MA in Digital Studies

Henry Moore sculpture and Mansueto Library

Is Digital Studies right for you?

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The University of Chicagos one-year MA program in Digital Studies of Language, Culture, and History provides a solid grounding in computational methods and their use in the humanities. Students in this program take courses full-time on the University of Chicago campus from late September to the end of May — three courses per quarter in the Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters, for a total of nine courses.

The MA in Digital Studies is a stepping stone to careers that require a combination of computing skills with the skills in writing and critical thinking provided by an education in the humanities. Graduates of this program are eligible for non-academic jobs in software development or 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.

UChicago Accelerated Scholars Program

For UChicago College students only:

Take your career to the next level with UChicago’s 4+1 graduate programs! This special program allows you to continue your intellectual journey right here in Hyde Park and graduate with a BA in your major and an MA in Digital Studies, typically within five years. As a UChicago Accelerated Scholar (UAS), you will enhance your skills to complement your bachelor’s degree and in just a year gain advanced skills and expertise that leads to higher salaries and fast-tracked opportunities. The value of a University of Chicago degree is unmatched in the breadth of opportunities available, where you will gain a deeper understanding of your chosen field and gain expertise that provides real-world returns.

Read more and find out how to apply on the UChicago Accelerated Scholar website.


The MA in Digital Studies requires six core courses and three elective courses:

  • Three required core courses in the Autumn Quarter consisting of: (1) an introduction to computer programming using the Python programming language; (2) an introduction to statistics and data analysis using Python; and (3) an introduction to data management, including the acquisition of digital data, database models and querying languages (e.g., SQL), and the construction of data ontologies using the Web Ontology Language (OWL).
    • Students who have previously passed an equivalent college-level computer programming course and/or statistics course with a grade of B or higher may petition the Director of Digital Studies for an exemption from taking one or both of these core courses and for permission to take additional elective(s) instead.
  • Two required core courses in the Winter Quarter consisting of: (1) an introduction to digital humanities that surveys the the history and theory of digital computing, the various uses of computers in the humanities, and current debates concerning digital humanities; and (2) a second course on data analysis using Python and Jupyter Notebooks with a focus on data visualization and applications of machine learning.
  • One required core course in the Spring Quarter consisting of an introduction to data publication and Web app development using JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS.
  • Three elective courses in any field of the humanities or social sciences, one in the Winter Quarter and two in the Spring Quarter. At least one of the electives must deal with digital computing in some fashion, whether or not it entails actual coding. Elective courses must be selected from a list of preapproved electives or, if the chosen course is not on this list, they must be approved by the Director of Digital Studies.

Some students may choose to do a thesis project in addition to the nine courses required for the degree; however, this is optional.


Autumn Quarter

  • DIGS 30001. Introduction to Computer Programming with Python
  • DIGS 30002. Data Analysis I: Introduction to Statistics
  • DIGS 30003. Data Management for the Humanities

Winter Quarter

  • DIGS 30004. Data Analysis II: Data Visualization and Machine Learning
  • DIGS 30007. Introduction to Digital Humanities
  • One approved elective course
  • Students who choose to do an optional thesis project must select the thesis topic and obtain a thesis adviser by the end of Week 4

Spring Quarter

  • DIGS 30005. Data Publication for the Humanities
  • Two approved elective courses
  • Students who choose to do an optional thesis project must submit the completed thesis to their thesis adviser no later than May 15

Note that a passing grade in both DIGS 30001 and DIGS 30002 in the Autumn Quarter (or a grade of B or higher in equivalent courses taken previously) is a requirement for continuing in the MA program because these courses are prerequisites for required core courses in the Winter and Spring Quarters. Students who fail to obtain a passing grade in either DIGS 30001 or DIGS 30002 will be placed on academic probation and then must either request a leave of absence in order to return in the Autumn of the following year to re-take the course(s) they failed, or must withdraw from the program entirely.

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.


How to Apply

The application window for the 2023–2024 academic year is now open. Click here to Start Your Application. Contact with questions about the application process.

If you have questions about the DIGS program, feel free to contact us at

Photo by Robert Kozloff