Minor in Digital Studies

The minor in Digital Studies of Language, Culture, and History introduces students to computer programming and the use of cutting-edge software tools for representing, exploring, analyzing, and publishing the products of human language and culture. These products range from everyday speech and writing to historical documents and literary texts, and they encompass music and art as well as mundane objects, places, and institutions.

The courses in this minor will help students not just to understand and use digital tools but to see digital computing as a cultural activity in its own right—an activity to be studied with respect to its historical development, social setting, cultural impact, and aesthetic qualities, as well as the ethical problems it creates in our increasingly digitized and networked world. This minor does not require a background in mathematics or computing but is designed for students who are majoring in the humanities or humanistic social sciences. It will also be of interest to students majoring in the sciences who want to acquire programming skills in the context of linguistic, cultural, and historical studies.

Requirements for Minor in Digital Studies

Students must take six courses to complete the minor in Digital Studies of Language, Culture, and History:

1. One course in computer programming. Students are encouraged to take DIGS 20001 Introduction to Computer Programming, which is offered in the Spring and as a 3-week September intensive course, but the following are acceptable substitutes: CMSC 12100 Computer Science with Applications 1, CMSC 15100 Introduction to Computer Science 1, CMSC 16100 Honors Introduction to Computer Science 1.

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 Basic Mathematics and Statistics for Digital Studies, which is offered in the Autumn.

3. One course in data analysis using the R programming environment: DIGS 20004 Data Analysis for Linguistic, Cultural, and Historical Research. This course is offered in the Winter and 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 Linguistic, Cultural, and Historical Research (Autumn)

DIGS 20005 Data Publication for Linguistic, Cultural, and Historical Research (Winter)

DIGS 20006 Natural Language Processing (Spring)

Note that each of these has 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.

5. A required seminar course, offered each Autumn Quarter: DIGS 20007 Issues in Digital Studies of Language, Culture, and History.

6. One elective course approved by the faculty director of the Digital Studies of Language, Culture, and History program. This will normally be a course in the humanities or social sciences that entails computational methods or explores the history and cultural significance of digital media or of computation in general. Suitable courses are offered in several different departments and programs.

Note that the particular courses that are suitable electives will vary from year to year, and some may have prerequisites. 

Advising and Grading

Courses in the minor may not be double counted with the student's 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 must meet with the academic director 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 adviser and submit this to the program director for approval.