Requirements & Courses

The Digital Studies Certificate is open to all undergraduates at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. To complete the certificate, take at least 16 credits distributed in the following areas:

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Core Course

Take ONE of the following courses:

  • Communication  Arts 200: Introduction to Digital Communication – This course is an introduction to digital communication and how it shapes our everyday lives. Students will develop digital communication skills, explore digital media tools and trends, and examine expressions of power online. (Offered fall, spring, and summer terms)
  • Library & Information Studies 201: The Information Society – This course examines important social, legal, and historical contexts of information and information technologies, and explores significant social, legal, and moral questions that surround those technologies. (Offered fall and spring terms)
  • Journalism 175: Digital Media Fluency – The media landscape has changed vastly over the last 20 years, and it has major ramifications for how we see the practice and professions of journalism and strategic communication. Through discussions in class and a group media fluency blog, students will examine and engage with this contemporary media landscape. (Offered during the summer term only)

Area Courses

Take one course in each area (Find the full list of courses that count toward these requirements in Guide):

  • Digital Practice – these courses provide hands-on training 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 to create expressive and strategic communication content
  • Digital Media – these courses focus on the relationship between digital technology and communication, answering the question, “how did we get here?” with particular focus on the social, political, and cultural contexts
  • Digital Forms – these courses examine the aesthetic, ethical and design issues related to digital technologies, including visual, audio, interactivity and other design features
  • Digital Information Structures – these courses explore how we use and create digital archives, databases, and other digital information architectures

Courses that are found in two areas may only be counted once within a students’ requirements for the certificate. For example, a course that counts toward both the Digital Forms and the Digital Practice requirement may only be used to satisfy ONE of those requirements.

Capstone Course

Communication Arts 605: Digital Studies Capstone

In the capstone course, students integrate the material learned and created through the Digital Studies Certificate program into an online portfolio and explore opportunities for professional and personal growth.

To enroll in the capstone course, students must be a senior AND meet one of the following:

  • Be completed with all of the other coursework for the certificate
  • Be concurrently enrolled in their remaining coursework for the certificate in the same semester that they plan to enroll in the capstone

Permission to enroll in the capstone course is provided by the digital studies advisor and information on how to receive permission to enroll is emailed to all declared students prior to the term’s registration period.

Please note: In the capstone course, you may want to use projects completed in other digital studies courses in your digital portfolio, so be sure to save the content you’re creating as you take courses.

You’ll find courses for the Digital Studies Certificate in many different departments across campus! Here are a few tips as you plan out which courses you want to take to satisfy the certificate requirements:

  • Start with a CORE course, if possible
  • Pay close attention to course pre-requisites
  • Each area course may only satisfy ONE requirement
  • Check the course listing in Guide for information on when each course was last taught

Tailor Your Courses

If you are interested in focusing on a specific topic while completing your digital studies requirements, check out these course groupings:

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Digital Communication

Digital Data

Digital Health

Social Media

User Experience/User Interface

Video/Audio Production

Web Design

For faculty at UW-Madison: If you are teaching a course that seems appropriate for the Digital Studies Certificate and would like your course reviewed for inclusion in the curriculum, view the course proposal instructions here (pdf).