application formThe use of digital evidence, methods, and tools continues to transform research and teaching in the humanities and social sciences, offering new and exciting possibilities for the creation, analysis, and sharing of knowledge. The Certificate Program in Digital Scholarship is designed to address two common challenges encountered by would-be digital scholars at Harvard—the lack of a systematic course of study and the subsequent difficulty in demonstrating these skills in the job market. The certificate program provides a structured framework through which graduate students can both acquire competency in digital methods and make these skills visible to prospective employers. Moreover, with a total of approximately 35 instruction hours, the program can be completed alongside existing degree requirements over the course of four semesters or less.

This certificate program provides students with solid training in digital scholarship as well as formal qualifications that will enhance their employment prospects in academia as well as in a growing number of non-academic professions at museums, libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions. For more information please contact


The certificate’s curriculum is built around a common core designed to provide students with a general framework as well as basic data processing and management skills, distributional requirements across three key areas to give students the opportunity to tailor the learning experience to their own interests and specialties, and a capstone project to demonstrate the ability of certificate candidates to apply digital skills effectively to their research.

Common Core

The common core corresponds to the DSSG’s Foundations series of workshops which are offered at least once every semester. In addition to training in basic digital skills, these workshops are designed to provide students with a conceptual framework that will articulate individual tools and methods into a coherent whole that can guide decisions about acquiring further skills and contextualize them once acquired. This framework translates the familiar research process of the Social Sciences and the Humanities into a data-processing workflow and will not only provide students with a structured, systematic way to learn digital methods, but also provide them with clear paths leading from that small initial investment to mastery of the methods required to approach any subject of their interest.

Distributional Requirements

The three distributional areas correspond to the key steps of the data processing workflow: acquisition, analysis, and presentation. Data acquisition workshops introduce methods of gathering and/or creating data in useful formats and quantities for use in digital scholarly projects using techniques such as web scraping, accessing APIs, and digitizing physical media. Data analysis workshops train students in the skills necessary to interrogate and synthesize a variety of datasets, such as images, texts, quantitative data, and relational databases, which are used in digital scholarship. Data presentation workshops teach techniques to present the results of digital scholarship research in a variety of media, including websites, datasets, visualizations and code projects.

Capstone Project

The capstone project should draw on the skills and knowledge acquired through the certificate program’s coursework and focus on a subject of the student’s choosing, usually in their area of disciplinary specialty. The finished project must have some form of digital output, such as a website, an API prototype, a public GitHub code repository, or an interactive application, which will constitute a substantial addition to your professional portfolio.

Students admitted to the program will be required to complete coursework consisting of a common core of three workshops in the Fundamentals series, and a total of 14 hours of instruction across three distributional areas focused on the acquisition, analysis, and presentation of data with at least one workshop in each area. In addition, students will carry out a capstone project focused on the application of digital methodologies to a research subject in their area of expertise. The certificate will be awarded once coursework has been completed, the results of the capstone project and required ancillary materials have been submitted, and the latter have been deemed satisfactory by the evaluating committee.

A typical timeline will see students complete all coursework within two to three semesters following enrollment, with a total time commitment of roughly 30-35 hours of instruction, with an additional 40+ hours to complete workshop assessments and the capstone project.

Admission to the certificate program is open to graduate students enrolled in any degree-granting program in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. In order to be considered for admission, students must be in good academic standing and have the support of their academic advisor or the director of graduate studies in their department or program.

Students admitted to the certificate program are organized in cohorts as a means to foster an interdisciplinary community of practice focused on the use of digital methods. Students are encouraged to share ideas and skills as they learn new digital tools and progress through the certificate curriculum. Cohort activities include reading groups, lightning talks, Slack channels, and more.

Each student admitted to the program will be assigned a member of the DSSG Standing Committee as a mentor, who will aid in the design of an individualized course of study that meets the student’s goals, as well as help students select pertinent workshops and arrange access to any necessary resources.