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.


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. 

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 Theory (10000-14999)

MAAD 10002​ Discovering Anthropology: Culture, Technology, Mediation
MAAD 11015​ Media, Culture & Society
MAAD 11730​ Science, Technology and Media via Japan
MAAD 12151​ Anthropology of Media
MAAD 11314​ Fluxus and the Question of Media
MAAD 11320​​ Philippe Parreno's Media Temporalities
MAAD 12360 Introduction to Video Game Music Studies
MAAD 14110​ Digital Cinema
MAAD 12320​​ Critical Videogame Studies
MAAD 12800​ Theories of Media
MAAD 12351​ The Sonic Image
MAAD 15945​ Digital Storytelling
MAAD 11005​ Problems in the Study of Gender and Sexuality: Media Wars
MAAD 14204​ Media Ecology: Embodiment & Software
MAAD 14205​ Computers, Minds, Intelligence & Data
MAAD 14865​ Adaptation: Text and Image

Media History (15000-19999)

MAAD 18703 Video Art: The Analog Years. Theory, Technology, Practice
MAAD 15507​ Margins of the Medium: Text/Image
MAAD 15630 Television in an Age of Change
MAAD 18500​ History of International Cinema I
MAAD 18600​ History of International Cinema II
MAAD 18700​ History of International Cinema III
MAAD 16001​ Censorship in East Asia: The Case of Colonial Korea
MAAD 16312 Reforming Religious Media: Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation
MAAD 18306​ Data History: Information Overload from the Enlightenment to Google
MAAD 15425​​ Censorship, Info Control, & Revolutions in Info Technology from the Printing Press to the Internet
MAAD 16718​ Approaches to Live Electronics
MAAD 16600​ Chance in Performance

Media Practice & Design (20000- 24999)

MAAD 21111 Creative Coding
MAAD 21500​ Metamedia Design Studio
MAAD 21006​ The Zine as Art Theory and Practice
MAAD 22500​ Computational Imaging
MAAD 22502​ Data and Algorithm in Art
MAAD 23801​​ Video
MAAD 23804​ Experimental Animation: Exploring Manual Techniques
MAAD 23805​ Minimalist Experiment in Film and Video
MAAD 23806​ Video Workshop
MAAD 23809 Experimental Animation: Digital and Camera-less Production
MAAD 20700​ Alternate Reality Games: Theory and Production
MAAD 21900​ Communicating Climate Change: Media and Design
MAAD 20900​ Computers for Learning
MAAD 23220​ Inventing, Engineering and Understanding Interactive Devices
MAAD 23631 Introduction to Internet Art
MAAD 23632 Intermediate Internet Art
MAAD 23640 Embodied Data and Gamified Interfaces
MAAD 23930​ Documentary Production I
MAAD 23931​ Documentary Production II
MAAD 21011​ Experimental Captures
MAAD 22911​​ Augmented Reality Production
MAAD 24920​ Virtual Reality Production
MAAD 20810​ Sound/Image Mapping
MAAD 23808 ​Introduction to 16mm Filmmaking
MAAD 21110​ Imagining Futures: Speculative Design and Social Justice
MAAD 24618​ Electronic Music I
MAAD 24817​ Electronic Music II: Introduction to Computer Music
MAAD 24410​ Transmedia Puzzle Design & Performance
MAAD 24415​ Games & Performance
MAAD 24515​ Contemporary Political Strategies in Performance
MAAD 25910​ Short Form Digital Storytelling: Creating a Web Series

Electives (25000 - 28999)

MAAD 25010 Anthropology of the Future
MAAD 25305 Virtual Worlds and Nonhuman Narratives: Cyberspace Fiction
MAAD 25612 Comics as Medium
MAAD 25630 Video Games and Genre Storytelling
MAAD 25990 Always Already New - Printed Books & Electronic Texts
MAAD 26818 History of Electronic Instruments
MAAD 26819 Video Game Music as Play and Discipline (1980s to Present)
MAAD 27900 Image, Text. Archive
MAAD 27915 Introduction to Videogame Studies: Art, Play, and Society
MAAD 28003 Issues in Film Sound
MAAD 28300 Disability and Design


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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. 


Sam Pluta
Interim Program Director

Jon Satrom
Program Advisor

Riss Ballard
Student Affairs Administrator