PhD in Computational Media

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.


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

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.