The Georgia Tech Digital Media Ph.D. provides both the theoretical and the 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.


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.

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 6311 Visual Culture and Design (3 credits)
  • LMC 6312 Design, Technology, and Representation (3 credits)
  • LMC 6313 Principles of Interactive Design (3 credits)
  • LMC 6650 Project Studio (3 credits)
  • LMC 6316 Historical Approaches to New Media (3 credits)
  • LMC 6800 Master’s Project OR LMC 7000 Master’s Thesis (6 credits)
  • LMC 8001 Pro-Seminar I (3 credits)
  • LMC 8002 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 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 level of outstanding DM Master`s project, as certified by advisor and Director of Graduate Studies.


Comprehensive Examination

Written Examination Part I: Common Examination
Students will take a common Comprehensive Examination after completing LMC 8000 and LMC 8001, usually in the Spring of their first year in the PhD program.Written Examination Part II: Individualized Examination
Students will take an Individualized Examination, usually by the Spring of their second year in the PhD program.

In consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, students will identify a Committee Chair, usually by the end of their first year, and prepare an Examination List based on four areas:

  1. Media Theory and Related Theoretical Contexts
  2. Traditional Media Technologies and Forms
  3. Digital Media Technologies and Forms
  4. A specialty of the student`s choosing

The complete examination list is available online at the Exam List page.


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.


Ph.D. Qualifying Exam List

This list is a starting point for the creation of the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam List. Digital Media Ph.D. students choose 50 works from each of the following 4 main categories, for a total of 200 works. The subcategories are representation of possible areas of interests.

1. Media Theory and Related Theoretical Contexts

  • Anthologies, Texts, Reference Books
  • General Works
  • Body/Mind/Technology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Intellectual Property
  • Narrative
  • Philosophy and Aesthetics
  • Post-Modernism
  • Technology and Culture
  • Visualization and Visual Culture
  • Other Areas of Media-Related Investigation

Sample bibliography in this area may be found on the Exam List Part 1 document.

2. Media Traditions

  • Architecture, Urban Design, Spatial Design
  • Comics, Animation, and Visual Storytelling
  • (Cyber) Narrative
  • Film Art
  • Graphic Design / Information Visualization
  • History of Writing, Print, and Reading
  • Modern and Post-Modern Art
  • Performance Art / Performance Studies
  • Photography
  • Play and Games
  • Radio and Television
  • Other Areas of Media Traditions and Forms

Sample bibliography in this area may be found on the Exam List Part 2 document.
3. Digital Media Forms and Technologies

  • General Works
  • Computer Games and Interactive Narrative
  • Digital Art and Performance
  • Digital Characters
  • Electronic Fiction and Poetry
  • Information Archives and Information Design
  • Mixed and Augmented Reality
  • MOO’s, Community, and Synchronous Communications Forms
  • Virtual Reality
  • Web Design, Hypertext, Hypermedia
  • Other Digital Forms

Sample bibliography in this area may be found on the Exam List Part 3 document.

4. Self-Defined Specialty Area
Examples of specialty (intented to be suggestive only; this category is for the student to define, since it should prefigure the issues raised in the thesis):

  • a sub-category of an existing digital category, such as text-based computer games, or mixed-reality installations in museums.
  • an in-depth study of a particular work and its related issues, such as a consideration of the Sims within the tradition of specific gaming and social practices; a consideration of Perseus and related educational archives, including its technical history, social dynamics, usability issues, etc.
  • an in-depth study of the ouvre of a particular digital practioner, such as Douglas Engelbart, Shigeru Miyamoto.
  • an in-depth study of a non-digital practioner as a way of illuminating potential or actual digital genres, e.g. Faulkner or Tolkien and the encyclopedic storyteller.

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.