Visual computing is an emerging discipline that combines computer graphics, computer vision, and interactive techniques to advance technologies for the acquisition, analysis, manipulation, and creation of 2D or 3D visual content. This concentration of the professional master's program trains visual data scientists and engineers who apply a deep knowledge of computer science to develop cutting-edge tools, stimulate product innovation, and explore new technology fronts in all commercial, engineering, and creative professions. Students are well-prepared to become software developers and architects in areas including computer graphics, computer vision, imaging sciences, AR/VR, and computer-aided design and manufacturing. 


The current curriculum of the visual computing concentration covers (but is not limited to) the following topics:

  • Fundamentals and advanced knowledge of representation, modelling, understanding, and manipulation of visual data, e.g. images, videos, 3D objects, and virtual scenes.
  • Machine learning and data-driven techniques in visual computing.
  • Geometric, procedural, and physics-based modelling in computer graphics and computer animation.
  • Pattern and action recognition in images and video.
  • Visual data acquisition, e.g. computational photography, laser scanning, and geometry and motion tracking.
  • Human-computer interfaces and interactive techniques for visual computing.
  • Fundamentals and advanced technologies in augmented/mixed/virtual reality.
  • Visual computing on specialized data, e.g. medical, simulation, AR/VR, and robotics, etc.
  • Computational design and fabrication, e.g. 3D printing.


The layout below shows the recommended course options. For the full list of course options, please see the official calendar entry for the Professional Master of Science in Computer Science.


All students complete the required core courses as laid out below:

  • CMPT 726 Machine Learning

One of:

  • CMPT 757 Frontiers of Visual Computing (recommended)
  • CMPT 813 Computational Geometry

At least two of:

  • CMPT 764 Geometric Modelling in Computer Graphics (recommended)
  • CMPT 767 Visualization
  • CMPT 820 Multimedia Systems
  • CMPT 822 Computational Vision (recommended)


The mandatory lab courses provide hands-on learning of various models, algorithms, and software related to visual computing. Students will take the following two lab courses for 6 credits each.  Only students enrolled in the visual computing concentration are permitted to register in these courses:

  • CMPT 742 Practices for Visual Computing 1
  • CMPT 743 Practices for Visual Computing 2


Students must complete one elective (typically 3 credits) from the following list of courses:

  • CMNS 815 Social Construction of Communication Technologies
  • Any special topics course in Computing Science:  CMPT 829, 886, 889, 980, 981, 982, 983, 984, 985
  • Other courses with permission of the School

Course outlines for SFU's Computing Science courses can be found here. For all other outlines, please go here.


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