Introduction

The Berkeley Center for New Media is a cross-disciplinary research and teaching program that offers its own graduate courses, recommends related courses, and encourages research collaborations to enhance the intellectual community of UC Berkeley scholars interested in new media.

BCNM’s Designated Emphasis (D.E.) program is for selected UC Berkeley Ph.D. students from any Berkeley home department with research interests in new media. It is supplemental to the Ph.D. program in the regular departments, and provides enhanced skills in analyzing and/or designing future media with an awareness of historical, social, cultural, and other perspectives that might not be visible from any single disciplinary point of view. Upon completion of all requirements and the dissertation, your transcript and diploma will read “Ph.D. in [Home Department] with Designated Emphasis in New Media.”’

Please note: Students must apply for the D.E. at least 3 months before their Ph.D. Qualifying Exam.

Requirements

The course requirements are in addition to, but may overlap with, the Ph.D. course requirements of your home department.

Course requirements for the Designated Emphasis in New Media have changed. If you are currently pursuing the DE in New Media, you have the option of switching your program to the new requirements. If you would like to continue with the course plan you filed when you entered the program, click here.

CORE COURSE REQUIREMENTS

The BCNM is cross-disciplinary and builds on three areas of inquiry: Humanities (H), Technology (T) and Art/Design (A). Some experience with all three is required. BCNM DE students must therefore complete the following three core courses:

  • NWMEDIA 200, History and Theory of New Media, 4 units. Usually offered in Spring term. This lecture/seminar course provides a broad historical and theoretical background for new media production and practice. The class will map out theoretical approaches from different disciplines and allow graduate students to discuss and apply them to their own research projects.
  • NWMEDIA 201, Questioning New Media, 3 units. Usually offered in Fall and Spring terms. NWMEDIA 201 meets weekly and is held in conjunction with the Art, Technology, and Culture Colloqium, a regular lecture series which brings internationally known speakers to campus to present their work on advanced topics in new media. Students will enhance skills in “questioning” new media: how to think critically about advanced topics in new media, how to use new media resources such as the internet to research pioneering work in new media, how to formulate incisive questions about new media, and how to evaluate and create effective presentations on topics in new media.
  • NWMEDIA 202, New Media Methods, 4 units. Usually offered in the Fall term. This course introduces students to the five basic computer programming languages to prototype new media tools, including mobile apps, web apps, and electronic sensor tools.



It is possible to provide evidence of equivalent level of experience/skill in an area and request a waiver of a core course by writing a petition to the D.E. Academic Program Committee, endorsed by your program advisor, describing how the requirement has been met with a previous course (include a copy of your transcript to confirm completion) or provide evidence of equivalent experience. Questions about the core requirements may be addressed to the BCNM Graduate Advisor, Coye Cheshire, at coye@berkeley.edu.

ELECTIVE REQUIREMENTS

D.E. students must enroll in an additional two classes that significantly deal with new media. Courses should be three or four credits, and must be approved by the BCNM Graduate Advisor. Use the DE Course Requirements Worksheet to file these courses with the program.

RESEARCH AND COMMITTEE REQUIREMENTS

Your Ph.D. Qualifying Exam Committee must include at least one member of the BCNM Graduate Group / Affiliated Faculty who will evaluate your knowledge related to the Designated Emphasis. Your Ph.D. dissertation topic must be related to New Media and your Ph.D. Dissertation Committee must include at least one member of the BCNM Graduate Group / Affiliated Faculty who can evaluate it from that perspective.


Timeline

Interested students should apply at least 3 months before their Ph.D. qualifying exams. Applications are accepted twice a year: November 1 and March 1. Applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision within one month of the deadline.

IMPACT ON NORMATIVE TIME TO COMPLETION

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of training and research in the BCNM Designated Emphasis, and depending on your background, completion of the BCNM D.E. could add one or possibly two additional semesters to your total program. Please note that no additional time can be added to your home department’s established normative “time to degree” to compensate for this.


Applying for the BCNM Designated Emphasis

Any UC Berkeley Ph.D. student in good standing may apply. Admission to the BCNM Designated Emphasis program is determined by the BCNM DE Academic Programs Committee. Applications are accepted twice a year, for Fall and Spring admittance to the program. Applications for Fall 2014 admission are due March 1.

To apply, please fill in this form and submit the following materials in hard copy to the BCNM office in 426 Sutardja Dai Hall, or scan and email them to info.bcnm@berkeley.edu:

  • Letter of intent summarizing your research interests and background in new media.
  • Your curriculum vitae
  • Letter of recommendation from your UC Berkeley faculty advisor
  • Course transcript from Berkeley
  • Graduate Petition for Change of Major or Degree Goal (to indicate your interest in adding the D.E. Your home graduate advisor should sign line 2. BCNM’s graduate advisor will fill in signature line 1 once you are admitted)
  • Course Requirements worksheet: Courses need not be completed at time of application, but you must indicate which classes you have taken or intend to take to fulfill DE requirements.



Pre-2014 DE Requirements

CORE COURSE REQUIREMENTS

BCNM DE students are required to complete the following two core courses:

  • NWMEDIA 200, History and Theory of New Media, 4 units. Usually offered in Spring term. This lecture/seminar course provides a broad historical and theoretical background for new media production and practice. The class will map out theoretical approaches from different disciplines and allow graduate students to discuss and apply them to their own research projects.
  • NWMEDIA 201, Questioning New Media, 3 units. Usually offered in Fall and Spring terms. NWMEDIA 201 meets weekly and is held in conjunction with the Art, Technology, and Culture Colloqium, a regular lecture series which brings internationally known speakers to campus to present their work on advanced topics in new media. Students will enhance skills in “questioning” new media: how to think critically about advanced topics in new media, how to use new media resources such as the internet to research pioneering work in new media, how to formulate incisive questions about new media, and how to evaluate and create effective presentations on topics in new media.


BREADTH COURSE REQUIREMENTS

The BCNM is cross-disciplinary and builds on three areas of inquiry: Humanities (H), Technology (T) and Art/Design (A). Some experience with all three is required based on completing three relevant graduate courses offered at Berkeley. To complete the Breadth requirements for the D.E., students must identify and complete one Berkeley graduate course relevant to each area. It is possible to provide evidence of equivalent level of experience/skill in an area and request a waiver of a breadth course by writing a petition to the D.E. Academic Program Committee, endorsed by your program advisor, describing how the requirement has been met with a previous course (include a copy of your transcript to confirm completion) or provide evidence of equivalent experience. Questions about the breath requirement may be addressed to the BCNM Graduate Advisor, Coye Cheshire, at coye@berkeley.edu.

RESEARCH AND COMMITTEE REQUIREMENTS

Your Ph.D. Qualifying Exam Committee must include at least one member of the BCNM Graduate Group / Affiliated Faculty who will evaluate your knowledge related to the Designated Emphasis. Your Ph.D. dissertation topic must be related to New Media and your Ph.D. Dissertation Committee must include at least one member of the BCNM Graduate Group / Affiliated Faculty who can evaluate it from that perspective.

IMPACTION ON NORMATIVE TIME TO COMPLETION

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of training and research in the BCNM Designated Emphasis, and depending on your background, completion of the BCNM D.E. could add one or possibly two additional semesters to your total program. Please note that no additional time can be added to your home department’s established normative “time to degree” to compensate for this.

TIMELINE

Interested students should apply at least 3 months before their Ph.D. qualifying exams. Applications are accepted twice a year: November 1 and March 1. Applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision within one month of the deadline.