Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities

Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities


The Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities is offered by the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. It is aimed at graduate students who want to augment their disciplinary studies with advanced digital research techniques and in-depth engagement with theoretical, political, and practical questions raised by digital technologies.

“Digital Humanities” is more of an umbrella term for a diverse range of scholarly practices than a stable, coherent field. This graduate certificate reflects that diversity by bringing together coursework, workshops, and lectures and allowing for multiple pathways through the program.  A highly flexible program, it draws on faculty from many departments in SAS and beyond, and encourages students to consider courses outside of their home departments. The program also requires students to participate in an active local network of scholars by attending several workshops, lectures, and seminars during their time at Penn.  Students who participate in the program will have the opportunity to explore topics such as digital text analysis, digital mapping, 3D modeling, and the use of digital tools for collecting, organizing and studying material culture, as well as to engage with debates over data bias, data privacy, and algorithmic ethics.

The Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities is directed by Stewart Varner, Managing Director of the Price Lab for Digital Humanities in consultation with the Lab’s Executive Committee.



Once a small corner of the humanities, Digital Humanities has exerted a notable influence on literary studies, history, cultural studies, archaeology, and anthropology, and has radically changed the way that many scholars conduct research and share work. As humanities fields evolve to incorporate and critique digital tools and methods, an increasing number of scholars are  finding it necessary to expand their digital understanding. While grad students may be able to learn specific tools and methods on their own or through their coursework, the purpose of the DH Certificate is to offer a somewhat systematic program of study as well as an official credential of training and proficiency.  Students who successfully complete the requirements of the certificate will develop the insight to be both thoughtful users of technology and sophisticated critics digital work.



The Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities requires students to complete three courses, attend multiple extracurricular training opportunities and participate in the DH community at Penn.

Course Work:

Students must complete at least 3 Courses designated as DH. The goal at this level is for students to practice integrating digital humanities practice into academic work in non-trivial and critical ways.

One of these courses may be a project-centered independent study. The other two courses should be explicitly DH in focus and/or courses where the student works with the instructor to develop a digital component as part of the course requirements (such as a digital project instead of a traditional paper).


Extracurricular Training:

Students will attend two intensive summer institutes (such as Dream Lab, HILT and DHSI) or attend one intensive summer institute AND 4 qualifying Digital Humanities workshops/tutorials/THATCamps. The Price Lab will maintain a list of qualifying training opportunities and students may petition to have additional opportunities count.


Graduate Student Working Group: 

Students must be active participants in the Graduate Student Working Group for two semesters (not necessarily consecutive semesters). As active participants, students will present at least one “work in progress” to the group. 


Capstone Presentation:

Students will report on their work in digital humanities at the annual Price Lab DH Fest at the end of spring semester. Depending on number of participants, this may take the form of a short presentation or a poster.



This certificate has been designed to enhance the research profile of participating students and to give them the skills needed to effectively participate in contemporary disciplinary and interdisciplinary scholarly debates. Furthermore, participation in the Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities will help students develop valuable skills that may be utilized in a variety of professional setting both in and out of academia.


Students are expected apply to enter the certificate program before the end of their second year of study. Candidates for admission are evaluated on both their academic record and the appropriateness of their interests to the program. 


Application to the program requires:

1) letter of interest

2) statement of purpose

3) CV

4) any other relevant materials that demonstrate your interest and commitment to digital humanities



Applications are due the first Friday in November for the Fall semester, and the first Friday in March for the Spring semester.


The Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities is directed by Stewart Varner in consultation with the Executive Committee of the Price Lab for Digital Humanities. Dr. Varner will also serve as the designated advisor for students interested in the program as well as those who have declared it. Please contact us to enter the Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities


Digital Humanities Workshops

June 10-14, University of Pennsylvania