The Georgia Tech Digital Media Ph.D. provides both the theoretical and practical foundation for careers as digital media researchers in academia and industry. The study of these new forms, from the point of view of the creators and the analysts, is an emerging field, one that requires a convergence of the methodologies of several traditional disciplines, and one that is also defining its own methodologies of research and practice.

For detailed information refer to the Ph.D. handbook here.

Foundational and Required Courses

The courses listed on this page give a general idea about the courses offered by the School of Literature, Media and Communication (LMC).All courses are three credit hours, unless otherwise specified.

The core curriculum is designed to cover three fundamental areas:

  1. Critical history, theory, and practice of using computing technologies for expressive purposes
  2. Advanced principles of interaction design
  3. Applied research methods in digital media

Courses in bold are not open to waiver or substitution. Other courses may be substituted with equivalent previous work or alternate courses. Students should consult their advisors and the Director of Graduate Studies to determine the appropriate individual course of study.

  • LMC 6310 The Computer as an Expressive Medium (3 credits)
  • LMC 6313 Principles of Interactive Design (3 credits)
  • LMC 6316 Historical Approaches to New Media (3 credits)
  • LMC 6399 Discovery & Invention (3 credits)
  • LMC 6650 Project Studio (3 credits) x2
  • LMC 6800 Master’s Project OR LMC 7000 Master’s Thesis (6 credits)
  • LMC 8000 Pro-Seminar I (3 credits)
  • LMC 8001 Pro-Seminar II (3 credits)
  • LMC 9000 Doctoral Dissertation (6 credits)


Required Minor Concentration (9 credits)

Three related courses outside of the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture. Examples of minor concentration in Computer Science:

  • CS 6750 Human-Computer Interaction
  • CS 6460 Foundations of Educational Technology
  • CS 6470 Online Communities


Elective Courses

  • LMC 6317 Interactive Fiction (3 credits)
  • LMC 6318 Experimental Media (3 credits)
  • LMC 6319 Intellectual Property Policy and Law (3 credits)
  • LMC 6215 Issues in Media Studies (3 credits)
  • LMC 6650 Project Studio (repeatable) (3 credits)
  • LMC 7999 Preparation for Qualifying Examination (variable credit)
  • LMC 8803 Special Topics (repeatable) (3 credits)
  • LMC 8813 Advanced Issues in Interactive Narrative (repeatable) (3 credits)
  • LMC 8823 Special Topics in Game Design (repeatable) (3 credits)
  • LMC 8930 Special Problems (repeatable) (3 credits)
  • LMC 8999 Preparation of Doctoral Dissertation (variable credit)

Elective courses from other academic units may be substituted with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.


Portfolio Review

Demonstration of programming competency with grounding in foundational principles of software engineering. This requirement may be fulfilled with coursework, LMC 6310.

Digital Media project design and implementation at the level of outstanding DM Master`s project, as certified by the advisor and Director of Graduate Studies.


Comprehensive Examination

All Digital Media PhD students will take a comprehensive qualifier exam. The exam is to allow the student to demonstrate competency in research methods, theory, and synthesis across fields related to Digital Media.

The qualifier exam is administered in three parts:

Part 1: The first part is based on the two major areas the student chose out of the four offered *HCI, STS, Design, & Media Studies). It is comprised of six (6) questions (three(3) from each chosen major field), of which the student will answer two (2) from each field. Questions are written by the student’s committee or appointed DM faculty.

Part 2: The student’s committee will write two (2) questions based on materials from the student’s individual reading list, which is developed with their advisor and committee. The student will answer 1 of the 2 questions.

The two written parts of the exam are administered on two consecutive days. The student will have 8 hours the first day to answer the questions from Part 1; on the next day, the student will have 4 hours to answer the question from Part 2.

Part 3: Within two (2) weeks of satisfactorily completing the written parts of the qualifying exam, the student will take a two-hour Oral Exam administered by their Committee. The Oral Exam will cover the written responses (including any questions the student chose not to answer). Students should prepare a short (20-minute) preliminary statement on their research, which the Committee will help the student to refine during the Oral Examination.

The Qualifying Committee will inform the student if the Oral Exam has been passed at the end of the two-hour examination.

If the student fails any part of the exam they must retake the exam in the following academic term. Failing the written exam will prevent the student from taking the oral exam; the new exam will follow the same process and include new questions. If a student fails the oral exam the committee may, at its discretion, issue new questions or topics for the repeated exam, although the student will not be required to prepare a written response in advance. If a student fails the exam twice, they will be subject to program dismissal at the discretion of the Director.



Ph.D. Thesis and Defense

After passing the Comprehensive Exam, the student will submit a thesis topic proposal. The Ph.D. thesis proposal consists of two parts, a written prospectus and an oral presentation. When the Committee Chair deems student is ready, a public oral thesis defense will be scheduled.


Full-time Residency

The Program requires a minimum of two semesters in residence with full-time study. Note: Ph.D. students who choose to can participate in the established internship program of the M.S. program, which customarily takes place in the summer between the first and second year.


The Georgia Institute of Technology is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral degrees. Contact the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097, telephone 404-679-4500, for questions about the accreditation of the Georgia Institute of Technology.