Media Arts and Sciences, PhD

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Are you a researcher interested in engaging innovative technology and media while also using the practices of the humanities, global thinking and computational arts? You can tailor coursework to your unique interests with courses from a variety of disciplines, such as sound design, critical media theory, experiential media and computer science.

Media arts and sciences is a PhD program housed in the transdisciplinary School of Arts, Media and Engineering.

The school educates the next generation of learners and empowers them with technofluency --- its development, application and implications. Students are prepared to be socially aware, critically thinking global citizens who strive to bring about positive change in a society that is increasingly shaped by new technologies.

Doctoral students in this program are provided unique opportunities to engage in knowledge creation at the intersection of computational arts and sciences using the most advanced practice-based and theoretical methods. The opportunity for active participation in transdisciplinary research teams allows media arts and sciences doctoral students to gain valuable experience as both agents of their own research and education, while fostering opportunities for collaborative and embedded research.

At the core of this program is a commitment to designing curriculum tailored to each student-researcher in conjunction with the diverse faculty, labs and centers. This allows students to facilitate the development of innovative, experiential media systems that can respond to the world's most pressing challenges. Students admitted into the media arts and sciences doctoral program can pursue research at the intersection of any of these fields, among others:

  • acoustic ecology
  • AI and machine learning
  • auditory culture
  • critical media theory
  • design
  • digital composition and performance
  • experiential media
  • food design and sensory science
  • interaction design
  • mediated rehabilitation
  • philosophical technologies
  • public participation in science
  • responsive environments
  • social and embedded design
  • somatic and movement studies
  • speculative design
  • sustainability and critical climate studies
  • system engineering
  • urban climate infrastructure
  • VR and AR

At A Glance

Media Arts and Sciences, PhD

Plan of study

The Plan of study is the required curriculum to complete the program.

View Plan of Study

Admission requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree in arts, humanities, design, media studies, computer science, engineering or a closely related field from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. curriculum vitae
  4. statement of purpose
  5. three letters of recommendation
  6. portfolio of supporting material
  7. writing sample
  8. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information

An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of current residency.

The statement of purpose should explain in a concise and persuasive manner how the student's educational, professional and personal experiences inform their research and creative interests, and the student should elaborate on any aspect of their background that supports candidacy to the School of Arts, Media and Engineering program.

Each applicant must demonstrate entry-level competencies. This can be demonstrated primarily through a portfolio. The portfolio may include previously developed media products, projects or publications demonstrating an understanding of and involvement with digital media and computation. Entry-level competency can also be partially demonstrated through coursework and may include such courses as:

  • advanced computer programming
  • computer graphics and animation
  • computer music
  • digital design
  • film theory
  • interactive technologies
  • media authoring tools
  • media theory
  • multimedia systems
  • signal processing

Students should see the program website for application deadlines and admission terms.

Admission Requirements

Please see the program website for application deadlines and admission terms.

Applicants will be required to submit:

  1. a Graduate Education online application
  2. official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate course work (if applicable)
  3. official GRE scores
  4. curriculum vitae
  5. statement of purpose
  6. three letters of recommendation and a portfolio of supporting material
  7. writing sample

Additionally, the statement of purpose should explain in a concise and persuasive manner how the student's educational, professional and personal experiences inform their research and creative interests as well as elaborating on any aspect of their background that supports candidacy to the School of Arts, Media and Engineering program.

Each applicant must demonstrate entry-level competencies. This can be demonstrated primarily through a portfolio. The portfolio may include previously developed media products, projects or publications demonstrating an understanding of and involvement with digital media and computation. Entry-level competency can also be partially demonstrated through course work and may include such courses as:

  • advanced computer programming
  • computer graphics and animation
  • computer music
  • digital design
  • film theory
  • interactive technologies
  • media authoring tools
  • media theory
  • multimedia systems
  • signal processing

Applicants whose native language is not English (regardless of current residency) must provide proof of English proficiency.

Applicants must fulfill both the requirements of Graduate Education and those of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

MAS Deadline: fall admission, preceding January 7

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