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.
    • 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.
  4. Optional: HIST 5260 / COMM 5081: Introduction to Digital Studies is recommended but not required for the certificate. The course offers an overview of different skills and topics in digital studies and is taught every spring semester. 

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.

**Courses offered in the Spring 2023 semester 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 Course Syllabus
    • Queer Media Studies is a discussion-based, writing-intensive seminar that examines the history and development of U.S. LGBTQI media by focusing on media texts and production, sociocultural context, and media reception. Cross-listed with COMM 5660WGST 4660WGST 5660. Restriction: Restricted to students with junior standing or higher or permission from the instructor. 
  • COMM 4760/5760 (CLAS) “New Media and Society”
    • This course examines the relationship between new media (such as the internet and mobile phones) and society. Students will investigate the social and cultural aspects of communication technologies. Cross-listed with COMM 5760. Prereq: COMM 1021 and COMM 2020 with a C- or higher.
  • COMM 6710 (CLAS) "Topics in Communication: Intro to Critical Media Studies" Fall 2021 Course Syllabus
  • ENGL 5165 (CLAS) “Literacy and Technology" (Spring 2022)
  • ENTP 6022 (Business) “Digital Strategy for Entrepreneurs”
  • INTE 5360 (SEHD) "Critical Digital Pedagogy" (Fall 2021 Course Syllabus)
  • PHIL 4920/5920 (CLAS) “Philosophy of Media and Technology”
    • A philosophical examination of interrelationships between contemporary media, technology, and their impacts upon character of contemporary life and values. Topics may include ethics, epistemology, democracy, advertising, media literacy and criticism. Cross-listed with PHIL 5920, HUMN 5920, SSCI 5920.  
  • INTE 5320 (SEHD) “Games and Learning”

Digital Media Production Cluster

  • ENGL 4190/5190 (CLAS) “Advanced Topics in Writing and Digital Studies: Podcasting
  • GEOG 4080/5080 (CLAS) “Introduction to GIS”
    • 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.  Prereq: GEOG 2080 or LDAR 4432/5532 with a C or higher.
  • INTE 5340 (SEHD) “Learning with Digital Stories”
  • INTE 5680 (SEHD) “Producing Media for Learning”
    • 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 3081/5081 // HIST 3260/5260 (CLAS) “Introduction to Digital Studies,” Prof. Cameron Blevins -  Spring 2022 Course Syllabus
    • Develop marketable skills such as building websites, editing videos, making interactive maps, recording podcasts, and analyzing data while also studying the cultural and ethical dimensions of these technologies. 
  • COMM 4558/5558 (CLAS) “Digital Health Narratives”
    • This course blends readings, discussions and activities about health narratives with digital media production skills to teach students how to create compelling digital stories about health-related topics. Note: this course fulfills the communication department's exit class requirement. Cross-listed with COMM 5558. Restriction: Restricted to students with junior standing or higher or permission from the instructor.
  • ENGL 4190/5190 (CLAS) “Advanced Topics in Writing and Digital Studies: Usability and User Experience"
  • HIST 3260/5260 // COMM 3081/5081 (CLAS) “Introduction to Digital Studies,” Prof. Cameron Blevins -  Spring 2022 Course Website
    • Develop marketable skills such as building websites, editing videos, making interactive maps, recording podcasts, and analyzing data while also studying the cultural and ethical dimensions of these technologies. 
  • HIST 4261/5261 (CLAS) "Working With Data" (Fall 2021 Course Syllabus) - Next offered Spring 2024
  • INTE 5665 (SEHD) “Social Media and Digital Cultures”
  • IWKS 5200  (Inworks) “Data Science for Innovators”
    • 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. Cameron Blevins, Interim Director of Digital Studies at CU Denver (cameron.blevins@ucdenver.edu) or Dr. John Tinnell (on leave Spring 2023), Director of Digital Studies at CU Denver (john.tinnell@ucdenver.edu).