The University of Missouri Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities (GCDH), is a 12 credit hour, online and hybrid delivery, interdisciplinary Master’s / Ph.D. certification. The Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities certifies that students are equipped with skills in interdisciplinary research using new digital technologies—skills that university researchers and public and private sector employers recognize as essential in the 21st Century.

The certificate is designed to foster a culture of innovation and collaboration in digital research in the humanities across the University of Missouri system and beyond. It will contribute to enhancing the prominence of the university, both on the continent and internationally.

Digital Humanities: A New Discipline

“Digital Humanities” (DH) scholars use new computational and statistical tools and methods to address research questions in arts and humanities subject areas, and they apply humanistic modes of inquiry and interpretation to library and information science, “big data,” new electronic media, and computer science problems.

DH is a rapidly growing bridge discipline that spans liberal arts subject areas, library and information science, communication arts, media studies, education, journalism, cultural studies, history and philosophy of science and technology, computer science and informatics, as well as the contexts of the academy, libraries, archives, museums, media, and industry.


The objective of the GCDH is to offer an exciting program that will appeal to high-caliber graduate students. At MU, the Digital Humanities is a priority for the Media of the Future initiative. DH is also the key humanities component in MU’s overall plan to foster scholarship in Big Data, with the goal of making the University a hub of research and economic activity in this burgeoning area of research opportunity.

Target Students

The GCDH will train future leaders in disciplines and professions where “digital humanities” is rapidly becoming a “required skill.” The DH Certificate has been designed so that students from a spectrum of disciplinary orientations and anticipated career trajectories can customize their program to fit their individual intellectual and professional needs¾through either face-to-face (F2F) or online courses. Students can earn the certificate while completing a master’s or doctoral degree or as a “stand-alone” credential that will certify specialization or advanced graduate study. Our target students will be from a range of subject areas, but will likely be concentrated in library/information science (LIS), English, history, communication arts, media studies, writing programs, and computer science departments.

The DH Certificate will prepare graduates for emerging opportunities at colleges and universities, libraries, archives, and cultural heritage organizations, as well as in diverse community, governmental, non-profit, and industrial settings.

The stand-alone offering will provide post-graduate certification for librarians and information professionals who already hold a master’s degree and who wish to update and freshen their qualifications, earn greater specialized training, or reorient their careers from one field to another.

Integration of the GCDH with Other Programs at University of Missouri

Instructional development activities for the GCDH involve creating a specialized certification credential within the M.A. in Information Science & Learning Technologies. The Certificate is offered jointly with humanities departments and housed at the Digital Humanities Commons @ The Allen Institute in the iSchool in the College of Education.

The GCDH is:

  • offered jointly with MU humanities departments;
  • fully integrated with the Data Science & Analytics Master’s Degree in development by the Missouri Informatics Institute;
  • aligned with the B.A. in Digital Storytelling (approved by the Provost in December 2014);
  • linked to the Professional Science Master’s Degree (PSM) currently in development. The Academic Affairs committee of the Graduate Faculty Senate approved the Professional Science Master’s (PSM) pre-proposal on 27 January 2015; and
  • offered jointly with Carleton University (CU), Canada. Courses taken at MU for the Certificate can be applied towards CU’s M.A. in Digital Humanities in the Department of English Language and Literatures.

Resources and Support

Resources and equipment at the DHC iLab complement those offered by MU Libraries, the Academic Support Center, ET@MO, the Informatics Institute, and other facilities on campus.

Curriculum Design

The Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities is a 12 credit hour (4 course) interdisciplinary graduate certificate. The Certificate requires completion of a major paper or digital project that integrates specialized disciplinary knowledge and digital media. The Certificate can be pursued as a “stand-alone” project, as a capstone to a Master’s degree, or as a specialized credential in a Ph.D. program. The Certificate can be completed in two semesters; there is no mandatory time frame for finishing.


Students who register for the Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities will form a committee of two professors who will supervise their program. The supervisor will typically be from the student’s home discipline in the humanities, social sciences, or professional school (e.g., Romance Languages, Classics, English, History, Sociology, Computer Science, Library & Information Science, or Journalism). The other advisor will be from the iSchool (where NTT professors are available to direct students’ digital projects).


Courses for the certificate will be offered:

  • on-campus (F2F).

They will also be offered as:

  • self-paced, asynchronous, online courses (pursued via the Internet with no fixed class meetings);
  • synchronous online courses (over the Internet, but students come together at specific times and interact through a course management system);
  • blended (the majority of course units are conducted online but there are several (4-5) traditional F2F class meetings); or
  • hybrid (online distance students and F2F on-campus students meet simultaneously through use of the technology classrooms at MU’s Academic Support Center).

The majority of current courses offered through MU’s iSchool are online and synchronous while MU humanities courses are typically F2F. Over the next several years, MU’s DHC will facilitate transition of F2F humanities courses to online offerings.

Course Modules and Paths

The GCDH will be open to both Master’s and Ph.D. students from many different disciplines. To create a “level playing field” for these pupils from diverse backgrounds and skills sets, some courses will be made up of different modules tailored to specified learning paths. Students taking certain online courses will therefore be able to customize courses by combining a sequence of video modules along a path that suits their individual needs. Following the vocabulary developed by MIT, a “smooth module” is a stand-alone or optional unit, and a required course unit is called a “sticky module” (MIT, 2014). Smooth modules will allow students from different disciplines to acquire requisite skills and abilities so they are on par with other students in the compulsory sticky modules.

For example, the established MU course in Information Science & Learning Technologies, ISLT9423 “Ethics and Information,” will change to “Ethics, Data, and Information” and from a 3 credit hour course to a “variable credit hour 1-3.” This course will continue as a 3 credit hour elective offering in ISLT, will be one of the recommended core courses for the DH Certificate (see below), and is slated as a core course in the planned “Data Science & Analytics” master’s degree through the Missouri Informatics Institute.

Students from humanities disciplines and ISLT taking Ethics and Information will assemble modules on a path that includes introductory-level digital skills (such as text analysis, interaction design, annotation, or visualization) to augment their training in library science, or in arts, literature, history, media, museums, or writing. Computer Science and some ISLT students who need to develop greater fluency in argumentation, interpretation, critique, and analysis of data and information — they will follow a slightly different path. Modules and paths are therefore designed to ensure that all pupils achieve the requisite foundational and advanced knowledge in the field of DH. They are also designed to prepare students to continue on different routes of graduate training, i.e., in ISLT, in humanities subject areas, or Data Science & Analytics.

Core Courses

Online course modules are currently available for MU’s GCDH core courses: IS-LT 9410: Digital Humanities & Information and IS_LT 7302: Organization of Information (3 credit hour course, currently synchronous online but will be phased to include other modalities). The IS-LT 9423: Ethics, Data, and Information will be offered beginning in Fall 2016. Other courses and modules will be phased-in on an ongoing basis.

There are two core courses for the GCDH:

  1. IS_LT 9410: Digital Humanities & Information (3 credit hour changes to variable 1 -3 credit hour, offered in all modalities)


  1. IS_LT 7302: Organization of Information (3 credit hour course, currently synchronous online but will be phased to include other modalities)

The other two courses are selected by students — in consultation with their committee.

Recommended Elective Courses

  • IS_LT 7305: Foundations of Library and Information Science (currently a variable credit hour course, 1-3).

Example Elective Course Options

Face to Face (on campus) seminar courses

  • Graduate Courses offered across divisions at MU or CU (as approved by the student’s committee)

Online Synchronous Courses offered through MU’s iSchool (Information Science & Learning Technologies)

  • IS_LT 7305: Introduction to Library and Information Science
  • IS_LT: 7310: Seminar: Game Design & Evaluation
  • IS_LT: 7310 Seminar: Designing 3D Virtual Environments
  • IS_LT: 7310 Seminar: Mobile App Development
  • IS_LT: 7312: Principles of Cataloging and Classification
  • IS_LT: 7360: Introduction to Web Development
  • IS_LT 7358: Web Application Development II
  • IS_LT: 7370: Intermediate Web Development
  • IS_LT: 7334: Library Information Systems
  • IS_LT: 7361: Introduction to Digital Media
  • IS_LT: 7364 Flash Authoring
  • IS_LT 7378: Electronic Portfolio Development
  • IS_LT: 9410 Seminar: Designing Serious Games
  • IS_LT: 9410 Seminar: Information Visualization
  • IS_LT: 9410 Seminar: Introduction to Archives Management
  • IS_LT: 9410 Seminar: Learning Analytics
  • IS_LT: IS_LT 9410: MetaData
  • IS_LT: 9410 Seminar: Rapid Development Tools
  • IS_LT: 9410 Seminar: Mind Tools
  • IS_LT 9410: Usability of Information Systems & Services
  • IS_LT 9450: Introduction to Research in Library and Information Science
  • IS_LT: 9461 Interaction Design
  • IS_LT: 9471 Instructional Systems Design

Relevant Courses Offered through Other MU Divisions

  • JOURN 7150: Using Infographics
  • NAT_R 7325: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
  • Independent Studies in Humanities Disciplines


Applications for the Certificate are submitted online to the School of Information Science & Learning Technologies and reviewed on a rolling basis.

Timeline for Approval

The approval process for Graduate Certificates offered by MU is documented on the university website at . The full MU GCDH proposal has been vetted by numerous colleagues across MU, and is slated for approval at the Feb 2016 meeting of the College of Education Curriculum Committee.

MU Contact: Twyla Gibson at or 347.387.7907

School of Information Science and Learning Technologies (iSchool),

Director, Digital Humanities Commons @ The Allen Institute (DHC)