Electronic Arts, Ph.D.

One of the 1st practice-based arts Ph.D. programs in the country where students pursue innovative research that integrates diverse media, performance, science-based and/or social practices.

Audio board in studio

Program Overview

Rensselaer's Ph.D. in Electronic Arts was established in 2007 to satisfy the increasing demand for a   practice-based, interdisciplinary arts doctoral degree program within the university.  It is designed to  appeal to students who wish to pursue innovative research that integrates diverse media, performance, science-based and/or social practices, or curatorial studies into their artwork.

The Ph.D. in Electronic Arts is conferred for independent investigation representing an original contribution to knowledge, where knowledge is understood to incorporate an integrated combination of creative practice in the arts with theoretical and historical research.

The core of the curriculum focuses on a student's creative practice, which is informed by coursework, individual engagement with advisors, and culminates in a dissertation that is composed of the dissertation text and practice-based work.

Admission Considerations

Admission to the Ph.D. program is highly competitive and is based on the submission of a formal application package.

The applicant's prior academic records as well as references are examined for evidence of singular ability to meet the graduate standards and degree requirements of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Evaluation for admission to the program includes not only artistic merit, but also evidence of a creative orientation that is research-based and appropriate for the type of in-depth interdisciplinary scholarly study the Ph.D. program will provide. Thus, the portfolio should be a representative sampling of work that best demonstrates creative practice as research-based and appropriate for an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program.

Acceptable submissions include but are not limited to urls, DVDs, slides, artist books, CD-ROMs, video and audio recordings, music scores, etc. Candidates should anticipate the portfolio review to be completed in approximately 15 minutes and submit appropriately.


Required Materials:

  • Completed graduate application (online application required)
  • Non-refundable application fee of $75
  • Statement of Background and Goals
  • Research Proposal (up to 3 pages)
  • Portfolio (online submission or URL preferred)
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Scholarly Writing Sample (previous thesis or publication)
  • Official transcripts and evidence of degrees earned, in English, of all post-secondary education
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Official TOEFL or IELTS scores, if applicable

Applicants must submit the requested materials online in addition to sending hard copies of the required supporting credentials NOT submitted in the online application, together in one envelope, to Graduate Admissions (address below) by the application deadline of January 1st for fall entry.


Our graduate students demonstrate ingenuity in their creative, academic and research pursuits. Learn more about our current student's areas of research and practice by reading their profiles!

After Graduation

Students graduating from this program are well qualified for academic positions in research-intensive academic fine arts settings, as well as visual culture, musicology/sound studies, cultural studies, humanities and media studies programs. They are also prepared for careers as artists, composers, curators, and administrators in galleries, museums, performing arts organizations, artist-run centers, and art-science programs and projects.


The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Russell Sage Laboratory (SAGE) 5304, 110 8th Street, Troy, NY 12180
(518) 276-6575

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