High Quality Arts Programs at an Affordable Tuition = Value: The programs in the CU Denver College of Arts & Media are comparable to top art, film, and music programs that are usually only found at expensive private arts colleges. We are able to offer comparable programs at a much-reduced public university rate.
Denver: CU Denver is located in the heart of downtown Denver and we take full advantage of our amazing location. Denver has an incredible arts and music scene. Our students are just blocks away from some of the best art museums, music venues, theaters, studios, and galleries in the Rocky Mountain Region. Our faculty, alumni, and students are very tied to the Denver arts scene. These connections are extremely helpful for internship and career opportunities.
Career Focused: We are more career focused that most arts colleges. Some colleges focus on students developing a love of art for the sake of art. Not much time is spent on career paths because it is assumed that students will go on to graduate programs. While we also believe that art should be appreciated for what it is, we take it a step further and want students to have careers doing what they’re passionate about in the arts. Some of our students go on to graduate programs but our programs are designed so that students are prepared to start careers with just their bachelor’s degrees. Students are pushed to start thinking about internships and career options early in the curriculum. Our faculty and staff work hard to foster these conversation early instead of waiting until a student is a senior and about to graduate.
There are about 11,000 total undergraduate students at CU Denver and currently over 1,300 of them are in the College of Arts & Media. In addition to the 1,300 undergraduate students, CAM has two graduate programs (Recording Arts and Media Forensics) that total about 40 students.
From music, to film, to digital design, advertising, illustration and studio arts, the creative economy is thriving. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, there are nearly five million people employed in the arts and cultural sector, contributing $698 billion to the U.S. economy. That’s about 5% of all U.S. goods and services. The arts are also a big part of the Denver economy. In 2017, nonprofit arts and cultural activity in the Denver metro area reached a record on 1.9 billion. This growth is fueling demand for qualified graduates with the skills, portfolios and experience needed to hit the ground running. Because College of Arts & Media students use the same tools and technologies deployed in today’s creative economy, and receive a robust liberal arts education in addition to their artistic training, they are sought-after by top employers in creative industries.
At the College of Arts & Media, you'll learn the business, networking and technical skills needed to prepare you for a career. Thanks to a robust education and hands-on experience, our graduates find careers at some of the world’s leading creative companies, like Nickelodeon Animation Studios, Spotify, NBC Universal Media, Apple, Pixar, AEG Live, Google, Comcast, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Rolling Stone, HBO, Industrial Light & Magic, Disney, and AMC’s “The Walking Dead”. Others are leading bands such as The Fray, Wildermiss, One Flew West, and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. Many other entrepreneurial alumni have found success starting their own businesses. Our location in the heart of Denver provides access to a thriving creative economy, including numerous art districts, music venues, and advertising and film companies, all with connections to CU Denver. The College of Arts & Media doesn’t just create artists, we create arts and media professionals with degrees that enable them to pursue their passions.
College of Arts & Media students land internships with companies that are redefining the creative economy. CU Denver’s Experiential Learning Center connects students to high-quality internships that provide hands-on experience and college credit. CAM’s in-house talent agency is a partially student run organization that connects students with paid opportunities to put their education to work by doing arts and media projects for area businesses and non-profits.
Top companies that have recently provided internships to CAM students include: AEG Live, High Noon Entertainment, Comedy Works, Denver Art Museum, MTV Networks, Levitt Pavilion, 7S Management, NBCUniversal and Sirius Satellite Radio.
College of Arts & Media students gain access to many of our state-of-the-art facilities on day one, and will hone their skills using the same tools and technologies used by professionals in their fields. Students across all three CAM departments create work in computer labs where equipment and software are upgraded regularly. Most CAM studios are open for use by enrolled CAM majors, minors and graduate students when classes are not scheduled. Whatever your creative passion, CAM offers the facilities and technologies to bring them to life.
Just some of the facilities available to CAM students:
Traditional and digital photographic facilities
Some of the nicest performing venues in Denver at the King Center
Sculpture lab, wood shop, metal shop and foundry
Drawing and painting studios
Five professional grade recording studios
Digital animation center and motion capture studio
Printmaking and visual arts studios
Professional video equipment, production studios, scene shop and costume shop
Some scholarships are awarded to students at the time of admission based on the academic profile of the student. Out-of-State students who don’t qualify for the WUE tuition rate at CU Denver are eligible for some large admission scholarships to help reduce the out-of-state tuition costs for high achieving students. Students from one of the WUE states (those in the Western U.S.) automatically qualify for the WUE tuition rate, which is 1.5 times the in-state tuition rate. The WUE tuition rate often saves qualifying students over $10,000 per year compared with the out-of-state tuition rate. There are also academic scholarships for high-achieving in-state students. Fall applicants should make sure to apply to CU Denver by January 1st to ensure that they are eligible to receive many of the automatic admission scholarships.
In addition to scholarships that may be available to any CU Denver student, the College of Arts & Media offers a number of scholarships. Once admitted, students can apply for these scholarships through ScholarLynx in their CU Denver student portal. The deadline to apply for most of these scholarships is March 15th. Please note that we don’t award any scholarships based on a music students audition. The auditions are only used for determining admission to one of the audition track programs in the Music & Entertainment Industry Studies (MEIS) Department.
CAM is where diversity, talent and inspiration combine. Talk to any student or graduate and you’ll discover that they learn and find support beyond the classroom because our driven students and staff create an energizing network of collaboration and support. CU Denver is home to over 120 student organizations. It’s a place where any student can find like-minded individuals to connect on academic, cultural and extracurricular interests. Attending a downtown arts and media college has its advantages too. Denver’s numerous art galleries, music venues, night life and creative businesses become an extension of our campus, providing opportunities for learning, inspiration and careers.
With an average student-to-faculty ratio of 16-to-1, CU Denver offers small class sizes and personal attention. At the College of Arts & Media, this is especially true. Competitive admissions and a dedicated faculty help to ensure that small class size translates into valuable interactions for students.
Due to the hands-on nature of many CAM programs, most degrees are not offered online. However, CAM does offer an online master’s degree in Media Forensics. Additionally, many prerequisite courses are available online, at night or through hybrid online and on-campus formats. The availability of specific online courses can be found using the Online Course Search.
Our alumni continue to excel in the industries they love. Recently, Tim Kimmel, a recording arts alum, received an Emmy in Outstanding Sound Editing for his work on Game of Thrones. Timothy Nice, a digital animation alum, is currently the Director of User Experience Design at Charter Communications and previously worked with Lucas Arts as the Sr. Effects Artist for the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed video game released in 2008. Additionally, Aaron Kopp, a Film & Television alum, shot and co-produced the Oscar-winning documentary about acid attacks in Pakistan, Saving Face. Aaron and his wife Amanda, another alum, recently produced the award winning film, Liyana.
Many prominent musicians, including Isaac Slade of The Fray, Andy Guerrero of Flobots, Bridget Law of Elephant Revival, Luke Mossman of Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, guitarist are graduates of CAM. Alumnus PJ Bloom landed at number 80 on Billboard Magazine’s annual Power 100 list and has been named “Music Supervisor of the Year” by both the Guild of Music Supervisors and the American Association of Independent Music. Filmmaker Brock Byrd scored a job with the award-winning series The Walking Dead after doing great work on his internship with the show. Visual arts alum, Walter Ware, recently assisted with one of the largest public art pieces in the world, which was installed at Denver International Airport.
Music & Entertainment Industry Studies Questions
We are one of a small number of contemporary college music departments in the country. Our focus is on the modern music industry and our faculty, alumni, and students are very connected to the music industry, both in Denver and internationally. The MEIS music programs are well known and respected nationally. Our Music Business program was recently ranked as one of the best in the country by Billboard Magazine. Our Singer-Songwriter and Guitar Performance Programs have also recently been ranked in the top ten by national publications. Our Recording Arts Programs was founded in 1971, making it one of the first recording arts programs in the country. The contemporary focus and quality of our department, has made it attractive to students from all over the world. We are currently the largest music department in the Rocky Mountain region.
There are six emphasis degree tracks (also referred to as programs):
1. Music Performance 2. Singer/Songwriter 3. Songwriter Entrepreneur 4. Recording Arts – Non-Audition Track 5. Recording Arts – Audition Track 6. Music Business – Non-Audition Track 7. Music Business – Audition Track
You can find curriculum maps on each of the program pages on our website. If you can't find them please email us at email@example.com and we can email you the direct link to the curriculum map for your program.
Audition Track This track is for students who hope to have careers as music performers but also want to receive lots of classes in music business or recording arts in their curriculum. The audition track prepares performers to manage and develop their own musical careers. Applicants for the audition track can only start in the fall semester and must complete the audition track application requirements by April 1st.
Non-Audition Track This track is for students who seek careers behind-the-scenes in the music industry. These students will only take the basic performance courses and aren’t required to take any applied instrument lesson courses. This non-audition tracks focus on the management and operation of organizations within the fields of music business and recording arts. Non-audition track applicants are not required to audition in order to be admitted to MEIS. Applicants only have to be admitted to CU Denver to start in one of these programs.
In addition to being admitted to CU Denver, we do require additional application requirements for audition track music applicants. Non-audition track applicants just need to be admitted to CU Denver to start in our program. All of the MEIS application information can be found on our website here.
MEIS admission to one of our audition track programs is good for a full year. Therefore, if a student is admitted to MEIS for a fall term and doesn’t attend during that academic year, the student could start the in MEIS the following fall term without having to reapply to MEIS. If a student waits to enroll more that a year after MEIS admission, the student must reapply to MEIS.
Film & Television Department Questions
The video and television program is designed to provide experience and knowledge in all aspects of production. From conceptualizing and writing, to filming and editing. The program provides students with the opportunity to work on a wide variety of projects, such as: short films, documentaries, episodic television, digital effects, color, animation and commercials. Our faculty includes Emmy-award winning production professionals and filmmakers who understand the business and what it takes to succeed. This hands-on, in-depth program prepares students with the experience and polished body of work they need to launch their careers.
Early in the curriculum, students get courses in all aspects of the filmmaking process. Near the end of the curriculum, students take specialized courses in their filmmaking areas of focus. Students move through the curriculum in cohorts. The typical cohort size is 40-65 students.
The program offers a BFA Film & Television degree.
There are currently 250 students in the program.
In addition to being admitted to CU Denver, we do require a Secondary Film & Television Application in order for students to be admitted to our program. All of the Film & Television Department application information can be found on the How to Apply page.
Visual Arts Department Questions
The Visual Arts Department provides students with both a comprehensive visual arts foundation and artist specialization in one of six unique, career-focused programs. The department provides an enriching educational environment located at the center of Denver’s thriving art community. Future artists, designers, and art historians explore the horizons of their talents in a culture supportive of rigorous art making, multiple media, and critical dialogue. Our students learn about new technology and ideas so that they are prepared for new opportunities and future career paths. Each student’s scholarly work is infused with creativity, innovative technology, contemporary theory, and professional practices.
The Visual Arts Department offers six degree programs:
3D Digital Animation (BFA)
Art History (BA)
Art Practices (BFA) – Concentrations in Painting & Drawing or Transmedia Sculpture
Digital Design (BFA)
There are currently about 500 students in the department.
Students just need to be admitted to CU Denver in order to start in our Visual Arts Department programs. Portfolios aren’t required at the time of admission to CU Denver. Some of the Visual Arts programs do require that students pass a portfolio after taking pre-portfolio classes in our program in order to move on to upper level courses.
Digital Design – For students entering the Digital Design Program straight from high school with no digital design college credits, students submit a portfolio after their first semester in the program at the end of the fall semester. The students that pass the portfolio create a cohort of students that move through the program together. The typical cohort size is 30-40 students. Potential transfer students are encouraged to meet with the CAM admissions staff and/or the CAM advisors prior to transferring to learn which credits will transfer and what their options are for submitting a portfolio.
3D Digital Animation - For students entering the 3D Digital Animation Program straight from high school with no digital animation college credits, students submit a portfolio after their first year in the program at the end of the spring semester. The students that pass the portfolio create a cohort of students that move through the program together. The typical cohort size is 35-50 students. Potential transfer students are encouraged to meet with the CAM admissions staff and/or the CAM advisors prior to transferring to learn which credits will transfer and what their options are for submitting a portfolio.
Illustration - For students entering the Illustration Program straight from high school with no or few visual arts college credits, students submit a portfolio after their fourth semester in the program at the end of the spring semester. The students that pass the portfolio create a cohort of students that move through the program together. The typical cohort size is 20-30 students. Potential transfer students are encouraged to meet with the CAM admissions staff and/or the CAM advisors prior to transferring to learn which credits will transfer and what their options are for submitting a portfolio.
Our other three programs, Photography, Art History, and Art Practices, do not require portfolios to move on to upper level courses.
For our 3D Digital Animation and Digital Design Programs, it is recommended that students start in our programs directly from high school due to the cohort structure of the programs. Transfer students often still have four years (7-8 semester) remaining in one of these programs even if they have completed an Associate’s Degree because of the cohort structure of these programs. If students looking at these two programs do start at a community college, it is strongly recommended that they transfer over after only a year (1-2 semesters) at a community college.
For our Illustration Program, while it is also recommended that students start directly in our program from high school, there is a little more flexibility with the pre-portfolio requirements. If future students plan appropriately, they can take three semesters at a community college and transfer over to finish their last five semesters in our program to graduate in four years. Every transfer situation is unique, though, so potential transfer students should speak with a CAM admissions staff and/or a CAM advisor prior to transferring.
Our other three programs, Photography, Art History, and Art Practices, are easier to transfer into while remaining of a four-year graduation plan. In order to do this, transfer students must take the appropriate early curriculum program courses through their community college. It is recommended that these students work with the CAM admissions staff and/or CAM advisors when they first start at the community college to make sure that they are taking the appropriate courses.