Radically interdisciplinary, ATLAS graduate programs nurture robust design and technical skills, while giving students the maximum flexibility to explore and develop their creative visions.

ATLAS faculty interests are broad, including areas such as e-textiles, human-robot interaction, game design and engineering at the molecular level. Graduate students hail from a wide range of academic disciplines, including computer science, engineering, art, the humanities, the natural sciences, music and design.

Graduates of the professional MS program most often pursue careers in design, technology and social impact fields. PhD alumni work as researchers in industry and government, and as faculty members in academia. 

For those seeking a graduate experience surrounded by a vibrant, interdisciplinary academic community of creative designers, engineers and inventors, ATLAS is the place.

Degrees Offered


Degree Details

ATLAS MS Program - Technology, Media & Society

  • ATLAS MS-CTD Track: Creative Technologies + Design (CTD) graduate students are creative problem solvers. Through project-based learning, students gain technical fluency, designing systems and products to realize their creative visions.

CTD students learn more than design thinking; they graduate from the program as creative technologists equipped with robust portfolios of thoughtful projects and prototypes.  

The CTD program is driven by a unique and relevant core curriculum, flexibly shaped by student interest, and guided by leaders at the cutting edge of industry.

CTD connects students to the current and most relevant considerations of the field. Through hands-on workshops, visiting speakers, studios and classes, students work directly with leading professionals on real-world issues, gaining design expertise and technical skills as they learn the business of creativity.

Information Communication Technology for Development (ICTD) graduates are creative problem solvers tackling some of the world’s biggest issues. Learning in the ICTD program prepares students to apply information and communication technologies (ICT) for the greatest social impact. Students understand that the most effective and culturally appropriate solutions balance technology and societal need; through a project-based curriculum, students learn to critically evaluate and apply both.

One of the program’s greatest strengths is its diverse student cohort. A broad mix of talent leads to more thoughtful and thorough development projects and solutions.

A hallmark of the program is the final field-based practicum semester. Students are placed with a non-governmental organization (NGO), development agency, foundation or technology company, where they apply ICTD interventions to real-world problems—experience that positions them favorably for careers in the field after graduation, sometimes with the same organization.

ATLAS PhD Program

The PhD program at CU Boulder’s ATLAS Institute emphasizes out-of-the-box invention and radical inquiry, attracting students whose interests span multiple disciplines. The most interesting research opportunities often encompass multiple domains, and as a thriving academic community of researchers and students who blend engineering, design and art, ATLAS is an excellent fit for those whose vision is not easily tethered to a single academic department.

Structurally, the ATLAS PhD program is like any other research-based doctoral program: a student forms an advisory committee, takes courses, takes a qualifying examination, proposes a dissertation, performs research, writes a dissertation and defends it.  

However, unlike most U.S. doctoral programs, our program has no set of required courses. Rather, the student, in consultation with her or his advisory committee, identifies expertise that will be needed to perform the research and selects courses to develop the requisite expertise. The curriculum is crafted from one student to the next, based on background and experience.

In limited circumstances, for students interested in pursuing research but not prepared for a PhD, ATLAS is able to offer a research master’s degree. Students admitted to this program work with ATLAS faculty advisors on customized courses of study.

Program Information

ATLAS Website

Email: ATLASadmin@colorado.edu 

Phone: 303-735-7894