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 SPRING 2021 are IN BOLD below:

Theory and Analysis Cluster

  • BUSN 6610 & ISMG 6180 (Business) “Information Systems Management and Strategy”
  • COMM 4760/5760 (CLAS) “New Media and Society”
  • COMM 6710 (CLAS) "Topics in Communication: Communication, Culture, and Technology"
    • Spring 2021: Tuesday 5:00PM-7:50PM (Remote), Prof. Amy Hasinoff -- Course Summary: What is the relationship between communication technologies and society? Why do we tend to see technologies as either the cause of or solution to our social problems? What is the role of new media in social change? In this course we focus on social justice issues to answer these questions by examining new media in relation to race, class, gender, and sexuality. We will consider how new media technologies offer new forms of freedom and how they have also exacerbated existing social inequalities. We will look at studies of new media in everyday life, including Facebook, Twitter, and theories of how the internet influences identity and community. We'll discuss policy and social issues, including technology and its contested relationship to politics, and touch on topics including political economy, surveillance, copyright, and journalism.
  • ENGL 5165 (CLAS) “Literacy and Technology"
  • ENTP 6022 (Business) “Digital Strategy for Entrepreneurs”
  • PHIL 4920/5920 (CLAS) “Philosophy of Media and Technology”
  • INTE 5320 (SEHD) “Games and Learning”
    • Spring 2021: Online, Prof. Remi Kalir -- Course Summary: This course examines the use of games for learning and education across formal and informal environments. Students will survey contemporary learning theory, media, trends, and challenges related to designing and playing games in informal, community-based, online, and school settings.

Digital Media Production Cluster

  • GEOG 5080 (CLAS) “Introduction to GIS”
    • Spring 2021: Mon/Wed 2:00-3:15 (Remote), Prof. Mandy Rees -- 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. 
    • Spring 2021: Online, Prof. Matthew Cross
  • INTE 5680 (SEHD) “Producing Media for Learning”
    • Spring 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.
  • INTE 5340 (SEHD) “Learning with Digital Stories”
    • Spring 2021: Online, Prof. Brad Hinson -- Course Summary: This course reviews the uses of digital storytelling for learning. Develop and publish a short digital story that tells something important about you and your interests. Explore ways that creating or using digital stories can aid learning and personal growth.
  • IWKS 5350 (Inworks) “Computational Foundations of Innovation”
  • IWKS 5170 (Inworks) “3D Design & Prototyping”
    • Spring 2021: Wednesday 3:30PM-6:20PM (Remote, meets online every other week) -- Course Summary: Introduces the design and computer-controlled fabrication of three dimensional objects using both additive (3D printing) and subtractive (laser cutter, CNC router / milling machine) processes. Various commercial and open-source software tools for 3D design (CAD), manufacturing (CAM) and visualization will be explored. Increasingly complex projects throughout the semester will be used to illustrate fabrication techniques. The course will culminate in a final project.

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: (W)righting Digital Inequities"
    •  Spring 2021: Online, Prof. Joanne Addison -- Course Summary: In (W)righting Digital Inequality we will develop an understanding of the causes and consequences of systemic digital divides with a focus on the potential of participatory culture, collective action, and inclusive technologies to (w)right inequities.
  • HIST 5260 (CLAS) “Digital Studies and Strategies”
    • Spring 2021: Mon/Wed 2:00PM-3:15PM (Remote), Prof Cameron Blevins -- Course Fyler
  • INTE 5665 (SEHD) “Social Media and Digital Cultures”
  • IWKS 5200  (Inworks) “Data Sci for Innovators”
    • Spring 2021: Tues/Thurs 9:30AM-10:45AM (Remote) -- 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” 
  • PUAD 4003 (SPA) “Effective Communication for Public Service”

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