Graduate Portfolio in Digital Studies
The Graduate Portfolio in Digital Studies is a transcriptable credential in a cross-disciplinary academic area of inquiry that can be pursued by masters and doctoral students of any discipline at UT Austin. The portfolio will be certified as an additional qualification together with the candidate’s main degree at the end of their studies.
Scholarship in Digital Studies interprets the cultural and social impact of new media and information technologies as well as creates and applies these technologies to answer cultural, social, historical, and philological questions. Digital Studies is necessarily collaborative and interdisciplinary. It emphasizes design, multimediality, and experiential learning and research by creatively expanding the networks of participation, the modes of access, and the tools for the creation and dissemination of scholarship. Digital Studies practices are not limited to conventional humanities departments, but are emerging in every humanistic field at UT, within the College of Liberal Arts and beyond, in arts and architecture, information studies, film and media studies, archaeology, geography, ethnic studies, and the social sciences. At the same time, Digital Studies is a natural outgrowth and expansion of the traditional scope of the Humanities, not a replacement or rejection of traditional humanistic inquiry. In fact, the role of the humanist is critical at this historic moment, as our cultural legacy is migrated to digital formats and our relation to knowledge, cultural material, technology, and society is radically re-conceptualized.
Portfolio Director: Professor Tanya Clement
The portfolio program requires the completion of at least twelve credit hours in approved graduate level courses. These credit hours can include three hours from one independent study or directed reading with an affiliated faculty member.
I. survey course
II. methods-focused course
III. one course involving theory or disciplinary contexts
IV. Practicum courses must be taken by arrangement with the instructor, with approval of the proposal application form and an evaluation form towards the end of the project (both sent to Portfolio Director: Professor Tanya Clement).
The required courses provide three core kinds of knowledge.
Content- or theory-focused courses that highlight the intersection of traditional humanities scholarship with “the digital,” broadly conceived;
Methods-based courses which train students in areas of practical computational humanities scholarship, such as the creation of digital collections and archives: (a) Digitization/OCR, markup, database building, content curation, interface design, etc.; (b) Analysis of digital materials: basics of data science, computer programming for textual analysis, statistical analysis, automatic parsing of audio and visual data, natural language processing, etc.; and (c) Use of digital technologies to write, publish, and consume scholarship: electronic literature, digital storytelling, video use in design, hyperlinking, copyright and access policy, geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS), text, interactivity, sound, and images; other courses as approved by the certificate director.
Hands-on experience in the framework of faculty-led research projects.
The course requirements can be met either by courses taken toward the candidate’s main program of study or by taking additional courses. A list of approved courses is available here. In addition, students may propose courses that are not listed here to be recognized toward the portfolio by emailing the program director.
Graduate students, including those from departments with no faculty representatives in the program, can enter the portfolio program at any point in their graduate work. The application requires a brief statement of the student’s interests in the program and their research goals, a rationale for pursuing this course of study, and a clear sense of how pursuing this course of study guides them towards particular graduate and career goals. Students must be in good academic standing to apply (with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above).
Portfolio students are required to complete a DH practicum during their coursework. The practicum ordinarly takes the form of a significant contribution on a DH project, understood broadly, that is completed in the context of a course where the project is a significant portion, either the primary function of the course (such as an internship) or over 60% of the final grade for that class. For example, E 398D DIGITAL STUDIES PRACTICUM is restricted to students pursuing the graduate portfolio in digital studies and provides credit for practical work on a faculty-led digital studies research project, planned and carried out in consultation with the supervising instructor. Other courses that students often use for the practicum include L A 187, 387, 687 or INF 388L, among others.
In rare exceptions, projects outside of a course that are completed as part of an extracurricular internship or graduate research assistantship will also be considered.
1. The practicum proposal should be turned in for approval before the end of class registration for the semester in which the student plans to work on the praciticum. Note: The proposal form will require the following information. Some of this information may already be requirements in a class or project associated with the work or as part of a capstone form in the student's department, all of which can be reiterated here in the proposal:
- a clear objective and an overall description of the work to be performed
- a list of deliverables or outcomes, the expected culminating products of your work (e.g., a written report, a digital product, an essential aspect of a larger project on which the student is working as a team member, guidelines or frameworks)
- a set of work activities, or the tasks you will complete on the way to the final deliverable, including methods as appropriate (e.g., focus group interviews, database searches, prototyping, experimentation, use of testbenches, or surveys)
- the criteria for evaluation of your work (e.g., on-time delivery, working functionality, thoroughness of research, responsiveness to others, or actionable recommendations)
- a preliminary schedule with tasks and dates of completion
- work expectations (e.g., on-site attendance, meeting attendance, dress, availability, or social media protocol);
- methods for monitoring project progress (e.g., weekly meetings with your supervisor, routine presentations, or regular emails to the department)
- a set of learning objectives that specify what you will gain from this work, as in skills you will hone or knowledge you will gain; and (9) an explanation of how the project fits into your education (with courses specified).
2. Faculty supervisors are requested to email their evaluation form after completion of the practicum.
Note: Areas of digital studies scholarship that might be pursued in the practicum include but are not limited to:
- Digital and computational approaches to humanistic research and pedagogy
- Digital cultural heritage
- Digital surveillance
- Environmental humanities & climate justice
- Digital humanities tools and infrastructures
- Digital librarianship
- Digital media, art, literature, history, music, film, and games
- Digital public humanities
- Humanistic and ethical approaches to data science and data visualization
- Humanistic research on digital objects and cultures
- Humanities knowledge infrastructures
- Labor and organization in digital humanities
- Physical computing
- Resource creation, curation, and engagement
- Use of digital technologies to write, publish, and review scholarship
We welcome suggested courses from faculty, students, and others. Proposals to include courses in the DS Portfolio are welcome at any time. Please note that the form will ask proposers for the course number and title, to make a case for which requirement the proposed course fulfills, and to upload a syllabus for the course that sufficiently demonstrates the course's components including readings, assignments, and other activities. The portfolio director will respond to your request as soon as possible.