Bachelor of Science in Technology, Arts & Media

updated March 10, 2016

Program Overview

A major in the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS), the Bachelor of Science in Technology, Arts and Media (BS-TAM) offers a broad, transdisciplinary curriculum that integrates technological skills with a critical, theoretical and historical understanding of technology, media and the arts. The BS-TAM curriculum infuses creativity into technology and integrates a technically rigorous education with critical thinking, problem solving, design and creative production. This program attracts designers, makers, tinkerers, and builders—those with unorthodox perspectives and unconventional approaches to technology. Teaching diverse and adaptable skills, BS-TAM equips graduates to address a wide range of 21st century challenges and opportunities.

The Technology, Arts & Media Program is housed in the ATLAS Institute with core courses taught in the Roser ATLAS Center.

BS-TAM incorporates the CEAS “Flexible First Year” and comprises a minimum of 128 and a maximum of 133 credit hours of coursework in several categories.

Click here for degree requirements and a sample 4-year curriculum

TAM BS Goals:
  • To prepare the next generation of technologists, designers and artists for both existing and future careers
  • To produce students with a mastery of creative technology and who are adept at critical problem finding and solving
  • To equip students with the necessary technical, theoretical and historical perspectives so they can contribute to the development of new functionalities, aesthetics and innovations of creative technology
  • To encourage the investigation of the intersection of technology with other disciplines and practices
  • To enable students to think creatively, critically and conceptually about technology and its impacts upon our world
Hallmarks of the TAM Program
  • Most TAM classes are small-studio based courses that encourage group work and collaboration.
  • TAM classes are around 60% female, a percentage well above most engineering and computing programs.
  • TAM stresses knowledge, skills, and expertise in technology development with a foundation in engineering and computational thinking; creative technologies and applications; and interdisciplinary perspectives on IT and society.
  • The TAM faculty comprises technologists, designers and artists from diverse fields who are experts in teaching students with varied backgrounds, abilities, and interests.

Degree Requirements Overview

BS TAM Degree Diagram
General Coursework (72–77 credit hours)
  • Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Engineering and Computation (37–41 credits);
  • Humanities and Social Sciences (21 credits; including 6 credits of upper division courses as well as a college-approved writing course); and
  • Free Electives (14–15 credits)
BS-TAM Program Coursework (56 credit hours)
  • Foundation and Core courses (32 credits; including a two-semester sequence of Capstone projects-based courses);
  • Critical Perspectives in Technology Electives (6 credits, 3 of which must be upper division); and
  • Focus within one of the possible areas of specialization in Technology, Arts and Media (18 credits, 12 of which must be upper division. At least 12 of the 18 credit hours, and at least 3 of the 6 classes, must be ATLS courses.)
Total BS-TAM Credit Hours: 128–133
Graduation requirements for successfully completing the B.S. degree in Technology, Arts and Media (BS-TAM) include:
  • Completion of the curriculum, consisting of a minimum of 128 and a maximum of 133 total semester credit hours;
  • Cumulative grade point average of 2.250 or higher, consistent with CEAS policy.
  • A grade of C or better is necessary in all Foundation and Core Technology, Arts and Media courses.
  • A grade of C- or better is required for all pre-requisite courses.
  • A student may take up to 6 credit hours of free electives as Pass/Fail.

BS TAM Degree Requirements


General Coursework (72–77 credit hours)

Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Engineering and Computation: 37–41 credit hours
  • Mathematics: 14–16 credit hours
    Required to take a two-semester Calculus sequence, such as the CEAS Flexible First Year (APPM 1350 and APPM 1360) or another accepted sequence, as well as two courses from the list of accepted courses.
  • Natural Sciences: 12–13 credit hours
    Required to take a minimum of 12 credit hours of Natural Science coursework from the list of accepted courses.
  • Engineering and Computation: 11–12 credit hours
    Required to complete Engineering and Computation coursework as below.
    • One course from the following computing-based courses: CSCI 1300 (4 credits) or CSCI 1310 (4 credits) or CSCI 1320 or (4 credits) CHEN 1310 (3 credits; formerly COEN 1300) or ECEN 1310 (4 credits); and
    • One course from the following projects-based courses: GEEN 1400 (3 credits) or ASEN 1400 (3 credits) or ECEN 1400 (3 credits) or COEN 1410 (3 credits); and
    • One course from the following intro courses: COEN 1500 (1 credit) or AREN 1316 (2 credits) or CVEN 1317 (2 credits) or EVEN 1000 (1 credit) or CSCI 1000 (1 credit) or ECEN 1100 (1 credit) or CHEN 1300 (1 credit); and
    • CSCI 2270 Computer Science 2: Data Structures (4 credits).
Humanities, Social Sciences and Writing: 21 credit hours

A total of 21 credit hours of accepted coursework (must include at least 6 credit hours of upper division coursework as well as a college-approved writing course).

Free Electives: 14–15 credit hours

A total of 14–15 credits of unrestricted coursework allows and encourages students to pursue additional academic or leadership interests and explorations. A student may take up to 6 credit hours of free electives as Pass/Fail.


BS-TSM Program Coursework (56 credit hours)

BS TAM Major Diagram
TAM Foundation and Core: 24 credit hours

ATLS 2000, The Meaning of Information Technology and ATLS 1100 The History of Creative Technology and are the first two BS TAM courses or Foundation classes (6 credit hours). These courses introduce students to the fundamental concepts, theories, and histories relevant to creative technology.

The next six courses or Core (18 credit hours) provide a comprehensive introduction to, and competency in, essential topics in technology, arts and media: ATLS 2100 Image, ATLS 2200 Web, ATLS 2300 Text, ATLS 3100 Form, ATLS 3200 Sound, and ATLS 3300 Object. These small, studio-based creative production courses introduce students to the technical, conceptual and creative foundations of creative technology practices.

TAM Focus: 18 credit hours:
Students in the BS-TAM program will complete 6 total Focus elective courses (18 credit hours).
  • Of these 18 credit hours, 4 courses (12 credit hours) must be completed in a single Focus area (DESIGN, TIME, INTERACTIVITY, or SOUND. The remaining 3 courses (9 credit hours) can be completed in this or other Focus areas.
  • At least 12 of the 18 credits must be upper division courses (3000+)
  • At least 9 of the 18 credit hours, and at least 3 of the 6 classes, must be ATLS courses
  • Coursework for the TAM Focus must be chosen from the list of accepted courses

Students will select one of the following TAM Focus areas:

  • DESIGN graphic design, information architecture, visual communication, typography, imagery, information design, and visualization
  • TIME motion design, animation, video, and narrative media
  • SOUND digital sound, digital audio, performance, and interactive sound installation
  • INTERACTIVITY web, user interface design, user experience design, networked media, mobile application design and development, application programming interfaces, e-textiles, simulation, and gaming
  • Students may also petition to pursue an independently structured area of focus
Critical Perspectives in Technology Electives: 6 credit hours

Students in the BS-TAM program will complete 2 total (6 credit hours) Critical Perspectives in Technology Electives, 1 of which (3 credit hours) must be upper division (3000+). Coursework for the TAM Critical Perspectives in Technology Electives must be chosen from the list of accepted courses. These courses will challenge students to think critically about the effects of technology across a broad range of disciplines, perspectives and methodologies.

Capstone Sequence: 8 credit hours

Finally, senior year students must complete 8 credit hours in the two semester Senior Capstone classes. Within this sequence, students will produce:

  • A group thesis project
  • An individual thesis project
  • A critical writing project
  • A portfolio of work completed within the TAM Program

Policies

Course Substitutions

Coursework not on the approved elective list (including course work from another University of Colorado campus, another institution, Study Abroad, or Semester at Sea) must be approved by the TAM Faculty Committee. Students must complete a Course Substitution Petition Request Form and attach supporting documentation (syllabus).

Substitution requests will not be considered if the student has already satisfied the requirement with an approved elective course.

See the TAM Advisor for more information.

Sample 4 Year Curriculum

Year Fall Semester Spring Semester
Freshman Year

APPM 1350, Calculus 1 for Engineers (4 credits) or MATH 1300, Calculus 1 (5 credits)

ATLS 2000, Meaning of Information Technology (3 credits)

Natural Sciences (3–4 credits)

COEN 1500, Intro to Engineering (or CEAS intro–based course) (1 credit)

Humanities and Social Science (3 credits)

total credits = 14–16 credits

APPM 1360, Calculus 2 for Engineers (4 credits) or MATH 2300, Calculus 2 (5 credits)

ATLS 1100, Design Foundations (3 credits)

Natural Sciences (3–4 credits)

GEEN 1400, Freshman Projects (or CEAS project-based course) (3 credits)

CSCI 1300, Intro to Computing (or CEAS computing-based course) (3–4 credits)

total credits = 16–19 credits

Sophomore Year

Mathematics (3 credits)

ATLS 2100, Image (3 credits)

ATLS 2200, Web (3 credits)

CSCI 2270, Computer Science 2: Data Structures (4 credits)

Natural Sciences (3–4 credits)

total credits = 16–17 credits

Mathematics (3 credits)

ATLS 2300, Text (3 credits)

ATLS 3519, Object (3 credits)

Natural Sciences (3 credits) *if needed (12 credit hours of science required)

Humanities and Social Science (3 credits)

Free Elective (2-3 credits)

total credits = 17–18 credits

Junior Year

ATLS 3100, Form (3 credits)

ATLS 3200, Sound (3 credits)

Critical Perspectives in Technology (3 credits)

Free Elective (3 credits)

Humanities and Social Science (3 credits)

College-approved writing course (3 credits)

total credits = 18 credits

Critical Perspectives in Technology (3 upper division credits)

ATLS Focus (3 credits)

ATLS Focus (3 credits)

Free Elective (3 credits)

Humanities and Social Science (3 credits)

total credits = 15 credits

Senior Year

ATLS 4100, Capstone 1 (4 credits)

ATLS Focus (3 credits)

ATLS Focus (3 credits)

Humanities and Social Science (3 upper division credits)

Free Elective (3 credits)

total credits = 16 credits

ATLS 4200, Capstone 2 (4 credits)

ATLS Focus (3 credits)

ATLS Focus (3 credits)

Humanities and Social Science (3 upper division credits)

Free Elective (3 credits)

total credits = 16 credits

More About the Program

Unorthodox Approaches

TAM is unique. Our curriculum offers comprehensive technical skills instruction, but these applications are targeted towards traditional as well as creative, speculative and unorthodox ends. For example, TAM students learn to be skillful full-stack web developers, are also prepared to use those abilities to produce bleeding-edge, innovative projects that challenge traditional conceptions of what websites can be. Students who complete the program do so with a unique, relevant and highly-transferrable technical and creative skill set.

Transdisciplinarity

TAM is discipline-agnostic and encourages students to pursue their interests and passions in ways that conform to, as well as breach traditional disciplinary canons. The TAM faculty is well prepared to help students discover, explore and expand their tangential and transdisciplinary pursuits. This educational philosophy will prepare students for rapid shifts and innovations in today’s and tomorrow’s creative technology landscape.

Creative Production and Critical Perspectives

TAM students are prolific creators, but are also able to critically engage with the works that they produce. TAM students learn to critically and conceptually assess the works that they create. TAM courses are designed on the studio model that integrates faculty and peer critique at every level. Graduates of the TAM program are equally creator and critic, artist and theorist.

A New Type of Student

Students who may not find their interests aligned with traditional degree programs may find the TAM BS an exciting option, allowing them to simultaneously develop technical and creative abilities while investigating the arts and humanities. The TAM BS program caters to a new kind of hybrid student—students who would not ordinarily consider an engineering major—but who will eagerly develop technical mastery in service of creative goals and objectives.

Industry and Career Paths

Graduates of the TAM BS will be well prepared to pursue careers in the following fields:

  • Graphic Design & Visual Communication
  • 3D Modeling, Gaming & Simulation
  • Information Design & Data Visualization
  • Motion Graphics & Animation
  • Video & Narrative Media
  • Robotics & Physical Computing
  • Interactive Environment Design & Development
  • Digital Sound, Production & Electronic Music
  • Web Design & Development
  • Mobile Application Design & Development

Students who complete the program are also highly prepared to pursue graduate or advanced degrees in various technological fields as well as the arts.

BS-TAM Mathematics Electives

In order to satisfy the Mathematics requirement, students in the BS-TAM major must complete 4 courses (with a minimum of 14 credit hours) as follows:

One Calculus 1 course:

  • APPM 1350-4 or Math 1300-5 or Math 1310-5

One Calculus 2 course:

  • APPM 1360-4 or Math 2300-5 or Math 1320-5

Students are also required to take 2 additional courses from the list of accepted classes as below:

  • APPM 2350-4, Calculus 3 for Engineers or MATH 2400-4 Calculus 3
  • APPM 2360-4, Introduction to Differential Equations with Linear Algebra
  • APPM 3050-3, Scientific Computing in Matlab
  • APPM 3170-3, Discrete Applied Mathematics
  • APPM 3310-3, Matrix Methods and Applications or MATH 3130-3 Introduction to Linear Algebra
  • APPM 4570-3, Statistical Methods
  • CSCI 2820-3, Linear Algebra with Computer Science Applications
  • CSCI 2824-3, Discrete Structures or ECEN 2703-3, Discrete Mathematics for Computer Engineers
  • BCOR 1025-3, Data Analysis in Business, MATH 2510-3, Introduction to Statistics or MATH 3510-3, Introduction to Probability and Statistics or PSYC 2111-4, Psychological Science I: Statistics or SOCY 2061-3, Introduction to Social Statistics or IPHY 2800-4, Introduction to Statistics

BS-TAM Natural Sciences Electives

Students in the BS-TAM program are required to take a minimum of 3 courses (with a minimum of 12 credit hours) in the Natural Sciences. Courses accepted for this requirement are listed below.

  • ASEN 1022-3, Materials Science for Aerospace Engineers
  • ASTR 1010-4, Intro to Astronomy 1 OR ASTR 1030-4, Accelerated Introductory Astronomy 1
  • ASTR 1020-4, Intro to Astronomy 1 OR ASTR 1040-4, Accelerated Introductory Astronomy 2
  • ASTR 1030-4, Accelerated Introductory Astronomy 1
  • ASTR 1040-4, Accelerated Introductory Astronomy 2
  • ASTR 1200-3, Stars and Galaxies
  • ATOC 1050-3, Weather and the Atmosphere
  • ATOC 1060-3, Our Changing Environment: El Nino, Ozone, and Climate
  • ATOC 3070-3, Introduction to Oceanography
  • CHEM 1113-4, General Chemistry 1—OR—CHEN 1211-4, General Chemistry for Engineers
  • CHEM 1114-1, Laboratory in General Chemistry 1—OR—CHEM 1221-1, Engineering General Chemistry Lab
  • CHEM 1133-4, General Chemistry 2
  • CHEM 1134-1, Laboratory in General Chemistry 2
  • EBIO 1030-3, Biology: A Human Approach 1
  • EBIO 1040-3, Biology: A Human Approach 2
  • EBIO 1210-3, General Biology 1
  • EBIO 1220-3, General Biology 2
  • EBIO 1230-1, General Biology Laboratory 1
  • EBIO 1240-1, General Biology Laboratory 2
  • GEOG 1001-4, Environmental Systems 1—Climate and Vegetation
  • GEOL 1010-3, Introduction to Geology
  • GEOL 1020-3, Introduction to Earth History
  • MCDB 1150-3, Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • MCEN 1024-4, Chemistry for Energy and Materials Science
  • MCEN 2024-3, Materials Science
  • PHYS 1110-4, General Physics 1 (Calculus based physics) OR PHYS 2010-4, General Physics 1 (Algebra based physics)
  • PHYS 1120-4, General Physics 2 (Calculus based physics) OR PHYS 2020-4, General Physics 2 (Algebra based physics)
  • PHYS 1140-1, Experimental Physics 1
  • PHYS 1230-3, Light & Color for Nonscientist
  • PHYS 1240-3, Sound & Music
  • PSYC 2012-3, Biological Psychology

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the BS TAM an Engineering Degree?

By definition the Bachelor of Science in Technology, Arts & Media (BS TAM) is an engineering degree—it is offered in the College of Engineering & Applied Science and BS TAM students take the core engineering courses and learn to apply that knowledge in specific domains and practices.

However, the TAM BS is quite different from traditional Engineering degrees. We are a technically-rigorous interdisciplinary program that reflects current trends, practices and needs in industry and the world at large. We are helping the designers, makers, technologists, and artists of tomorrow to think creatively and critically about technology, art and media, and we’re lucky to be part of an engineering school that embraces out-of-the-box degrees. We teach people to think about the things they make in holistic ways. We teach people to see, to think, to design, and to build.

After all, what is engineering? It's about making things. Civil engineers make water systems, dams, roads, and bridges. Mechanical engineers make machines. Software engineers make software. TAM students make things as well: websites, apps, games, interactive installations, data visualizations—just to name a few. Our goal is to produce hybrid engineer-artist-designers who make things, but simultaneously understand the world, and make it a better place to live.

We are:

  • A art and design program with a passion for technology
  • A technology program that integrates a rigorous Engineering core curriculum
  • A design program with an addiction to technology

We believe that making people think is as important as making something that "works."

Is the BS TAM an accredited program?

Nope. TAM is a forward-thinking, cutting-edge program built upon interdisciplinary and hybridity. As such, accreditation for a program like ours doesn't yet exist.

Why is the BS TAM located in Engineering?

There are several reasons why the BS TAM is located within the College of Engineering and Applied Science:

  • The students we are looking for are found in CEAS: hard working, technically talented, wicked smart, creative problem solvers
  • The core coursework in CEAS provides BS TAM students domain-specific knowledge in mechanical, computational, electrical, chemical engineering domains, that they can then apply to interdisciplinary, speculative and creative projects.
  • We want to challenge and broaden the scope and relevance of STEM fields to creative and speculative disciplines

Do I have to be an "artist" to do well in TAM? / Do you teach "ART" in TAM?

Within the TAM Program, we think of art in a non-traditional way. For us, art is a way to think. It is a way to approach and solve problems. Art is unorthodox, and sometimes unorthodox perspectives give us insight into the world in which we live.

We also teach most of our courses in small, project based studios which is a way of teaching that we modeled after studio arts courses.

So in the TAM program, we aren't necessarily looking for students who are "expert-painters" but we are looking for creatively minded individuals who see the world through a different lens.

Where have TAM Students gone to work in the past?

  • Cactus
  • Four Winds Interactive
  • Oracle
  • Telltale Games
  • TDA Boulder
  • Crispin Porter + Bogusky
  • Room 214
  • Twitter
  • iHeartMedia
  • Yelp
  • The Integer Group
  • BBDO San Francisco
  • NOAA
  • Seagate Technology
  • Wieden Kennedy
  • The White House
  • IBM
  • SalesForce
  • Karsh and Hagan
  • NBC Universal
  • Autodesk
  • Dish Network
  • Starz Entertainment