Digital Humanities Lancaster

MA Digital Humanities

Tab Content: Course Overview

Developments in the use of digital technologies are transforming the ways we live and work. In recent years, information technology has come to be dominated by digital texts, images, and maps rather than quantitative sources. Humanities students are ideally placed to make use of these important and exciting sources in academic research and in the wider world of employment – yet few humanities degrees provide students with these skills. Driven by a dual focus on digital approaches and more traditional humanities courses, this MA addresses this skills shortage while assuming no particular expertise in computing.

Whether you want to continue in academia with the skills to drive pioneering work in your subject, or want to develop a career in any field that combines cutting-edge IT skills with the traditional strengths of a humanities graduate – in careers as diverse as the creative industries and the heritage sector – this fascinating new MA will transform your understanding of how digital technologies can be used.

Led by world-experts in the field, you will engage with cutting-edge research in Digital Humanities and will develop a valuable set of transferable skills, while benefiting from a strong interdisciplinary approach.

Tab Content: Why choose this course?

  • Be part of Lancaster University’s world-leading Digital Humanities Hub (
  • Work with our top academics who lead the field in Digital Humanities, and whose teaching is fuelled by the latest research
  • Study a combination of digital skills and traditional humanities courses with the flexibility to choose the focus of your Masters programme
  • Benefitting from our strongly interdisciplinary focus, take courses from across the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, including the Departments of History, English & Creative Writing, and Linguistics & English Language
  • Develop expertise and skills that will enhance your career potential in a range of sectors or prepare you for doctoral research
  • Through our optional heritage placements programme, work with partners in the cultural heritage or business sectors as part of your degree and put your digital skills into practice
  • Join the History department ranked 6th in the UK overall, and 3rd in the UK for graduate prospects, by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019

Tab Content: Key Information

Undergraduate Degree: A 2:1 honours degree, or equivalent, in History or a related discipline

If you have studied outside of the UK, you can check your qualifications here: International Qualifications

Students who have completed a combined major or a degree in other disciplines, such as Politics, English, Cultural Studies or Linguistics, are welcome to apply

English Language: IELTS - Overall score of at least 6.5, with no individual element below 5.5 

We consider tests from other providers, which can be found here: English language requirements

If your score is below our requirements we may consider you for one of our pre-sessional English language programmes

Pre-sessional English language programmes available: 

4 Week Overall score of at least 6.0, with no individual element below 5.5

10 Week Overall score of at least 5.5, with no individual element below 5.0

Longer pre-sessional programmes are available, please contact the Admissions Office for further information


Funding: All applicants should consult our information on Fees and FundingFaculty Scholarships and FundingHistory Fees and Funding

Tab Content: Fees


 Full Time (per year)Part Time (per year)
UK/EU £8,500 £4,250
Overseas £17,500 £8,750

The University will not increase the Tuition Fee you are charged during the course of an academic year.

If you are studying on a programme of more than one year's duration, the tuition fees for subsequent years of your programme are likely to increase each year. The way in which continuing students' fee rates are determined varies according to an individual's 'fee status' as set out on our fees webpages.

What are tuition fees for?

Studying at a UK University means that you need to pay an annual fee for your tuition, which covers the costs associated with teaching, examinations, assessment and graduation.

The fee that you will be charged depends on whether you are considered to be a UK, EU or overseas student. Visiting students will be charged a pro-rata fee for periods of study less than a year.

Our annual tuition fee is set for a 12 month session, which usually runs from October to September the following year.

How does Lancaster set overseas tuition fees?

Overseas fees, alongside all other sources of income, allow the University to maintain its abilities across the range of activities and services. Each year the University's Finance Committee consider recommendations for increases to fees proposed for all categories of student and this takes into account a range of factors including projected cost inflation for the University, comparisons against other high-quality institutions and external financial factors such as projected exchange rate movements.

What support is available towards tuition fees?

Lancaster University's priority is to support every student in making the most of their education. Many of our students each year will be entitled to bursaries or scholarships to help with the cost of fees and/or living expenses. You can find out more about financial support, studentships, and awards for postgraduate study on our website.

A wide choice of modules to develop your skills and expertise

All MA Digital Humanities students take four core modules: ‘Using Digital Texts as Historical Sources’ and ‘Spatial technologies for Historical Analysis', which introduce you to the core skills required of a digital humanist, as well as ‘Researching and Writing History’, in which you are supported to begin postgraduate study and prepare for your dissertation, and the dissertation module, through which you develop your own original research.

You will also be able to choose two further modules to allow you to build your own Digital Humanities MA by selecting modules from anywhere across the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences. Modules from History, English Literature & Creative Writing, or Linguistics & English Language may be particularly appropriate. However, our aim is to allow you to choose the combination of digital and applied modules that are most suitable for you and your planned dissertation. One of your choices might be the Heritage Placement module, if you are seeking to gain hands-on experience in the heritage sector, or a Historical Research Project module, which allows you to pursue a further topic through independent research.

In total, you take 180 credits. Modules taught in the History department are weighted at 20 credits and assessed by a combination of essays and practical work.  Modules in other departments usually follow a similar structure but please check. The dissertation, weighted at 80 credits, is 18,000-20,000 words.

Modules that may be of interest include:

  • HIST426: Digital Texts in the Humanities (Core)

    Despite huge advances in digital technologies, many of the approaches historian use remain rooted in the analogue age. Perhaps the only major change that computers have led to among historians to date is the use of major digitised archives, but many historians simply use these to search and browse, never making use of their full potential or able to critique the digitised sources effectively.

    In the first part of this course you will look at how paper sources are digitised and encoded to create digital historical resources. This will enable you to understand how digital sources are created, and encourage you to think critically about their benefits and limitations The second part the course explores how digitised historical sources can be explored and analysed in more sophisticated ways. Corpus linguistics enables us identify and summarise themes of interest from millions or billions of words of text in ways that go far beyond simply keyword searches. It also helps the historian decide which parts of a large body of text require further research and which do not.

    You do not need any prior knowledge of computing beyond the basics all history students will have. We will draw on examples from a wide range of topics from the early modern to modern British. You will also have the opportunity to use the techniques and approaches learnt with their own sources.

  • HIST429: Spatial Technologies in Humanities Research (Core)

    This module covers a range of geospatial technologies which are now available to historians, and is an opportunity to gain the practical and critical skills which will allow you to apply them to your own research. In doing so, you will also be exposed to many of the ongoing trends and debates within the growing field of Digital Humanities. You will be introduced to the ‘spatial turn’ in the humanities, identifying its theoretical bases and technical requirements, as well as some of their limitations and practical implications. Topics include Spatial Theory and Thinking, Geographical Text Analysis, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). You will explore the most cutting-edge research in the field in a number of case studies, and engage with them critically. In addition to this theoretical component, you will develop essential capabilities in GIS, including how to find, load, edit, visualise and analyse different kinds of data. You will learn how to combine texts and records with contemporary and historical cartography, sensor data, and satellite and aerial photography. This will allow you to visualize your own data in 2 and 3 dimensions, perform spatial statistical analyses, transform it into interactive time lines and visualisations, or produce high quality maps for presentations and publications. In doing so, you will acquire an important set of transferable digital skills and build an awareness of the opportunities, challenges and limitations of working with this medium.

  • HIST400: Dissertation. (Core)

    This 20,000 word dissertation provides the opportunity for you to demonstrate the knowledge, understanding, research skills and techniques of presentation developed in the taught modules of the MA degree scheme. The specialist field of enquiry is chosen by the student in consultation with a supervisor and other members of the department before arrival and in the first half of Michaelmas Term. Individual one-to-one supervisions will be provided throughout the year to support taught modules, define and formulate a research hypothesis, identify relevant qualitative and quantitative sources, offer guidance on presentation and comment on the structure of the dissertation.

  • HIST401: Researching and Writing History. (Core)

    Alongside having a passion for the past, researching and writing a quality piece of history requires close engagement with the historian’s craft. What does good history look like? How can we be sure we are at the cutting edge of our discipline? What does it meant to write well?


    In this core module, you will be guided through the process of conducting advanced historical research, reflecting upon the skills that you have and how they can be applied to extended pieces of research. Spanning both Michaelmas and Lent term, this module will take you from an introduction to postgraduate study through to laying the foundations for your dissertation, developing your understanding of the discipline of history, and your identity as an historian. The module culminates with a conference at the end of the Lent term, where you will present your work to peers and members of academic staff, receiving feedback to develop your own and the opportunity to help your peers develop their projects.


  • HIST491: Outreach, Heritage and Public History Placement. (Optional)

    This module offers you the chance to benefit from the Department’s established and expanding network of heritage partners by completing a professional placement. Our previous placement partners have included a number of notable organisations, such as the Duchy of Lancaster, Hoghton Tower, the Museum of Lancashire, the National Trust, the North Craven Trust, and the Senhouse Museum Trust. The placement is centred on a specific project, which is agreed between the Department and the partner organisation, and completed under the supervision of that organisation. The work undertaken as part of the placement project can take a variety of different forms, ranging from cataloguing objects to assisting in arrangement for exhibitions to undertaking research work on a corpus of visual, audio or textual sources.


  • HIST492: Historical Research Project. (Optional)

    For MA students this module exists to accommodate a student’s particular research project which cannot be accommodated within the dissertation (HIST400) or other taught modules. Only students with a clear idea of a particular research project they wish to employ, and a clear understanding that it cannot be accommodated within the remainder of the postgraduate programme, should consider this option. Please consult the appropriate Director of Graduate Studies if you wish to pursue this option. The form of assessment and supervisor will vary depending on the project, and will be agreed in negotiation between Director of Postgraduate Studies, supervisor and student. However, it will be of equivalent weighting to 5,000 words of text.

  • LING421: Corpus Linguistics (Optional)

    Corpus linguistics is a methodology whereby large collections of electronically transcribed texts are used in conjunction with computer tools to investigate language.

    This course aims to provide a general introduction to corpus based language study. It centres around two main parts – corpus methods for exploring linguistic variation and the applications of corpus linguistics such as language teaching, forensic linguistics and discourse analysis.

    Students will learn how to use corpus analysis packages such as BNCWeb and Antconc.

  • CREW412: New Media and Experimental Writing. (Optional)

    Exploring experimental modes of writing, this module focuses on form and mode whilst placing new media writings in a longer tradition of experimental writing. This gives you the opportunity to critically explore your own writing practice in relation to literary texts, new media texts, and experimental and collaborative practices.

    We will engage with and develop writing practices which correspond to a range of forms and media: the codex (book), e-lit or digital literature, games, visual media. And we will evaluate the range of critical responses to experimental literature, digital literature, remix culture and games narrative.

    Indicative study themes:

    • Experiments (1): Constraint and cut up

    • Experiments (2): word, vision, sound and text in media

    • Form and mode (1): from page to media

    • Form and mode (2): Geoff Ryman’s 253 as hypertext and print remix

    • Narrative and game dynamics (1): ergodic literature and writing machines

    • Narrative and game dynamics (2): Dear Esther

    • Remixing the book (1): Cortazar, Johnson, Danielewski

    Remixing the book (2): glitches, codes and uncreative writing

  • ENGL445: Nineteenth Century Literature: Place - Space - Text. (Optional)

    This module offers an introduction to understanding and exploring ideas of space, movement and identity in relation to major writers and texts across the nineteenth century. We will read key writers of place alongside a range of relevant spatial and philosophical texts and extracts for each of the thematic themes that are addressed across the module.

    The module focuses on three themes: walking and writing; mapping literary place and space; and interior and exterior. We use these themes to think about how place and space are constructed through movement, action and reaction, as well as to consider how the visual representation of place via maps can transform the ways we understand the world around us. We consider multiple types of place, including rural farmland, mountains and lakes, islands, cities and the home. We will place these themes in the context of twentieth-century thinking on place and space via the works of phenemenologists like Maurice Merleau Ponty and spatial theorists, including Gaston Bachelard, Michel de Certeau, Henri Lefebvre, Franco Moretti and Yi Fu Tuan.

  • HIST421: Beyond the Text: Image, Sound and Object as Historical Evidence. (Optional)

    In this module, you will examine historical approaches to a variety of sources, from the visual (or audio visual), to the aural, oral and artefactual. Whatever period you are studying, you will be able to investigate material relevant to your own research: in the past, the module has covered the gamut from ancient Rome to the modern day, and the sources you investigate will be tailored to suit the specialisms of your cohort. Over the course of the module you will deepen your familiarity with the range of sources available, and be able to analyse how non-traditional sources have been approached by historians. The knowledge and skills you learn will provide insights into how you can approach such sources within your own research; indeed, you will have the opportunity to pursue a coursework topic that relates to your chosen area of historical investigation.