The MAT program is intended for students who have a strong background in the arts, science, or engineering (for example, visual arts, film/video, music, computer science, material science, mechanical engineering, or electrical and computer engineering), and who wish to earn a degree that integrates art and engineering. Prospective students should be ambitious and curious about intermedia art and should be interested in working on group projects and research.

An undergraduate degree (major discipline) in art, music, computer science, engineering, or another relevant field is required. Students are expected to have basic preparation including calculus-level mathematics. UCSB graduate students already enrolled in other degree programs may petition to add the MAT degree as a second degree objective.

Applicants should also be able to demonstrate a basic level of proficiency in a MAT cross-discipline. For example, a student's major discipline is in the creative arts, their cross-discipline may be science or engineering. If a student's major discipline is in science or engineering, their cross-discipline may be one of the creative arts.

Applications will be evaluated by MAT faculty members from engineering and the arts. Students who are admitted to the program may be required to complete coursework to reinforce their cross-disciplinary competence during the first year. The department's admission policy is based on intellectual potentials and promise, academic records and programmatic fit. Graduate admission is an academic decision involving factors beyond scores and grades.

MAT offers Master of Science (MS) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees in Media Arts and Technology. For a list of MAT faculty and researchers, visit the Faculty and Researchers page. For more information on the primary areas of research, visit the Research Labs page.

Students may be admitted to the MAT PhD program in one of three ways:

  1. With an MS degree in Media Arts and Technology. Current and former MAT MS students must apply for the MAT PhD program via the regular application process.
  2. With an MS or MA degree in a related field (e.g., art, architecture, music, computer science, or electrical and computer engineering). These students apply via the regular application process and must complete or place out of the MAT core courses, or complete other coursework as determined by the MAT faculty.
  3. Students with only a Bachelor's degree may apply to the MS/PhD degree objective. These students must meet the requirements for the MAT Master's degree along the way, including a thesis or project, and will receive an MS degree in the process.

For a student entering with a Master's degree, the time to PhD is typically five years. Starting with a Bachelor's degree, the requirements for the PhD are typically completed within seven years.

Applying to MAT

The application portal for the Fall 2024 quarter will open in September 2023. The deadline for applying to the Media Arts and Technology graduate program for Fall 2024 is December 20, 2023 at 11:59 pm (PST). Applications for the Fall 2025 quarter will be accepted starting in September 2024.

Applicants are required to complete and submit an application to UC Santa Barbara using the Graduate Division's Online Application Website.

To apply, go to:

Please note that GRE scores are not required for this admissions cycle.

For information about the requirements for applying to UCSB, go to:

More information about applying to the Media Arts and Technology graduate program can be found on GradDiv's website:

In the Graduate Division's electronic application website, you are required to upload the following documents:

  • Statement of Purpose
  • Personal History and Diversity Statement
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended

In the statement of purpose, applicants should describe their motivations for entering an interdisciplinary graduate program, their general areas of research interest, and how these relate to the interests and directions of MAT.

Online Portfolio Website

The portfolio is submitted as a URL link to a website created by the applicant that documents the applicant’s accomplishements. This is to be submitted either as part of the CV or also listed on a separate page to be uploaded in the Graduate Division’s website. Portfolios will differ according to the applicant’s background and interests; an ideal portfolio will exhibit both depth and interdisciplinary breath. Examples of portfolio content include:

  • A music composition portfolio, consisting of scores, recordings, sound works, or other relevant material.
  • A visual art, architecture, or design portfolio.
  • Scientific publications.
  • Technical and/or artistic research papers, project descriptions, and publications.
  • Documentation of realized interdisciplinary digital media arts projects and other evidence of technological based work and research.
  • Documentation of cross-disciplinary experience, such as transcripts or syllabi of computer science, engineering, or mathematics courses (for those with arts or music backgrounds) or of arts or music courses (for those with primarily engineering or science backgrounds).
  • Other significant project work (individual or group) in software, hardware/devices, or art/music works.

Portfolio Link Visibility: Please note that, in the interest of openness and transparency in the admissions process, applicant portfolio links will be made visible to current MAT faculty and students. If an applicant wishes to provide confidential portfolio materials for review by the Admissions Committee only, then the applicant must state this clearly and must provide separate, confidential links for this purpose. This issue only pertains to portfolio links. All other application materials are confidential and will only be reviewed by the Admissions Committee.

General Application Requirements:

  1. 3.0 GPA
  2. Programming Experience
  3. Portfolio Website (see above)
  4. Three letters of recommendation
  5. International students must take either the TOEFL or IELTS tests

In addition, international students whose native language is not English are required to take the TOEFL or the IELTS. The university minimum TOEFL score requirement is 550 when taking the paper based test (PBT), and 80 when taking the internet based test (IBT). The university minimum IELTS score for consideration is an Overall Band Score of 7. Exemptions will be considered for students who have completed an undergraduate or graduate degree at an institution whose official language of instruction is English. Applicants are strongly urged to take the TOEFL or IELTS tests before applying to the program. If this is not possible, an explanation should be provided in their Statement of Purpose, that should include when they will take the required tests.

Note that in order to qualify for a University of California graduate fellowship, test scores must be received by UCSB by December 15.

International Students

Language Requirements

There are no foreign language requirements for Media Arts and Technology graduate degrees.

English Language Placement Examination (ELPE)

All non-native speakers, including those who have degrees from U.S. institutions, must take UCSB's English Language Placement Examination (ELPE) at the beginning of the first term enrolled (refer to the General Catalog). The ELPE is UCSB's way of checking for minimal oral and written proficiency in English. It is a ninety-minute essay test, and a fifteen-minute oral interview with an ESL instructor (English as a Second Language). Based on the results of the ELPE, the ESL instructor may recommend that a student take one or more ESL courses. Doing well on the ELPE does not certify a student for duties as a Teaching Assistant. Certification for TA duties is done through the Graduate Division.

Graduate Division TA Certification Interview

For non-native English speakers it is necessary to pass a TA certification interview in order to serve as a TA at UCSB, regardless of where previous degrees were earned. This interview is attended by the head of Graduate Division's Academic Services Department, an instructor from the ESL program (English as a Second Language), and a member of the Department, who clarifies for the others the nature of the teaching duties. The interview involves teaching a ten-minute mock lesson and responding to impromptu questions from those present.

Office of International Students and Scholars

The Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) serve the international student population, which is quite diverse in its belief systems, values, traditions and academic training. Additionally, OISS assists foreign postdoctoral scholars engaged in research at UCSB with matters relating to visas. The OISS staff members advise and assist students with concerns about immigration, finances, employment, academic work, housing and personal problems. OISS works with volunteers from the Santa Barbara community who teach English-language conversation classes and offer individual conversation tutorials in OISS classrooms throughout the year. OISS administers an Orientation Program for entering foreign students, publishes a quarterly newsletter and maintains information of interest to international students and scholars at its web site. Email: oiss(at) Phone: (805) 893-2929.

Admissions Timeline

Below is a list of dates relating to the MAT admissions process:

  • September: Application website opens
  • December: Applications due (electronic submission required)
  • Early March: Admission decisions made
  • Mid March: Admitted students invited to campus
  • April 15: Accepted applicants must submit their decision
  • April 26: Decisions made on waitlist applicants

Financial Support

Financial support is available in the form of Graduate Student Researcher funding, Teaching Assistantships, Fellowships, and other aid provided by the university. Financial support may be paired with tuition and fee support. Offers of support may be extended at the time an offer of admission is extended, or may be available after enrollment.

Graduate Student Researcher (GSR)

A GSR is a graduate student who assists a designated faculty member with scholarly research that also contributes to the student's degree objectives. The faculty member provides guidance for the research of the student.

  • Eligibility: Available to students after one year in residence but occasionally upon enrollment.
  • Application / Selection process: GSR positions are arranged and selected by a faculty member or principal investigator (PI), either at the time of admission or subsequent to enrollment. Students may also approach individual faculty to see if there are GSR positions in their laboratories. Occasionally, other departments have GSR positions available but it is up to the student to seek them out.
  • Support coverage and length: a monthly stipend and coverage of student fees, health insurance, and non-resident tuition if working more than 35% time.

Teaching Assistantships (TAships)

TAs apprentice under the active tutelage and supervision of a faculty member.

  • Eligibility: must be an active registered student. New applicants are automatically considered and continuing students must apply quarterly.
  • Application / Selection process: students can apply for TAships each quarter. The selection process is merit-based and is handled by the Vice Chair.
  • TA positions provide:

    • a monthly salary
    • health insurance coverage
    • partial fee remission for the quarter of employment

    TAships do not contribute to non-resident tuition.

    The availability of applications and application deadlines are announced throughout the year, and will be posted on this website. Other departments across the university also have TAship positions available, but it is up to the student to seek them out.


Fellowships are funds provided to support the living and educational expenses of graduate study.

  • Eligibility: fellowships are primarily awarded to Ph.D. students and are very competitive.
  • Application / Selection process: by application and is merit-based or reserved for students with specific needs, affiliations and goals. Fellowships are selected by the MAT Program, UCSB Graduate Division and sponsoring agencies.
  • Support coverage and length: ranges from full financial support (quarterly stipend plus all fees, tuition, and health insurance) to partial funding and can cover a quarter, a year, or multiple years. See the Graduate Division website's financial support section for information. Typically, the fellowship application season for the following year starts around early November.
  • External sources for Fellowships are also available, such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), the deadlines for which tend to be around late October or early November for the following year.

Financial Aid via the Financial Aid Office

Financial Aid funding is intended to help students pay education expenses such as tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, etc.

  • Eligibility: available only to domestic students.
  • Application / Selection process: through submission of a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and are needs based.
  • Support coverage: varies but usually loans.