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Master of Arts in Digital Storytelling

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COURSE LIST (30 total credits)

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Core courses (12 credits)

Introduction to Graduate Studies (1)

This course is designed to introduce students to graduate study in the School of Communication Arts. Students will investigate topics such as academic and professional goal setting, time management, how to thrive in an online learning environment, and scholarly research and writing. Students will also become acquainted with the resources, culture, and mission of both the School of Communication Arts and the wider Asbury community.

Master Storytelling Seminar (3)

This course will focus on developing analyses and critiques of master storytellers. We will cover the essential elements of Story Structure and Text Analysis, particularly as they apply to film, television and theater storytelling. Attention will be given to the universal story elements drawn from God’s creation and biblical storytelling.

Viral Marketing Methods (3)

In this course, students will learn the theoretical foundations of viral marketing, as well as how to successfully apply viral marketing examples in diverse contexts, including political, business and non-profit/ministry arenas.

Communication Research Methods (2)

This course provides graduate students with the theoretical and practical knowledge necessary to ask meaningful research questions and to investigate those questions appropriately. Assignments will allow students to apply course concepts within their own specific vocational contexts.

Media Ethics and Criticism (3)

Students will read, review, and analyze ethical philosophies and criticism using a biblical worldview, and will then apply relevant principles to critique current examples of media storytelling.

Choose one Industry course (3 credits)

Deconstructing the Documentary (3)

This course will review the history and agendas of documentaries from Robert Flaherty, to Leni Riefenstahl, to Michael Moore to Ken Burns to Morgan Spurlock to Dana Brown. Students will read relevant articles, books and review a planned succession of documentary films and series. They will post weekly essays reflecting a thoughtful analysis of the meaning and agendas of the various documentaries reviewed. Learning outcomes will include research strategies, critical analysis and worldview insight.

Media Ministry & the Church (3)

This course will study the rapidly growing world of media ministry. Students will explore how multi-media can enhance worship, and inspire, inform and educate the congregation. Students will learn how to craft powerful narratives by combining scriptural truths with media production.  The class will include theoretical study as well as practical application in the form of a final project that they will create for their respective congregations.

One Experiential course (3 credits)


Apprenticeship Program (3)

Graduate students will serve in an apprenticeship role directly under a qualified experienced industry professional (resume must be presented to faculty) in the production of a movie, advanced web site, magazine or the production of a music CD. This program requires a minimum of 160 hours under the guidance of a professor and/or qualified industry professional. Faculty strongly recommend a secular apprenticeship. Must be approved by faculty advisor. [Contract required]

Choose one Media Writing course (3 credits)

Feature Film Screenwriting (3)

A writing course in film and television. Original screenplays will be developed.  Includes lab for script development and discussion of three act structure and story development. Prerequisite: DSG 550.

Cross-Platform Storytelling (3)

Students will learn the theoretical foundations of designing nonlinear and interactive narratives across a variety of communication technology contexts, including social media, virtual worlds and video games. This course will be writing-intensive, with projects focused on creating effective narratives for multiple digital platforms. Upon completion of this course, students will possess the theoretical and practical knowledge to produce quality stories in a diversified media landscape. Prerequisite: DSG 550.

Writing the One-Hour Drama (3)

This course will move students from theory to practice in its focus on the writing of a one-hour dramatic television show. Students will create their own original pilot, determining how their series will function and what the genre will be. They will move from outline to draft and then a final script. Prerequisite: DSG 550.

Other electives (9 credits)

Courses above not already taken, or options such as:

Design for Film, Television and Theatre

Students will explore how design influences storytelling by studying design concepts for film, television and theatre. They will learn how to analyze a script and create a design plan including costuming, sets and props.

Editing Practice and Theory

Explore the practicalities and theories of film and video editing.  It will provide advanced software editing techniques and the complicated procedures of post-production with an emphasis on importing footage and exporting to various formats. The course will also explore key aesthetic approaches to editing narrative film. 

Cinematography Theory and Practice

An in-depth exploration of the theory and practice of cinematography and lighting for film and television. Students will study the technique s of the leading directors of photography.  

Reading the Great Scripts

What do Preston Sturges, William Goldman, Joseph Mankiewicz, Billy Wilder, and Christopher Nolan have in common? They are great screenwriters. Students will read the scripts of the greatest screenwriters and analyze them for story structure, dialogue, pacing, character development, action and all the many elements that make up the emotional Swiss watch we call a screenplay. 

*Other options possible depending on availability.

Tell us about yourself, and we will get in touch with more about this program!

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