DMS Curriculum

dms_logoThe Digital Media Studies (DMS) major is a unique program combining theory, design and technology. Rooted in interdisciplinary studies, DMS is designed to prepare graduates for work in digital media fields such as graphic design, web authoring, branding, print, video and video game design. In addition, students must choose a Minor to complement their interdisciplinary studies. The program requires that DMS Majors receive a 'C' or higher grade in all DMS courses. Laptop computers are required for DMS 2910, 3910, 4910 and 4911 studios.

Digital Media Studies (DMS)

Expected Learning Outcomes

Program Purpose

The Digital Media Studies (DMS) major program is designed to produce emerging professionals with a strong inter-disciplinary foundation that can be used effectively in a variety of careers in design-related industries or graduate study. Graduates are armed with processes and skills that can be used in multiple venues and transferred to existing and emerging design and media environments. DMS focuses on three foundational curriculum components: Design, Theory and Technology. Students develop design skill sets; master knowledge of graphic design including history and theory; and implement processes that integrate current "best practices" in research, inquiry, technical and communication skills. Projects frequently aim to reinforce the UDM Mission through engagement with the urban context and community as well as through investigations of issues of social justice. A strong inter-disciplinary core curriculum develops critical thinking skills to create the foundation for creative applications, advanced skill sets, and experimentation. To underscore the impact of a broad inter-disciplinary foundation, a Minor is required in addition to the BA in DMS. A Minor compliments the digital media skills necessary for working in a broad array of professions. DMS graduates will be able to participate fully as thoughtful, communicative, creative, compassionate, engaged, and successful members of the global society as reflected in the Jesuit and Mercy identities.


Curricular Structure

Design, Theory and Technology foundation. The strategy of the program's curriculum is to offer a solid design foundation rooted in an urban community- and student-centered tri-platform approach which is reinforced in all courses (in accordance with course level and expectations): Design, Theory and Technology. The program core (30 credits) provides a foundation in design: developing and analyzing historic and philosophical formulations of design and design theory, experience with digital media technology and writing skills, familiarity with design strategies, processes and techniques with an overview of contemporary design issues. As with many design programs, an element of verbal presentations (of work, concepts and research) is inherent in most if not all DMS courses.

Through the required Minor, students develop a complimentary formal knowledge base in a chosen discipline outside of DMS. The Minor allows students to develop additional inter-disciplinary skills in areas such as, but not limited to: Creative Writing, Philosophy, Psychology, Business, Sports Communication Journalism, etc. Coupled with the BA in DMS, the Minor solidifies a broad connection both within the University as well as within the professional and World Knowledge context.


Active Learning. One very important aspect of the DMS program is ‘learning how to think and solve problems using intentional design’ through an engaging curriculum and projects. In addition to learning specific design and software skills, students are engaged with contemporary design and media through reading, researching, analyzing, discussing, creating (making and doing) and presenting their research and projects. The curriculum engages the students with ideas and theories through multiple lenses.  Frequent, all-class critiques reinforce communication and presentation skills and challenge students to reassess their assumptions and approaches. Projects and class time are rooted in hands-on digital projects in a process-oriented framework. Students are provided with the basics of software and design approaches and are assigned projects crafted to challenge the student to give their creative visions ‘form’ through the digital artifact. Students are exposed to design projects geared toward the professional setting to prepare students for the rigors of professional life. Students learn concepts, ideas and theories in the classroom and then develop and refine their knowledge, skills, creative vision and approaches through individual projects, the critique setting, and (optional) internship opportunities. Graduates leave DMS with meaningful hands-on experience, grounded on solid historical, critical thinking and technical competencies. This allows our students to compete with graduates of other university programs for jobs and post graduate degrees in the educational, professional and/or academic worlds.

Learning Outcomes

                        1. Design: Development of a Personal Creative Voice 
Students will integrate knowledge of design history, concepts and processes into a personal approach to creating digital artifacts. Courses that contribute: DMS 1710, DMS 1800, DMS 1910, DMS 2910, DMS 3910, DMS 4910, DMS 4911, DMS 4980, DMS 4981      

                        2. History & Design Concepts
 Students will demonstrate a comprehension of historical design concepts and movements and design theory. Course that contributes: DMS 1710 and DMS 1800.

                       3. Theory Students will demonstrate a comprehension of design theory and theorists.  Course that contributes: DMS 1710 and DMS 1800.

                        4. Technology Skill Development 
Students will demonstrate analytical, conceptual and technical skills in a variety of media. Courses that contribute: DMS 1710, DMS 1800, DMS 1910, DMS 2910, DMS 3910, DMS 4910, DMS 4911, DMS 4980, DMS 4981

Evidence of Learning

Most formal assessment occurs within classes or faculty review as students progress through advanced courses. In addition, the student portfolio system (a Directed Study course typically completed in their Senior year) facilitates review of student progress. Informal assessment is provided by post-graduate tracking.


Assessment Tools:


Direct Measures Competencies with basic knowledge, analytical skills applied to fundamental body of knowledge, and basic production skills are assessed by:

  1. Quizzes and examinations
  2.  Projects
  3. Research and analytical presentations and projects
  4. Tracking progress by the professors, program Director and advisor
  5. Evaluation of artifacts collected in individual student portfolios

Indirect Measures Indirect measures include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Course Evaluations
  2. Exit Surveys, Alumni Questionnaires and Placement Data
  3. Feedback from academic and industry professionals (internships)
  4. Feedback from graduates and colleagues

Learning and Teaching Assessment and Improvement

Individual (adjunct) faculty members obtain feedback from his/her students via Course Evaluations at the end of each semester. This feedback is evaluated in terms of strengths and weaknesses in both faculty delivery and course content. Annually each faculty member is encouraged to report the results of this self-assessment and reflection along with the efforts he/she has made to improve personal teaching and curriculum content with the program Director. Recommendations and action items may be recorded by the Director at this time and reviewed with the faculty member as part of the next Annual Review.

Collectively, the DMS Advisory Committee examines the flow of course content and student skills through the entire program curriculum. Specifically in focus are the continuities and growth of skills in design and technology along with references to history and theory. Consideration of this information may result in proposed curricular changes. The evaluation of potential changes is made by the DMS Director and approved by the DMS Advisory Curriculum committee as well as the School of Architecture faculty council and Dean.

Digital Media Studies (DMS) Major: 56 Credits

Design Sequence; 35 credits:

  • DMS 1710: Introduction to Design 3cr
  • DMS 1800: Introduction to Digital Media 3cr
  • DMS 1910 (4), 2910 (4), 3910 (4), 4910 (4) and 4911 (4): 20cr
  • DMS 4980: Video Game Design I 3cr
  • DMS 4981: Video Game Design II 3cr
  • DMS 4990: Digital Media Portfolio 3cr

Required Supporting Courses; 15 credits:

  • ARCH 1110: Visual Communications I 3cr
  • ARCH 2160: 3D Computer Graphics 3cr
  • ARCH 3710: Graphic Design I 3cr
  • CST 2150: Multimedia I 3cr
  • ENL 3050: Freelance Writing Print/Web 3cr

Theory and Criticism (Select two from the list below); 6 credits:

  • AAS 2000: Critical Perspectives in African American Studies
  • AAS 3100: Science, Technology and Race
  • CST 2000: Mass Media Criticism
  • ENL 2550: Studies in Film
  • ENL 3750: Film Genres
  • ENL 3760: The Art of the Film
  • ENL 4800: Literary Theory
  • HIS 3580: American Cultural Studies
  • PHL 3050: Aesthetics
  • PHL 3060: Greek Philosophy
  • PHL 4400: Contemporary Philosophy
  • WGS 2000: Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies

Minor (minimum 18 credits):

  • DMS students select a Minor from one of the many offered at UDM.

UDM Core Courses (see UDM Catalog/Schedule for complete list) 48 credits:

  • CIS 1030: Web Productivity Tools (Core Objective 2) 3cr
  • CST 3000: Mass Media Ethics (Core Objective 6B) 3cr
  • ENL 2550: Studies in Film (Core Objective 5C) 3cr
  • HIS 3600: History of American Technology (Core Objective 3A) 3cr
  • PHL 1400: Critical Thinking: Media (Core Objective 4C) 3cr

Recommended Electives 0-12 credits (as needed to obtain 126 credit min):

  • AAS 2000: Critical Perspectives in African American Studies
  • AAS 3100: Science, Technology and Race
  • ARCH 1160: Computer Graphics
  • ARCH 3710: Graphic Design I
  • ARCH 3960: Special Problems Digital Media
  • ARCH 4960: Topics in Digital Media
  • ARCH 5710: Graphic Design II
  • CIS 1040: Introduction to Programming
  • CIS 2010: Programming for the Internet
  • CST 2100: Video Production
  • CST 2110: Audio Production
  • CST 2200: Photography
  • CST 2410: Advertising
  • CST 3110: Single Camera Video Production
  • ENL 4050: Editorial Production & Processes

TOTAL FOR BACHELORS DEGREE 126 minimum credits

Minor in Digital Media Studies (DMS)

The Minor in Digital Media Studies consists of DMS classes, (1) upper-level design course and (1) upper-level Theory and Criticism inter-disciplinary course. (a minimum of 19 credits)

DMS Minor Requirements:

  1. DMS 1710: Introduction to Design (3cr) winter only
  2. DMS 1800: Introduction to Digital Media Studies (3cr) fall only
  3. DMS 1910: Design Studio I (4cr)
  4. DMS 4980: Video Game Design I online course OR HIS 3600: History of American Technology (Obj 3a) (3cr) winter only
  5. Theory and Criticism - Take one of the following: (3cr)
    AAS 3100: Science, Technology and Race (Obj 3c)
    ENL 3750: Film Genres (Obj 5c)
    ENL 4800: Literary Criticism (Obj 5b)
    Prerequisites: ENL 2350 2450, 2650, or 2800 (or permission of the instructor)
    CST 3000: Media Ethics (Obj 6b)
    PHL 3050: Aesthetics (Obj 5c)
  6. Design - Take one of the following: (3cr or 4cr for 391):
    DMS 3910: Design Studio III (4 credits - prerequisites: DMS 1910 & 291)
    DMS 4981: Video Game Design II online course (winter only)
    ARCH 3710: Graphic Design I; fall only