Interdisciplinary Design and Media, PhD
The PhD in Interdisciplinary Design and Media offers an innovative, globally-aware, human-centered approach to advanced graduate study, focusing on practice-based research and scholarship applied to or conducted through making or creation.
The PhD in Interdisciplinary Design and Media is designed to foster the integration of creative collaboration across disciplinary boundaries, offering an opportunity for candidates seeking to break new ground and invent new fields. Further, the program is unique in its focus on integrating either practice-led or practice-based research and scholarship, which incorporates creative work into research either as part of a traditional research framework, or as applied to or conducted through making or creation itself. This integration of research and practice is an emerging area that has been applied internationally to a wide range of creative fields and industries, many of which are represented within CAMD: music, theatre, design, studio art, games, architecture, communication, media studies, and journalism, among others.
The program emphasizes the importance and value of engaging with the nature of human experience through innovative, interdisciplinary approaches to design; investigating new forms of digital media and data-driven communication across diverse disciplines; articulating how creativity can embrace connections between artistic practices, social and racial justice, entrepreneurship, and research; and connecting with changing forms of technology and media to foster shared experiences and exchange within local and global communities. The curriculum will cultivate a culture of research and creative practice dedicated to integrating data, technological, and human literacies to provide students with a vision and template for collaborating across disciplines while building the creative fields of the future.
The program is composed of three elements: a core, which offers a common set of design research methods to establish interdisciplinary interaction; a research path, which is a customized program of study; and a research/creative project and dissertation. Paths will take advantage of each student’s expertise and will blend approaches to design research, creative practice, and critical theory and will examine societal, humanistic and historic implications of each.
The PhD in Interdisciplinary Design and Media is unique in its focus on practice-based research and rigorously supports the creation of artifacts as a mode of producing new knowledge, theories, and methodologies – all in the context of an experiential learning environment. Students will step outside of academic boundaries to work on complex, real-world projects in interdisciplinary collaboration with diverse industries, including the creative sector; government, NGOs and the nonprofit sector; business analytics, computer science, and the natural sciences; arts, education and healthcare organizations; and the larger community. They will conduct research and learn from and collaborate with Northeastern’s world-class faculty on real-world, global challenges.
The CAMD PhD in Interdisciplinary Design and Media supports practice-based research that is:
• Interdisciplinary: Transcending traditional disciplinary boundaries by merging, blending, and integrating theories, principles, methods, and techniques from across disciplines and domains.
• Integrative: Cultivating creative practice as a rigorous method for producing new knowledge, theories, and methodologies, embodied through artifacts, performance, and texts.
• Experiential: Incubating “living labs” embedded in real-world contexts, both on and off campus, with local, networked, and global partners.
• Impactful: Generating research within real-world contexts resulting in meaningful social impact.
• Engage with the nature of human experience through innovative, interdisciplinary approaches to design, media and arts.
• Investigate new forms of digital media and data-driven communication across diverse disciplines.
• Articulate how creativity can embrace connections between artistic practices, innovation, entrepreneurship, and research.
• Connect with changing forms of technology and media to foster shared experiences and exchange within local and global communities.
• Cultivate a research culture dedicated to developing human literacies for new media technologies and collaboration across and beyond the university.
“The world today needs transdisciplinary creative leaders who pave new ways of thinking and working that will show what the world of tomorrow will look like. The CAMD PhD program in Interdisciplinary Design and Media seeks to cultivate such thought leaders.” – Casper Harteveld, Associate Professor and Associate Dean of CAMD Graduate Studies
“The Interdisciplinary Design and Media PhD will provide hands-on learning experiences in artistic and creative cross-disciplinary research, giving practitioners in the arts the language and the research skills to delve into their chosen creative work at the PhD level.” – Psyche Loui, Associate Professor, Music
“The knowledge of artists and designers and their methods for creating it are becoming increasingly important in today’s society – we have built the Interdisciplinary Design and Media PhD around the “elastic rigor” of creative researchers and provide the tools to make their voices heard.” – Dietmar Offenhuber, Associate Professor and Interim Chair of Art + Design
“The Interdisciplinary Design and Media PhD is ideal for self-motivated forward thinkers who want to invent and forge new media, art, design and research practices through integrative blending and appropriation across disciplines. It values creative practice as a form of knowledge creation and provides a platform for people whose work defies categorization.” – Celia Pearce, Professor, Art + Design
“Big social challenges require creative, interdisciplinary solutions. The Interdisciplinary Design and Media PhD will train future leaders in the tools and creative practices to integrate data, technology, and design into solutions that improve the human experience.” – Brooke Foucault Welles, Associate Professor and Interim Chair of Communication Studies
Admissions + Important Dates
The application deadline will be December 1. Click here to access the online application portal and further details regarding the application requirements.
Applicants will be notified by February 1 if they will be invited for the Online PhD Meet & Greet. At this event, applicants will learn more about the program and are asked to present themselves to the CAMD community. Admitted students have the possibility to attend in person the Annual PhD Symposium where current students present their work to the CAMD community. Admitted students will need to communicate their decision by April 1.
Applicants are encouraged to contact a CAMD faculty member in advance of their submission to find support of their application. CAMD faculty members can be found on the CAMD faculty page.
December 1: Application deadline (hard deadline)
December – January: College application reviews
February 1: Invitations sent to selected applicants for the Online PhD Meet & Greet
Mid-February: Online PhD Meet & Greet for selected applicants
Early March: Admissions decisions released
Mid-March: Annual PhD Symposium for admitted applicants
April 1: Enrollment decision deadline
PhD students receive up to five years of funding including a stipend and coverage of tuition for approved courses, as well as the student health insurance plan (NUSHP). All other fees are the responsibility of the student.
Additionally, PhD students receive equipment startup funds and yearly personal development funds, as well as a flex fellowship, which provides students the flexibility to conduct their research in another environment (e.g., field study or visiting a research lab abroad) or dedicate all their time to complete their dissertation.