Contacts | Minor in Media Arts and Design | Summary of Requirements | Advising and Grading | Media Arts and Design Courses | Courses

In the early twenty-first century, “design” is no longer a term used simply to describe surface aesthetics or ornamentation. Design, as a field, now encompasses a wide range of human interactions with the technologies, devices, environments, and communities that shape daily life. The largest company in the world (by market capitalization) is fundamentally a design company. Apple Inc.’s products inspire feelings of love and devotion (as well as frustration) with few rivals in any cultural sphere. Design is central to the company’s identity and success. A former Apple engineer observed that when a designer joined a meeting it was “like being in church when the priest walks in.”

Our current historical period, described by some as the “digital revolution” or a “postindustrial society,” relies heavily on media and design, which embed technologies increasingly within everyday life. If you consider the number of screens in your immediate vicinity, it becomes evident how substantial an impact media arts and design have on the ways we learn, work, and play. The design of screens (in their aesthetic, interactive, and technical dimensions) affects how we think, act, and communicate. Extraordinarily rapid developments have changed the character of contemporary life—in ways that remain largely opaque and demand ongoing study, critique, and experimentation. The University of Chicago is now in a position to establish new practice-based research that combines analytical and creative approaches to understanding these problems and to solving them.

Minor in Media Arts and Design

Distribution Requirement

The minor is comprised of six courses. Of those six courses, students must take at least one course in each of the following core areas: (1) Media Theory, (2) Media History, and (3) Media Practice and Design.

Courses that qualify for each distribution requirement are listed below. Moving forward, updated course lists will be maintained on the College website.

Media Theory
ANTH 20002 Discovering Anthropology: Culture, Technology, Mediation 
ANTH 21015 Media, Culture & Society
ANTH 21730 Science, Technology and Media via Japan 
ARTH 21314 Fluxus and the Question of Media
ARTH 21315 Introduction to Art, Technology, and Media 
CMST 20400 Problems in the Study of Gender and Sexuality: Media Wars
CMST 25204 Media Ecology: Embodiment & Software 
CMST 27110 Digital Cinema
CMST 28003 Issues in Film Sound 
ENGL 25945 Digital Storytelling
HIPS 25205 Computers, Minds, Intelligence & Data

Media History
CMST 14507 Margins of the Medium: Text/Image 
ENGL 25990 Always Already New - Printed Books & Electronic Texts
GRMN 27717 Opera in the Age of Its Mechanical Reproducibility 
HIST 29523 Data History: Information Overload from the Enlightenment to Google
MUSI 26718 Approaches to Live Electronics 
MUSI 26818 History of Electronic Instruments
TAPS 22600 Chance in Performance 

Media Practice and Design
ARTV 22500 Computational Imaging 
ARTV 23804 Experimental Animation: Exploring Manual Techniques
ARTV 23806 Video Workshop 
CMSC 20900 Computers for Learning
CMST 23930 Documentary Production I 
CMST 23931 Documentary Production II
CMST 27920 Virtual Reality Production 
CMST 25954 Alternate Reality Games: Theory and Production
ENGL 21110 Imagining Futures: Speculative Design and Social Justice 
MUSI 26618 Electronic Music I
MUSI 26817 Electronic Music II: Introduction to Computer Music 
MUSI 26718 Approaches to Live Electronics
TAPS 24410 Transmedia Puzzle Design & Performance 
TAPS 24415 Games & Performance


Students will also need two elective courses from offerings in areas such as video game design, transmedia puzzle development, electronic sound design, digital storytelling, algorithmic theater, data visualization, computational imaging, speculative design, and media history and theory. Any MAAD course may count; students may use outside courses with approval of the director.

Senior Colloquium and Portfolio

To complete the minor, students must enroll in MAAD 29400 Capstone Colloquium. As part of the colloquium, this student cohort would also be required to prepare a portfolio of digital media artworks and/or historical and theoretical writing that they would submit by the end of Winter Quarter of their final year.

Summary of Requirements

One Media Theory course100
One Media History course100
One Media Practice and Design course100
Two electives200
MAAD 29400 Capstone Colloquium100
Total Units600

Advising and Grading

To apply for the minor, students must receive the director's approval on a form obtained from the College adviser. This form must then be returned to the College adviser by the end of Spring Quarter of the student's third year.

Courses in the minor program may not be (1) double counted with the student's major(s) or with other minors or (2) counted toward general education requirements. Courses in the minor must be taken for quality grades, and more than half of the requirements for the minor must be met by registering for courses bearing University of Chicago course numbers.

Media Arts and Design Courses


Undergraduate Primary Contact

Patrick Jagoda
Walker 504