Digital Humanities and Social Analytics

Learn to use digital technologies to analyse social media and humanities data

Text mining, data analysis and visualization

The sources and objects studied in history, media, literature, art, and social sciences are increasingly becoming available in digital formats. The minor Digital Humanities and Social Analytics will train you in how to create and analyse different types of data collections, using tools for text mining, data analysis and visualization.

The courses include hands-on training, research internships in ongoing research projects, as well as theoretical reflection on the promises of ‘the digital’ for your own discipline. Practical computational training will sharpen your analytical skills and enhance your job opportunities in the future.

To organize this minor VU Amsterdam works closely together with the KNAW Humanities Cluster in Amsterdam, where students participate in cutting edge digital humanities projects.

Why you should follow the minor Digital Humanities and Social Analytics

Hear it from students and staff

The Digital Humanities and Social Analytics minor consists of 5 courses, making up for 30 EC. If you already have programming skills (students from the Bachelor’s programme Computer Science) you can choose an alternative course from a selection of Humanities and Social Science courses, after consultation with the coordinator of the minor. The last course in period 3 entails a short internship.

Period 1

Introduction to Digital Humanities and Social Analytics (6 ec)
This course consist of three modules:

  • Study of current developments in the digital humanities and social analytics through reading, evaluation and discussion.
  • Knowledge of (reliability of) digital archives and sources, data curation and modelling and practice in working with structured data.
  • Introduction to hermeneutics, data criticism and tool criticism.

Introduction to Python for Humanities and Social Sciences (6 ec)
Students and scholars in the humanities generally rely on prefabricated applications to do their research. Creating your own research tools allows for more flexibility and more control over your data and queries. Python is the coding language widely used in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Period 2

Interpreting information in text by humans and machines (6 ec)
Students will learn how to, both manually and automatically, annotate larger amounts of textual data. They will analyse the results and reflect on the implications and promises for their own discipline.

Data Science: Visualization & Analytics in R (6 ec, level 300)
Students will learn to apply various visualization and analysis techniques for exploring, modeling, and presenting data, including texts and networks. In terms of critical reflection and theory, this is a more advanced course: how do we represent uncertainty and different perspectives? What are the implications of our methodological choices. Students will write a research paper.

Period 3

Digital Humanities and Social Analytics in Practice (6 ec)
Through an intensive internship at an ongoing research project of their own choice, students will put their new theoretical knowledge and skills into practice. The students will be guided by a tutor from VU Amsterdam and one cultural heritage professional.

Internships in 2018-2019 included projects at the Rijksmuseum, the Amsterdam Town Archive and, KNAW Humanities Cluster. A fantastic showcase is this search application created by Hedwig Overwater and Tomas van Dalen: connecting collections of topographical drawings to a clickable street map.

For specific information about each course, please visit our study guide.

The minor Digital Humanities and Social Analytics is an interdisciplinary minor, welcoming especially computer science students, social and political science students and humanities students of all disciplines. All courses are taught in English and focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and project-based learning.

The minor in Digital Humanities and Social Analytics is a university minor, which means that you do not need permission from your own Exam Committee.

For UvA students / Other students
For registering for VU Amsterdam courses, you will need to enrol as a guest student at VU Amsterdam for a Bachelor’s degree programme of the Faculty of Humanities.

More information about Admission and Registration.

If you have detailed questions about the contents of the programme, please contact:

Erika Kuijpers

Dr. Erika Kuijpers
+31 20 59 84448

Skills for the Job Market

Humanity students do not need preliminary computational skills, but will enhance their career opportunities by:

  • becoming more familiar with computational techniques and software;
  • exploring a whole new world of e-resources and e-data;
  • acquire skills for data modeling and analysis;
  • train hands-on useful basic programming skills;
  • use advanced visualizations in research and presentations;
  • participate in ongoing research projects in the booming field of Digital Humanities.

For Computer Science students, humanities and social science data sets are excitingly complex and also a chance to explore innovative digital technologies. This minor offers the opportunity to

  • work with and develop solutions for big and linked data sets;
  • expand on state-of-the art natural language processing tools and methods;
  • investigate and develop innovative visualization and analysis methods;
  • embed your computational research in multi-disciplinary and socially relevant projects;
  • develop your own reading and writing skills, and critical thinking about your role in other research fields and society at large.

Social Science students will realize that social behaviour (searching, shopping, traveling, dining, dating, discussing politics, social networking) increasingly can be studied through digital data. This minor gives them the opportunity to:

  • use data analytics to study public opinion, social behaviour and communication;
  • learn how to scrape, create, interpret, analyse and visualize different types of data;
  • to explore the challenge of working with big data and computational methods.

Throughout the minor, you will engage in critical reflection on the tools and methods used, and explore the way digital techniques influence current research in your own discipline.

Related Master's programmes

Samenvatting Digital Humanities and Social Analytics




1 Semester (30 EC)


September 1st


Gedrag en Maatschappij
Informatica, Wiskunde en Bedrijf
Kunst, Cultuur en Geschiedenis
Talen en Communicatie