Computational Media, Arts & Cultures Graduate Programs at Duke University

Computational Media, Arts & Cultures

MA Program Sequence

The MA program for the Computational Media Track of the MA in Historical and Cultural Visualization in Art, Art History & Visual Studies is three semesters plus a summer, and starts in the Fall term. Students begin the program by taking the theory/practice Proseminar, and at least one other designated media production/computational practice course, along with additional seminars and electives that fit their thesis project themes. Up to 6 graded credits can be advanced undergraduate course credits of Level 200-499, typically from the Sciences or Social Sciences curriculum to acquire the necessary competencies in areas such as Computer Science and Statistics.

Typical Program of Study

Year 1 Fall Year 1 Spring Year 1 Summer Year 2 Fall
  • MA Proseminar
  • Grad Seminar 1
  • Practice Course
  • Practicum Experience 1
  • MA Proseminar 2
  • Grad Seminar 2
  • Elective
  • Practicum Experience 2
  • Summer Research and Training
  • Thesis Credit 1
  • Thesis Credit 2
  • Final Thesis Exhibition

MA Proseminar

The first semester MA Proseminar is a course required for both tracks of the the MA in Historical and Cultural Visualization. The course focuses on theories and practices of digital humanities and computational media studies as they relate to historical and cultural analysis and research. The course typically also includes interested graduate students from around campus as well.

Practice Course

Students in this MA track may take existing AAHVS and ISS courses in Digital Humanities Practice, Historical and Cultural Visualization, Interface Design, and/or Computational Media, along with subject-area and technical electives relevant to their research topics, to fulfill this requirement. This might also include a relevant undergraduate course, by permission.

Core Seminars

Core seminars are relevant seminars taught by faculty in AAHVS. Students are expected to participate in at least two graduate seminars with AAHVS faculty as part of their graduate experience. Often but not always these will be seminars taught by faculty Lab directors. See also Sample Courses and the current Art, Art History and Visual Studies course listings.

Subject Area Electives

Subject area electives will vary based on the the thesis interests of thesis interests of the students involved.  These may include a wide variety of topics inside and outside AAHVS. Often courses listed or cross-listed in Information Science + Studies will be relevant.  Students will selected these courses in consultation with their Faculty Advisor(s).

Lab Practicum Courses

The Lab Practicum experience is typically undertaken in a single Lab both semesters, though exceptions may occur. The Lab Director is either the thesis director or a core committee member, depending on the final research topic.

Students will also be expected to participate in relevant workshops offered by the various Labs and in the Libraries as recommended by their advisors. Technical areas explored in each lab may include:

Complex Systems Lab Physical Computing, Algorithmic Art and Programming
Duke Art, Law and Markets (DALMI) Lab Database Design, Visual and Quantitative Data Analysis
Digital Archeology (Dig@Lab) 3D Modeling, Virtual Reality, Interactive Exhibitions
Emergence Lab Generative Art and Music, Interface Design, Haptics, Installation Art; Digital Architecture
ISS Lab Web Design, Mobile Applications, Augmented Reality, Virtual Worlds; 3D Printing
S-1 Lab Biosensors, Physical Computing, Speculative Interaction Design
Visualization and Interactive Systems Lab Data Mining, Network Analysis, Game Development
Wired! Lab for Digital Art History and Visual Culture 3D modeling, Photogrammetry, Digital Mapping, Museum Exhibitions
Digital Humanities (FHI and Libraries) Digital Publishing, Digital Archives, Text Analysis, Historical GIS, Social Media, Data Visualization


Summer Research

Students are expected to participate in independent summer research on their projects in pursuit of their degrees. In addition, summers can be an excellent time to develop technical skills further, as well as to participate in project-based internships and training on campus or in the community.


The hybrid thesis is completed in the third semester, with research taking place over the summer preceding graduation.The thesis work will take place via two independent studies with appropriate faculty members— one theory-oriented class where a written thesis will be developed; and one practice-based class where a digital humanities and or media art oriented project will be developed with the Lab leader. The thesis committee should also include one additional member selected from inside or outside AAHVS, on approval.

The program typically culminates in a Thesis Exhibition/Presentation at the end of the Third Semester. In special cases, students may petition to complete their degrees either at the end of the summer, or after a fourth semester, for which they will be required to pay continuation fees.


Comments are closed.