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Experimental Digital Media (XDM) is an MA degree offered by the University of Waterloo's Department of English Language and Literature, which is committed to critical thinking, laser-sharp communication, and creative experimentation. Waterloo English is a uniquely interdisciplinary department, offering courses and degrees in literature, rhetoric and communication, and digital studies. XDM students spend most of their time working at the Critical Media Lab, a collection of labs and studios surrounded by Kitchener-Waterloo’s burgeoning tech culture.

For specific requirements, see the graduate calendar and the XDM requirements page.


Build a foundation that will take you wherever you want to go

Courses in the XDM program give you a broad grounding in digital studies, critical theory, and literary and rhetorical studies. Your coursework will not only give you the intellectual tools to go wherever you want to go, but will point you in exciting new directions you hadn’t even considered. And if you want to combine work experience and education, University of Waterloo’s Co-op program, the largest in the world, will give you an opportunity to apply your knowledge, acquire new skills, and make professional connections.


Train to be an entrepreneur, a digital creative, or a PhD student. 

Photo of three students in front of a display about computers.

Unlike other Master's programs in digital media, XDM puts research at the forefront. This is a degree program for students who are interested in the world of ideas, and who are willing to bring those ideas to life. Apply your XDM experience to launch a start-up, lead the creative team of a tech firm, or move right into a research-based PhD program. Your research/creation expertise will open all the doors.


Learn with your head and your hands while making "objects-to-think-with."

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XDM students learn to develop digital projects that embody complex problems. You will learn how to digest rich philosophical ideas and turn them into real things—product demos, design prototypes, and gallery projects—designed to make people think. And don't forget the "X" in XDM. Our focus is on process, tinkering, and experimentation. You will learn as much from your mistakes as you do from your ultimate successes.


Don't be fooled—there is more to innovation than business and technology.

Photo of woman on bicyle

To many, innovation means bringing a product to market. But in XDM, innovation begins with critical thinking. For an XDM student, making things isn't just about making profits; it's about considering technological impacts on the world and thinking about how technology can be used to make the world a better place. We can provide the right contacts for entrepreneurial students to develop start-ups, but XDM promotes critical thinking, not profit-making, as the key to innovation.