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Frequently Asked Questions - Applying to the Program

The following is a list of frequently asked questions about our program. If you can't find the answer to your question, don't hesitate to contact our Admissions Department.

Do I need to write the GRE test or the GMAT test as part of my MDM application?


No, the MDM program does not require GRE or GMAT test results for admission into the program. A complete list of all requirements can be found at MDM Admission Requirements. 

Do my letters of reference need to be sent directly from my referees or can I submit them all together?


When applicants complete the online application form, they are required to enter their referees' contact information, including e-mail addresses. An e-mail with a unique link is sent to the referee, where he/she is able to upload a letter or type into a text box. Alternatively, letters may be sent through the post. The reference letters need to be in their own envelopes with the referees' signatures across the seals. The MDM applicant may send all letters together in one larger envelope or they may arrive on campus individually.

Do you have some good examples of Sample of Work submissions?


We do. Please e-mail our Admissions Department for information.

How much does the program cost?


Go to Tuition & Fees to see an estimated breakdown of expenses. Financial support may be available.

How will my application be evaluated?


Applications are adjudicated by the Graduate Program Committee, which includes representatives from the CDM's four partner institutions and MDM faculty. Acceptance is based on a careful evaluation of all elements in the applicant profile: academic records, letter of intent, letters of reference, portfolio, background relevant to higher level work in digital media, knowledge of computing, and writing skills, as well as proof of proficiency in English (if applicable).

Personal interviews may also be used to assist in the decision making process. 

Students who are in the process of completing an undergraduate degree may be offered conditional admission upon having satisfied the degree requirements before the start of the MDM program in September.

I am finishing my bachelor's degree after the application deadline. Can I still apply?


Yes! You can apply to the MDM Program even though you will not have finished your degree until after the application deadline. Submit your most recent *official* transcripts (*you will need to request them from your Registrar's office) in your application package by the MDM application deadline. The admissions committee will view your grades and courses up until that point. If accepted to the MDM Program, the committee will likely grant you a "Conditional Acceptance", on the condition that you submit final transcripts upon completion of your degree.

I am not a recent university graduate. Who should I ask to act as referees for me?


Academic references are certainly important, but for a student who has not graduated recently, they may be difficult to obtain. Please consider asking referees who can speak to your work habits, your creativity, and your ability to work in team-based situations.

What are the admission requirements?


The Master of Digital Media Program admission requirements are as follows:

1. Applicants must have completed a 4-year undergraduate degree (or equivalent) acceptable to all 4 CDM Partner Institutions in a field related to digital media, for example:

  • Computer science, engineering, education, management, economics, communication, art, design or performing arts, art history, architecture, linguistics, psychology or philosophy.
  • Note: If applying from another related discipline, applicants must make the case for the relationship between the discipline in which they hold their previous degree and this program and how they would benefit from the MDM program.

2. Samples of work (Please see our Preparing a Portfolio for more information):

  • Five digital pieces that best demonstrate your skills. These items can be one or more of the following: exhibited art, designs, film or video, computer code (please include and document at least 100 lines of original code that you created), engineering designs or something else that resulted from your previous work.
  • 250 - 500 words summarizing how the items in the portfolio relate to each other and to your strengths.  If an item is a collaborative effort, please clearly state your role in its production.

3. Letter of intent (no more than 750 words). The letter should explicitly address:

  • Your motivation for selecting this degree program.
  • Your relevant skills, training and experience.
  • Your proposed interests within the program.
  • How the course of study would contribute to your future intellectual or professional growth. 

4. Short formal essay (no more than 750 words) about a topic of interest related to digital media.

5. Computer Skills and Literacy Summary Form. 

6. Three reference letters, each from a suitably qualified person.

7. Program Survey Form.

8. Resume that includes an overall summary of your professional achievements (no more than 250 words).

Minimum Academic Standards

1. Minimum Undergraduate Grades:

  • Minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% or higher) in 3rd and 4th year courses, or:
  • Academic standing with at least 12 credits of 3rd and 4th year courses in the A range (80% or higher) in the field of study, or:
  • Applicants who hold a 4-year undergraduate degree, who do not meet the requirements stated above, but who have had significant formal training and relevant professional experience may be granted admission on the recommendation of the MDM program.

 2. Applicants lacking demonstrated ability in computing may be admitted on the condition that they take one or more suitable courses but the courses cannot be counted for credit towards the MDM degree.

English Language Proficiency

If applicable, you must demonstrate proficiency in the English language. The MDM admissions committee accepts one of the following proficiency tests:

  • Minimum score of 100 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), with no less than a score of 20 in each category.
  • Minimum score of 7 on the International English Language Test System (IELTS - the academic NOT the general test) with a minimum of 6.5 in all sections.

For complete information, visit Admissions Requirements.

What does a valid portfolio submission look like?


The portfolio submission is fundamentally important to your application. Because we accept students from a broad background, we expect to see a variety of portfolio submissions. Musicians, creative, visual and performing artists will create a very different portfolio than would computer scientists, engineers or project managers. Your portfolio should highlight the work you are most proud of whether in the form of programming code, photography, animation, video and/or still life sketches.

For advice on what to submit for your application go to Preparing a Portfolio.

What happens to my application materials?


All submitted application materials, including the portfolio, become the property of the CDM and will not be returned to the student or applicant. By exception, arrangements may be made for the return of irreplaceable documents if a request to this effect is enclosed with the original material. CDM is not responsible for lost or misplaced materials and will not pay for any brokerage, courier, or mail charges.

The CDM reserves the right to rescind an offer of admission or require a student to withdraw if it is determined that documents in support of the application for admission have been falsified.

What should I do once I receive an offer of admission?


The letter of admission will be sent by Simon Fraser University’s office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies through e-mail, followed by an original in the mail. Admitted students will be required to officially accept their offer of admission online through the SFU online application system, and pay a non-refundable deposit of $1,000 CDN.

What should I write in my Letter of Intent?


Think of this letter as your opportunity to make a first impression. As resources don’t allow the MDM admissions committee to interview all applicants, this letter is your opportunity to show your personality and stand out from the rest. Typically, successful applicants have focused on their passion for digital media and why they believe they are a good fit for the MDM Program. Tell the committee why you want to enter the MDM Program, how your previous academic history or area of interest fits with digital media, and how it led you to the MDM Program. Write about your goals and how you see the MDM Program helping you attain them. Make sure to have someone proofread the letter and, as this is one of the most important pieces of your application, format it as a formal letter.

What software application or computer skills training will I receive in the MDM program?


Although many students will develop new computer skills or learn the basics of certain software applications through the MDM program’s learn-as-you-go model, the development of these skills is not our core focus. Rather, our focus is to train you on effective techniques for team collaboration and project development in a digital media environment. The knowledge and skills you develop in the program include (but are not limited to): the ability to effectively express your ideas; the ability to communicate across disciplines; a proficiency in developing concepts and prototypes; the expertise to manage a project pipeline; the skills to resolve project conflicts; and the understanding of project team roles.

How competitive is it to gain admission?


It is very competitive to gain admission into the Master of Digital Media program. Every year, our Admissions Committee receives many more applications than available spots in the program. Applicants are advised to put together a very strong portfolio in order to be competitive. See our Portfolio Tips.