PhD Programs in Digital Humanities

If you are considering a PhD in the digital humanities, you may be wondering what you are going to learn and the documents you may need to apply to such a program. This article hopes to walk you through these concerns. Schools offering Interdisciplinary Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Should You Expect to Learn in a PhD Program in Digital Humanities?

Pursuing a PhD in a field as new as digital humanities means there can be wide variances between programs. However, some programs have settled on a few foundational areas of study that one may expect to cover during their own program.

Digital Humanities

Being a newer area of study, you may be expected to learn some of the foundational concepts of the field. In particular, you may be looking at the practice of doing and making, analyzing the partial shift in the humanities that goes beyond the theoretical and into the practical. You may consider the emergence of new ways of making, such as maker spaces in schools and libraries, and will look at how they can be used to bring about a greater understanding of the humanities.

The Humanities and Technology

This course looks at the humanities and technology beyond the existing bubble of the digital humanities, and examines how technology and the humanities have overlapped previously. You may look at the origins of foundational theories and how they progressed to the field of the digital humanities.

Digital Archaeology

This course will have you looking at foundational thinkers and writers of the field, and how the discipline of media and/or the humanities have changed overtime. With a comparison of media consumption of the past and present, you'll see how our culture has changed alongside our habits with consuming various media. You may also look at how media can be used as a way to either homogenize or heterogenize populations, as well as how to be sure that the media is used as a way for others to express their individuality.


Courses like this can give you instruction as to how to navigate this level of academic research, assuming you will be seeking to be published. You can walk through research ethics and some of the expectations of the field when it comes to conducting research. You'll be taught how to formulate research questions, which research methods you should pursue based on your question(s), and how to design your project so that you get results that answer those questions. Since research can be a large topic area, many programs require you to take more than one course regarding research.

Academic Writing

This area of study will likely fall into a number of different courses, but may fall under a single course. These kinds of courses may cover how to write so that you can be published and how to write to apply for funding. You'll walk through the conventions that have been established in the field, including when and how to cite, what sections to include in your paper, and what style of academic writing will be expected of you.

What Do You Need to Do to Apply to a PhD Program in Digital Humanities?

One of the main things you will need when applying to a PhD in Digital Humanities program is your transcripts. These transcripts will allow for those reviewing the application to see what you already have knowledge in, as well as how well you did so they can judge whether they believe you will be a good fit for the program. You may also need to have completed a master's degree program, often a Master of Arts or Master of Fine Arts. Along with this, you may need two or three letters of recommendation; these letters generally come from academic or professional contacts. You may also need to write out a personal statement that states why you want to enter the program and what you would like to do while you are enrolled; often this may mean outlining the research project you hope to complete. Outside of this, many programs expect a writing sample; often this has to be academic in nature, so a previous paper can be used.

When completing a PhD in Digital Humanities, you can study how humanities and technology have overlapped in history and how the two can now be so intertwined that you have a field of study called digital humanities. When applying for the program(s) of your choosing, be prepared to write a personal statement as to why you want to enroll in that program and have an idea of the research you hope to pursue.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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  • Capella University

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  • The University of Texas at Dallas

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  • Pacifica Graduate Institute

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  • Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts

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    • Maine: Portland
  • Stanford University

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  • University of Pennsylvania

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  • Marquette University

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  • Duke University

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