Digital Media Design Program

The Major

The Digital Media Design (DMD) program is an interdisciplinary major in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Penn. As a full-fledged Bachelors in Engineering and Science (BSE) degree, it combines major coursework in computer graphics within the Computer & Information Science Department and Fine Arts courses from Penn's School of Design. The program is designed for students who have an interest in the computer programming, mathematics, and design behind computer graphics, animation, games, virtual reality environments, and interactive technologies.

The program was created in 1998 to educate a new generation of people to work in computer graphics; people who, through a combined education in computer science, art and communications, could collaborate effectively in teams through integrated knowledge and skills. The largest employers of our graduates are DreamWorks Animation, Disney Animation, Pixar, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, and Google.

It is important to understand that Digital Media Design is an Engineering degree within the Department of Computer Science. Unlike animation majors that focus on using software and tools in the creation of art, our graduates help to build and extend those tools and employ them to create new graphics techniques and applications. While DMD applicants are encouraged to submit a portfolio with their application, DMD is not per se a fine arts major. Rather, we expect DMD students to immerse themselves in the programming, mathematics, and technologies that define contemporary computer graphics, while simultaneously cultivating and enhancing their Fine Arts expressivity and skillsets.

A non-degree DMD Minor may be an option for students in other non-CIS majors.

As DMD majors, students will complete a Bachelors of Science in Engineering degree which includes:

  • 6 Mathematics courses
  • 4 Natural Science courses
  • 12 Computer Science and Engineering courses
  • 9 Communications and Fine Arts courses
  • 7 Social Science & Humanities courses
  • 2 Free Electives

DMD Course Planning Guide (The official DMD CPG as of Fall 2016.)

Sample Curriculum


Freshman Year

Sophomore Year

Junior Year

Senior Year


Kaikai Wang                                                                                   Peter Kutz


Dan Knowlton & Yining Karl Li