students film a documentary

For the Bachelor of Arts in Media Production, students will first complete the foundational courses in theory and practice before proceeding to advanced courses in media production and critical studies.

Once the basic requirements are completed, students focus on an area of concentration: Documentary Media, Performance Media, Sound Practices, or they can construct their own 9 credit hour concentration based up the wide range of media courses available to them.

Students from within or outside CMCI can pursue course work within DCMP, provided they meet course prerequisites, though seating priority is given to declared majors.


Program Requirements

Students take the foundational courses in theory and practice, CMDP 1400 Introduction to Contemporary Media Cultures—4 credit hours, and CMDP 2500 Introduction to Media Practices—3 credit hours, before proceeding to advanced courses in media production.

All students will be required to take the three credit hour capstone course, CMDP 4900 Concepts and Practices of New Media, in their final year.

Credit distribution for the bachelor’s degree in Media Production:
• Critical Studies courses—13 credit hours
• Interdisciplinary Media Production courses—12 credit hours
• Production electives—9 credit hours, or a CMDP concentration—between 12 and 18 credit hours
• Total hours for all major coursework: 34-43 credit hours

Course code for this program is CMDP

  • CMDP 1400 Introduction to Contemporary Media Cultures—4 credit hours
  • CMDP 2100 Approaches to Historical Media Practices—3
  • CMDP 2400 Media Aesthetics—3
  • Critical Studies Elective—3 (see following list)

Critical Studies Electives (Choose one)

  • CMDP-3210 Interactive Digital Cultures—3 credit hours
  • CMDP-3350 Modes of Documentary Media History—3
  • CMDP 3410: Topics in Media Studies—3 
  • CMDP-3450 (3) Critical Perspectives in Media Practices—3 
  • CMDP-4110 (3) Cultures of Digital Sound—3
  • CMDP-4220 (3) Digital Archives in Media Practices—3
  • CMDP-4310 (3) Screen Culture and Globalization—3
  • CMDP-4320 (3) Media Engagement in Digital Diasporas—3
  • CMDP-4410 (3) Topics in Contemporary Media Technologies—3
  • CMDP-4450 (3) Topics in Contemporary Media Technologies—3

13 credit hours total

  • CMDP 2500 Introduction to Media Practices—3 credit hours
  • CMDP 2600 Creative Media Making—3
  • CMDP 3500 Digital Photographic Practices—3
  • CMDP 4900 Concepts and Practices of New Media (capstone)—3

12 credit hours total

Media Production Concentrations (9-18 credit hours)

With advisor and faculty guidance, CMDP majors select a concentration, or they may instead choose nine credit hours of media production electives to construct their own concentration.

Students complete 12 hours of prescribed course work within CMDP focusing on documentary storytelling.

    • CMDP 2810 Documentary Media Poetics—3 credit hours
    • CMDP 3810 Engaged Documentary Media Practices—3
    • CMDP 4810 Advanced Documentary Practices—3
    • CMDP 4820 Ethnographic Media—3

Students complete courses that develop a performance vocabulary and explore the historical and cultural contexts of performance through project-based courses exploring the design and implementation of media installations. The capstone project will be a large-scale performance or installation.
    • CMDP 3820 Performance Media Practices—3 credit hours
    • CMDP 3830 Advanced Performance Media Workshop—3
    • CMDP 4620 Media Environments—3
    • CMDP 4720 Installation and Performance Media—3

Students complete 18 hours of prescribed course work within CMDP focusing on music technology.
    • CMDP 2860 (same as MUSC 2081) Performance Audio Recording—2 credit hours
    • CMDP 2870 (same as MUSC 2091) Recording Design—2
    • CMDP 3860 (same as MUSC 4081) Introduction to Music Technology—3
    • CMDP 4860 (same as MUSC 4111) Composing at the Computer—2
    • CMDP 4870 (same as MUEL 4121) Sound and Technology Topics—3
    • ARSC 4040 Topics in Interdisciplinary Performance—1-3 
    • Media Production Electives (3-6) (i.e. CMDP 3840 Sound Practices) to make minimum 18 hours in the Music Technology concentration.

Students may elect to follow a comprehensive approach to media production provided by a nine credit hour elective structure.

Choose three courses.

  • CMDP 2510 Critical Media Practices Workshop I—1-3 credit hour(s)
  • CMDP 2710 Media Production Methods and Ideas—3
  • CMDP 2720 Animation—3
  • CMDP 2810 Documentary Media Poetics—3
  • CMDP 2860 / MUSC 2081 Performance Audio Recording—2
  • CMDP 2870 / MUSC 2091 Recording Design—2
  • CMDP 3510 Critical Media Practices Workshop II—1-3
  • CMDP 3610 Contemporary Image Making Practices—3
  • CMDP 3620 Images and Stories—3
  • CMDP 3720 / ENGL 3856 / ATLAS 3519 Multimedia Composition—3
  • CMDP 3810 Engaged Documentary Media Practices—3
  • CMDP 3820 Introduction to Performance Media—3
  • CMDP 3830 Performance Design for Media—3
  • CMDP 3840 Sound Practices—3
  • CMDP 3860 / MUSC / MUEL 4081: Introduction to Electronic Music—3
  • CMDP 3910 Media Production Topics—3
  • CMDP 3990 Media Professional Seminar—2
  • CMDP 4610 Small Screen Storytelling—3
  • CMDP 4620 Media Installations and Environments—3
  • CMDP 4630 Fundamentals of Computational Media—3
  • CMDP 4640 / ENGL 4116 / ATLAS 4519 Multimedia Sound—3
  • CMDP 4810 Advanced Documentary Media Practices—3 
  • CMDP 4820 Ethnographic Media—3
  • CMDP 4860 / MUSC 4111 Composing at the Computer—2
  • CMDP 4870 / MUSC / MUEL 4121 Sound Practices Topics—3
  • CMDP 4905 Independent Study—3
  • CMDP 4920 Media Production Internships—3


Secondary Area of Study

In addition to coursework required for the major, all students in MDPD must complete a secondary area of study outside of the department. This secondary area of study can be met by any of the following: a minor, a second major within CMCI, a double degree (second major outside CMCI), or any credit-based certificate program of at least 12 credit hours. 


Undergraduate Course Offerings

The following are Critical Media Practices undergraduate courses. Please see an advisor if you have any questions. See the course catalog for the most updated listing of courses.

CMDP 1400 Introduction to Contemporary Media Cultures

Prepares students for critical practices in contemporary media cultures in a global context. This course explores the diversity of media practices, including narrative and non-narrative forms, emphasizing aesthetics and visual studies. In lectures and labs students will explore video, sound, the internet and other multimedia platforms of expression.

Instructor: Andrew Young -

Section 001 - M/W 12:00-1:15 p.m. - Recitation Th 1:30 p.m.-2:20 p.m.

Section 002 - T/TH 12:00-1:15 p.m. - Recitation Th 2:30 p.m.-3:20 p.m.

Location: ENVD 214A    

4 credit hours


CMDP 2400 Media Aesthetics         

Builds students’ ability to watch, reflect on and write about media. Grounded in the analysis of media practices with special focus on style and storytelling techniques, this course will explore media aesthetics from formal, cultural and theoretical perspectives. Prerequisite: CMDP 1400

Instructor: Erin Espelie -

M/W 10:30-11:45 a.m.

Location: ENVD 214A

3 credit hours      


CMDP 2500 Introduction to Media Practices

Working in design groups, students will explore the expressive potential of media through the production of short projects, discussions, readings, formal analysis and critique. The course provides a basic introduction to media practices as an extension of “visual thinking” and through approaches to storytelling and hybrid media forms. Prerequisite: CMDP 1400

Instructor: TBA

M/W 3:00-4:45 p.m.

Location: ENVD 214B

3 credit hours


CMDP 2600 Creative Media Making

Focus on developing an understanding of the principles, forms and aesthetics of media production. Working in design groups on small-scale media pre-production and production exercises, screenings and critiques, students learn creative solutions to problems in realizing expressive media projects. Prerequisite: CMDP 2500 and CMDP 1400 (must average 2.5 GPA between them)

Instructor: TBA

001-M/W 9:00-10:45 a.m.

002-T/TH 1:00-2:45 p.m.

Location: ENVD 214B

3 credit hours


CMDP 2710 Media Production Methods and Ideas

Explores creative approaches to idea formation, conceptualization and organization for the moving image employing critical thinking, improvisation, and visual storytelling techniques. This course includes forms of creative writing, storytelling and pre-production techniques and strategies. Prerequisite: CMDP 2500

Instructor: TBA

T/Th 9:00-10:45 a.m

Location: ENVD 214B

3 credit hours


CMDP 2810 Documentary Media Poetics

Investigates documentary cinema and media practices through class discussions, research papers, hands on exercises and the screenings. The course cross-references documentary photography and moving image documentary in the production of short digital projects. We will likewise explore the distinctive contributions of digital technologies to documentary image making. Prerequisite: CMDP 2500

Instructor: Daniel Boord -

T/Th 3:00-4:45

Location: ENVD 214B

3 credit hours


CMDP 2860 Performance Audio Recording

Provides an overview of the recording process from the performer's perspective from sound check through final mastering, addressing contemporary issues in technology, web and performance media. Uses recorded material from in-class sessions and examines differing approaches to recording as well as current technologies. Restricted to CMDP/MUEL undergraduates and by instructor consent.

Instructor: Hunter Ewen –

T/Th 11:00-11:50 a.m.

Location: MUS N1B49

2 credit hours


CMDP 3350 Modes of Documentary Media History

Introduces students to the variety of practices by examining their emergence, evolution and cultural impact in the global sphere. Students discover the major themes and genres in documentary work from photography, cinema, audio, hypermedia and the public debates they have engendered. Through lectures, screenings and research, develop critical perspectives on the international and transcultural dimensions of documentary media history. Prerequisite: CMDP 2400

Instructor: Bill Nichols - William.J.Nichols@Colorado.EDU

T/Th 9:30-10:45 a.m.

Recitation: W 3:00-5:45 p.m.

Location: ENVD 214A

3 credit hours


CMDP 3450 Critical Perspectives in Media Practices

Examines the contemporary landscape of media practices across platforms, such as cinema, social media, painting, video and web art. This integrative exploration focuses on production contexts, circulation and reception through the lens of critical and interpretive frameworks. Drawing from key texts by major scholars and the works of media practitioners, students develop globally informed, critical perspectives for understanding. Prerequisite: CMDP 2400

Instructor: TBA

M/W 1:30-2:45 p.m.

Location: ENVD 214A

3 credit hours


CMDP 3840 Sound Practices

Explores the aesthetics of sound through the study of sound art and sound culture. Reading and discussion covers theories, technologies and histories that drive the medium. Students apply concepts by designing and building their own soundscapes. Classes will be organized around hands-on activities, lecture and discussion of readings. Prerequisite: CMDP 2500

Instructor: Hunter Ewen –

M/W 1:00-2:45 p.m.

Location: ENVD 214B

3 credit hours


CMDP 3860 Introduction to Music Technology

Surveys the various tools and techniques in the field of music technology. Topics include an introduction to basic synthesis, musical instrument digital interface (MIDI) sequencing, audio sequencing, digital signal processing, music notation and a historical perspective on electronic music.

Instructor: Hunter Ewen –

T/Th 9:30-10:45 a.m.

Location: Audio Lab in MUS N1b49 (CAML II)

3 credit hours


CMDP 4410 Topics in Contemporary Media Technologies

Focus on the development and application of media technologies in moving image aesthetics and emergent media practices. Topics rotate according to faculty expertise, but may include new imaging technologies for small screen and mobile devices, web-specific media or emerging modes of production. Through lectures, screenings and seminars, students explore the work of contemporary thinkers and practitioners in the field. Prerequisite: CMDP 2400

Instructor: TBA

T/R 4:30-5:45 p.m.

Location: ENVD 214A

3 credit hours


Attendance is mandatory for all classes and screenings. Students who miss one or more class sessions during the first two weeks of the semester may be administratively dropped in order to make room for students on the waitlist who have been attending class. Waitlists are sequenced by class rank; however, attendance does affect one’s chances of getting into a course. It is up to the individual to make sure that he/she is in (or no longer in) any given course by the drop/add deadline. Please note this page has updated information not found in MyCUInfo.

Need help or still have questions?

View the advising page for more information on applying, or contact CMCI Advisors via email.

CMCI Advisors
Stadium 110
University of Colorado Boulder
College of Media, Communication and Information
Boulder, CO 80309-0478