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UC Santa Barbara General CatalogUniversity of California, Santa Barbara

Media Arts and Technology

Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Media Arts and Technology
Phelps Hall 3309
Telephone: (805) 893-5244
Program Chair: Marko Peljhan


The Media Arts and Technology Program (MAT) is a unique transdisciplinary and interdepartmental graduate degree program that offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Media Arts and Technology. The program, which is jointly administered by the College of Engineering and the College of Letters and Science, serves as a focal point for education, research, and artistic production in digital media, with special emphases in visual and spatial arts, electronic music and sound design, and multimedia engineering. The curriculum provides for an interdisciplinary experience, building on a core set of skills and knowledge, with an emphasis on research and collaboration in digital media systems, content, and interaction. In addition to the interdisciplinary breadth of the program, MAT students may focus on specific areas of emphasis, according to their backgrounds and career interests.

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to visit the MAT website at for the latest program information.

MAT is designed to provide its students with knowledge and skills relevant to careers in digital media-related research and in artistic and technical positions in the media industries of the 21st century. It fosters aesthetically trained engineers – the media technology inventors of the future. It trains electronic media artists who can work with a high degree of aesthetic and technical sophistication to enrich and enlarge our cultural heritage. It prepares thinkers for advanced studies in media technology, leading toward academic careers in this discipline.

The program is intended for students who are interested in both arts and technology and have a strong background in at least one area of arts, engineering, or science and at least some experience in a cross-discipline (e.g., an arts area for those with engineering backgrounds and vice versa). Prospective students should be ambitious and curious about interdisciplinary research and intermedia art and should be interested in working with others on collaborative projects spanning multiple areas of expertise.

MAT faculty coordinate with four graduate departments: Art, Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Music. Faculty advisors assist students in planning their courses of study depending upon their backgrounds and areas of interest.

In addition to program requirements, candidates must meet the university degree requirements found in the section “Graduate Education at UCSB.” Master’s and Ph.D. students must be registered as full-time students in the program.

General areas of emphasis within Media Arts and Technology include:

Multimedia Engineering

Multimedia engineering is intended for creative engineers and computer scientists seeking a comprehensive program in multimedia research. Key topics include multimedia software systems, media signal processing, multimedia networking, computer imaging, human-computer interaction, and virtual and mixed realities. Students will be involved in the development of large-scale software systems of different types. Courses include in-depth work on multimedia networking and programming, imaging, and the development of complex signal processing software systems.

Electronic Music and Sound Design

Electronic music and sound design focuses on electronic music systems and techniques, composition, immersive sound design and spatialization, interfaces, hardware and software development, and digital audio engineering. It is intended for technically inclined musicians and highly motivated musical engineers. Courses include composition lessons, technical and aesthetic instruction, laboratory work, as well as directed research in musical and technical projects.

Visual and Spatial Arts

Visual and spatial arts focuses on interdisciplinary, collaborative arts-technology research such as algorithmic morphogenesis, transarchitectures, data mapping, data visualization, digital sculpture, algorithmic processes, computational photography, and interactive installation. The relationship of present to future media is of particular interest, especially as it relates to nanotechnology, biotechnology, new materials, and new fabrication methods.