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. The Visual Computing specialization of SFU's Professional Master's Program in Computer Science 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 AR/VR, computer graphics, computer vision, imaging sciences, and computer-aided design and manufacturing. The program is challenging and ideal for those with a strong aptitude in computer science or in quantitative fields, such as engineering or mathematics.  


The current curriculum of the Professional Master's Program in Computer Science, Visual Computing specialization 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 visual computing specialization of the professional master's program in computer science requires students to complete a minimum of 30 units of graduate work.  These units are divided as follows: 

  • a minimum of 15 credits of graduate course work
  • 12 credits of specialized lab work
  • 3 credits for co-op (internship) work

The program is normally 4 semesters (or 16 months) in length. This includes a 4-month co-op placement. Students who take more than 4 semesters to complete the program are required to pay a continuing fee for each additional semester. Please see the section on tuition at the bottom of this page for more information. 


Visual computing is one specialization in the Professional Master's of Science in Computer Science program. The layout below shows the recommended course options, but other options exist within this stream. For the full list of course options, please see the official calendar entry for the Professional Master of Science in Computer Science.

Core Courses (12 CREDITS)

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

Lab courses (12 CREDITS)

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 specialization 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
  • CMPT 894 Directed Reading
  • 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.


The tuition fee structure is based on a per term (not per credit) fee of $7,663.42 (CAD) per semester for domestic students and $10,135.95 (CAD) for international students. Please note that the same per-semester fee applies to the co-op semester as well.  We expect most students to graduate in four semesters, but, in cases where additional semesters are required for program completion, a continuing fee is assessed for each additional semester. The continuing fee is half the normal tuition per semester.

Total tuition cost for domestic students (4 semesters):  $30,653.68 (CAD)

Total tuition cost for international students for (4 semesters):  $40,543.80 (CAD)

Students must be able to provide for all living and education expenses as set out on the Dean of Graduate Studies website. There is no research-based funding for the  professional master's program in computer science. However, the program includes a paid co-op in the 3rd semester which will pay for a portion of the fees.


If you have any questions that are not answered on our website, you can e-mail us at