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Program Requirements



For more information and details on individual courses, please refer to the current University Course Catalog.

Program Length in Weeks



Minimum General Education Credits



Minimum Bachelor’s Core plus Degree-Specific/Elective Credits



Minimum Total Semester Credits



Within 120 minimum credit hours, the following requirements also apply:

  • Minimum Major Credits: 36
  • Minimum Total 300/400 Level Credits: 40

Conceptual/Foundational Courses

Complete 12 credits minimum, including VIS110

ART121 - Beginning Drawing I
Credits: 3.00
Prerequisite(s): none
Is drawing a gift that has to come naturally? It is actually a skill like any other. This course will demonstrate how easily it can be learned. Drawing is as much about learning how to see and think about form and space as it is about technique. The drawing part itself is just marks on paper. Those marks come together to tell the viewer something about the world that the artist experienced. Drawing also gives one a deeper understanding of the subject being captured. As students progress through the exercises in this class, they will develop a better understanding of the forms being observed and become more skillful in representing them. Improving drawing skills on paper can improve digital drawing skills. ART121 is an introduction to basic drawing concepts and provides a basic foundation in drawing. The course emphasis will be on traditional compositional theory, drawing principles, fundamentals of observing and describing form. Students will gain a strong understanding of tonal and dimensional perspective.
ART236 - Basic Character Figure Drawing
Credits: 3.00
Prerequisite(s): ART121
This course explores a full range of techniques and artistic viewpoints to animate drawings. Emphasis will be on learning to sketch the human and animal forms in both stick and geometric figures studies. Students will learn the skeletal and muscular make up of the figures. Studies in the form of homework assignments will be required as well as in class work. Long and short poses will be interspersed with exercises specifically designed to allow artists to heighten perceptions. Students will practice using the formulas for making character sketches more realistic by understanding the volumetric description and underlying structure of the human form. This course provides the most thorough experience drawing from live models.
DVA101 - Digital Video Fundamentals
Credits: 3.00
Prerequisite(s): none
This course familiarizes students with digital video production equipment while immersing them in the basic aesthetics of motion picture production. Hands-on projects involve scriptwriting, storyboarding, camera work, continuity, 3-point lighting, sound recording and basic video editing. Students work in groups to complete various technical exercises which familiarize them with terms and equipment while preparing them to produce complete digital video works.
DVA110 - Lighting and Environment Design
Credits: 3.00
Prerequisite(s): None
This course introduces the student to the theories and techniques used in lighting and scene design when creating a setting for digital video, animation or game projects. Script analysis and interpretation may be used to teach the principles of style, form and balance in scene design. Lighting subjects include the psychological effects of light and color. Students will be introduced to the basic lighting elements of visibility, selective focus, modeling and imparting mood to a scene.
DVA130 - Movie Theory
Credits: 3.00
Prerequisite(s): none
Ever wonder why some movies feel different from others? This class will reveal the secrets. This course introduces the concepts and practices associated with how the written word is translated into visual language. During this course, students will have the opportunity to learn the art and theory behind motion pictures, including how lighting and cameras are used to create emotion, setting and dramatic emphasis. Topics include shooting styles, lighting, camera angles, continuity, composition and cutting techniques. Technical innovations in cameras, filters and lenses will be explored.
MTM101 - Digital Imaging
Credits: 3.00
Prerequisite(s): none
This course is an overview of the primary industry software tool (Adobe Photoshop) used in the creation of 2D computer graphics. Students will learn the commands and interfaces of industry-standard raster graphics software applications in order to create and manipulate 2D images.
VIS110 - Scientific Visualization
Credits: 3.00
Prerequisite(s): none
This is an introductory course that surveys the expanding field of Scientific Visualization, and will explore various industries, data display methods and technologies, visualization types, and scenarios in which data visualizations are utilized.

Skills Development Courses

Complete 12 Credits minimum

DVA204 - Motion Capture Concepts
Credits: 3.00
Prerequisite(s): MTM101 and (DVA231 or DVA243)
Recommended(s): THE238
This class will introduce students to Motion Capture as it relates to the animation industry. Students will explore the theory of Motion Capture and the various Motion Capture systems. The course will provide an overview of the Motion Capture Studio as well as the basics of Motion Builder software, including character setup and data editing.
DVA231 - 3D Modeling: Maya
Credits: 3.00
Prerequisite(s): MTM101
This class will explore modeling with polygons, patches, NURBS and subdivision surfaces, and will discuss when each is appropriate. Students will study organic and hard surface modeling. Topics will also include a review of the history of 3D computer graphics, an overview of the current state of the 3D industry, an introduction to the current technology being used and a survey of the skills needed to work in today’s industry. This course is an introduction to Maya Unlimited. Students will model using polygons, subdivision surfaces, patches and NURBS. Areas of emphasis include sculpting tools, extruding, Boolean, lofting, revolving and deformers. Students will complete exercises that build toward a final project. This class will also introduce basic lighting, texturing, rendering and animation techniques.
DVA232 - 3D Animation: Maya
Credits: 3.00
Prerequisite(s): DVA210, DVA231
Recommended: DVA130, THE230
This course introduces the student to industry-standard 3D techniques used to animate objects and characters. Students will learn fundamental character animation principles. Topics include key frame animation, motion blending, motion capture, interpolation, storytelling and basic cinematography. Concepts are illustrated using animated footage. Students animate 3D objects and characters for exercises that build toward a final project. Areas of emphasis include inverse kinematics, constraints, deformers, custom attributes and lip sync. Students will also explore expressions, particle systems and dynamics.
DVA233 - 3D Materials: Maya
Credits: 3.00
Prerequisite(s): DVA231
This course is an introduction to the fine art of creating materials and textures for the 3D environment. Areas of emphasis include shading models, 2D bitmap and 3D procedural texture types, solid and surface mapping types, and techniques for creating both stylized and realistic textures. This course gives students hands-on experience in creating materials and textures for the 3D environment, applying those materials to objects, and rendering them. Students will focus on creating textures from scratch, using photo manipulation techniques as well as procedural texturing methods. Individual and team-oriented projects will be applied
DVA241 - Digital Video Production
Credits: 3.00
Prerequisite(s): DVA101
Recommended: DVA130, DVA110, DVA238, THE310
Continuing the concepts begun in DVA101, this course introduces students to more advanced digital video production equipment and techniques, and emphasizes the production of complete works. Working in teams, students will produce various projects, including music videos, documentaries and short films, while also exploring additional aesthetic concepts such as depth of field, camera movement and advanced lighting and sound. A greater emphasis is also placed on the pre-production stage for each type of project.
DVA355 - Character Rigging
Credits: 3.00
Prerequisite(s): DVA232, DVA244
So you want to be a Technical Director? Then this class is a must! Students will learn the importance of good planning and problem solving as they relate to character design for 3D animators. There will be an emphasis on interface customization throughout the class. Course topics will cover character setup, inverse kinematics, joints and bones, deformers, set driven keys and character texturing. Students will create a fully functional character rig that is ready for animation.
DVA377 - Motion Capture Production
Credits: 3.00
Prerequisite(s): DVA204, DVA355
Recommended: THE238
This course will immerse students in hands-on motion capture exercises utilizing the Motion Capture Studio. Students will focus on advanced procedures within the Motion Builder software exploring techniques for blending actions, mapping data to multiple characters, including bipedal and quadruped setups.
VIS210 - Information Visualization
Credits: 3.00
Prerequisite(s): VIS110
This class will explore the history and means of presenting data in meaningful ways to decision makers. Students will gain an understanding and demonstrate how to visualize information to users in a variety of formats including transactional database visualization. In addition to exploring many different information visualization methods and metaphors, students in this course will create their own information visualization projects. These projects can range from novel methods for displaying stock market data, to the social network distance of Kevin Bacon to the most recent 20 presidents.
VIS310 - Embedded Visualization
Credits: 3.00
Prerequisite(s): VIS210
Data visualizations are embedded when they correlate data to a physical phenomenon or object through compositing, projection, haptics or integrated hardware technologies. Examples are a national map that responsively displays crime statistics by county over time, or a video of a roller coaster that displays g-force, acceleration and speed values in real time. Using their knowledge of visualization strategies and hardware technologies, students will create their own embedded data visualizations.

Synthesis Courses

Complete 12 Credits minimum

DVA323 - Digital Video Production Studio I
Credits: 3.00
Prerequisite(s): DVA238 or DVA320 or DVA334 or DVA335 or DVA353 or DVA371 or GAA320 or THE330
The future of filmmaking is digital - virtual sets, computer-generated characters, and live-action actors photographed on a green screen, all of it integrated together through matchmoving and compositing. In this course, students bring to bear all their skills in the various areas of editing, camerawork, animation, compositing, and more to produce a complete work that exemplifies this new mode of making moving images. This is the ultimate portfolio-building course!
DVA350 - Advanced 3D Modeling
Credits: 3.00
Prerequisite(s): DVA231, DVA243
Students will further explore NURBS, polygon and subdivision surface modeling. Students will apply this toward completed organic and hard surface models. Projects will emphasize creatures and vehicles. Models will be made in multiple resolutions for use in different applications.
DVA373 - Character Animation
Credits: 3.00
Prerequisite(s): DVA355
Recommended: ART234, ART355, DVA321, DVA325
Bring life to a lifeless 3D model by applying character animation principles. Students will learn how to show weight, personality and thought processes in their characters. This course will focus on timing, storytelling and the creation of short animated sequences.
DVA492 - Digital Video Production Studio II
Credits: 3.00
Prerequisite(s): DVA323
Recommended: DVA130, DVA238, THE330, (THE125 or THE325)
In this follow-up to Digital Video Production Studio I, students once again produce a complete work that synthesizes all the skills and knowledge acquired throughout their studies in the DVA program. Students in Digital Video Production Studio II serve as the project leads and department heads, overseeing a crew of students in the concurrent Digital Video Production Studio I.
VIS410 - Scientific Visualization Project
Credits: 3.00
Prerequisite(s): VIS310
The use of multimedia and visualization technology and practices will be put to use in this course. Students in this course will propose, design, develop, deploy, and test applications to solve a stated scientific visualization need. This will require the analysis of the data or situation as well as the skills necessary create an application to communicate this information to the end user.


General Education Requirements: BACHELOR'S DEGREE

Minimum 36 total general education credit hours, including:

  • Humanities:
    - Minimum 15 credit hours, including:
    COM226 - Communication in Technology
    Credits: 3.00
    Prerequisite(s): none
    Students will experience expressing technology concepts to a broad audience. Students will learn best practices in presenting technology products and pitching concepts using business-appropriate communication skills. Effective use of voice, nonverbal skills and visuals will be applied to topics such as robotics, virtual reality, animation, digital video, network security and others. Presentations include peer-to-peer feedback in student-led discussions. In addition, students will have the opportunity to create a resume and be mock interviewed for a technology position.
    ENG101 - Composition I
    Credits: 3.00
    Prerequisite(s): none
    This course is designed to present effective techniques in organizing, developing and writing academic essays that reflect a collegiate level of writing. The purpose of this course is to help students write correctly, clearly and thoughtfully. Students will receive an introduction to basic writing, thinking and reading skills required for success in college, with emphasis on fluency in analytical, rhetorical, and creative non-fiction presentation.
    ENG102 - Composition II
    Credits: 3.00
    (GE, Humanities)
    Prerequisite(s): ENG101
    ENG102 is designed to introduce students to the essential language, theories and strategies of argumentation and research. The purpose of the course is to provide students with the tools necessary to develop arguments for specific audiences within specific rhetorical situations. Students will also develop their critical reading skills: analyzing, evaluating and critiquing the claims and evidence used by various authors. Finally, students will learn proper research skills and write an in-depth research essay/project.
  • Social Sciences:
    - Minimum 9 credit hours including:
    PSY150 - Psychology of Thinking
    Credits: 3.00
    Prerequisite(s): none
    PSY150 will examine the writings of Pythagoras, the father of formal mathematical thinking; Aristotle’s major works, including his 100-plus tests for the truth of any proposition; and other major thinkers from the classical period to modern times, including Francis Bacon, Galileo and other progenitors
    of the natural and behavioral sciences. The course will close with a survey of living thinkers, including “system thinkers” and a study of the major books by Edward de Bono.
  • Mathematics:
    - Minimum 3 credit hours for Bachelor of Arts
    - Minimum 6 credit hours with 3 credit hours at 200-level or higher for Bachelor of Science
  • Natural and Life Sciences:
    - Minimum 3 credit hours for Bachelor of Arts
    - Minimum 6 credit hours for Bachelor of Science.
  • Advanced exposure requirement:
    Minimum of 12 credit hours at a 300/400 level.
    - These credits require another general education course as a prerequisite, and represent a topical extension of prior general education studies