computational media

UC Santa Cruz Offers a Major and Minor in Computational Media

Interdepartmental major

The Departments of Computer Science and Art History will jointly sponsor a major and minor in Computational Media in Fall 2021. This major is designed to give students the opportunity to integrate art and computation while developing their own creative media. The program also emphasizes digital humanities and ethical issues associated with the use of computational technologies.

The program will require a combination of higher mathematics, computer science, probability and statistics, modeling, and data analysis. Students pursuing this major will apply their mathematics knowledge in the social and behavioral sciences as well as the physical sciences. Students pursuing this major must earn a C or better in all of their mathematics courses to qualify.

A student pursuing this major should have a solid understanding of computer programming, discrete mathematics, calculus, and economics. A student who has taken AP computer science is likely to have adequate preparation for the coursework required in the CSEC major. For the discrete mathematics prerequisite, students can consider taking CPSC 100 or 112, MATH 244, or ECON 110 or 115. The microeconomics requirement may be satisfied by taking Economics 101, ECON 111, and CSEC 491.


Students interested in pursuing a minor in computational media should first check with their home college to determine the prerequisites. After completing the requirements, the registrar’s office will work with the student to get transcriptable recognition of their coursework. Students may substitute up to 3 course hours of coursework with an undergraduate research project, which allows them to work closely with a faculty member. They may also take an advanced corresponding course in lieu of the equivalent introductory course.

The Minor in Computational Media provides students with the opportunity to integrate introductory and intermediate classes from computer science and visual art. Students will study how to develop and use algorithms to create digital representations. In the program, students take introductory and intermediate courses in digital art and web programming. In addition, they will take nine credits of electives at the 300 level.

Students who pursue this minor will be better prepared for their future careers. It will give them a distinct academic edge over other students. The course will prepare students for graduate school or career opportunities in computational science. The coursework emphasizes data management, programming and statistical analysis. Throughout the course, students will build on their skills in research, data management, scripting, and statistics.

Ph.D. program

Computational Media is an exciting and rapidly growing field that is highly interdisciplinary. At UC Santa Cruz, students can pursue graduate studies in computational media. The program offers interdisciplinary perspectives that span the disciplines and explore the social and cultural impacts of computational media. Graduate students can expect to work on a wide variety of projects, ranging from virtual reality experiences to video games. Computational Media studies focus on the intersection between technology, design, and the humanities.

In addition to theoretical and applied research, this PhD program in Computational Media Design focuses on creative applications of digital media to solve human problems. The program’s faculty members use diverse approaches in their research, ranging from historical and theoretical work to practice-led research. The program also combines cognitive science and human perception to explore the creative power of media.

The program is affiliated with various interdisciplinary arts and humanities media labs. Some of the faculty members are involved with digital archaeology, emergent media arts, and information science and studies. The program focuses on the intersection of digital humanities and computational media, which impacts humanities, global, and social issues.

In addition to coursework, CMD PhD students will also take a comprehensive qualifier exam. This exam assesses students’ knowledge of theory and research methods, and their ability to synthesize findings across disciplines. The first part of the exam consists of six (6) multiple-choice questions that focus on the student’s two major areas of interest. The questions are developed by the student’s committee, or by DM faculty.

Applicants must hold a master’s degree from an accredited institution. In addition, students who have earned a bachelor’s degree can apply if they can show that they have exceptional research and creative abilities. Direct entry students can also apply, but these applicants must request advanced credit as part of their application process. Applicants must select their graduate courses in consultation with their supervisors and the CMD Director.

Graduates with advanced degrees in computational media have a wide range of job opportunities. Many companies, including Facebook and Apple, seek professionals with this unique combination of knowledge. In addition, there is a growing number of academic positions for researchers studying computational media.

Course requirements

Students pursuing a graduate degree in computational media (CM) are expected to master the principles of coding and media creation. These students are equipped to create and distribute new digital media. The curriculum of a CM course may include coursework, projects, and written assignments. Projects are typically multi-week activities that develop conceptual capacity and require technical expertise. Students are expected to complete these assignments, and complete them on time to earn a passing grade.

Students interested in a CM major should take a blend of practice and theory courses. These courses must be at least 200-level and be taught by core faculty in the AAHVS. “Practice” courses are usually geared toward digital computational methods, while “theory” courses may be more historically or thematically focused.

The Bachelor of Science in Computational Media is an interdisciplinary program that emphasizes the development of interactive and generative media. The program integrates theoretical approaches from the arts, social sciences, and engineering with artistic and humanistic expressions. Students may choose to specialize in computer games, which is one of the fastest growing areas in digital media production.

Students interested in a career in computational media may consider pursuing a PhD or M.A. in the field. The program offers a variety of graduate programs in computational media, including a BS in computer game design and a Masters and Doctorate in computational media. Students in this area of study will have the opportunity to participate in a substantial research program. The curriculum also includes experience working in the field of computational media.

A PhD in Computational Media Design aims to provide advanced scientific training and an immersive learning experience for those interested in the field. The curriculum emphasizes the application of computational techniques and media to Design and human perception. The program requires coursework in computing, coding, media, and human perception. In addition to learning about media, students will also study the history of design and computing.

A Master’s in Computational Media is available from the School of Computational Science and Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. This degree has a focus on creative problem-solving and interdisciplinary collaboration.

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