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College of Letters & Science

Digital Studies

Requirements for the Certificate

6040 Vilas Communication Hall, 821 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53706; 608-262-2605; digitalstudies.wisc.edu

Professors Downey, Eschenfelder, Hilyard, Howard, McKenzie; Assistant Professors Hoyt, Mitchell, Morris, Steenson, Willett

Director: Professor Robert Howard, rgh@rghoward.com

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

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 and sound elements of digital media play and how can we use them?
  • How do digital technologies affect the way we access and understand information?

The digital studies certificate allows students from any major to create their own individualized academic plan by choosing among a wide range of courses across the university.

Requirements for the Certificate

The purpose of the certificate in digital studies is to aid students as they explore the possibilities and limits of digital communication technologies. The certificate is available to students working for a baccalaureate degree in any UW–Madison school or college and to 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.

The certificate requires 15 credits, five courses, and a capstone project integrated into another course. The courses and capstone project can “double count” for both major and certificate credit. Certificate seekers are urged to consult the digital studies advisor at the earliest possible opportunity to declare the certificate and start their own individualized academic course planning.

Course Requirements

Courses must include one of each of the following:

  1. Digital Studies Core Course (C): Art 107, Com Arts 200, ENGL 178, Journ 175, LIS 201
  2. Digital Information Structures Course (I)
  3. Digital Media Topics Course (M)
  4. Visuality in Digital Design Topics Course (V)
  5. Digital Practices Topics Course (P)

See the digital studies website for current courses as well as courses offered in the upcoming semester.

The Capstone Project

The capstone project may be completed in a major capstone course, a senior thesis (including honors theses), advanced-level course in the major, or in a directed study course. The capstone project must be completed with the consent of the instructor and approved by the digital studies advisor. The project can be a written thesis that includes reporting on a community interaction such as conducting interviews as part of the research; a research project that yields a grant proposal or submitted research paper or article; a business project; a media campaign; an art piece that is publicly exhibited; or the public exhibition of a collection of cultural or artistic pieces. After the project is completed, it must be deposited with digital studies, and a short reflective assignment completed.

Additional Requirements

Students must declare the certificate by meeting with the digital studies advisor. Students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.0 within the certificate curriculum. No courses graded on a pass/fail or credit/no credit basis may be counted toward the certificate requirements. Students must notify the digital studies advisor once they enroll in the course they plan to use to complete their capstone requirement, to assure that the certificate will be noted on their transcript. The certificate will be awarded at the time of graduation.

For more information about requirements, see the digital studies website.