Minor in Digital Studies

Snow on the Main Quadrangle

Students in the College of the University of Chicago may undertake a Minor in Digital Studies as a complement to their primary field of study. This minor is intended primarily for students who are majoring in the humanities or social sciences but may also be of interest to students in the sciences who wish to acquire computational skills in the context of linguistic, cultural, and historical studies.


Students must take six courses to complete the Minor in Digital Studies:

1. One course in computer programming. Students are encouraged to take DIGS 20001, Introduction to Computer Programming, which is offered annually in the Spring Quarter, but the following are acceptable substitutes: CMSC 12100, Computer Science with Applications I”; CMSC 15100, Introduction to Computer Science I”; or CMSC 16100, Honors Introduction to Computer Science I.” Students who take CMSC 15100 or 16100 are expected to learn the Python language on their own before taking the Digital Studies courses listed below. (The following textbook is recommended: Think Python (second edition) by Allen Downey; it is freely available online.) A course in computer programming is a prerequisite for the other Digital Studies courses and must be taken before the student’s fourth year (or before taking DIGS 20002, 20004, 20005, or 20006).

2. One course in statistics. Students are encouraged to take STAT 22000, Statistical Methods and Applications, which is offered every quarter. Alternatively, they may take DIGS 20002, Data Analysis for the Humanities I, which is offered annually in the Autumn Quarter. DIGS 20002 has as a prerequisite DIGS 20001 or an equivalent introduction to computer programming. A course in statistics is a prerequisite for DIGS 20004 and 20006 and must be taken before the student’s fourth year (or before taking DIGS 20004 and 20006). Note that STAT 20000, “Elementary Statistics,” does not fulfill this requirement.

3. One course in data analysis using the R programming environment: DIGS 20004, Data Analysis for the Humanities II,” which is offered annually in the Winter Quarter. This course has as prerequisites DIGS 20001 and DIGS 20002 or equivalent courses in computer programming and statistics.

4. One of the following three courses:

  • DIGS 20003, Data Management for the Humanities (Autumn)
  • DIGS 20005, Data Publication for the Humanities (Winter)
  • DIGS 20006, Natural Language Processing (Spring)

Note that DIGS 20005 and 20006 (but not DIGS 20003) have as a prerequisite DIGS 20001 or an equivalent introduction to computer programming, and DIGS 20006 also requires DIGS 20002 or an equivalent introduction to statistics. Students who have taken courses in computer programming and/or statistics to fulfill the requirements of their major(s), other minors, or general education requirements will take an additional course (or two additional courses) from the list above.

5. One discussion-oriented seminar course: DIGS 20007, Introduction to Digital Humanities, which is offered annually in the Autumn Quarter.

6. One elective course in the humanities or humanistic social sciences that has a digital component, broadly defined, and has been approved by the Director of Digital Studies. Students who wish to use their elective slot to do their own digital project and create a software product for their portfolio may do so by means of a DIGS independent study course that will count as their elective. 

Advising and Grading

Courses in the minor may not be double counted with the students major(s), other minors, or general education requirements. Courses in the minor must be taken for quality grades, and more than half of the requirements for the minor must be met by registering for courses bearing University of Chicago course numbers.

Students who elect the Minor in Digital Studies must meet with the Director of Digital Studies before the end of the Spring Quarter of their third year to declare their intention to complete the minor. Students must complete a Consent to Complete a Minor Program form, available from the College, with the assistance of their College adviser and submit this to the Director of Digital Studies for approval.

Photo by Jean Lachat