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The IPH Minors

The many paths into the Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities

Some students enter Washington University knowing that IPH is ideal for them. They start on the Text & Tradition track, and the small classes and rigorous engagement with texts from Homer to Borges convince them that they want to continue in such an intellectual environment.

Others begin a FOCUS program as freshmen -- say, the program on European Nationalism, or Shakespeare Unlimited, or Cuban Transitions -- and decide to join IPH because they've come to love an interdisciplinary approach to their studies.

And other students find the program a bit later. Students have joined us as sophomores -- those who entered the university on the pre-medical track, transferred from other universities, or come from Engineering, the School of Fine Arts, or the Business School. They find they have catching up to do. It's worth it to them and to the IPH community.

Minor in Data Science in the Humanities

 In response to the growing interest in the Humanities Digital Workshop, we now offer a Data Science in the Humanities minor (DASH) combining traditional humanities inquiry with digital methods and analysis. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the minor, it is home-based in IPH, the Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities. We also offer an analogous program for graduate students.

Who is the minor for?

Any humanities student will feel at home in this minor and in its research community. No previous experience with computational methods is required—the core curriculum equips students with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate fluently the field of Digital Humanities, and those skills and that knowledge are eminently "transferable."  Computational approaches to questions in the humanities are slowly migrating from the methodological fringes of the disciplines of cultural, artistic, and historical inquiry; students in the minor will have the opportunity to engage with the emerging future of their fields—and to help shape that future.

       A student who does have previous computational experience—a CompSci major, for instance—will still benefit from the minor. Grafting that knowledge to the problems of cultural and historical analysis, and working on challenging new projects within unfamiliar fields, computer-savvy students will find themselves becoming more versatile than ever (and therefore, we believe, more attractive to graduate admissions committees and potential employers).

Research Opportunities

This minor is unusual, among humanities programs, in its focus on hands-on undergraduate research. STEM fields provide relatively straightforward pathways toward research, whereas humanities students sometimes struggle to define what humanities research entails, let alone know how to get involved. Research opportunities are built into the DASH minor. It requires 3 units of work on a faculty-led project. It is possible to complete this minor with only 6 units of course-work, and devote the remaining 9 units entirely to research.

Every summer, the Humanities Digital Workshop invites applications from undergraduate and graduate students for its summer fellowships. The fellowships pair students with humanities faculty engaged in digital humanities projects for 8 weeks and past participants have overwhelmingly found this a valuable experience. Most students pursuing the minor will fill their required 3 units of research through one of these fellowships. A list of past and ongoing HDW projects can be found here.

Requirements & Courses

Text & Tradition

There are many ways for you to begin a serious engagement with literature, philosophy, history, art, and critical theory at Washington University. One of the best is to enroll in the Text & Tradition program.

First-year students at WU can enroll in Text & Tradition: each fall we reserve at least fifty places for incoming students. In T&T, students explore the classic texts and intellectual traditions upon which American and European culture has been built -- from Greek thought to the modern novel. In the first semester, those enrolled in the T&T take Classical to Renaissance Literature, as well as Early Political Thought. Each course in T&T meets an Arts & Sciences distribution requirement. The goal of these classes is to provide a serious foundation in the humanities, a foundation in content and in methods of inquiry. Five T&T classes are required to earn the minor.


The Text & Tradition Minor

If you continue past the first semester -- the "classical" semester -- you can easily complete a minor in Text & Tradition by choosing three more T&T classes.  You can take these at any time during the pursuit of an undergraduate degree from the University. Some of the course options are listed below. For an updated IPH schedule, please see the course book for the appropriate semester.

We try to offer two or three of these courses every spring:

  • The Great Economists
  • Scriptures and Cultural Traditions
  • Puzzles and Revolutions
  • Sex and Gender

Lots of students take these courses in their second year; we offer them every spring and fall:

  • Literary Modernities in Europe & America
  • Modern Political Thought

With approval by the IPH faculty, a student may substitute an appropriate course.