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About the University of Calgary
Graduate Studies Calendar 2018-2019 Program Descriptions Computational Media Design CMD
Computational Media Design CMD
Contact Information

Location: Information and Communications Technology Building, Room 645
Program number: 403.220.7495
Email address: cmd@ucalgary.ca
Web page URL: ucalgary.ca/cmd

1. Degrees and Specializations Offered

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Master of Science (MSc), thesis-based

These degrees are offered jointly through the Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Science; Faculty of Environmental Design; and Department of Art, Department of English, and School of Creative and Performing Arts, Faculty of Arts.

Students may register in the MSc and PhD programs as part-time students only with permission from the CMD Steering Committee.

2. Admission Requirements

In addition to Faculty of Graduate Studies admission requirements, the CMD program requires two reference letters dated within twelve months of the date of application and:

Master of Science

a) While applicants from any discipline will be considered, undergraduate degrees in Art, Computer Science, Dance, Design, Drama, English or Music are favoured. Starting CMD with a background in one area is possible, but background in two areas is preferred.

b) For applicants required to provide proof of proficiency in English, a TOEFL score of 600 (paper-based) or 105 (internet-based test), or an IELTS score of 7.5, or a minimum MELAB score of 86 or above is required. This requirement can also be met by completing Tier III of the International Foundations Program with minimum grades of "A" on Academic Writing & Grammar III, "A" on Reading Comprehension & Proficiency III, and "A" on Listening Comprehension & Oral Fluency III.

c) A single page statement of interest. This is not a proposal but a declaration of interest in interdisciplinary research in art, dance, design, drama, English or music, and computer science.

d) Applicants must submit a portfolio that provides up to ten examples of their research and creative work. This may include any combination of academic publications and reports, images, video, audio recordings, musical scores, documentation of installations, and written works. Applicants may provide a URL to portfolio items that cannot be uploaded through the application system.

e) A demonstrated interest in interdisciplinary research in art, dance, design, drama, English or music and computer science.

f) A curriculum vitae.

Doctor of Philosophy

a) All the admission requirements for a Master of Science (above).

b) A master’s degree from an accredited/recognized institution. For exceptional students applying directly to the PhD program with a bachelor degree, all the requirements for a Master of Science (above) apply, plus demonstrated exceptional research and/or creative ability. These direct entry students will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

3. Application Deadline

Deadlines for the submission of complete applications are available on the Future Students website:

Master of Science: ucalgary.ca/future-students/graduate/explore-programs/computational-media-design-master-science-thesis-based

Doctor of Philosophy: ucalgary.ca/future-students/graduate/explore-programs/computational-media-design-doctor-philosophy-thesis-based

4. Advanced Credit

The applicant must make advanced credit requests as part of the admission process. Credit will not be given for course work taken as part of another completed degree/diploma or for courses taken to bring the grade point average to a required level for admission.

5. Program/Course Requirements

Graduate courses must be chosen in consultation with the supervisor(s) and approved by the CMD Director.

Students are required to achieve a grade of at least "B" in all courses taken to fulfill CMD course requirements.

Seminar Requirement: Students are required to give a CMD seminar presentation on a topic related to their graduate research/creative practice.

Master of Science

a) Course Requirement:

  • One research methodology course from Computer Science, Art, Dance, Drama, English, Environmental Design or Music (3 units or 0.5 full-course equivalent).
  • One Computer Science graduate-level course (3 units or 0.5 full-course equivalent).
  • One graduate-level course from Art, Dance, Drama, English, Environmental Design or Music (3 units or 0.5 full-course equivalent), and
  • Two additional graduate-level courses (6 units or 1.0 full-course equivalent), for a total of 15 units (2.5 full-course equivalents).
  • Additional courses can be required on a case-by-case basis.

b) Supervision as specified in section 9.

c) A Master’s Thesis Proposal as specified in section 11.

d) Master's Thesis.

e) Master's Thesis Oral Examination as specified in section 10.

Doctor of Philosophy

a) Course Requirements: At least three graduate-level courses (9 units or 1.5 full-course equivalents) must be taken while the student is enrolled as a PhD student in Computational Media Design at the University of Calgary.

b) Breadth Requirements:

  • One research methodology course from Computer Science, Art, Dance, Drama, English, Environmental Design, or Music (3 units or 0.5 full-course equivalent)
  • Two Computer Science graduate-level courses (6 units or 1.0 full-course equivalent)
  • Two graduate-level courses (6 units or 1.0 full-course equivalent) from Art, Dance, Drama, English, Environmental Design and/or Music, and
  • Three additional graduate-level courses (9 units or 1.5 full-course equivalents), for a total of 24 units (4.0 full-course equivalents).

c) An alternative breadth program that satisfies the student, the supervisor(s), the supervisory committee, and the CMD Director may be proposed in special cases.

d) Supervision as specified in Section 9.

e) PhD Candidacy requirements as specified in Section 10.

f) PhD Thesis.

g) PhD Thesis oral examination as specified in Section 10.

Exit requirements: MSc students

a) CMD MSc course requirements (see above).

b) Original research and/or creative practice body of work, appropriately scoped for an interdisciplinary MSc.

c) A seminar on the research and/or creative practice body of work conducted during the CMD MSc.

d) CMD MSc thesis and thesis defence (see sections 10 and 11 below).

Exit requirements: PhD students

a) CMD PhD course requirements (see above).

b) CMD PhD candidacy requirements (see section 10 below).

c) Original research and/or creative practice body of work, appropriately scoped for an interdisciplinary PhD.

d) A seminar on the research and/or creative practice body of work conducted during the CMD PhD.

e) CMD PhD thesis and thesis defence (see sections 10 and 11 below).

6. Credit for Undergraduate Courses

Undergraduate courses will not be considered for advanced standing in the CMD program. Permission that at most 3 units (0.5 full-course equivalent) at the 500 level be included as part of the course work requirement must be sought. This must be recommended by the supervisor(s) and approved by the CMD Director on the appropriate form.

7. Time Limit

MSc maximum time: 4 years; expected completion time 2 years.

PhD maximum time: 6 years: expected completion time 4 years.

8. Supervisory Assignments

For simplifying the explanations in this document and for the purposes of CMD requirements, Art, Dance, Drama, English, Environmental Design and Music are jointly referred to as Arts and Design. Generally, students are admitted to a specific research area and supervisor. Sometimes students are admitted to a specific lab or research area only, and are assigned an interim advisor.

Appointment of the Supervisor(s): CMD students will have a supervisor and a co-supervisor appointed on their acceptance letter. Between the supervisor and the co-supervisor the disciplines of Computer Science and Arts and Design will be covered. Students may seek a change in research area or supervisor after admission. The student must find a permanent supervisor and a permanent co-supervisor within six months of the start of the program. Such a change must be satisfactory to the student, and supported by the supervisors and must be approved by the CMD Director. The role of the supervisor is to take responsibility for overall guidance, instruction, and research/creative practice supervision. The role of the co-supervisor in this case is to provide supplementary guidance, instruction and research stimulation on a regular and extensive basis.

Doctoral Supervisory Committee: Composition of the Doctoral Supervisory Committee. The Doctoral Supervisory Committee should be constituted by the supervisor and co-supervisor in consultation with the student and must be approved by the CMD Director and sent to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for confirmation. It will consist of the supervisor and co-supervisor, and two additional members. The two additional committee members may be external to the student's program. At least one of the members of the Supervisory Committee should have had supervisory experience at the doctoral level. Exceptions to this will be considered on an individual basis.

9. Required Examinations

PhD Candidacy Examination

Doctoral students must complete a written thesis proposal, a written Field of Study examination, and an oral examination of the thesis proposal. For complete details of the requirements, see CMD Candidacy Requirements document.

Thesis Examination

In addition to the general Faculty of Graduate Studies Thesis and Thesis Examination Regulations, the following program policies apply:

Final thesis oral examinations are open examinations.

Master’s Thesis Examination

This exam will be conducted as specified by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. A thesis component that describes research conducted and/or body of creative work completed is required to complete the program. Graduating students will have to demonstrate skills and expertise in Computer Science and Arts and Design. CMD encourages research and creative work that incorporates aspects of both Computer Science and Arts and Design, thus there is recognition for and appreciation of a thesis that represents an interdisciplinary balance between the fields.

Scheduling of the Examination
The Supervisor and Co-Supervisor must have reviewed the student’s research, including a relevant written sample of the materials related to the thesis, before an examination can be scheduled.

Composition of the Examination Committee
The Internal Examiner may be internal to the CMD program. The CMD program membership includes the set of faculty members actively engaged in the program and the supervisor/co-supervisor's academic units (i.e., the Department of Computer Science within the Faculty of Science, Department of Art and School of Creative and Performing Arts within the Faculty of Arts, or Faculty of Environmental Design).

An additional examiner will be from the CMD faculty membership.

PhD Thesis Oral Examination

This exam will be conducted as specified by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. A thesis that describes the research conducted and/or the body of creative work completed is required to complete the PhD in the CMD program. The thesis will set the research/work in its literary and new media context and present evidence that the work is worthy of either publication or external recognition. Graduating students will have to have demonstrated skills and expertise in Computer Science and Arts and Design. CMD encourages research and creative work that incorporates aspects of both Computer Science and Arts and Design, thus there is recognition for and appreciation of a thesis that represents an interdisciplinary balance between the fields.

Scheduling of the Examination
All members of the Supervisory Committee must have reviewed the student’s research, including a relevant written sample of the materials related to the thesis, before an examination can be scheduled.

Composition of the Examination Committee
The Internal Examiner may be internal to the CMD program. The CMD program membership includes the set of faculty members actively engaged in the program and the supervisor/co-supervisor's academic units (i.e., the Department of Computer Science within the Faculty of Science, Department of Art and School of Creative and Performing Arts within the Faculty of Arts, or Faculty of Environmental Design).

The CMD PhD student's External Examiner will be an international expert in the research/creative practice area of the student's research. Faculty of Graduate Studies Conflict of Interest Policy applies (see grad.ucalgary.ca/current/policies-forms/conflict-interest).

10. Research Proposal Requirements

A research proposal is required for master’s students. The proposal must be approved by both the supervisor and co-supervisor no later than twelve months after starting the program.

At the doctoral level, students are required to prepare a written thesis proposal and pass an oral examination of the proposal. For complete details of the thesis proposal requirements and examination format, see CMD Candidacy Requirements.

11. Financial Assistance

Financial assistance may be available to qualified students. For information on awards see the Awards and Financial Assistance section of the calendar. Successful applicants may be offered departmental teaching assistantships and/or research assistantships in their offer letter.

Students applying for scholarships must submit their applications as appropriate according to the requirements of the scholarships. For the most up-to-date information, please see the CMD website, ucalgary.ca/cmd.