The intermedia art, writing and performance (IAWP) program is an interdisciplinary digital arts and humanities research unit with a practice-based PhD. 

Traditional scholarly and creative work outputs, such as the single-authored print book or conventional gallery exhibitions, have already been challenged by the emergence of Internet art sites, electronic literature, live audio/visual performance, multi-platform storytelling or transmedia narratives, software art, artificial intelligence, 3D animation, interactive installations for public spaces, virtual reality, video games, networked media activism and innovative art applications for mobile devices and tablets.

IAWP’s internationally renowned and affiliated faculty collaborate with graduate students to probe the significance of a digitally expanded, process-based research environment located in a cluster of interdisciplinary research labs. The program provides a flexible pedagogical structure that will lead to the creation of new and hybridized forms of art, writing, performance, scholarship, theory, design, curation, exhibition and publication appropriate for our current cultural moment.

The program concentrates its curriculum on digital forms of creativity and cultivates cutting-edge investigations into the practice, theory, history and philosophy of intermedia art, and scholarship.


Application Guidelines

Applicants to the PhD program in intermedia art, writing and performance (IAWP) are expected to hold a master's degree (MFA or MA preferred) or its equivalent from an accredited college or university, and must provide transcripts from every institution attended. In exceptional cases, applicants without a master's degree may be considered for admission.

The program encourages applications from interdisciplinary digital artists and/or humanists who have already started developing experimental modes of practice-based research in contemporary forms of artistic expression.

Domestic applications must be received by the program no later than Jan. 15 prior to the fall semester for which entrance is sought. International applications should be submitted by Dec. 1. Late applications may be considered under special circumstances.

Successful applicants typically meet or exceed the following criteria:

  • Provide transcripts from all institutions the applicant has attended as an undergraduate and graduate.
  • Have an undergraduate cumulative GPA of at least 3.2 and a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 in previous graduate work.
  • Provide three letters of recommendation.
  • Provide a 1000-word artist statement and proposal for a practice-based research project.
  • Provide a resume or CV that includes academic and employment experience.
  • Provide a portfolio of intermedia artwork, such as Internet art sites, electronic literature, video and/or film work, sound works, digital humanities projects, creative writing, mobile and web applications, etc. Format preference is web-based and could include links to Vimeo, Soundcloud, online publication and/or exhibition sites, PDFs, personal websites, etc. DVDs or flash drives with QuickTime files, images, texts, etc., are also accepted.

Meeting these criteria does not guarantee acceptance into the program. The program accepts relatively few new doctoral students each fall; qualified applicants may exceed available openings.

For review and decision purposes, students are required to upload an unofficial copy of their transcript(s) in the online application. The program requires one copy of the scanned transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution attended. This includes community colleges, summer sessions and extension programs. While credits from one institution may appear on the transcript of a second institution, unofficial transcripts must be submitted from each institution, regardless of the length of attendance and whether courses were completed.  

Failure to list and submit transcripts from all institutions previously attended is considered a violation of academic ethics and may result in the cancellation of admission or dismissal from the university.

Program Overview

Doctoral students in the IAWP PhD program take 30 credit hours of required coursework in the first two years of the program, followed by 30 dissertation credit hours, for a total of 60 hours.

The required coursework will include an interdisciplinary set of IAWP classes that introduces students to collaborative, practice-based research processes in the digital arts and humanities. The coursework includes Introduction to Practice-Based Research (IAWP 6000), Intermedia Collaboratory (IAWP 6200), Theory and Practice of Doing (IAWP 6100) and the Intermedia Seminar (IAWP 6800). Students are also encouraged to take approved courses offered by departments inside and outside the College of Media, Communication and Information.

At the end of their second year, students will take their general examination. Once they have passed the general examination, their research will focus on the creation of an original and substantial project centered on practice-based research. The final outcome of their research will result in a creative work accompanied by a written dissertation.

Time Limit

Students are expected to complete the program and their practice-based research project in four years.