The new MPhil in Digital Humanities at the University of Cambridge explores ways in which the humanities can engage with digitally enabled research approaches, considers the impact of digital innovations on cultural forms and practices, and explores digital futures. This one year taught masters programme is designed to be inter-disciplinary and caters for different skill levels in digital humanities methods and approaches.
- The Course
Our culture is increasingly computational. Digital technologies are deeply implicated in the ways we produce knowledge, analyse older cultural forms, and make new ones. Computational technologies and techniques are central to the way we live now. They are embedded into bodies and environments, re-organizing scale and distance, re-wiring social divisions and inequalities in unexpected ways. They are also central to what we know and how we know it – the digital constitutes a radical shift in the forms of knowledge production, circulation, and exchange. It produces new possibilities for scholarship – and ushers in new epistemic culture. There is a need for the humanities to grapple with emerging forms, practices, social formations and epistemic cultures shaped in this digital age.
Our new MPhil in Digital Humanities responds to this. The course explores ways in which the humanities can engage with digitally enabled research approaches, it considers the impact of digital innovations on cultural forms and practices, and it explores digital futures.
The course delivers a series of practical engagement with digital methods, tools, and approaches and also provides an orientation in a range of critical and theoretical approaches necessary to grapple with key issues in digital humanities – these include questions of the ethical or politics of digital culture, environmental load, surveillance and personal freedom, data neutrality issues, algorithmic analysis, machine learning, open access, platform politics, ethics of automation, virtual cultures, data sharing, intelligent agency and creativity, archival justice and digital histories, collections and heritage issues.
The course is designed to offer a structured engagement with a range of methods and critical/theoretical approaches and also to enable the development of specialisms. It will enable humanities or social science trained students to develop the critical literacy and practical skills and knowledges to understand and engage with digital materials and digital methods for the study of matters relevant to the humanities.
Students take two core courses – Digital Humanities Approaches and Methods, and Data and Algorithmic Analysis – and choose two courses from a basket of more specialist options undertaken in the Lent (second) term. These vary from year to year but may include options on Digital Forms, Automatic writing, Cultures of AI, Global Digital Humanities, Digital Approaches to the Past.
Students also develop a year-long dissertation or portfolio project exploring a chosen area with an appropriate supervisor. You will also acquire a critical and well-informed understanding of the stakes of digital transformation in contemporary society and participate in the advanced research culture of the DH community at Cambridge and beyond by attending and contributing to research seminars, practical and methodological workshops, and reading groups. Assessment is through shorter essays and through the dissertation or portfolio project.
The course is directed by Cambridge Digital Humanities, a research centre with links across a wide range of faculties and units at Cambridge, and it is administered by the Faculty of English.
Digital Humanities is an intrinsically interdisciplinary field: we therefore will consider candidates with any academic undergraduate degree. You might have a grounding in History, Archaeology, Literature, Linguistics, Art History, Economics, Computer Science, etc. The degree itself involves working with a range of materials from Cambridge Libraries, Museums and Collections and other disciplines. Whatever your background, we are looking forward to hearing from you.
You must have a good 2:1 Honours Degree.
If you have already taken a Cambridge BA Degree, you will need an average mark of 67 at Part II including at least 67 in your Part II dissertation to be considered for a place. Conditional offers for other degree courses from other universities will be equivalent.
General entry requirements for the University of Cambridge:
The MPhil will enable students to demonstrate an advanced general understanding of digital humanities and related topics at both practical and theoretical levels. This MPhil will benefit students seeking to stay with the field of DH at doctoral level and beyond by enabling them to hone their critical and methodological skills, develop new approaches and test them out, and specialise. It will also benefit students wishing to take their learning back to ‘home’ disciplines, as they will have gained the critical and practical digital literacy to inform future research.
Other careers which may follow an MPhil in DH could include those in galleries, libraries, archives, museums, creative industries, digital media industries and media arts – as students will have gained the critical perspectives, practical digital literacies, and methodological insights to pursue these pathways.
MPhil students may apply to continue to a PhD with a relevant Faculty at Cambridge. The academic condition for continuation at Cambridge is normally an overall mark of 70 or more for the MPhil course, and a mark of 70 or more for the dissertation/portfolio. Other conditions may also be imposed.
There is currently no PhD in Digital Humanities at Cambridge but topics of relevance to DH may be supervised through relevant faculties.
To find out your fee, visit:
You can apply to many funding opportunities through the Cambridge University Graduate Funding Competition. This coordinates funding from multiple sources including:
- Cambridge Trust: https://www.cambridgetrust.org/scholarships/eligibility/
- Gates Cambridge: https://www.gatescambridge.org/
- ESRC, NERC and AHRC Research Councils
- University funding, including The Vice Chancellor’s Award and The Cambridge International Scholarship Scheme
- College partner funding for the above schemes
- General information found at: https://www.postgraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/funding-overview
The University holds two main rounds of competition for postgraduate study on October and January for admittance the following academic year. Funding deadlines and further information on the Graduate Funding Competition is provided by the Graduate Admissions Office.
Please make sure you are aware of the Graduate Funding Competition Timeline.
Current and prospective postgraduate students can use the Cambridge Funding Search tool to locate funding within the University
For students resident in an African country
The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Cambridge is designed to provide talented students from economically marginalised and hard-to-reach communities in Africa with fully-funded opportunities to complete their Master’s training, grow in transformative leadership, and contribute to climate resilience and sustainability in Africa. The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program covers the cost of travel and visas, accommodation, meals, allowance for a laptop, health cover, and a living stipend – as well as tuition costs. It also provides an allowance for dependant children who may accompany a Scholar. Applicants to this funding must be a citizen of an African country and demonstrate that they are from an economically marginalised, or economically disadvantaged, background.
The deadline for this funding is 5 Jan, or 19 Dec to submit a fee waiver form.
For more information, visit: https://www.postgraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/funding-overview/mastercard-foundation-scholars-program-university-cambridge
European Funding Guide
The European Funding Guide is the largest online-platform in the EU for finding financial aid. The platform contains over 12,000 scholarships, grants and awards across the whole EU worth more than 27 billion Euros per year. Over 4,000 of these are specifically targeted at UK students.
Snowdon Trust Scholarship Opportunity for Disabled Students
The scholarship offers up to £30,000 of funding for disabled students seeking to do a master’s programme at a UK institution in 2022/2023. Successful students will receive up to £15,000 towards their fees and a £15,000 allowance while studying. There are up to 12 scholarships available, and students can apply for any master’s course at any UK university. Applications are open for both National and International Students and usually close in early April. https://www.disabilityinnovation.com/projects/snowdon-masters-scholarships
Postgraduate Administrator (Suzanne Daley):