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Media and Design Innovation


The PhD in Media & Design Innovation is a unique practice-based doctoral program that allows the scholarly exploration of the creative process in a wide range of fields. Placing creativity at the heart of learning, it is designed specifically for innovative makers and leading practitioners. 

Graduates of the program are trained to be intellectually agile, creative professionals with a strong capacity for in-depth innovation and problem-solving.

Degree awarded: PhD

Administered by: The Creative School

PhD in Media and Design Innovation program website

 (PDF file) PhD in Media and Design Innovation program calendar 2023-24


First Offered Fall 2021

Course Code Degree Requirements: Doctor of Philosophy Credits

Exegesis and Documentation



Comprehensive Examination



Dissertation Project



Doctoral Colloquium



Qualitative Research Methods



Practice-based Research Methods



Directed Reading


  Two Electives 2


Course code Course name Credits


Topics in Cross Cultural Comm



Media Lang: Forms, Approaches



Audiences and the Public



Media Writing: Critical & Narrative Forms



Socially Engaged Media



The History of News



Advanced Speaking and Presentation Technology



Proposal Writing, Grant Seeking and Fundraising


Exegesis and Documentation

This is a Milestone

Comprehensive Examination

This is a Milestone

Dissertation Project

This is a Milestone

DI8010 Doctoral Colloquium

The graduate colloquium is an academic seminar led by faculty affiliated with the program. The seminar will survey the fields of media and design through an interdisciplinary set of readings and guest presentations by practitioners and scholars in a relevant field. The readings will be thematically organized and subject to ongoing revision by program faculty. Field trips as relevant to student research interests will be organized. 1 credit

DI8011 Qualitative Research Methods

This seminar considers qualitative research methods such as observation, interviews, focus groups, forms of sampling, recruitment strategies, the collection of evidence and issues concerning research ethics. With an emphasis on local and global perspectives, the course prepares students to analyze the complex nature of reality via thick descriptions of human experience in terms of behaviours, beliefs, opinions, gender, ethnicity and religion in various socio-cultural and economic contexts. 1 Credit

DI8012 Practice-based Research Methods

This course explores practice-based research by considering ‘ways of knowing’. This involves a philosophical discussion of how we know anything, what research means, and what is necessary for creative work to be research as well as expression, representation or communication. By examining case studies from design, art, media, music and other fields, the course will critically consider the ways in which projects, prototypes, exhibitions, objects, and events can be forms of meaningful research. 1 Credit

DI8013 Directed Reading

The directed reading course is designed to survey and review key texts that are relevant to student’s research project or question. The student will develop a bibliography of readings on a topic or area of concentration under the direction of the faculty supervisor or a member of the supervisory committee. These texts will be used to contextualize the research project and will result in a completed research paper on the topic of investigation.  1 Credit

CD8310 Topics in Cross Cultural Comm

The term cross-cultural competence denotes a vast complex of competencies, which educators, politicians and business leaders around the world have identified as one of the most crucial of the 21st century. The purpose of this course will be to foster such "competence" through a wide-ranging examination of the major social issues that affect communication across national and cultural boundaries. 1 Credit

CD8320 Media Lang: Forms, Approaches

This interdisciplinary course will investigate both common elements (visual and auditory narratives, methods of presentation/distribution, cultural roles) and specific attributes (individual characteristics and technologies) of contemporary media forms. Key developments in the evolution of media types and media languages will be explored in the larger context of understanding critical and theoretical issues associated with these forms and languages. 1 Credit

CD8330 Audiences and the Public

The course addresses the challenges concerning value creation and the effective design and delivery of media/mediated products and services from the perspective of the audience. The course brings an interdisciplinary conceptual framework to bear on contemporary media and mediated consumption to investigate five principal ways of audiencing (citizen, spectator, customer, user and player) as well as the new audience sociability and several key issues around managing it: metrics, presumption, fans, transmedia, and business models. 1 Credit.

CD8340 Media Writing: Critical & Narrative Forms

This course will explore issues of form, expression and viewpoint in writing for contemporary visual arts and media. The emphasis will be on essays and critical studies, but writing of summaries, proposals and analyses will also be covered. Traditions of literary and arts criticism form a basis for study of contemporary writing practices for both print and screen-based media. 1 Credit

CD8350 Socially Engaged Media

Bringing together masters students in Social Work and Documentary Media, this research/creation seminar explores socially engaged practices which privilege collaboration and social interaction in an interdisciplinary dialogue. These practices adopt and borrow from such disciplines as pedagogy, theatre, ethnography, anthropology, art and social work. Through praxis we will explore common methodological problems faced by researchers and practitioners in relation to their subjects and communities. 1 Credit.

JN8106 The History of News

This course will study the evolution of journalism from 1600 to the present, with a particular (but not exclusive) emphasis on developments in Canada. It will examine the various forms that news took at different periods and in different places; how news influenced culture and was influenced by it, as well as by changing technology, business organization, and markets; how different audiences used and responded to news; and how the producers of news understood their work in relation to their society, their audiences, their employers and their peers. 1 Credit

PC8101 Advanced Speaking and Presentation Technology

This course builds upon fundamental informative and persuasive speaking techniques by introducing students to their advocacy role as professional communicators. Students learn how to adapt high-level messages for a variety of internal and external audiences and effective audience-response strategies. They will learn the use of presentation technology such as PowerPoint, podcasting, and webcasting to transmit their messages effectively. Theories of self-presentation, presentation protocol, medium and message, and cognitive perception underlie the course. Students will deliver presentations to their peers and have the opportunity to use new media facilities to create and broadcast audio podcasts and videocasts for feedback and evaluation. Spoken voice training to achieve clarity and confidence in oral communications is a part of this course. 1 Credit

PC8105 Proposal Writing, Grant Seeking and Fundraising

This course provides a detailed introduction to the multidimensional processes of grant-seeking and the strategic principles of writing proposals for research funding and non-profit fundraising. Through a theoretical framework grounded in classical and modern rhetoric, meta-rhetoric, and narratology, students will explore how professional communicators construct polished arguments to generate support. From the perspective of both grant seekers and multidisciplinary peer-review audiences, students will learn how to identify and target government, foundation, and corporate funding sources/opportunities, to translate project goals and problem statements into clear objectives and hypotheses reflective of societal need, and to coordinate activities in the planning, development, structuring, and articulation of feasible, methodologically rigorous, and conceptually innovative research projects/proposals. Students will also gain practice in applying these techniques to fundraising initiatives and tasks including outreach and the cultivation of potential foundation and corporate donors. 1 Credit