School of Art, Design and Architecture

MPhil/PhD Digital Art and Technology

i-DAT’s underpinning research concerns making ‘data’ palpable, tangible and accessible. It involves creating new experiences through the design and construction of networked, sensing and intelligent ‘things’ and software. Digital Practice is central to exploring the significance that data, its harvesting, processing and manifestation, can play in contemporary culture.

The research is collaborative and participatory at its core, engaging audiences and communities and cultivating a rich transdisciplinary approach through collaborations across the arts and sciences.

Course details

  • Overview
  • This full time or part time doctoral programme is suitable for people who have a particular research question or topic in mind, and wish to explore this through independent study in order to produce an original contribution to the subject. If you aspire to a research career this is the most appropriate research degree to undertake.

    You will be guided by a small supervisory team of academic experts under the direction of a Director of Studies. Even if you already have a masters degree, you will normally be registered as a ‘MPhil/PhD’ candidate and may apply to transfer to ‘PhD’ status around 10–22 months after registration, based on your progress to date.

    You will be expected to fully engage with skills development and training and to present your research in a range of scholarly contexts.

    Your PhD will be assessed via submission of either a written thesis (approximately 80,000 words), or one that combines critical writing with artistic, creative and/or professional practice, and a viva voce (an oral examination).

    For full details of what doing a PhD entails at the University of Plymouth, please visit our Postgraduate Research Degrees pages.

    Core modules
    • GSRDAT4 Research Digital Art and Technology

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to have completed a masters level qualification to a high standard (e.g. at 'merit' or 'distinction' level) as well as either a good 2:1 or first class honours undergraduate degree in an area of study appropriate to your project proposal. We are happy to consider equivalent qualifications (for instance, you may have studied different subjects at undergraduate and masters level but have established an artistic practice since then).

If you do not have a masters level qualification, we recommend you consider applying for our ResM Art, Design and Architecture programme. Students who are making exceptional progress in a ResM programme, may progress directly into our PhD programme without having to complete the masters.

You will also need to provide evidence that you are ready to pursue the project you propose in your application. This will take the form of a sample of critical writing, and if relevant, documentation of relevant creative or professional practice.

If English is not your first language, you must have proficiency in written and spoken English (normally a minimum test score of 6.5 for IELTS, or equivalent). Given the nature of the programme, you’ll be expected to read and engage with complex theoretical texts and debates for which fluency in English is essential.

For more general guidelines and application requirements, please visit the research degrees applicants page.

Fees, costs and funding

Please visit tuition fees for postgraduate research for information about fees. PhD Performing Arts is in Band 2 for fees purposes.


If you are a full time student, you will pay full time fees for three years. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional one year writing up period.

If you are a part time student, you will pay part time fees for four years. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional 'writing up' period of up to two years.

You are responsible for meeting all of the costs related to your own research project, beyond the resources available in the department.

Please visit our postgraduate research money matters page to find out more about issues related to fees, funding, loans and paying for your programme of study.

How to apply

In addition to completing the online application form (which includes space for a personal statement), you must also upload a research project proposal of no more than 1000 words in total. Your research proposal should outline your general topic, your key aims and the research question/problem you are addressing, your proposed methodology, key definitions/thinkers/discourses/practitioners you are drawing upon and an explanation of why this topic is significant or important.

Your personal statement should briefly explain why you have chosen to apply to our programme and what you feel you can offer our research community.

You will also need to submit a sample of your critical writing (3000 words maximum) and, if relevant, evidence of your ability to undertake the practice-led research you are proposing (e.g. a DVD, portfolio, links to website, reviews, catalogue, etc.). It should take no longer than 30 minutes to view all the visual material that you provide.

For more general guidelines and application requirements, please visit the research degrees applicants page.

Postgraduate research opportunities

i-DAT’s research themes and projects provide a rich context for Full Time and Part Time research students from a variety of disciplines, who can either engage with these major initiatives or build their research activity grounded in their own creative practice.

i-DAT’s core supervisory team have more than 40 PhD completions in a broad range of areas, such as design, software development, interactive architecture, education/play, architecture, performance and robotics.

Supervisory teams can draw on collaborating research groups (such as eHealth, Geography, Robotics) and i-DAT contributes to the supervision of Professor Roy Ascott’s Planetary Collegium in Plymouth and Shanghai DeTao Node (as well as the historic Nodes in Milan, Zurich, Greece, and Lucern). Located in the Arts Institute i-DAT contributes to research initiatives in the Sustainable Earth Institute and the Cognition Institute.

i-DAT is the catalyst behind the CODEX international Postgraduate Research network operating in collaboration with Jiangnan University, Nanjing University of the Arts and Soochow University in China.

i-DAT's core research themes:

Quorum Cultural Computation: audience behaviours, environments, ‘things’ and Artificial Intelligence.

Small-Faraway: Big, little, smaller data – the harvesting, analytics, visualisation and sonification of data.

Behaviourables and Futuribles: the Internet of Things, remote sensors, robotics, props and wearables – (everywareables?).

Interactive and Immersive Environments: The digital Umwelt – new experiences in enhanced physical, augmented and virtual spaces.

Ludic Systems: Playful subversion – real-time social gaming and playful soft-hard-ware.

Further information about i-DAT's research themes.
<p>Quorum logo</p>
<p>MRI (Murmuration)<br></p>
<p>Behaviourables and Futuribles<br></p>

i-DAT

We co-create and share technological prototypes and practices, that push and challenge the boundaries of digital arts and creative media practice.

An Open Research Lab for playful experimentation with creative technology.

More about i-DAT

Some of our people