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Graduate Certificate

Digital Studies at the University of Michigan offers a 12-credit hour Graduate Certificate Program focusing on the study of the digital world from a critical, interdisciplinary perspective. The goal of the Certificate in Digital Studies is to provide a structured program of study for graduate students in programs such as American Culture, Communication, Comparative Literature, English, History, Psychology, Screen Arts and Cultures, Sociology, School of Information, and Women's Studies (and others) with in-depth and multifaceted understanding of the field. The Certificate Program is particularly useful to graduate students whose academic and career trajectories require technology-focused knowledge and training.


The Digital Studies Advisory Committee will review applications twice a year, October 15 for the following winter semester and March 15 for the following fall semester.

Current or Admitted Rackham Students

Applicants will be evaluated by the Digital Studies Advisory Committee based on their preparation for, commitment to, and understanding of Digital Studies as evidenced in their letter of application, coursework plan, and letter of recommendation. Prime consideration will be given to those graduate students with strong academic· records who anticipate integrating Digital Studies methods and topics into their future research and professional pursuits. Not all candidates will be admitted.

A student in a Rackham or non-Rackham degree program may apply for the Digital Studies certificate program after having completed at least one term.

Students who wish to enter the Program must submit an application including:

-A letter of application that explains the student's interest in the program, background in Digital Studies, and other relevant preparation (for example, coursework that demonstrates an interest or research focus in Digital Studies)

-A list of proposed courses that will fulfill the program requirements

-A current transcript demonstrating that the student has maintained at least a "B" average at his or her graduate or professional school (or at his or her undergraduate institution for entering students)

-One letter of recommendation from a faculty sponsor


Submit your application to:

Specific Course Requirements

The Digital Studies core course, AMCULT 610 (previously AMCULT 601), or equivalent, will be offered yearly. Its central topics will include the history of the Internet, digital formats, and early computing culture, an introduction to software studies, platform studies, digital media theory, and discussion of critical theory and its relation to digital technology studies. The core seminar is cross listed with American Culture and Screen Arts and will be cross listed with English and Communications. Versions of this course are taught in all four departments, ensuring that with the coordination the DS certificate will afford, students will be guaranteed regular access to it under a range of rubrics. This course introduces students to the central analytical approaches, theories, and methods in the field of Digital Studies. The content of the course will be developed collaboratively by the core faculty in the Program (in order to ensure breadth of disciplinary coverage) and will include both canonical texts in the field and emergent scholarship.

Students in this course will learn key skills and methods relating to digital histories and communities as well as the various disciplinary rubrics through which Digital Studies is elaborated. Versions of this course may include digital literary and historical studies, studies of immigration and citizenship (within the fields of sociology and political science) and digital media theory. As a true interdisciplinary "introduction" to the study of digital culture, the pedagogical aim of this course will be to help graduate students develop the background knowledge, theoretical language and methodological skills needed to analyze the histories, cultural production, and material realities of digital culture. Beyond the required seminar, students will chose their three additional courses to fit with a proposed "theme of study" such as digital cultural production and design, digital identity (race, class, sexuality, gender}, social media and digital publics, digital networks and politics, digital policy, among others.

Three (3) credits of additional practice-oriented activities or equivalent, (such as an internship, practicum, workshop attendance, professional project or similar experience) that focus on digital curation, production, preservation, mapping, or equivalent training using appropriate digital tools. This is a flexible requirement meant to serve unanticipated student needs as technological platforms for scholarly work change rapidly. Students will have several options for fulfilling this requirement:

a. They may take a three unit graduate or advanced undergraduate digital skill building course in the Stamps School of Art and Design, EECS, or other relevant college (i.e. CLARCH 865 Digital Publication in the Humanities).

b. They may register as a participant in a workshop that teaches digital skills for humanists and social scientists such as the week-long Digital Humanities Summer Institute held at the University of Victoria. This institute offers a large variety of workshops on the most cutting-edge digital tools. Students may also participate in an unpaid, digital studiesfocused internship of at least 180 hours in total. In addition, students may enroll in the HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) scholars program or a 3-week intensive THATCamp skill building "unconference." To receive the equivalent of three credits, students must participate a minimum of 60 hours in either HASTAC or THATCamp events.

c. They may take a one to three-unit lab course taught by a DS faculty member that facilitates peer skill sharing and hosts experts from the Library, l.S.S., or other sites of expertise. This option gives students wide exposure to the resources available to them on this campus and builds relationships between them. They can also work with a DS faculty member to create an independent creative project (e.g. the creation of a digital archive, art installations, or media production) of at least 60 hours of work over a semester or the Spring or Summer 6-week term.

d. They may combine activities such as completing the CRLT+ enhanced teaching certificate that focuses on digital technologies for teaching and learning, with workshop attendance taught by Hatcher Library's Digital Scholarship Librarian on digital curation, production, preservation, mapping, or equivalent training using appropriate digital tools such as Scalar, Processing, G.l.S., or other software packages. A minimum of 60 hours of combined workshop, CRLT, or other training activities is required to meet the three-credit equivalence. For example, a student might spend 20 hours completing her CRLT GTC+Digital Media Teacher Certificate Program, 20 hours in workshops with the Hatcher Library's Digital Scholarship Librarian, and 20 hours participating as a HASTAC scholar. Or a student might spend 60 hours in a digital studies-focused internship, 20 hours at a week-long THATCamp, and 20 hours working on an independent creative project sponsored by a DS faculty member. This combined option provides great flexibility to students who need a variety of new skills.

Six (6) additional credits from other Digital Studies-focused graduate courses.

Foreign Language Requirements: None

Final Examination: None

Thesis Requirement: None