Are you ready to become a Banana Slug?  Apply now to the Computational Media Masters and PhD program at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Apply Now!

Undergraduate Preparation for Admission

For the Computational Media M.S. and Ph.D., students should have strength in at least one of the areas that will be important to their work. This could be a background in artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, graphics and visualization, software engineering, or some other area of computing. Or it could be strength in game design, in cultural interpretation, in an application area of serious games (such as wellness or learning), or in literary, visual, or auditory arts. 

The minimum background for consideration for admission to both the M.S. and Ph.D. program is:

  • A B.S. or B.A. in either:
    • An interdisciplinary area related to computational media, such as Game Design, Human-Computer Interaction, Digital Art, or Informatics OR
    • A disciplinary area that can be applied to computational media, such as Computer Science, Media Studies, Creative Writing, or Psychology
  • A portfolio containing at least two to three projects in the student’s planned area of graduate study (e.g., a physical or digital game, a paper critically analyzing works of computational media, a media-oriented technical project, a report of a human subjects study of media or interaction). For more detailed information on the portfolio and other application requirements, please see the UCSC Graduate Admissions website

To be considered for admission to the Ph.D. program, we prefer to see applicants having already completed a significant project that has resulted in publication, exhibition, and/or other professional-level review and dissemination.

Note that while many students do enter the Computational Media department's degrees with strong computing backgrounds, students with strength in other areas are encouraged to apply. Our programs are designed to accommodate students who come in with limited formal computing backgrounds, as well as those for whom computing is a strength. We do still recommend that all students develop at least basic knowledge of computer programming before beginning these programs

Application Materials

Application Fee (Domestic):  $135

  • Computational Media applicants for the M.S. and the Ph.D. programs who are from a UC or CSU school with a minimum GPA of 3.0 out of 4.0 GPA are eligible for an application fee waiver. Contact the Graduate Advisor for confirmation. 

Application Fee (International):  $155

  • International applicants are not eligible for an application fee waiver or exemption.

Application Requirements:

Application Instructions & FAQ



For more information, please contact the Graduate Admissions Office at