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Graduate Certificate

The Digital Studies Institute 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. As we continue to integrate the digital into our personal and professional lives, our economic and civic systems, our healthcare and education structures, and so on, we are constantly confronted with issues of power, access, exclusion, inequality, racism, misogyny, homophobia, bias, and other systemic injustice that exist in the culture producing our digital tools and environments. The courses and opportunities available to graduate students in the Digital Studies Certificate Program put students at the bleeding edge of research in this area to ask and attempt to answer, “How can we make our digital world better, safer, and more inclusive?”

Coursework

The certificate includes 9 credits of coursework plus 3 credits of practice-oriented work (described below). A required core course incorporates central topics including 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. 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. 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 may select their remaining courses based on their areas of interest in topics including digital cultural production and design, digital identity (race, class, sexuality, gender), social media and digital publics, digital networks and politics, or digital policy, among others.

Students interested in applying are welcome to contact individual Digital Studies faculty to explore the feasibility of topics of interest.

Practice

The practice-oriented component of the certificate is a flexible requirement meant to serve unanticipated student needs as technological platforms for scholarly work change rapidly. This may take the form of an internship, practicum, workshop attendance, professional project or similar experience that focuses on digital curation, production, preservation, mapping, or equivalent training using appropriate digital tools. Students will have several options for fulfilling this requirement that will be discussed with their advisors, ideally linked to each student’s theme of study.

This program is particularly useful to graduate students whose academic and career trajectories require technology-focused knowledge and training. Students may apply for the Digital Studies certificate program after having completed at least one term of graduate coursework. 

For more information about the certificate, email the Associate Director, Dr. Melanie Yergeau, at dsi-assoc.director@umich.edu.