University of Sydney Handbooks - 2016 Archive

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Digital Cultures

Digital Cultures is part of the Department of Media and Communications in the School of Letters, Art and Media.

About the major

The Digital Cultures major critically investigates the internet, new media and digital technologies and the roles they play in contemporary society, culture, business, politics, the arts and everyday life. In the Digital Cultures major, you will explore the interface between emerging new media technologies and cultural practices involving information, communication, knowledge, identities and power. Students build a rich understanding of how new technologies are generated, circulated and consumed.

Topics covered in the Digital Cultures major include:

  • the web
  • social media
  • online identities
  • mobile media
  • social networks
  • computer games
  • virtual communities
  • theories of technology and culture
  • digital research
  • media arts.

The Digital Cultures major places intelligent, interactive, mobile and networked technologies in context, taking an interdisciplinary approach that draws on sociology, history, philosophy, media studies, cultural studies and new media studies to understand the dramatic changes emerging as digital media proliferate. Teaching combines face-to-face coursework with online exercises and practical work in computer labs. Graduates with Digital Cultures majors are skilled communicators and critical analysts of new technologies and digital media in Australian and global contexts. They are well positioned to play key roles as social commentators, innovators and leaders.

Pathways through the major

A major in Digital Cultures requires at least 36 senior credit points, including at least 24 credit points from core Digital Cultures units of study and including the senior-advanced (3000) core unit, ARIN3620 Researching Digital Cultures.

The units of study for the major can be found in the unit of study table for Digital Cultures. The table shows units of study on offer in the current handbook year. You may find information regarding a full list of units of study available to the major on the departmental website.

Junior units of study (1000 level)

The Digital Cultures major draws students from a wide range of disciplines. You complete 18 junior credit points (three junior units of study) taken from any of the following subject areas: Anthropology, Art History, Computer Science, Design Computing, English, Gender and Cultural Studies, History, Information Systems, Information Technology, Linguistics, Media and Communications, Psychology and Sociology.

Senior units of study (2000 and 3000 level)

You complete at least 24 credit points taken from core Digital Cultures units and up to 12 senior credit points from the elective units listed in the Digital Cultures unit of study table.

Senior-intermediate (2000 level) units of study are designed to offer an overview of an area, genre or disciplinary problem, giving you an opportunity to survey and consolidate knowledge and skills in Digital Cultures.You must complete 12 credit points at senior-intermediate (2000) level before enrolling in senior-advanced (3000) level units of study.

Senior-advanced (3000 level) units are advanced level units in Digital Cultures that should be taken in the final year of your major. A major in Digital Cultures requires that you complete the compulsory senior-advanced core unit ARIN3620 Researching Digital Cultures. ARIN3610 Technology and Culture is also strongly recommended.

Sample student pathway through the Digital Cultures major
Sample Pathway - Digital Cultures major
First Year S1

Junior unit from subject areas listed in the unit of study table

Junior unit from subject areas listed in the unit of study table Junior unit from subject areas listed in the unit of study table Junior unit
S2 Senior-intermediate (2000 level) core unit, ARIN2610 Junior unit Junior unit Junior unit
Second Year S1 Senior-intermediate (2000 level) core unit, ARIN2620 Senior-intermediate (2000 level) core unit, ARIN2640 Senior unit Senior unit
S2 Senior-intermediate (2000 level) core unit, ARIN2630 Senior unit Senior unit Senior unit
Third Year S1 Senior-advanced (3000 level) core unit, ARIN3610 Senior unit Senior unit Senior unit
S2 Senior-advanced (3000 level) compulsory core unit, ARIN3620 Senior unit Senior unit Senior unit

An Honours program is also available in Digital Cultures. Acceptance into the program requires an average of 70 percent or above across 48 senior credit points in Digital Cultures. In the Honours program, students are expected to attend weekly Honours seminars and departmental seminars. All students will submit a thesis of 18,000-20,000 words on an approved topic, with a research proposal submitted to the Honours Coordinator by December of the year prior to enrolment. Additional assessments will focus on research design, methodology and critical readings undertaken in first semester. Mid-year enrolment is not available. Part-time enrolment is available with permission from the Honours coordinator.

Refer to the degree resolutions in this Handbook and to the Faculty Admissions Policy for Honours:

Contact/further information

For further information see the department website:

Program Director: Dr Grant Bollmer
Phone: +61 2 9351 2308