Computational Media Design

Computational Media Design

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Thesis-based program

Program overview

Are you a creative thinker with a passion for art and technology? Do you refuse to be bound by convention? Computational Media Design is a leading-edge program designed for students innovating at the intersection of art, music, dance, drama, design and computer science. This research-based degree is offered jointly through the Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Science; School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape; and Department of Art, Department of English, and School of Creative and Performing Arts, Faculty of Arts.  In the expanding world of multimedia and design, there is an increasing need for graduates who are equipped to handle complex projects that combine computing expertise with the creative energies of artists and designers. The CMD program prepares students to answer this emerging need. Admission is highly competitive, and only the most promising applicants are selected.

Completing this program

  • Research Methodology Course: This course can be from Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Computer Science, Art, Dance, Drama, English or Music.
  • Additional Courses: Two graduate-level courses from Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Art, Dance, Drama, English and/or Music and three additional graduate-level courses.
  • Research / Body of Work: The student will prepare original research and/or a creative practice body of work, appropriately scoped for a PhD.
  • Computer Science: Two Computer Science graduate-level courses.
  • Candidacy: Candidacy requires preparation of an approved reading list, a research proposal and both oral and written exams.
  • Thesis: Students are required to submit and defend an original research thesis.



Game design and development, film, TV, web design, simulation, training, networking, interactive media, public displays, and mobile and wearable computing, dance, music, theatre and the visual arts. Academic careers as post doctoral fellow, lecturer, professor or researcher.

A PhD in computational media design is usually considered a final degree.

Thesis-based program

Students are required to prepare a thesis and successfully defend in an open oral defense.

Classroom delivery

Time commitment

Four years full-time; six years maximum


Co-Supervision is required

Fees and funding

See the Graduate Calendar for information on fees and fee regulations, and for information on awards and financial assistance.

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Learn about faculty available to supervise this degree.
Please note: additional supervisors may be available. Contact the program for more information.

  1. Placeholder Profile Image

    Usman Alim

    Accepting Inquiries
    Visualization and Computer Graphics
  2. John Aycock

    John Aycock

    Accepting Inquiries
  3. Bruce Barton

    Bruce Barton

    Accepting Inquiries
  4. Mario Costa Sousa

    Mario Costa Sousa

    Accepting Inquiries
    Interactive Computer Graphics and Visualization
  5. Patrick Finn

    Patrick Finn

    Accepting Inquiries
    Performance, Technology, Drama & Story, Area Studies (English and Drama), Research Methods & Media, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning / Collaboration, Creativity
  6. The image shows the head and upper body of a Scandinavian, middle aged, white, woman wearing a creamy, buttoned up silk shirt with a brown pattern and short, wavy, middle blond hair against a yellow background. Her face is shown in three quarter view, her blue eyes are squinting slightly, and she offers the viewer an emerging smile

    Pil Hansen

    Accepting Inquiries
    Performing Arts Psychology, Dramaturgy, Performance Generating Systems and Improvisation, Interdisciplinary Research Methodology, Performing Arts Management
  7. Image of Helen Ai He

    Helen Ai He

    Social Computing, Inclusive Design
  8. hushlak

    Gerald Hushlak

    Accepting Inquiries
    Digital Art, Painting
  9. Christian Jacob

    Christian Jacob

    Accepting Inquiries
    Data Science with Virtual and Augmented Reality, Simulations of Biological Systems using Game Engines, LINDSAY Virtual Human
  10. Thomas P Tom Keenan

    Thomas P, (Tom) Keenan

    Accepting Inquiries
    Social Implications of Technology, Privacy and Security, Smart Communities, Technocreepiness, Cybersecurity and Cyberwarfare, Non-financial Applications of the Blockchain

Admission Requirements


A minimum of 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 point system, over the past two years of full-time study (a minimum of 10 full-course equivalents or 60 units) of the undergraduate degree.

Minimum education

A master's degree from a recognized institution.

Work samples

A portfolio of up to 10 examples of research and creative work. Any combination of academic publications/reports, images, video, audio, musical scores, documentation of installations, written works. URL can be provided if upload isn't possible via application system.


  • One-page statement of interest (not a research proposal) in an area of interdisciplinary research of computer science alongside art, dance, drama, design, or music
  • A C.V.

Reference letters

Two reference letters

Test scores


Additional requirements

Applicants must show a demonstrated interest in interdisciplinary research in art, dance, drama, design or music and computer science.

English language proficiency

An applicant whose primary language is not English may fulfill the English language proficiency requirement in one of the following ways:


For admission on September 1:

  • Canadians and permanent residents:
    • May 1 for Applications
    • June 1 for Documents
  • International students
    • January 15 for Early Applications
    • March 1 for Applications
    • March 15 for Documents

For admission on January 1:

  • Canadians and permanent residents: Sept.23 application deadline
  • International students: Sept.23 application deadline

If you're not a Canadian or permanent resident, or if you have international credentials, make sure to learn about international requirements

Learn more about this program

Department of Computational Media Design

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) 602
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, ABT2N 4V8

Contact the Graduate Program Administrator

Visit the departmental website

Faculty of Science

Biological Sciences, Room 540
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, ABT2N 1N4

Visit their website