Computational Media M.S.

Introduction

The goal of the M.S. in Computational Media (CM) is to help students build on existing strengths and move into new areas of computational media work. The design of the degree ensures, first, that students have a meaningful foundation in the key areas needed for undertaking interdisciplinary CM work. This may require some additional development in one or more areas (e.g., a sequence of computer programming classes). In addition, the M.S. coursework includes both broad and topical classes that help students understand the different ways that innovative work in CM connects the knowledge and methods of the different disciplines that contribute to it. Finally, the M.S. also includes a student-defined thesis, in which they demonstrate their ability to apply their foundational and integrative knowledge while developing novel work through supervised research. The M.S. is appropriate for students continuing in a variety of directions, including pursuing a terminal degree and performing innovative media creation.

M.S. students must complete a minimum of 35 quarter credits of graduate and upper-division courses, including 15 credits of core courses, 10 credits of topical courses, CMPM 204 (5 credits), and at least 2 credits of supervised research. No more than 15 credits may be upper-division undergraduate courses.

Requirements

Course Requirements

Core Courses (15 Credits)

CMPM 201Introduction to Computational Media

5

CMPM 202Computation Media Research

5

CMPM 203Computational Media Methods

5

Topics Courses (10 Credits)

M.S. students are required to take 10 credits of CM topics courses. This category includes all 5-credit CMPM graduate classes, as long as they are not already counted in another category (e.g., it cannot include core courses), in addition to courses available in other departments. Current topics courses are listed below.

Current Topics Courses
CMPM 235User Evaluation of Technology

5

CMPM 244Artificial Intelligence in Games

5

CMPM 248Interactive Storytelling

5

CMPM 265Generative Methods

5

CMPM 290ATopics in Computational Media

5

CMPM 290J
/DANM 250D
Playable Media

5

CMPM 290KSocial and Emotional Approaches to Human Computer Interaction

5

CMPM 290P
/DANM 290P
Topics in Computational Cinematography

5

CSE 265
/DANM 231
Human-Computer Interaction

5

DANM 250ACollaborative Research Project Group: Art and Science

5

DANM 250BCollaborative Research Project Group: Socially Engaged Art

5

DANM 250CCollaborative Research Project Group: Performance and Embodiment

5

FILM 234Toward an Ethics of New Media

5

FILM 230Expanded Documentary

5

DANM 250ECollaborative Research Project Group: Experimental Play

5

FILM 228Moving Image Archives and the Frontiers of Information

5

GAME 232Advanced Game Technologies

5

GAME 238Computer Graphics for Games

5

GAME 250Foundations of Serious Games

5

GAME 290AAdvanced Topics in Games

5

GAME 251Games User Research

5

CSE 245
/LING 245/CMPM 245
Computational Models of Discourse and Dialogue

5

CSE 260Computer Graphics

5

CSE 261Advanced Visualization

5

CSE 263Data Driven Discovery and Visualization

5

CSE 290LTopics in Crowdsourcing and Collaboration

5

DANM 250A, DANM 250B, DANM 250C, DANM 250E: can be repeated

Other Requirements

There are three additional program requirements, though students may have completed the necessary work for one or more before admission.

First, all M.S. students must demonstrate an understanding of media creation in a CM context, and must do so by the end of their second year in the program. This can be completed by any of:

  • The Computer Science: Computer Game Design B.S. game studio sequence (CMPM 170, CMPM 171, CMPM 172) before graduate enrollment.
  • The Art and Design: Games and Playable Media B.A. game studio sequence (ARTG 170, ARTG 171, ARTG 172) before graduate enrollment.
  • A Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) project group sequence (three DANM 250 courses in same area, in sequence) during or before computational media M.S./Ph.D. graduate enrollment.
  • The Games and Playable Media M.S. project sequence (GAME 270, GAME 271, GAME 272) before computational media M.S./Ph.D. graduate enrollment (due to Professional Degree Supplemental Tuition (PDST) and cohort model, these cannot be taken by students in other programs).
  • At least three graduate or upper-division undergraduate courses from a list of offerings at UCSC that require programming knowledge and are focused on defining and developing CM-related projects (e.g., CMPM 148) during or before CM graduate enrollment. See the media creation courses list below.
  • Petition to CM graduate director, presenting evidence of equivalent coursework at another institution and/or equivalent CM project experience in another context.

Second, all M.S. students must demonstrate an understanding of computer programming sufficient to carry out CM research, and must do so by the end of their second year in the program. This can be completed by:

  • Taking a series of courses that integrate media and programming knowledge (e.g., GAME 235, GAME 236, and CMPM 120).
  • Taking core programming (e.g., CSE 30 and CSE 101) and advanced programming (e.g., CSE 111) at UCSC or another institution.
  • Petition to CM graduate director, presenting evidence of programming knowledge developed in another context.

Third, all M.S. students are expected to have an understanding of interpretive and critical methods sufficient to carry out CM research. Students who lack such a background are strongly encouraged to take a series of courses in this area, consulting with their adviser regarding which courses would be most appropriate. A recommended sequence is:

  • HISC 1: Introduction to the History of Consciousness. If this is not possible, take an 80-level course that integrates introductory interpretive content (e.g., FILM 080V: Video Games as Visual Culture).
  • Take two more graduate or upper-division undergraduate courses that focus on interpretive practices. The CM department offers courses that integrate this with CM knowledge, such as some offerings of CMPM 290A (e.g., Media Constellations) and CMPM 176: Game Systems. Other programs also offer courses that make this integration, such as DANM 201: Recent Methods and Approaches to Digital Arts and Culture and DANM 202: Dialogues and Questions in Digital Arts and Culture. Courses that do not make this integration, but that are connected to the student's research area, are also acceptable.

Note: In extraordinary circumstances the graduate director can reduce the number of required courses based on a petition presenting past accomplishments, for example, reducing the number of required topics courses by one for each substantial past research publication or system accepted from the petition.

Current Media Creation Courses
CMPM 146Game AI

5

CMPM 147Generative Design

5

CMPM 148Interactive Storytelling

5

CMPM 150Creating Digital Audio

5

CMPM 151Algorithmic Music for Games

5

CMPM 163Game Graphics and Real-Time Rendering

5

CMPM 164Game Engines

5

CMPM 179
/ARTG 179
Game Design Practicum

5

CMPM 244Artificial Intelligence in Games

5

CMPM 248Interactive Storytelling

5

CMPM 265Generative Methods

5

CMPM 290J
/DANM 250D
Playable Media

5

CSE 163Data Programming for Visualization

5

GAME 210Game Art Intensive

5

GAME 215Audio Direction

5

CSE 160Introduction to Computer Graphics

5

CSE 161Introduction to Data Visualization

5

CSE 183Web Applications

5

CSE 245
/LING 245/CMPM 245
Computational Models of Discourse and Dialogue

5

CSE 260Computer Graphics

5

CSE 263Data Driven Discovery and Visualization

5

CSE 261Advanced Visualization

5

M.S. Thesis (7-10 credits)

The M.S. is either a written thesis or a project (with a written report of the project) in lieu of a thesis. It is a substantial undertaking within the CM field, which may emphasize technical, media-creation, or interpretive aspects—or may emphasize more than one area equally. It is reviewed by a committee of at least two faculty that must include at least one member of the CM department and draw half or more of its members from the UCSC academic senate. M.S. students are required to take CMPM 204 (Computational Media Project Definition), in which their written thesis or project topic is developed, as well as CMPM 299, an independent study with the faculty adviser for their written thesis or project.

CMPM 204Computational Media Project Definition

5

CMPM 299Thesis Research

Lower-Division Courses

Students who are considering enrolling in lower-division courses in order to fulfill additional degree requirements (e.g., CSE 30, HISC 1) may wish to consult with the course instructor and their adviser about instead taking an independent study or directed study (with the course instructor, their adviser, or a third faculty member) that subsumes the work of the course and adds additional content to bring it up to a graduate level. Graduate students must be enrolled in some combination of at least 10 credits of courses or independent studies that are either graduate or upper-division undergraduate courses in order to be considered full-time enrolled.

Transfer Credit

Up to 10 credits transferred from equivalent courses in previous graduate work at UCSC or elsewhere can be applied toward the M.S. course requirements. This can satisfy the topics requirement, but is not to exceed the three-course overall limit on transfers from outside institutions. A Course Substitution/Waiver form can be found on the Jack Baskin School of Engineering (BSOE) Graduate Advising website.

Planners

M.S. in One Year (Student with technical CM B.S. degree)

This is a sample program for a student who has completed a bachelor’s degree with significant technical content and a focus on some form of computational media (such as computer games). The B.S. in Computer Science: Computer Game Design at UCSC is such a degree. Such students will have already satisfied the requirement for understanding media creation in a CM context (e.g., by taking the CMPM 170, CMPM 171, and CMPM 172 sequence at UCSC) and the requirement for demonstrating an understanding of computer programming (e.g., by taking a core programming sequence and CSE 111 at UCSC). This program is for a student who wants to complete the M.S. degree in one year.

Fall Winter Spring
CMPM 201 CMPM 202 CMPM 203
Topics course Topics course CMPM 299 (2–5 credits)
CMPM 204 Elective/independent study (optional) Elective/independent study (optional)
(M.S. thesis approved)

M.S. in Five Quarters (Student requiring technical and interpretive foundation work)

This is a sample program for a student who has graduated from a digital media program or other undergraduate degree that provides experience in media creation in a CM context, but not an understanding of computer programming or interpretive practices. (CMPM 202 is moved to the second year, to reflect the need for computer programming knowledge before taking this course.)

  Fall Winter Spring
Year 1 CMPM 201 HISC 1  CMPM 203
Topics course Topics course Interpretive graduate/upper-division course
CMPM 235 CMPM 236 CMPM 120
Year 2 CMPM 204 CMPM 202  
Interpretive graduate/upper-division course CMPM 299 (2-5 credits)  
Elective/Independent Study (optional) Elective/Independent Study (optional)
(M.S. thesis approved)
 

Applying for Graduation

Students planning to graduate should refer to the Baskin School of Engineering Graduate Studies website.