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.

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 from any CU Denver school or college may build a portfolio to demonstrate their technical skills and abilities to critically analyze new media to potential employers or graduate schools.

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

  • 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 students in any discipline can enroll in the program at any point in their undergraduate studies.
  • For information and to apply, please contact the Director of Digital Initiatives. Students may download the application form here.

Program Requirements

  1. A minimum of 12 hours of approved credits with at least 6 upper-division credits. Note: Students are encouraged to take courses from at least two departments -- all 12 credits should not be earned in just one department.
  2. Career-focus requirement: Students must attend at least 3 Career Center activities, which can include events, workshops, or 1-on-1 appointments (offered remotely). See the CLAS Director of Digital Initiatives for the signature sheet. The Career Center Activity form is available for download. Please contact the Director of Digital Initiatives with any questions or concerns.
  3. Students must achieve a 3.0 GPA average in all approved Digital Studies courses.
  4. 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 6 credits must be upper-division.

  • 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 their advisor and 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

  • ANTH 2400 (CLAS) “Exploring Culture through Social Media”
  • COMM 2030 (CLAS) “Digital Democracy”
  • COMM 3650 (CLAS) “Media and Society”
  • COMM 4760/5760 (CLAS) “New Media and Society”
  • ENGL 2060 (CLAS) "Introduction to Writing and Digital Studies"
    • Spring 2021: Online, Prof. Miranda Egger -- Course Summary: Topics include writing studies (literacy, genre, research, and multimodality), rhetoric (history and theory), and the teaching of writing (pedagogy and practice).
  • GEOG 2080 (CLAS) “Mapping and Map Analysis”
    • Spring 2021: Mon/Wed 3:30-4:45PM (Remote), Prof. Peter Anthamatten -- Course Summary: The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with basic concepts in all aspects of geo-spatial technologies, including cartography, remote sensing, statistics, global positioning systems, and geographic information systems (GIS). Students will also work with maps, practice basic map use and reading skills, and learn about the world of spatial thinking and geographic inquiry.
  • INTE 4320 (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.
  • ISMG 3000 (Business) “Technology in Business”
  • MUSC 3700 (CAM) “Music and Entertainment Business in the Digital Age”
    • Spring 2021: Tues/Thurs 11:00-12:15 (Remote), Prof. Andrew Guerrero -- Course Summary: In this course students learn the trends and developments changing the industry in the Digital Age. Course focuses on current technology, terminology and business models shaping the industry, preparing students for entry into an evolving music and entertainment career. 
  • PHIL 4920/5920 (CLAS) “Philosophy of Media and Technology”
  • SOCY 1500 (CLAS) "From Killer Apps to Killer Bots: Technological Innovation and Social Change"

Digital Media Production Cluster

  • COMM 2071 (CLAS) “Media Writing Skills”
  • COMM 2081 (CLAS) “New Media Production and Management”
  • ENGL 3084 (CLAS) “Multimedia Composition"
    • Spring 2021: Online, Prof. Nicole Piasecki -- Course Syllabus
    • Spring 2021: Tues/Thurs 12:30-1:45PM (Remote), Prof. Michelle Comstock
  • ENGL 4701 (CLAS) "Multimedia in the Community"
  • FINE 2155 (CAM) “Introduction to Digital Photography”
    • Spring 2021: Mon/Wed 3:30-5:30 (Remote), Prof. Trent Davis Bailey -- Course Summary: Students establish a foundation in digital photography by learning technical skills, such as how to operate a digital SLR or mirrorless camera, and theoretic skills, such as how to research, conceptualize, and think critically about contemporary photography. Through presentations, readings, projects, and class discussions, students gain a greater self-awareness of their artistic decision-making and knowledge of photography. A key aim of this course is for students to develop an individual photographic practice that demonstrates a proficiency with digital photographic tools and software, and an awareness of contemporary art.
    • Spring 2021: Mon/Wed 12:30-2:30 (Remote), Prof. Trent Davis Bailey
  • FINE 2405 (CAM) “Introduction to Digital Design”
  • GEOG 4080/5080 (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 4680 (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 4340 (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 2300/5350 (Inworks) “Computational Foundations of Innovation”
    • Spring 2021: Online -- Course Summary: Introduces fundamental principles of computing related to innovation. Students learn to utilize computational power by writing simple programs. They will learn the principles of computing through a combination of short lectures and guided exercises. Over the course of the semester, they will also become increasingly competent programmers. This iteration of the course uses the Python programming language, which has been shown to be an good learning language, and has also become a high-demand job skill for scientific, engineering, and data science applications. The course is cross listed as ENGR 1100, a required course for some engineering majors.
  • IWKS 3100 / 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 2051 (CLAS) “Introduction to Strategic Communication”
  • COMM 3660 (CLAS) “Social Media for Social Change”
    • Spring 2021: Online, Prof. Megan Hurson -- Course Summary: Social media continues to be a disruptive force in communication, facilitating the creation of networks to foster broader connections and enable two-way communication across geographically dispersed locations. This is a special topics course designed to explore how social media has impacted our communication as a society and how it can be employed as a practical tool to aid in social change. In this course, we will examine social media from a sociological and historical perspective, analyze and critique social movements that have harnessed the power of social media, follow social media trends as they pertain to contemporary social justice movements, as well as critically assess current events to understand how social media have been used to facilitate social change.
  • COMM 4558/5558 (CLAS) “Digital Health Narratives”
  • ENGL 4190 (CLAS) “Advanced Topics in Writing and Digital Studies: (W)righting Digital Inequality"
    •  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 3260/5260 (CLAS) “Digital Studies and Strategies”
    • Spring 2021: Mon/Wed 2:00PM-3:15PM (Remote), Prof Cameron Blevins -- Course Fyler
  • IWKS 2100 (Inworks) “Human-Centered Design, Innovation, and Prototyping”
    • Spring 2021: Tues/Thurs 12:30PM-1:45PM (Remote) -- 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 3200/5200  (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 3700/5700  (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, 303-315-7339; e-mail: