Computational Media, Arts & Cultures Graduate Programs at Duke University

Computational Media, Arts & Cultures

Spring 2018 Advising

Students Graduating in Fall 2018 or Spring 2019

Students may enroll in 3 or 4 courses/semester. Most courses are 3 credits. Think ahead to how you will complete the required 30 credits as you plan your program. Note that required language courses do not fill these requirements. Students may complete the program over three semesters and a summer, or over four semesters, with the last semester consisting only of Continuation if they have fulfilled all other requirements.


Students who enrolled in the DAHCM MA are required to take Proseminar 2. Building upon the interdisciplinary digital humanities and computational media subject-area overview of Proseminar 1, this course will introduce core technology competencies as well as model digital project design and development with the goal of moving towards a viable thesis project.

Seminars, Electives, and Lab Practica


Students entering in Fall 2017 should also plan to take at least one Graduate Seminar if they have not done so already. These seminars are taught by Graduate Faculty and listed in AAHVS or related departments at the 700 or above level (some 500 level seminars may also count). Note that some courses have both undergraduate and graduate numbers assigned, so be sure to sign up for the right one.

If a seminar is taught by a Lab Faculty Director, and is relevant to DAHCM topics, then there is no need to do an additional Lab Practicum course, although you are welcome to do so.  Generally we expect you to have taken an additional technology-focused course at some point in your course of study. This is to ensure you develop some technical competencies in greater depth to support the thesis project. In Fall, we highlighted Virtual Museums, Unity3D, Historical GIS, Physical Computing, and Web-Based Multimedia Communications. See below for Spring 2018 recommendations.


Because each student’s academic program is customized to the individual, the remainder of the courses should be discussed with the DGS and prospective MA thesis advisor, if one has been identified.  You should look through courses not only in AAHVS but also in other disciplines related to your thesis interests. It is important to develop your knowledge in both your subject area and you technical approach through your coursework and independent study. Note, however,  that only two undergraduate courses may be counted for graduate credit. In some cases individual students have made arrangements with faculty in these courses to do do a special graduate level project as part of a coordinating independent study. This kind of arrangement is not guaranteed, and is at the discretion of the instructor.

Lab Practica

You may fulfill this requirement through special independent study opportunities or through Lab-related seminars. Consult with individual Lab Directors directly to find out what is available in their labs, and work with the DUSA the AAHVS central office to set them up with the appropriate registration codes before Drop-Add ends on Wednesday, January 24. You should have a basic work plan and set of deliverables mutually agreed upon and written down, along with a meeting schedule. Keeping a project blog is also a good way to organize your deliverables and communicate with your advisor.

Though the dividing line can be blurry when engaged in digital production projects, keep in mind that simply doing work for a lab may not in itself constitute a practicum experience. Consult with your advisors and the DGS if you are in doubt about how to categorize your activities.

Recommended Courses for Spring 2018

Lab-Related Seminars:

  • ARTHIST 508S: Art and Markets (DALMI Lab)
  • ISS 758S: Digital Durham (ISS and Wired Labs)
  • ARTSVIS 575S/ISS 575S: Generative Media Authorship (Emergence Lab)
  • CMAC 790S: Special Topics: Spinoza in Contemporary Culture
  • additional seminars in areas relevant to thesis research from AAHVS and other departments and programs

Undergraduate Practice-Based Courses:

  • ISS 255: Humanities Text Mining and Meaning (Herron)
  • VMS 397L: Interactive Graphics (Kenney)
  • ISS 376: Performance and Technology (DeFrantz)
  • others as appropriate in AAHVS, Computer Science, Statistics, Engineering, etc.

Workshops, External Labs, and Other Experiences:

We also recommend you look into the Workshops offered by Data and Scholarship Services and Data and Visualization Services in the Libraries. For Spring 2018 include a series on Text/Data  for Digital Humanities as well as individual workshop around topics such as Data Creation and Visualization, Digital Mapping/GIS and more.  In addition, watch for open workshops and events sponsored by the Wired Lab, the CMAC Program itself, and the PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge at the FHI.

Depending on what you are doing, and how it fits into your proposed thesis project, it may be possible to include participation in a workshop series, participation in Bass Connections Project, a Franklin Humanities Lab, or independent work with an online instructional module in a software package, into your plans for an Independent Study or Lab Practicum experience. You would still need to identify a mentor and establish a work plan and project deliverable for this to “count.” Consult the DGS and/or a relevant faculty member if you want to explore this option.

Summer 2018

You should already be thinking ahead to Summer 2018, which is designated in the program plan as research time. Some students have elected to enroll in courses in Summer 2018, while others have travelled, worked, or some combination of activities in addition to doing their thesis research. Limited summer research funds will be available on a competitive basis. We urge you to look into other funding options for the summer as well. In some cases Lab Directors may have summer opportunities related to grants etc. as well.

Students Graduating in Spring 2018


Students graduating in Spring 2018 who have completed all other course requirements may enroll in Continuation for the final semester.  Students who still have to complete credit or course requirements should enroll in additional courses as appropriate. Note that required language courses do not count toward the 30 credits required to complete the academic program, and all students are required to do 3 semesters of continuous enrollment.


Graduation Deadlines are strictly held, and conform to a pattern determined by the Graduate School.

We recommend you complete your draft thesis no later than February 12, 2018. This will give your advisor and additional committee members adequate time to advise on necessary revisions and for you to make any necessary changes.

You must submit the fully formatted thesis absolutely no later than March 16, 2018. You must give your committee 14 days to review it before the defense. Note that there are strict rules for this. See the Graduate School guidelines on Theses and Dissertations for more information.

The last defense date is Monday, April 2. We recommend you plan to submit earlier in the week of March 11 or sooner to give yourself some flexibility in scheduling the defense. Consult the Graduate School for the latest information. Their dates and requirements take priority.

Defense Committees

Although in many cases you are working with a broader team on your work, for the purposes of the defense, the Graduate Committee is comprised of three Graduate Faculty members. The advisor must be in AAHVS, as well as at least one of your other committee members. The third committee member should reflect a minor area, but can be from inside or outside of AAHVS. You are welcome to invite your additional advisors who are not Graduate Faculty to the Defense. You should acknowledge them in the thesis text as well, if appropriate.

Your primary advisor must be physically present for the defense. Any requests to videoconference in a non-director committee member must be approved in advance by the Graduate School.

Please see also the Thesis Guidelines page for more information about requirements and a fuller set of deadlines.

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