Program Requirements

Students are required to take the Computational Media, Arts & Cultures Proseminar or equivalent, demonstrate competency in coding and digital media production and or natural language, participate in at least one Practicum Experience during their first two years of study, and develop Methodological and Research Fields from their exams. Dissertations will combine written and practice-based components, as appropriate to the topic, and be presented to the public. Demonstration of skills in mentoring, collaboration, and communication will be expected as well.

Central to the CMAC program is the interdisciplinary lab model. Labs are characterized by unusual degrees of collaborative, project-based orientation that yields tangible results. Students will be expected to engage with labs as part of their required Practicum Experiences. These labs include Duke Art, Law and Markets Initiative (DALMI) Lab, Wired! Lab for Digital Art History and Visual Culture, DiG Digital Archeology Lab, Information Science + Studies Lab, The Emergence Lab, The Speculative Sensation Lab, FHI Social Practice Lab, SLIPPAGE: Performance | Culture | Technology, labs affiliated with The Franklin Humanities Institute and Bass Connections, and scientific labs as appropriate to the student’s research. Students should work with their advisor to obtain approval to fulfill research components in these various labs.

Required Coursework

The graduate program requires 15 courses and practicum experiences (excluding language courses). Undergraduate courses may be taken without credit, upon approval, if they are relevant to the student's program of study.

Required Courses:

  • Critical Studies in Computational Media, Arts & Cultures Proseminar or Equivalent [1 course]
  • Practice-Based Courses [2 courses]
  • CMAC Faculty-Led Seminars [4 courses]
  • Practicum Experiences [1-4 course(s) including Independent Studies]
  • Electives, on approval [4+ courses]

Typical Program of Study

Year 1
  • CMAC Proseminar or Equivalent
  • Core Seminar 1
  • Practice Course
  • Core Seminar 2
  • Elective 1
  • Practicum Experience 1
  • Program Milestone: Language Exam 1
Year 2
  • Core Seminar 3
  • Practice Course 2
  • Practicum Experience OR Additional Elective
  • Core Seminar 4
  • Elective 3
  • Practicum Experience OR Additional Elective
  • Program Milestone: Language Exam 2
Year 3
  • Elective 4
  • Independent Study
  • Practicum Experience OR Additional Elective
  • Program Milestone: Assemble Doctoral Committee
  • Program Milestone: Preliminary Exams (written and oral)
  • Prospectus Defense
Year 4
Fall & Spring
  • Program Milestone: Dissertation Research
Year 5
Fall & Spring
  • Program Milestone: Dissertation Writing / Project / Defense


Students are responsible for tracking their progress throughout the program; initiating language exams, doctoral committee formation, scheduling preliminary exams, pursuit of fellowships, and dissertation defense.

Meeting Milestones

Students will be held to milestones. If they do not meet the milestones steps will be taken to help students advance their progress. For example: students who do not pass their language exams in the spring semesters of their first and second year will be required to complete a language course during the summer months in preparation to (re-)take the exam in the first 5 weeks of the following fall semester. The Graduate School is specific concerning the timing of Preliminary Exams and Dissertation Defense; students should familiarize themselves with The Graduate School’s timeline and regulations concerning these milestones. Each student’s progress will be reviewed every April by the CMAC Graduate Faculty, for more information on this process see “Progress Towards Degree Report.”