MA Digital & Public Humanities

Postgraduate, Part-time

Digital & Public Humanities MA

Study literature, film and culture, and learn about the theory and practice of digital media and arts in the community


This innovative course in vibrant, cosmopolitan Edinburgh allows you to combine academic study with specialised learning about digital and public humanities. 

You’ll practice digital research, community engagement and have the opportunity to pursue a placement with partners in the cultural sector, to gain knowledge of and experience in public-facing scholarship in the humanities. 

You’ll benefit from the research expertise of an enthusiastic teaching team and our practical experience in working with a range of external organisations, from UNESCO City of Literature Trust and the Edinburgh International Book Festival to our award-winning partnership with the Scottish Prison Service and Fife College

You’ll engage with theoretical debates at the forefront of the two exciting new fields of digital and public humanities alongside practice-based learning about digital media and tools for humanities research. You’ll consider the interface between theoretical debates on community, culture, media, identity and audiences, and practical examples of community engagement in academia, cultural organisations and the third sector. This course allows you to tailor your programme of study to your individual preferences, from a focus on textual analysis to more digital content and practical applications.

Two people talking

Mode of Study:

Part-time (available as full-time)


3 years

Start date:


About you
Enter first name
Enter last name

Course details

This course unites academic skills that employers value, such as research, critical thinking, writing and communication skills, with practical skills for the digital economy and creative industries. While the course seeks to enhance your employability, its ethos is also characterised by a strong commitment to raising awareness about social justice and social inequalities, including questions of access to the arts and education, and the impact of and potential solutions to the digital divide. 

A compulsory core module in Digital Humanities will develop your knowledge of various methods and approaches to practicing humanities research with digital tools, including online content production, digitisation, online curation, the usage and ethics of big data. 

The compulsory Public Humanities core module will introduce you to the different ‘publics’ cultural organisations engage with, and the theory and practice of outreach, access, advocacy, identity and cultural representation. 

A compulsory Research Methods module complements these areas with advanced training in generic humanities research and presentation skills. You'll benefit from a range of optional modules in related areas, including Design, Computing and Tourism, alongside literary and cultural studies.   

You’ll learn about theory, practices, and debates at the forefront of the Digital and Public Humanities, including a range of subjects from:
  • Intersections between literary and cultural studies and computing
  • Theories of the ‘public’ and communities, as they intersect with literary and cultural scholarship
  • Representations of technology and society in cultural texts, and genre formation in the digital age
  • Engaging the public with research through practices ranging from exhibition design to cultural heritage development
  • Community media practice

A work placement option, as well as module choices in related disciplines including Computing, Design, and Tourism, allow you to put learning from core modules into practice.

A dissertation or major project enables you to synthesise learning from taught modules and undertake substantial independent research in a topic that interests you. By the end of the course you’ll be able to engage in critical theoretical debates around digital culture and public-facing scholarship, and you’ll have gained practical skills for engaging the public with the arts, culture and research through both digital media and community outreach. You’ll also be prepared to undertake PhD study if you wish to continue your research.


Compulsory modules include: 
  • Introduction to Digital Humanities: Theories, Practices and Debates 
  • Interdisciplinary Humanities Research: Methods and Skills 
  • Introduction to Public Humanities: Theories, Debates and Engagement  
Options* include:
  • Contemporary Genres: Culture in the Digital Age
  • Mediated Cultures: Self, Technology and Society
  • Design Dialogues
  • Web Design and Development
  • Exhibition Design
  • Interpretative Design
  • Tourism, Society and Visual Culture
  • Community Media**
  • Cities Real and Imagined**
  • Crime in Text and Film**
  • Fictions of Terror**
  • Work Placement
*Please note that not all options will be available every year, dependent on staff expertise and availability, and timetabling.

** Students who have previously studied these modules at level 10 cannot take the associated option again at MA level.

  • calendar How you’ll be taught

    This is a part-time course studied over two or three years. You’ll learn by a variety of teaching methods including seminars, workshops, site visits, project work, collaborative work and independent research. On the work placement option and the dissertation/major project, you will work independently with the guidance and supervision of a member of staff.

    Programme Leader

    Dr Tara Thomson

  • note and pen Assessments Your knowledge and understanding will be assessed using a combination of methods such as essays and oral presentations, and a dissertation or equivalent major project. Some modules give you a choice between assessment options to reflect your own focus and research interests; such options may include oral history projects, portfolios, digital text analysis or geospatial analysis, blogs and video essays, alongside more traditional essay assignments.
  • briefcase Work placement The course includes an optional work placement module, which will enable you to understand the foundations for successful employability and to consider how working or volunteering can provide an environment for learning. Through an 80-hour work placement and a written critical assessment, you'll examine the interrelationships between the world of work or volunteering and your educational experience. We will support you in identifying a suitable placement, which may be with one of our existing partner organisations in the local cultural or third sector.
  • library Facilities Our students have access to facilities and libraries at three campuses, including the course base at Merchiston campus with up to 24/7 access to the Jack Kilby Computing Centre during term times.


Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

The entry requirement for this course is a Bachelor (Honours) Degree at 2:1 or above. We look for applicants to have a background in English Literature or a closely related Arts/Humanities/Social Sciences discipline such as Film, Philosophy, History, Media Culture, Cultural Studies, Literature (in languages other than English), Politics, or Sociology in order to be eligible for the programme.

English language

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English, or your undergraduate degree was taught and examined in English (within two years of starting your postgraduate course). Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

International students

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that non-EU international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BN Nursing/MN Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental Health or Learning Disability)
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery

Admissions policies

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students from 2020/21 2021/22
Home/EU-Taught modules *£960 *tba
Home/EU-Dissertation module £570 tba
Overseas Taught Modules *£2,110 *
Overseas Dissertation £1,402 tba

Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next.
For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees

Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships

Fees for modules are calculated according to the number of credits (multiples of 20). The rate shown in the table is for 20 credits*. The total fee you will pay is dependant upon the exit award you wish to achieve.
The University offers a 10% discount on MSc Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes to its alumni. The discount applies to all full-time, part-time and online programmes.

The University offers a 10% discount on MSc Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes to its alumni. The discount applies to all full-time, part-time and online programmes.

Doctor Tara Thomson

Doctor Tara Thomson is the Programme Leader of this course. Her research interests fall generally into modernist studies, critical theory, women’s writing, urban studies and the Digital Humanities.


A range of professional and research roles in different sectors including:

  • cultural and literary heritage
  • museums and galleries
  • charities
  • publishing
  • web design
  • data analysis for arts and public sector organisations
  • outreach for cultural organisations
  • teaching
  • creative industries
The course will also equip you for further study at PhD level in related subject areas.