaming student organization logo

Longhorn Gaming

The central hub for casual gaming & competitive esports at UT.

Electronic Game Developers Society student organization logo

Electronic Game Developers Society (EGaDS!)

We are a group of interdisciplinary game development lovers. We want to give you a peek behind the curtain as to how they are created and give you the skills and confidence to begin creating your own.

Texas Theme Park and Design Group student organization logo

Texas Theme Park Engineering and Design Group (TxTPED)

We focus on introducing students to the themed entertainment industry and engaging them in activities that involve hands-on educational experiences.

Hornslink logo


Discover upcoming events and organizations across campus to get involved with as a student at The University of Texas at Austin.

Labs & Locations

AET Professor Yuliya Lanina's class installation in the PLAI Lab at the School of Design and Creative Technologies

AET is housed in the William E. Doty Fine Arts (DFA) building with flexible teaching spaces, resource libraries, maker spaces, and state-of-the-art labs ready for you to visit.

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