communication-arts

Digital studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison explores the relationship between communication and digital forms of media by asking four questions:

  • How do digital media affect the ways we communicate?
  • How do we use digital tools to best communicate with each other?
  • What roles do the visual, sound and interactive elements of digital media play and how can we use them?
  • How do digital technologies affect the way we access and understand information?

It forges new connections across disciplinary boundaries by addressing distinct yet overlapping areas of intellectual activity:

  • Digital information structures—the consideration and assessment of how we use and create digital archives, databases, and other digital information architectures
  • Digital media—the consideration of how we consume and assess communication that is mediated by digital technologies such as Internet, mobile, and smart devices including digital video and audio content as well as games and simulations produced both in everyday discourse and by media professionals
  • Digital forms—the analysis and assessment of both mechanical and aesthetic elements of design in digital content including visual, audio, interactive and other components
  • Digital practices—the acquisition of skills that allow us to create expressive and strategic communication content using digital tools such as digital video and audio equipment as well as software for video and audio editing, Web-design, database and information architecture design, app design, computer simulation, and digital gaming

The digital studies certificate brings together departments from across campus and allows students to choose from over fifty courses to create their own individualized digital curriculum, where students have the opportunity to both produce digital content and critically assess the digital content they encounter.

Declaring the digital studies certificate

The certificate is available to students working for a baccalaureate degree in any UW–Madison school or college and to University Special students admitted to the program while undergraduates, with fewer than 9 credits to complete post-baccalaureate; to be completed within one year of graduation.

Students must meet with the Digital Studies advisor to declare the certificate. Students can either schedule an appointment or stop in during walk-in hours. After the meeting, students must complete the Declaration Survey emailed to them by the digital studies advisor.

See the Digital Studies Advising page for information about meeting with the advisor.

To earn a digital studies certificate, students must complete all requirements for a bachelor's degree, requirements of the declared major(s), and graduate from UW–Madison. In addition, students must take all required certificate courses for a letter grade versus pass/fail (except for the capstone course).

The certificate requires a minimum of six courses, totaling at least 16 credits. Students must complete one core course, one course from each of the four topics areas, and the capstone course.

Certificate Requirements
Digital Studies Core Course3-4
Digital Information Structures Topics Course (I)3-4
Digital Media Topics Course (M)3-4
Digital Forms Topics Course (F)3-4
Digital Practices Topics Course (P)3-4
COM ARTS 605 Digital Studies Capstone 11
Total Credits16-21
Residence and Quality of Work
Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.000 for courses counting toward the Certificate.
9 credits counting toward the Certificate must be In Residence.
1

 The capstone course cannot be completed until students have completed or are enrolled in their final course toward the Certificate.

course list

Below is the list of all courses that count toward the certificate. To see which courses are being offered during a specific term, please visit the Digital Studies website.

Core Courses

COM ARTS 200 Introduction to Digital Communication3
ENGL 178 Digital Media, Literature, and Culture3
JOURN 175 Media Fluency for the Digital Age3
L I S 201 The Information Society4

Digital Information Structures (I) Courses

COM ARTS 345 Online Communication and Personal Relationships3
COM ARTS 472 Rhetoric and Technology3
COM ARTS 478 Rhetoric and Power on the Internet3
COM ARTS/​FOLKLORE  522 Digitally Documenting Everyday Communication3
COM ARTS/​JOURN/​LSC  617 Health Communication in the Information Age3
CURRIC 209 Digital Media and Literacy3
GEOG 572 Graphic Design in Cartography3-4
GEOG 575 Interactive Cartography & Geovisualization4
LEGAL ST/​L I S  663 Introduction to Cyberlaw3
L I S 202 Informational Divides and Differences in a Multicultural Society3
L I S 301 Information Literacies in Online Spaces3
L I S 340 Topics in Information Studies - Social Aspects3
L I S 341 Topics in Information Studies - Technological Aspects1-3
L I S 350 History and Future of Books3
L I S 351 Introduction to Digital Information3
L I S 500 Code and Power3
L I S/​NURSING/​OCC THER  517 Digital Health: Information and Technologies Supporting Consumers and Patients3
L I S 661 Information Ethics and Policy3
L I S/​LEGAL ST  663 Introduction to Cyberlaw3

Digital Media (M) Courses

COM ARTS 345 Online Communication and Personal Relationships3
COM ARTS 346 Critical Internet Studies3
COM ARTS 449 Sound Cultures: Podcasting and Music3
COM ARTS 459 New Media and Society3
COM ARTS 472 Rhetoric and Technology3
COM ARTS 478 Rhetoric and Power on the Internet3
COM ARTS 509 Digital Media and Political Communication3
COM ARTS 547 Digital Game Cultures3
COM ARTS 577 Dynamics of Online Relationships3
ENGL 271 Writing with New Media3
ENGL 571 Remix, Mashup, and Digital Design3
JOURN 463 Digital Media Strategies4
JOURN 464 Public Relations Strategies4
JOURN/​L I S  677 Concepts and Tools for Data Analysis and Visualization3
L I S 340 Topics in Information Studies - Social Aspects3
L I S 350 History and Future of Books3
L I S/​NURSING/​OCC THER  517 Digital Health: Information and Technologies Supporting Consumers and Patients3
L I S 661 Information Ethics and Policy3
L I S/​LEGAL ST  663 Introduction to Cyberlaw3
LSC 350 Visualizing Science and Technology3
LSC 432 Social Media for the Life Sciences3
LSC 440 Contemporary Communication Technologies and Their Social Effects3

Digital Forms (F) Courses

ART 107 Introduction to Digital Forms3
ART 428 Digital Imaging Studio4
ART 429 3D Digital Studio I4
ART 529 3D Digital Studio II4
ART 629 3D Digital Studio III4
ART 656 Design Portfolio and Professional Practice4
ART 660 Art and Technology4
COM ARTS 155 Introduction to Digital Media Production4
COM ARTS 355 Introduction to Media Production4
COM ARTS 465 Editing and Post-production for Video and Film4
COM ARTS 467 Cinematography and Sound Recording4
COM ARTS 468 Producing for Internet TV and Video3
COM ARTS 659 Advanced Motion Picture Production Workshop4
GEOG 370 Introduction to Cartography4
GEOG 572 Graphic Design in Cartography3-4
GEOG 575 Interactive Cartography & Geovisualization4
JOURN 411 Multimedia Design4
JOURN 417 Magazine Publishing4
JOURN/​L I S  677 Concepts and Tools for Data Analysis and Visualization3
LSC 332 Print and Electronic Media Design3
LSC 350 Visualizing Science and Technology3
LSC 450 Documentary Photography for the Sciences3
LSC 532 Web Design for the Sciences3

Digital Practices (P) Courses

ART 107 Introduction to Digital Forms3
ART 309 Digital Art and Code4
ART 428 Digital Imaging Studio4
ART 429 3D Digital Studio I4
ART 529 3D Digital Studio II4
ART 629 3D Digital Studio III4
ART 656 Design Portfolio and Professional Practice4
ART 660 Art and Technology4
COM ARTS 155 Introduction to Digital Media Production4
COM ARTS 355 Introduction to Media Production4
COM ARTS 449 Sound Cultures: Podcasting and Music3
COM ARTS 465 Editing and Post-production for Video and Film4
COM ARTS 467 Cinematography and Sound Recording4
COM ARTS 468 Producing for Internet TV and Video3
COM ARTS/​FOLKLORE  522 Digitally Documenting Everyday Communication3
COM ARTS 659 Advanced Motion Picture Production Workshop4
COMP SCI 200 Programming I3
COMP SCI 202 Introduction to Computation3
COMP SCI 301 Introduction to Data Programming3
CURRIC 209 Digital Media and Literacy3
ENGL 271 Writing with New Media3
ENGL 571 Remix, Mashup, and Digital Design3
GEOG 370 Introduction to Cartography4
JOURN 411 Multimedia Design4
JOURN 417 Magazine Publishing4
JOURN 419 Electronic News for Web and Broadcast4
JOURN 445 Creative Campaign Messages4
JOURN 449 Account Planning and Strategy4
JOURN 463 Digital Media Strategies4
JOURN 464 Public Relations Strategies4
JOURN 670 Community Service Learning: Technology for Social Change3
L I S 301 Information Literacies in Online Spaces3
L I S 341 Topics in Information Studies - Technological Aspects1-3
L I S 351 Introduction to Digital Information3
LSC 314 Introduction to Digital Video Production3
LSC 332 Print and Electronic Media Design3
LSC 360 Information Radio3
LSC 432 Social Media for the Life Sciences3
LSC 450 Documentary Photography for the Sciences3
LSC 532 Web Design for the Sciences3
LSC 614 Advanced Video Production3

Digital studies academic advising

Students who would like to learn more about the certificate, declare, or go over requirements should meet with the digital studies advisor. Advising is offered via appointments (scheduled through the Scheduling Assistant) or walk-in hours, listed here.

Contact Information

Amy Schultz, 6072 Vilas Hall, 608-262-2547Email: digitalstudies@commarts.wisc.edu

Career advising

The communication and media career advisor assists students with career preparation, such as exploring career options, learning internship and job search strategies, and writing resumes and cover letters.

Contact Information

Pam Garcia-Rivera, 5114 Vilas Hall, 608-890-1046, pgarciariver@wisc.edu

Digital studies executive committee

Robert Howard, Professor, Director, Department of Communication Arts

Kristin Eschenfelder, Professor, Information School

Stephen Hilyard, Professor, Art Department

Thomas Purnell, Professor, Department of English

Hemant Shah, Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Michael Xenos, Professor, Department of Communication Arts

advising

Amy Schultz, Student Services Coordinator

faculty and Instructional staff

The faculty and instructional staff for the digital studies certificate come from a wide variety of disciplines and regularly teach the courses offered through the certificate program.

Art department

Michael Connors, Professor; Stephen Hilyard, Professor; Dennis Miller, Professor; Meg Mitchell, Assistant Professor


department of communication arts

Erik Gunneson, Faculty Associate; Robert Howard, Professor; Eric Hoyt, Assistant Professor; Derek Johnson, Associate Professor; Jenell Johnson, Associate Professor; Jeremy Morris, Assistant Professor; J.J. Murphy, Professor; Catalina Toma, Associate Professor; Michael Xenos, Professor


department of computer sciences

Gary Dahl, Associate Faculty Associate; Laura Hobbes Legault, Assistant Faculty Associate; Jim Williams, Associate Faculty Associate


department of curriculum and instruction

Erica Halverson, Associate Professor


Department of English

Mark Vareschi, Assistant Professor


department of geography

Robert Roth, Assistant Professor


school of journalism and mass communication

Kathleen Culver, Assistant Professor; Stacy Forster, Associate Faculty Associate; Patricia Hastings, Faculty Associate; Douglas McLeod, Professor; Debra Pierce, Faculty Associate; Christopher Wells, Associate Professor


INFORMATION SCHOOL

Anuj Desai, Professor; Alan Rubel, Associate Professor; Dorothea Salo, Faculty Associate; Jonathan Senchyne, Assistant Professor; Deb Shapiro, Faculty Associate; Catherine Smith, Associate Professor; Rebekah Willett, Assistant Professor


department of life sciences communication

Sarah Botham, Faculty Associate; Patty Loew, Professor; Larry Meiller, Professor Emeritus; Shiela Reaves, Professor; Donald Stanley, Faculty Associate

As an interdisciplinary certificate, students are encouraged to explore courses across disciplines and areas of interest. Once declared, students have access to unique and exciting courses where they not only study digital media, but learn to be savvy users and creators of digital media that they can use in their professional lives. Examples of work that students create include websites, videos, illustrations, posters, podcasts, and more.

Digital studies certificate students also have access to networking and alumni events featuring careers in digital media, internship and job opportunities emailed directly to them, technology resources through the Instructional Media Center, and design consulting services through DesignLab. Through advising, students receive tailored recommendations based on their interests and are encouraged to seek out ways to apply the knowledge they are learning in the classroom through involvement in student organizations, volunteering, and internships.