From social media and mobile phones to the algorithms in self-driving cars, digital and information technologies are part of our everyday lives. The Digital Studies Certificate provides you with the opportunity to explore the relationships between new communication technologies and society as well as to develop skills creating digital media messages and products.

The Digital Studies Certificate serves graduate students in any CU Denver school or college, and also others not in a degree program but who are prepared for graduate-level courses and who have BA or BS degrees in any discipline.

Who is this for?

Regardless of your academic or professional focus, completing this certificate can broaden your skill set and awareness. Social sciences and humanities majors can develop their technical skills, while science and engineering students can build expertise in understanding the social and cultural aspects of new technologies. Students will be able to demonstrate both their technical skills and their abilities to critically analyze new media to advance their careers and help them engage with the digital world.

Students who complete the Digital Studies Certificate will be able to:

  • Describe and analyze the cultural, social, political, and ethical contexts underlying contemporary technologies
  • Critically assess the relationships between digital media and society, as well as analyze online platforms and content using a range of disciplinary perspectives associated with the humanities and/or the social sciences
  • Build hands-on skills in the use of digital communication technologies with a variety of tools, such as digital video and photography, mapping, and social media management

How to apply

  • Eligibility: CU Denver graduate students in any discipline can apply to the program at any point in their graduate studies. Non-degree-seeking students who have a bachelor's degree in any discipline are also welcome to apply.
  • The Certificate may be earned as a stand-alone University certificate, or it can be applied to a current or future degree program.
  • Any student wishing to declare the Digital Studies Certificate should schedule a certificate advising appointment with the CLAS Director of Digital Initiatives in order to apply for it and to develop a curriculum plan.
  • Application Procedures:
    • Students enrolled in any CU Denver graduate program are encouraged to apply for the Digital Studies Certificate at any point in their studies. Students can download the application form here.
    • To apply, students currently in degree programs should complete a Digital Studies Certificate Application, which they can obtain from the CLAS Director of Digital Initiatives.
    • Non-degree-seeking students should also submit an official transcript from their undergraduate programs.
    • Students who are not already enrolled at CU Denver must complete an online Application for Non-Degree Admission prior to registering for courses.

Program Requirements

  1. A minimum of 12 hours of approved credits. At least 9 credits must be in graduate-level courses.
  2. Students must achieve a 3.0 GPA average in all approved Digital Studies courses.
  3. Credits applied to the certificate must be earned at CU Denver.

Digital Studies Certificate Course Clusters

Students select a 3-credit course from each cluster, plus one more course from any cluster. At least 9 credits must be at the graduate level.

  • Theory and Analysis: Courses focus on theorizing, explaining, and describing the relationships between digital, communication, and media technologies and society. They enable students to critically assess and analyze digital media and information, such as understanding the biases in seemingly neutral Google search results or examining how people use Twitter to build social movements.
  • Digital Media Production: Courses focus on developing hands-on skills in the use of digital, communication, and media technologies. They provide opportunities for students to develop their skills with a variety of digital tools, such as photography, mapping, and social media management.
  • Integration: Courses combine both understanding and practice in digital, communication, and media technologies.

Other courses may apply to the certificate with the approval of the Director of Digital Initiatives. This is a hybrid program, with courses on-campus and online.

The following is a representative listing of Digital Studies-related courses that may be taken toward the certificate; it is not comprehensive. Please note that some of these courses may be taught sporadically. Students should meet with the Director of Digital Studies to plan their course of study.

***Course being offered in FALL 2021 are IN BOLD below:

Theory and Analysis Cluster

  • BUSN 6610 & ISMG 6180 (Business) “Information Systems Management and Strategy”
  • COMM 4660/5660 (CLAS) “Queer Media Studies”
    • Fall 2021: Mon/Wed 12:30-1:45 (Campus), Prof. Mia Fischer -- Course Syllabus
  • COMM 4760/5760 (CLAS) “New Media and Society”
  • COMM 6710 (CLAS) "Topics in Communication: Intro to Critical Media Studies"
    • Fall 2021: Monday 5:00-7:50PM (Campus), Prof. Mia Fischer -- Course Syllabus
  • ENGL 5165 (CLAS) “Literacy and Technology" (Spring 2022)
  • ENTP 6022 (Business) “Digital Strategy for Entrepreneurs”
  • INTE 5360 (SEHD) "Critical Digital Pedagogy"
  • PHIL 4920/5920 (CLAS) “Philosophy of Media and Technology”
    • Fall 2021: Tuesday 5:00-7:50PM (Campus), Prof. David Hildebrand -- Course Summary: As we are constantly reminded, we live in an ever-accelerating “Information Age,” an era of rapidly shifting images and voluminous data. This is an age of apps, algorithms, and robots where social media and identity become increasingly difficult to disentangle. What is "knowledge" and "truth" in such an environment? What is "wisdom"? What is morality in this shifting technological era? What does it mean to be “human” and to live a meaningful life? Finally, what challenges are posed to our public life, our democracy? To pursue these questions, this course will investigate key approaches to the philosophy of technology and media along with critiques and alterations of those approaches. Readings will likely include Postman, Heidegger, Boorstin, VerBeek, Turkle, Dewey, Ellul, Borgmann, Latour, and more.
  • INTE 5320 (SEHD) “Games and Learning”

Digital Media Production Cluster

  • ENGL 4190/5190 (CLAS) “Advanced Topics in Writing and Digital Studies: Podcasting"
    •  Fall 2021: Tues/Thur 11:00-12:15 (Campus), Prof. Michelle Comstock -- Course Summary: Learn how to write, record, edit, and exchange a variety of podcast genres (narrative, interview, documentary). For more information, email Prof. Michelle Comstock.
  • GEOG 4080/5080 (CLAS) “Introduction to GIS”
    • Fall 2021: Mon/Wed 9:30-10:45 (Campus), Prof. Matthew Cross -- Course Summary: Introduces Geographic Information Systems (GIS), including justification, hardware/software, database design, and data conversion. GIS is a computer-based mapping system providing a graphical interface to locational and relational attribute data. Includes hands-on use of a GIS workstation. 
    • Fall 2021: Friday 9:30-12:15 (Campus), Prof. Amanda Weaver -- Course Summary: Introduces Geographic Information Systems (GIS), including justification, hardware/software, database design, and data conversion. GIS is a computer-based mapping system providing a graphical interface to locational and relational attribute data. Includes hands-on use of a GIS workstation.
  • INTE 5340 (SEHD) “Learning with Digital Stories”
    • INTE 5680 (SEHD) “Producing Media for Learning”
      • Summer 2021: Online, Prof. Brain Yuhnke -- Course Summary: Students develop and integrate media resources into eLearning environments, applying principles of media selection and multimedia learning. Students explore a variety of tools for producing audio, video, and multimedia content and examine ways to enhance eLearning courses through multimedia presentation and engagement resources.
    • IWKS 5170 (Inworks) “3D Design & Prototyping”

    Integration Cluster

    • ANTH 4800/5800 (CLAS) "Digital Medical Anthropology"
    • COMM 4558/5558 (CLAS) “Digital Health Narratives”
      • ENGL 4190/5190 (CLAS) “Advanced Topics in Writing and Digital Studies: Usability and User Experience"
        •  Fall 2021: Online, Prof. Kari Campeau -- Course Summary: This course will introduce you to the theories and practices of scholars and practitioners who work in usability, user experience (UX), and technical and professional communication. Usability is concerned with how people interact with design and technology. To explore the intersections of usability, UX, and technical communication, we will:
          1.) critically engage with usability theories, products, testing tools, and processes, including use cases, heuristic evaluation, and usability testing;
          2.) explore usability and UX research methods and learn technical skills to design more effective, inclusive, and accessible user experiences; and
          3.) conduct a remote usability test of an existing website for a client.
          In the final 10 weeks of class, we will apply usability, UX, and technical communication principles in a client-based team project. Teams will analyze and usability test a client’s web interface with target users. Each team will produce a use case, test plan, test report, and brief recommendations report.
      • HIST 5260 (CLAS) “Digital Studies and Strategies”
      • HIST 4261/5261 (CLAS) "Data: A User Manual"
        • Fall 2021: Mon/Wed 12:30-1:45 (Campus), Prof Cameron Blevins -- Course Syllabus
      • INTE 5665 (SEHD) “Social Media and Digital Cultures”
      • IWKS 5100 (Inworks) “Human-Centered Design, Innovation, and Prototyping”
        • Fall 2021: Tues/Thurs 3:30PM-4:45PM (Remote), Prof. Monica Wittig -- Course Summary: Introduces students to a design methodology known as human-centered design, which can be harnessed to stimulate innovation in various career fields and industries. Through in-class activities and learning an array of prototyping tools, students will build up the skills necessary to develop their own projects in the second half of the course. Team projects apply the design process and culminate in a product, service, or system that is designed from scratch. All students from any major are welcome to take this course.
      • IWKS 5200  (Inworks) “Data Science for Innovators”
        • Fall 2021: Mon/Wed 11:00-12:15 (Campus) -- Course Summary: Introduces techniques for capturing, processing, visualizing, and making meaning out of large health-focused datasets. With the exponential growth and decreasing cost of data collection tools such as genome sequencing, mobile phone health trackers, remote sensors, and electronic and personal medical records to name a few, the demand for data scientists to help find meaning in a sea of data has never been greater. This course will provide the fundamentals of working with large data sets, introduce widely-used data analysis and visualization tools, and culminate in a data project using a data set of the student’s choice.
      • IWKS 5700  (Inworks) “Innovation and Society” 

      For more information about this certificate program contact Dr. John Tinnell, Director of Digital Studies at CU Denver, e-mail: