Comparison of Interactive Media Design School Options in Denver, CO
There are several places to find interactive media design career training in Denver within 15 miles of the city center. This article describes the programs and requirements of three schools. See the table in the next section for a comparison of costs, campus settings and enrollment sizes.
- Arapahoe Community College, a two-year institution in Littleton, Colorado, located about 11 miles from downtown Denver, offers certificate and associate's degree programs related to interactive media design.
- Another option is Metropolitan State University of Denver, a four-year public university that prides itself on the ethnic diversity of its student body and is located within five miles of the city center.
- Also close to downtown within eight miles is the University of Denver, a four-year private non-profit school, offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs in media, film and journalism studies.
Comparison of Schools
|Arapahoe Community College||Metropolitan State University of Denver||University of Denver|
|School Type||Two-year, public||Four-year, public||Four-year, private not-for-profit|
|Total Enrollment (2017)||12,421*||20,304*||11,434*|
|Campus Setting||Large suburb||Large city||Large city|
|Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018)||$3,677 in-state; $14,441 out-of-state*||$7,352 in-state; $20,149 out-of-state*||$48,669*|
|% of First-Year Students Receiving Any Form of Aid (2016-2017)||58%*||71%*||87%*|
|Acceptance Rate (2017)||Open admissions*||64%*||58%*|
|Retention Rate (2016-2017)||58% (full-time students)*||63% (full-time students)*||87% (full-time students)*|
|Graduation Rate||26% (23% transfer-out rate) (Students who began in 2014)*||28% (27% transfer-out rate) (Students who began in 2011)*||75% (Students who began in 2011)*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator
Arapahoe Community College
Arapahoe Community College (ACC), established in 1965, was the first community college in the Denver area. The school offers more than 100 certificate and associate's degree programs on its three campuses, including programs in computer graphics and Web design.
Computer Graphics Certificate
This 18-credit certificate program is designed for students who wish to develop skills using Adobe Creative Suite software. Prior to enrolling, students are required to pass a Macintosh computer test. The curriculum includes three classes in Adobe software and one elective.
Web Design Certificate
Students who enter this 30-credit-hour program may find it helpful to have had previous graphic design training. Once enrolled, students complete major courses, including Web authoring, Web design and motion graphic design. Graduates can pursue entry-level jobs in Web design.
Associate of Applied Science in Multimedia, Graphic Design and Illustration
This program is designed to train students for entry-level jobs in print design. Students are required to complete a minimum of 60 credit hours, of which at least 15 must be at ACC. Out of the required credits, 15 are in general education courses while 42 are within the major. Some major courses include drawing, Web design and graphic design. Students also take three credit hours of electives, and they may have the opportunity to complete an internship. The final year of study concludes with a capstone project.
Metropolitan State University of Denver
The Metropolitan State University of Denver first opened its doors in 1965, and it has since become the top educator of undergraduate students in Colorado, with nearly 20,000 undergrads enrolled each year. The average class size is 21, and the school offers industry mentors in many subject areas. Degree programs in technical communications are available on all three campuses.
Digital Media Minor
Students who pursue this minor complete 24 credit hours, of which six must be in upper-division courses. The curriculum includes 12 credits of required courses in digital design, mass media and media production. Students also choose three courses from one of four concentration areas: still media, interactive media, motion media or content design. In addition, they can select one three-credit elective from any of the aforementioned concentrations.
Bachelor of Science in Technical Communication
Four different concentrations are available to students seeking a bachelor's degree in technical communication. These include technical writing and editing, mobile and social media, interactive media production and video production. Students in all concentrations are required to complete 42 credits of concentration-area courses, and they must complete a minor as well. In addition, students can participate in advanced internships with faculty approval.
The school also offers an extended major option in technical communication and media production. This option doesn't require a minor, but students who enroll must complete 66 major credits.
University of Denver
The University of Denver offers media design career training programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies program is offered through the Department of Media, Film and Journalism Studies. Other options are available through the Emergent Digital Practices program, a new area of study created in 2011. Students who pursue a degree in this area can earn a BA, a BFA, an MA or an MFA, as well as a minor.
Emergent Digital Practices Minor
This minor program requires completion of 24 credits, including eight elective credits and 12 credits in foundational digital practices. Students can explore a variety of digital technology topics, such as basic programming, video production and digital images.
Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies
This 183-hour degree program is intended for students who seek to obtain broad, fundamental knowledge about the media industry. The curriculum includes 75 credit hours in the common curriculum and at least 40 credit hours in the major. As part of these hours, students complete 20 credits in core courses, which cover media foundations, the history of media, advanced concepts and international communications. Students also take 20 credits of electives, available in such hands-on areas as digital media, film and video production, journalism, strategic communication and media and culture. Students must also complete a minor.
Bachelor of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Arts in Emergent Digital Practices
These programs differ from the media studies program in that they require more hands-on courses that cover the technical skills required to create digital media. The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) requires a higher number of credits than the Bachelor of Arts (BA), while students in the BA program must declare a minor. In addition to the general curriculum, students in both programs complete foundation credits, credits in interactive media cultures, upper-division electives and a capstone project. Some of the available classes include 3-D modeling and animation, game design, video art and visual programming.
Master of Arts in Emergent Digital Practices
This master's program provides students with a balance between theoretical knowledge and practical training in the creation of digital products. The two-year Master of Arts (M.A.) requires students to complete 48 credits, of which 12 must be in media foundation classes. Students also take 24 elective credits, including at least one studio class and one class in media cultures. Prior to graduating, a research methods course and a thesis course are required. Students who complete this program may work in a variety of different professions, ranging from software design to art administration.
Master of Fine Arts in Emergent Digital Practices
Graduate students who intend to pursue careers in interactive design, professional art or installation art may be interested in the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program in emergent digital practices. This three-year program requires 92 credits in order to graduate, and students are required to publicly exhibit their artwork. Other requirements include critiques, art history courses and studio classes.
Other School Option
Another school that offers interactive media design career training in the Denver area is Red Rocks Community College, a two-year institution in Lakewood, Colorado, about 12.5 miles from downtown Denver. Red Rocks offers certificate and associate's degree programs that cover Web design, graphics and animation.