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Bachelor of Science in Digital Narrative and Interactive Design

The Digital Narrative and Interactive Design (DNID) major harnesses the narrative, world-building, and media studies strengths of the English department and the coding, software development, and human computer interface strengths of the School of Computing and Information. Students will learn how to build interactive narrative systems such as games, interactive literature, virtual reality environments and other interactive media experiences in a variety of fields. This major is operated jointly by the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences (DSAS) and the School of Computing and Information (SCI). It offers training that builds a solid foundation in English (Writing, Composition, Film and Media Studies, and Literature), Computer Science, and Information Science.

View a PDF version of the degree requirements for this major.

Required Courses

Gateway course

Choose one of the following courses.

Composition courses

Complete ENGCMP 0610 - COMPOSING DIGITAL MEDIA or the Digital Narrative and Interactive Design course currently under development for the CMPINF, ENGCMP, and ENGLIT subject codes.

Programming Basis course

Choose one of the following courses.

Intermediate Programming course

Choose one of the following courses.

Interaction and Narrative course

Choose one of the following courses. Students who take ENGLIT 0512 for their Gateway course may not use it to fulfill this requirement.

Media Literacy course

Choose one of the following courses.

Data Literacy course

Choose one of the following courses.

Elective courses

Students must complete two elective courses from the School of Computing and Information and two elective courses from the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Courses offering a depth of knowledge in pre-identified areas of interest are clustered together to provide a guide for students; Students are not required to follow nor declare a specific track.

Capstone sequence

The Capstone sequence allows students to design and implement a signature project to complete the major. Students start with the design project (Project 1) and complete the sequence with the implementation project (Project 2) in consultation with their advisors. Students seeking Independent Study or Directed Study options for the capstone sequence should work with their advisors to ensure that the work done in these courses will complete the sequence.

Project 1

Choose one of the following courses.

Project 2


Electives/Available Tracks

Courses marked with an asterisk (*) may require prerequisite courses. Students should check with their advisors.

The Critical Making track focuses on understanding code as creative and expressive of social relationships. The coursework addresses human interfaces within cultural and social contexts, particularly the historical and contemporary relationship between social interaction and platform design. Students will innovate new forms of human-machine interaction, apply or develop new tools to analyze cultural works (texts, images, moving images, etc.), express code in the creation and functioning of material objects or assemblages (haptic feedback systems, robotics, etc.), and analyze ways that gender, race, and other social categories and assumptions are “hard-coded” into both hardware and software.

School of Computing and Information courses

Choose two of the following courses.

Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences courses

Choose two of the following courses.

The Game Design track focuses on situating game production, advertising, and playing into current and historical social and cultural contexts. Coursework analyzes and evaluates the relationship between narrative and gameplay, and articulates critical facets of game design such as gameplay mechanics, balance, fairness, narrative, pacing, character, and aesthetics. Students will analyze both the narrative and design implementation challenges of game design and propose strategies for meeting those challenges, particularly in the case of social, medical, environmental, and educational problems (serious games).

Game Design track

School of Computing and Information courses

Choose two of the following courses.

Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences courses

Choose two of the following courses.

The Online Media track skills will range from developing digital format narrative to communicate on behalf of organizations (for-profit or non-profit) and innovating online interactions to creating and critically analyzing content and data across the variety of specific digital formats. Students completing this track will be able to design distribution vectors for digital content, propose solutions to design and implementation challenges, and ultimately design media-rich web and mobile app content and implement their use.

English (choose two)

  • ENGCMP 0520 Integrating Writing and Design
  • ENGCMP 1112 Professional Uses of Social Media
  • ENGCMP 1130 Projects in Digital Composition
  • ENGFLM 0570 Introduction to New Media
  • ENGLIT/ENGFLM 0812 Media/Ecology
  • ENGLIT 1001 Interactive Literature
  • ENGLIT 1412 Secret Pittsburgh
  • ENGLIT 1377 Media Literacy
  • ENGWRT 1403 Topics in Electronic Media
  • ENGWRT 1501 Topics Creative Writing – Audio Storytelling
  • GSWS 1210 Gender and the Digital

SCI (choose two)

  • CS 0590 Social Implications of Computing Technology
  • CS 1520 Programming Languages for Web Applications
  • INFSCI 1044 Human Factors in System Design
  • INFSCI 1068 Geographic Information Systems
  • INFSCI 1052 User-Centered Design
  • INFSCI 1024 Analysis of Information Systems

Admissions Information

To learn more about Admissions to the undergraduate program at SCI, visit our Undergraduate Admissions FAQ page.


Tuition and Fees

Information regarding tuition rates, fees, and financial aid can be found on the University’s Office of Admissions and Financial Aid (OAFA) Web site.