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Conduct interdisciplinary research that will shape the future of computationally based creative expression. Housed in WPI’s Interactive Media & Game Development program (IMGD), WPI’s new PhD in computational media provides space and expertise for students to research computational approaches that reflect, inspire, and shape human creativity and new media.

An interdisciplinary approach to how computers support and connect with human expression forms the research basis for WPI’s PhD in computational media. The best game design graduate programs like WPI’s include perspectives that cross disciplines to understand how computational media impacts society. As technology becomes increasingly entwined in all aspects of human life, professionals who can connect creativity and humanistic expression with computational media are in demand.

They will be navigating the technological complexity of this field, but shaping its future as well. With a nuanced understanding of creative methods and humanistic concerns, they will develop new tools and services that positively change the way humans work, play, express themselves, and connect with others.

This research-based program is focused on play and art as fundamentally important aspects of human experience that can be shaped in compelling ways via technological tools and methods. Join an interdisciplinary group of faculty and students in exploring the effect of technology on individual and group creative practice. The PhD in computational media supports students whose research focuses on artistic and humanistic expression--whether through the creation of new computational tools or the novel application of existing platforms. Learn more about how WPI offers some of the best game design graduate programs in the nation.

Computational Media (PhD)


The PhD in computational media is a 60-credit hour program. Program requirements are divided equally between coursework (30 credits, 15 of which are computational media core) and research (30 credits). Individual paths could be as diverse as the study and design of human-computer interfaces, games and game engines, narratives, artificial intelligence, creativity, communication, and visual and sonic media, among others.

Computational media research is inherently interdisciplinary—students will find opportunities to explore related fields, including computer science, data science, electrical and computer engineering, systems dynamics, robotics engineering, business, and psychology.


Additional requirements for the PhD in computational media include the following:

  • Paper requirement
  • PhD qualifying exam
  • Advancement to PhD candidacy
  • Dissertation defense


Faculty Profiles

Charles Davis Roberts

Charles Davis Roberts

Assistant Professor

My research examines human-centered computing in digital arts practice. I designed and developed a creative coding environment for the browser, Gibber (, that I use both for educational research and audiovisual performances. Gibber is used to teach computational media to middle school, high school and university students in locations around the world, and I've performed with it throughout the US, UK and Asia in the experimental performance genre known as live coding.

Gillian Margaret Smith

Gillian Smith

Associate Professor-Computer Science

Dr. Smith's research interests are in computational creativity, game design, computer science education, and the intersection of traditional crafts and computation. Her interdisciplinary work merges technical research in AI and HCI with creative practice in textiles and games, with a view towards addressing social issues and broadening participation and perspectives on computing.

Mark L. Claypool

Mark Claypool


Mark Claypool has been a professor of Computer Science and Interactive Media Game Development at WPI since 1997. Mark has a B.A. in Mathematics from Colorado College and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed conference and journal papers and written two books on computer games. He has chaired several ACM conferences on networks, games and multimedia and served on the technical program committee for over 40 of them.

Jennifer  deWinter

Jennifer deWinter

Professor-Arts, Communications, and Humanities

Jennifer deWinter has long been interested in how culture (which is local) moves internationally. She has spent a number of years analyzing anime, comics, and computer games as part of global media flows in order to understand how concepts such as "art," "culture," and "entertainment" are negotiated. In 2003, Professor deWinter joined the Learning Games Initiative, a group of scholars and game designers dedicated to the general study of games and the use of games to teach concepts and skills in particular.

Scott D Barton

Scott D Barton

Associate Professor- Arts, Communications, and Humanities

I compose, perform, record, mix and produce electroacoustic music; I am interested in how we can use the tools and techniques of audio production to explore new musical territory. I build mechatronic and robotic musical instruments; I am interested in how we can free electronic music from the world of speakers through computer-controlled automatic mechanical instruments. I conduct research and experiments that explore how our cognitive and perceptual processes affect our musical experience; I am interested in how we can use such research to guide our compositional and analytic activities.

Need to Obtain a Master’s in Game Development and Design First?

Do you need to start with a technical master’s degree in IMGD instead? Explore our master’s in game development and design degree which explores design, technical expertise, and more.

Maybe you’re interested in a degree that’s focused on the artistic side of IMGD? Our MFA in IMGD helps you develop your artistic voice for use in academia, industry, and your personal creative practice.

Earn a BS in Game Development IMGD First

Are you interested in an interactive media & game development path but need your bachelor’s degree first? Check out WPI’s top-ranked BS in IMGD which explores technical and artistic aspects of gaming. Maybe you prefer to explore an art-based IMGD bachelor’s degree? Our BA in IMGD has just what you’re looking for with a focus on design, animation, 3-D sculpting, and more.

You might want a solid understanding of game design and development but don’t want to pursue a full degree program. That’s why we offer a minor in IMGD that can complement your academic path.