Minor in Media Arts and Design

In the early twenty-first century, “media” and “design” have become central terms. Media often refers to a wide range of storage and communication technologies, as well as the cultures and systems they connect. Design is no longer a term used simply to describe surface aesthetics or ornamentation, but now encompasses a wide range of human interactions with technical devices, environments, and communities that shape daily life. Overall, designed digital and networked media inspire feelings of attachment as well as frustration with few rivals in any contemporary cultural sphere. 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, play, think, act, and communicate.

This minor focuses on these rapid developments in media and design that have changed the character of contemporary life, opening these phenomena up to historical study, theoretical critique, and hands-on experimentation. The minor offers possible pathways through video game design, transmedia puzzle development, digital filmmaking, electronic sound design, digital storytelling, algorithmic theater, podcast development, data visualization, computational imaging, speculative design, and media history and theory.

Students focusing in  Media Arts and Design will be trained in critical, formal, theoretical, and historical thinking and analysis. The curriculum fosters discussion and writing skills as well as creativity and experimentation. Students will gain the tools to approach today’s media environment and industries with critical, historical, and cultural perspectives.

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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.


Students will also need two elective courses from offerings in such areas as video game design, electronic sound design, computational imaging, or speculative design. 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, the Media Arts and Design Capstone Colloquium. As part of the colloquium, each member of this student cohort prepares a portfolio of digital media artworks and/or historical and theoretical writing that they submit by the end of Winter Quarter of their final year.

Courses and Distribution

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.

The majority of MAAD courses are cross-listed with other departments, often in Cinema and Media Studies, Visual Arts, Art History, Computer Science, Literature, Music, and Theater and Performance Studies. 

MAAD courses and cross-lists are distributed across Media Theory, Media History, Media Practice and Design, and Electives according to their course number. 

Media Theory (10000-14999)
Media History (15000-19999)

Media Practice & Design (20000- 24999)
Electives (25000 - 28999)

Course descriptions also include a note on which distribution the class fulfills. To view the most updated list of courses being offered, please see this Course page and add the appropriate filters for the year and quarter you're searching for. 

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Declaring a Minor

Students interested in declaring a minor in Media, Arts, and Design should print and fill out the Consent to Complete a Minor Program form and email the Program Director and Program Advisor, listed below. This form must then be returned to the student's College adviser by the end of Spring Quarter of the student's third year. 


Patrick Jagoda
Program Director

Jon Satrom
Program Advisor

Riss Ballard
Student Affairs Administrator