DH Credentials for Graduate Students

DH Credentials for Graduate Students

The Price Lab offers two options for grad students seeking a credential in digital humanities: The Graduate Certificate program involves both coursework and extracurricular activities, and results in an official certificate awarded by GAS and ratified on your academic transcript. The Graduate Scholars program is not tied to your coursework, only to your participation in DH events, projects, and workshops; it results in an appointment by the Price Lab as a Graduate Scholar in Digital Humanities. Specific procedures and requirements of these two programs appear below.


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.


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 settings both in and out of academia.


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 three courses where they build a digital project and/or use advanced digital research techniques to complete course assignments. 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).

Application to the program requires:

1) letter of interest

3) CV

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


Contact Stewart Varner (svarner@upenn.edu) if you are interested and/or want to discuss your progress toward satisfying the requirements of the certificate.


The Graduate Scholars program was created to provide recognition for graduate students whose coursework does not satisfy the requirements for a DH Certificate, but who have undertaken some training in digital tools and techniques and engaged in a serious way with theoretical, political, and practical questions raised by digital technologies.

Many doctoral students cannot find room in their curriculum, or a sufficient number of relevant courses, to satisfy the 3 CUs required for all graduate certificates from the School of Arts and Sciences. The Graduate Scholars program is non-curricular. Its requirements are as listed above, minus the coursework and capstone project. Application materials and deadlines are the same. Students who complete the program will be appointed as Graduate Scholars in Digital Humanities for a term of one year, renewable if they continue to be active in Price Lab graduate student workshops and events. A student may be appointed as a Graduate Scholar and then go on to earn a Graduate Certificate.

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