PhD and Masters Research

Are you interested in gaining a Masters or PhD degree and becoming involved in exciting research at the intersection of creativity and technology? This page offers information on doing a post-graduate degree by research under the full or partial supervision of Jon McCormack. Please read this page carefully before contacting me if you’d like to discuss supervision. In particular, check that you have the necessary eligibility requirements and that you’re interested in researching a suitable area (see research topics below).

Embarking on a graduate research degree is a serious commitment of time and intellectual effort, but can also be a life-changing and highly rewarding experience. Please think carefully about what you are most passionately interested in, and if this interest is sufficiently deep to sustain your engagement over a number of years.

Degrees Offered and Interdisciplinary Research

There are three different pathways to completing a graduate research degree within the Faculty of Information Technology:

  1. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) assessed by a written thesis, 3-4 years full-time;
  2. Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) assessed by a written thesis, 2 years full-time;
  3. Practice-based Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) assessed by exhibition and exegesis, 3-4 years full-time.

Options 1 & 2 are for projects that involve research contributions to knowledge that are primarily expressed through a written thesis (up to 80,000 words). This may include technical or theoretical research. Supporting material, such as audiovisual examples, software systems, documentation of interactive systems, artworks or compositions may be submitted for examination in addition to the written thesis. However the main research contributions must be clearly articulated in the written thesis and evident in the material submitted for examination.

Option 3 is for projects that revolve around practice-based contributions to knowledge that are expressed through creative, physical, performative or interactive works, whose development and public exhibition forms a major part of the degree’s assessment. The practice-based works are contextualised through a written exegesis (around 30,000 words), which also forms a significant part of the research and assessment for the degree.

Your research project is likely to involve knowledge and understanding from different disciplines (e.g. computer science, biology, media art or design). However the contribution to research you make may be in a single discipline or across multiple disciplines. These different degree pathways generally allow for this.

Research Topics

In broad terms I am interested in supervising research in the following areas: Computational Creativity, Electronic Media Art and Design, Electronic Music and Sound Art, Artificial Intelligence, Computer Graphics and Visualisation, Human-Computer Interaction and Creative Robotics. Here is a more specific list of research topics:

  • Generative Art & Design, Systems Art
  • Digital Art & Design
  • Creative systems inspired from Biology: Evolutionary Computing, Adaptive Systems, Ecosystem Models
  • Models of Creativity and Creative Computing
  • Machine Learning and Neural Networks for Creative Applications
  • Agent-based Simulation and Modelling
  • Computer Music and Sound Art
  • Developmental Modelling (Cellular Developmental Models, L-systems, P-Systems, Cellular Automata)
  • Generative Form Modelling with applications in architecture and design
  • New Interfaces for Creative Expression for artists, designers, architects, musicians and composers
  • Creative Applications for Data Visualisation
  • Data physicalisation, 3D printing
  • Creative Robotics, Soft Machines, Drawing Robots
  • Computer Graphics, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
  • Digital Cinema

Here is a general overview of my research interests and a list of major research projects. Please also refer to my publications page and check out sensiLab.

How do I Apply?

First, see the Monash FIT page on graduate research programs for general information, including details on scholarships and fees.

Next, check that you have the necessary eligibility requirements.

If you are eligible and interested in applying with me as your supervisor (or co-supervisor), please contact me. Please include the following information with your application:

  • an official transcript of your current academic record;
  • Copy or link to your undergraduate thesis or exegesis;
  • a 1-2 page research proposal which includes:
    1. the intended area of your research;
    2. the specific research topic you wish to investigate;
    3. the proposed method of addressing the research topic.
  • Details of any academic, peer-reviewed papers you have published;
  • Folio or links to any existing creative works you have developed;
  • References or contact details from any previous reseach supervisors who have supervised your research in the past (e.g. Honours project supervisor);
  • If you are not a native English speaker, please also provide evidence of your ability to write competently in English.


Research by PhD candidate Ben Porter looked at how to model generative development of cellular structures in 2 and 3-dimensions.

Research by recent PhD graduate Ben Porter looked at how to model generative development of cellular structures in 2 and 3-dimensions. Ben was awarded the 2011 Mollie Holman Doctoral Medal for the most outstanding PhD thesis