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 while allowing flexibility to explore a particular interest in digital texts, digital media, digital archaeology, or computational linguistics. Students in this program take courses full-time from late September to May and complete an MA thesis. Students take 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 that are 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.


The general MA in Digital Studies requires seven core courses, two elective courses, and a thesis project. Students who do a specialized concentration in Digital Archaeology, Digital Media, or Digital Texts must take two additional required courses in their area of concentration and do a thesis in that area, and so will have only one elective course. The general MA requires the following:

  • Three core courses in the Autumn Quarter consisting of (1) an introduction to computer programming using the Python programming language; (2) basic statistics and data analysis using Python and Jupyter Notebooks; and (3) 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. Students who have previously taken an equivalent programming course and/or an equivalent statistics course may be exempted from one or both of those requirements and take additional electives instead, subject to the approval of the Director of Digital Studies.
  • Two core courses in the Winter Quarter consisting of (1) an introduction to databases and management and (2) a course on data analysis and data visualization using the R language.
  • Two core courses in the Spring Quarter consisting of (1) an introduction to data publication and Web app development and (2) an advanced course on data analysis that covers machine learning and AI.
  • Two elective courses in any field of the humanities or social sciences, one in the Winter Quarter and one in the Spring Quarter. At least one of the electives must deal with digital computing in some way, whether or not it entails actual coding.
  • Completion of the MA thesis by May 15 for graduation at the end of the Spring Quarter, with the option of completing it by June 15 for graduation at the end of the Summer Quarter in August.

The MA in Digital Archaeology replaces the electives with the following required courses: NEAA 30061, “Ancient Landscapes” (Winter), and DIGS 30021, “Digital Archaeology” (Spring).

The MA in Digital Media replaces the electives with two courses on digital media offered by the Department of Cinema and Media Studies (one in Winter and one in Spring). The digital media course offerings will vary from year to year; students must obtain the approval of the Director of Digital Studies for the courses chosen to fulfill this requirement.

The MA in Digital Texts replaces one of the electives with DIGS 30031, “Digital Texts I” (Winter).


Autumn Quarter

  • DIGS 30001. Introduction to Computer Programming
  • DIGS 30002. Data Analysis for the Humanities I
  • DIGS 30007. Introduction to Digital Humanities

Winter Quarter

  • DIGS 30003. Data Management for the Humanities
  • DIGS 30004. Data Analysis for the Humanities II
  • An approved elective course (for the general MA) or NEAA 30061, “Ancient Landscapes” (for the MA in Digital Archaeology) orCMST course on digital media (for the MA in Digital Media) or DIGS 30031, Digital Texts I (for the MA in Digital Texts)
  • Selection of MA thesis topic and confirmation of thesis adviser by the end of Week 4

Spring Quarter

  • DIGS 30005. Data Publication for the Humanities
  • DIGS 30006. Data Analysis for the Humanities III
  • An approved elective course (for the general MA and the MA in Digital Texts) or DIGS 30021, “Digital Archaeology” (for the MA in Digital Archaeology) orCMST course on digital media (for the MA in Digital Media)
  • Ongoing work on the MA thesis, due May 15 for June graduation or June 15 for August graduation
  • Students who do not complete the thesis by May 15 may nonetheless participate in the Spring Convocation if they have fulfilled all other degree requirements

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 2023-24 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