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Graduate Certificate FAQs

1. When should I apply for the certificate?

For 2020-21, applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and can be submitted at any time. The other timing consideration is related to the requirement that applicants have completed (or are in process of completing) at least one semester in a graduate program at the University of Michigan.

2. How do I apply for the certificate?

If you’re ready to apply, you’ll need to gather a few materials: (1) a letter of application, (2) a list of possible courses that satisfy the certificate, including courses you’ve previously taken, (3) current transcript(s) demonstrating at least a “B” average, and (4) a brief statement of support from a faculty member. To submit your application, you may either complete an online application or email your materials. Please see our Apply page for more details.

3. How do I make an advising appointment?

The DS Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Irina Aristarkhova, is the advisor for students working toward the DS graduate certificate, and you may email with questions or to make an appointment at any time: You may also wish to reach out before applying with questions about the certificate, which courses count toward the certificate, or to map out a timeline toward completion.

4. Which courses count toward the certificate?

The Digital Studies Graduate Certificate includes some flexibility to choose courses being offered that connect to your specific areas of interest. A course list will be published on the Digital Studies Institute website for each semester, and you may also request courses to be considered if you think they belong on that list. The general rule is that at least 50% of a course must include critical approaches to digital technologies or digital culture. The DSI curriculum committee frequently reviews courses for inclusion in the certificate, including previously offered courses for retroactive inclusion. Please email the Associate Director with more specific questions about acceptable courses at

5. What are the requirements to complete the certificate?

There are two main requirements for the certificate: coursework (9 credits) and a practice-based requirement (3 credits). Coursework includes a required core course, and the remaining courses may be selected from available offerings around your areas of interest. The practice-based requirement is explained more fully below.

6. What is the practice requirement, and what counts for that?

The practice requirement is meant to be a flexible opportunity to delve deeper into a project or more practical implementation of the critical theories and concerns of Digital Studies. Some previous examples of the practice component include the following:

  • A digital poetry project that plays with poetry as form. In this practicum, and with supervision from a faculty member, a student would spend time learning JavaScript and D3.js data visualization in order to produce new forms of poetry given the varied affordances of the digital as a platform.
  • A digital media project that aims to create a digital platform to make stories of Palestinians living in Gaza Strip accessible to an Israeli public. In this practicum, a student would work to build the platform and translate these stories from Arabic into Hebrew.
  • A curatorial project that digitizes literature in a Border Studies archive. In this practicum, a student would work with archive staff to convert physical texts on the Borderlands into a digital medium and curate the online repository.
  • Participation in an intensive summer institute or other hands-on, long-form workshop that pairs critical theory with technical or production practice, such as the Digital Humanities Summer Institute.

7. Who should apply for the Digital Studies Graduate Certificate?

Anyone seeking to enhance their graduate study with in-depth study of critical theories and research methods of digital technologies, tools, platforms, environments, infrastructures, and cultures would benefit from adding the DS graduate certificate to their course of study. The faculty and students in the certificate program research and publish at the bleeding edge of Digital Studies, working on the big questions and problems inherent in and created by digital technologies and cultures. This certificate provides you with the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with them, and to participate at the forefront of Digital Studies research in the nation.