MA in Digital Studies

Henry Moore sculpture and Mansueto Library

The University of Chicagos one-year MA program in Digital Studies of Language, Culture, and History consists of 7 required core courses, 3 elective courses, and a thesis project. This program provides students with a solid grounding in computational methods and their use in the humanities while allowing flexibility to explore a particular interest in an area such as computational linguistics, digital literary studies, digital arts and media studies, digital history, digital philology, or digital archaeology and art history.

The MA in Digital Studies is a stepping stone to a number of different careers that require a combination of computing skills with an education in the humanities through which students will have acquired much-needed skills in writing and critical thinking. Graduates of this program are eligible for non-academic jobs in software development or in software-related marketing, communications, and technical writing; or they may pursue doctoral studies in order to apply their computational skills to research and teaching; or they may take on an academic support role in digital humanities at a college, university, or cultural institution.

The MA in Digital Studies qualifies as a STEM Designated Degree Program under the regulations of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.


The MA program in Digital Studies of Language, Culture, and History is a one-year program in which students take 10 courses (9 for credit and 1 non-credit) from early September to early June and complete an MA thesis by the end of July. The course requirements are broken down as follows:

  • 1 three-week intensive September course (non-credit) on computer programming using the Python programming language, immediately preceding the Autumn Quarter.
  • 1 discussion-oriented seminar in the Autumn Quarter on the history of computing and current debates in digital humanities.
  • 5 courses on data management, data analysis, data publication, and natural language processing (2 in Autumn, 2 in Winter, 1 in Spring).
  • 3 elective courses in any field of the humanities or humanistic social sciences (1 in Winter and 2 in Spring); at least one of the elective courses must have a digital component.
  • completion of the MA thesis by May 15 for June graduation, with the option of completing it by July 31 for graduation in late August, at the end of the Summer Quarter.


September (before the start of the Autumn Quarter)

  • DIGS 30000. Introduction to Computer Programming (intensive 3-week non-credit course)

Autumn Quarter

  • DIGS 30002. Data Analysis for the Humanities I
  • DIGS 30003. Data Management for the Humanities
  • DIGS 30007. Introduction to Digital Humanities (seminar)

Winter Quarter

  • DIGS 30004. Data Analysis for the Humanities II
  • DIGS 30005. Data Publication for the Humanities
  • Approved elective course
  • Selection of MA thesis topic and confirmation of a thesis adviser

Spring Quarter

  • DIGS 30006. Natural Language Processing
  • Approved elective course
  • Approved elective course
  • Ongoing work on the MA thesis, due May 15 for June graduation or July 31 for August graduation

Summer Quarter

  • Completion of the MA thesis, if the student has not submitted it in time to receive the MA degree at the end of the Spring Quarter in mid-June. The final deadline by which the thesis must be submitted to the faculty adviser and to the Director of Digital Studies is July 31, in time for the student to receive the MA degree at the end of the Summer Quarter in late August.
    • Students who have not completed a thesis by May 15 may still participate in the June Convocation, provided that they have fulfilled all other degree requirements; however, they will not receive the MA degree until the thesis has been completed and deemed acceptable.
    • Students who submit a thesis by May 15 are eligible to graduate with the MA degree in mid-June, if the thesis is deemed acceptable. However, many students will require more time to complete the thesis and will submit it by July 31 in the expectation of receiving the MA degree at the end of the Summer Quarter.
    • Students do not need to register for any courses in the Summer Quarter and they are not required to be in residence in the Chicago area while they complete the thesis.

Why UChicago?

As one of the world’s great intellectual destinations, the University of Chicago empowers students and scholars to ask big questions, break disciplinary boundaries, and challenge conventional thinking in virtually every field.

An integral part of Chicago’s urban landscape—with additional locations in Beijing, Delhi, London, Paris, and Hong Kong—UChicago, its world-class Medical Center, and three national laboratories have helped launch and advance the careers of Nobel laureates, CEOs, Supreme Court justices, literary giants, MacArthur “geniuses,” astronomers, astronauts, and more.

UChicagoGRAD offers a range of services and resources to enhance the ability of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to navigate their careers at UChicago and beyond, including (and certainly not limited to) one-on-one advising and workshops related to:

  • Fellowships
  • Career Planning
  • Academic Writing
  • Public Speaking
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Financial Wellness & Payments

Some of the other services offered by the UChicagoGRAD office include employer info sessions and career fairs, the Family Resource Center for student parents, the Diversity Advisory Board and Graduate Council, Grads on the Ground, and the Chicago Center for Teaching. You can RSVP for GRAD events and workshops, schedule advising appointments, and find and apply for jobs and internships at the GRAD Gargoyle.


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Photo by Robert Kozloff