Grad Research Programs for IF?

Hey all! Wasn’t sure if this was the best place for this, but I wanted to inquire: I’m a current undergrad looking for grad school research positions working with / in areas related to interactive fiction. I’m a current senior (comp sci / film double major) who is very much interested in delving more into the intersection of technology and storytelling particularly how games afford different kinds of interaction and user-driven narrative development, through research in grad school.

I’d love to hear from people doing (or who have done) work in this field, or if people have recommendations for labs/programs doing work in this area. Thanks!

Santa Cruz is a hotbed of this stuff:

Don’t know how specific/broad you want to get. If your heart is set on strictly IF, you’re probably better off with a games department. But if you’re looking more broadly at tech & interactive storytelling (especially VR), BU has an MA in emerging media studies – … a-studies/ . I’m currently doing some work on video game spectatorship (people watching other people play video games), and my partner on this research is deeply interested in interactive storytelling and computer-generated stories, so it’s well within our wheelhouse.

Thanks for the replies!

Litrouke, if don’t mind talking more about your research, I’m wondering how much your program involves technical / STEM learning vs humanities / social sciences learning? Ideally I’m hoping for a mix of both. Also, yep, I’m definitely open to other ideas, especially emerging tech (did and am doing some HCI research with VR and cognitive psych) so sounds like really cool stuff!

Sent a PM!

Wanted to add publicly that there’s MIT, of course, and a number of Californian schools that offer good programs. (I want to say Stanford and Berkeley? But I’m not sure.) University of Austin may also have something, and UTDallas has an applied emerging media program ( ) but I don’t think they do very much research, from what I understand.

I’m not sure it’s what you’re after, but you might want to give DigiPen Institute of Technology in Seattle a look.

One of my creative students with a talent for computers went to University of Texas. After receiving his degree he went straight to Hollywood.

Might consider UT.


To second Zarf, UC Santa Cruz has a bunch of fantastic, brilliant, kind people working on interactive narrative and computational storytelling. It’s likely that the specific program you’d be interested in is the Computational Media program: … onal-media

The POEM lab at NCSU is newer and thus a smaller lab, but also very high-quality people:

My own department, CMU’s HCII, has several labs working in or near games, often but not solely with an ed-tech or persuasive design focus:

Thank you all for the replies! It’s been very helpful and it’s great to see all the amazing work that’s being done in this area.