UCLA Digital Humanities


Over the past decade, the landscape of humanistic research and teaching has changed as digital technologies enabled new modes of scholarly inquiry, research environments, publication platforms, and pedagogical practices. The digital age—characterized by, among other things, web-based media forms, massive data archiving, social networking, mapping technologies, advanced visualization, and cloud computing—ushers in a transformational moment offering nearly limitless possibilities for creating, scaling, and disseminating knowledge. While the digital age is certainly enabled by technological advances, it is less a collection of technologies than a whole new scholarly environment—one that easily encompasses traditional scholarship, but offers new, multimodal, multimedia, and multi-disciplinary possibilities for the ways in which the scholarly endeavor is practiced.

The graduate certificate in Digital Humanities prepares students to work in this new environment by providing them with knowledge about the tools, methods, and theoretical issues central to the emerging field and enabling them to ask specific research questions that harness new technologies. These include text analysis, data mining, visualization, modeling and simulation, geo-spatial and mapping, multi-media storytelling, information design, network analysis, interface design, mark-up, among others. Levels of skill and depth of knowledge about particular tools and platforms will vary depending on students’ own interest and relevance to their field and/or projects, but will directly reflect the ways in which the methods and tools of the Digital Humanities are extending their own discipline (e.g. how does “distant reading” or the mechanized processing of textual material in large corpora offer insight into problems of literary analysis, or how can geospatial platforms be used to interrogate cross-cultural perceptions of “contact narratives”). Students will be exposed to a combination of theoretical explorations, critical methods, and hands-on production so that they can do humanistic work in a digital environment (authoring, analyzing, curating, publishing) and also produce scholarship that examines the underpinnings and assumptions of digital techniques. The certificate emphasizes principles and concepts that will transfer across programs and platforms, rather than stressing specific in-depth training in particular software programs, with the conviction that digital technologies will continue to emerge, but that certain intellectual, technical, and research design principles will remain central to this rapidly changing field.