MA in Digital Tools for Premodern Studies

The central intellectual focus of this program is the study of the creation, transmission, preservation, and transformation of knowledge across time and culture, from Classical Antiquity through premodern times. To facilitate the study of such a broad field, the program puts a heavy focus on digital techniques. Students will thus acquire a deeper knowledge of the humanities while learning and practicing computing skills in a hands-on research environment. Graduates will be well prepared to pursue PhD programs and academic careers or careers in publishing, media, and technology. Students typically complete the program in two or three years.

Program Requirements and Policies

  • 11 courses are required for the MA in Digital Tools for Premodern Studies as outlined below. 
  • Students are required to complete a research project equivalent in scope to a master's thesis. This project will fulfill 3 class credits, one usually taken in the fall of the second year of the program, and the other two in the spring. This project is conducted and evaluated from two perspectives which illustrate two complementary sets of skills, namely the production of good data and the appropriate and insightful analysis of that data. For this reason, the project may have a single deliverable similar in scope to a thesis, or two deliverables similar in scope to Qualifying Papers. This project may originate from coursework, and students are encouraged to start elaborating their project during their first year, in any case no later than the summer before their second year. A thesis committee must be constituted and a defense scheduled as outlined in the Graduate Student Handbook.
  • Reading knowledge of Latin and Greek and one modern foreign language (usually German or French) is tested by examination. Latin or Greek may be replaced with another language, in which case the other language must be approved upon enrollment in the program.
  • A comprehensive written examination integrating course work with knowledge of the reading lists in Greek and Latin literature or other approved language is required.

Course Requirements

  • Two courses devoted to a common core: 
    • COMP 5/CLS 160: Computational Methods for the Humanities
    • COMP 10: Computer Science for All
  • Two courses selected from advanced offers in classical literature (Latin, Greek, Sanskirt, or other approved language)
  • Four elective courses selected from a preapproved list. Courses must be chosen from at least two different departments or programs and can be chosen according to students' particular academic and vocational interests and needs.
  • Three courses will be devoted to a research project. Please see above. 


  • Two languages: Latin or Greek or another approved language
  • Foreign language (German or French)
  • Comprehensive exam

Program Objectives

  1. Students will have developed the ability to conduct research and write a graduate level research paper and/or thesis.
  2. Students will have developed broad knowledge of research and practice in the field of Digital Humanities as well as a deeper focus in a particular area within the Premodern World relevant to student interest.
  3. Students will have developed a strong competency in one or more pre-modern languages, such as Latin and Greek or other historical languages depending upon their background and goals, and have been exposed to new methods of learning and using the languages. (eg. intensive linguistic annotation, analyzing text at scale and visualizing the results).
  4. Students will have gained reading knowledge of a modern foreign language relevant to research in the field.
  5. Students will have been exposed to new developments in the fields of Digital Humanities and of the Pre-Modern area on which they focus.
  6. Students will be prepared to go on to advanced graduate programs or to positions outside academia where the skills they have acquired in the MA are useful.