Seminar, Master Thesis & Master Examination Digital Humanities

On this page you will find all information about the seminar, master thesis and master exams in the MSF Digital Humanities.

The DH Lab is part of the Phil.-Hist. faculty of the University of Basel and the corresponding regulations and directives of the faculty apply. The current version of these guidelines can be found on the Documents and Instruction Sheets page of the Faculty of Phil.-Hist. If the information differs, the regulations and directives issued by the faculty apply.

All dates and deadlines in connection with the Master's thesis and the Master's examinations can be found on the central page of the Phil.-Hist.-Fakult.

The deadlines for the seminar paper must be discussed individually with the supervisor.

Preliminary remark

A seminar paper must be written for the Master in Digital Humanities. If Digital Humanities is chosen as a major, the Master's thesis is also written in the subject Digital Humanities. The aim of the theses is to explore a scientific question, to develop the topic using the relevant literature and to answer the question posed. The following information are guidelines, which can be adapted depending on the type of written work.

If desired, students will receive feedback on their seminar paper. This feedback can be given in written form or in a personal meeting. The form can be determined by the supervisor. The Master's theses are subject to the guidelines of the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Basel.

Special work as part of the Master's degree program in Digital Humanities (such as projects or research reports) that deviate from these guidelines can be discussed individually with the supervisors and must be approved by the head of the DHLab.



Scope & layout

The seminar paper comprises 18-25 pages (7,500-10,000 words, incl. footnotes), the Master's thesis 60-100 pages (24,000-40,000 words, incl. footnotes). This includes the independently written text without title page, table of contents, bibliography and appendix. If, for example, it is a quantitative thesis with a large appendix, the number of pages will tend to be at the lower end, and for a purely literary thesis at the upper end. For papers that also include the creation of programs, the number of pages is lower for seminar papers (10-20 pages) and Master's theses (30-60 pages) - in this case, students must discuss the length of the paper with the assessor in advance. As an addendum, documentation of the program, possibly a user manual and the code (also possible on github) must be submitted. Common fonts such as Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri, etc. are permitted and the font size should be 12 pt. A line spacing of 1.5 is to be used.


A paper / thesis comprises the following parts:

  • Title page: Title of the paper, details of the course (for seminar papers), name of lecturer, current semester, submission date. Name, address, telephone number, matriculation number, e-mail address of the author. The source information for an illustration on the title page can also be given in a footnote in the introduction.
  • Table of contents: With page numbers. A list of figures and tables is mandatory if there are more than three figures or tables.
  • Introduction: Research question, state of research and literature situation, explanation and justification of the approach, structure of the paper, possibly a brief preview of the results.
  • Main part: Addressing the research question. The main part can be divided into several chapters.
  • Conclusion: Brief summary, conclusion, open points, further questions.
  • List of sources and references: Details of the sources and literature used.
  • Appendix (if necessary): Appendix to the paper, additional analyses, program codes, etc.
  • Declaration of honesty: according to the template of the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Basel

Citation style

Sources and references must be cited consistently throughout the paper. For the thesis one of the following citation styles must be used (exceptions are permitted in consultation with the supervisor): Harvard, Chicago, MLA, APA, MHRA, citation style.


In consultation with the supervisors, papers are generally to be written in German or English. Due attention must be paid to spelling, punctuation, grammar and gender-equitable wording, otherwise this will result in deductions from the grade. Repetition should be avoided and the work is expected to be at an academically adequate level.

Tables and figures

All tables and figures must have a short and meaningful title and be numbered consecutively. Furthermore, these should only be copied from other texts in exceptional cases and if they are, a correct reference to them is expected. If there are more than three tables and figures, a corresponding list must be inserted after the table of contents or the bibliography. Figures must be of high quality and labeled in such a way that they can be understood outside the context of the work.

Literature and sources

Suitable scientific literature and source material must be used to answer the research question. All works used in the paper must be listed alphabetically by author in the bibliography and footnoted in the main text where used (deviations according to citation style). Texts that are not cited do not belong in the bibliography. As a guideline: three to five sources/literature per page and at least 15 (seminar paper) or 50 (Master's thesis) different sources / literature references. However, depending on the type of work, the number of references/sources can vary greatly and be much higher. Students should discuss this topic with their supervisor (especially for Master's theses).

Declaration of honesty

For the declaration of honesty at the end of the complete paper / thesis, please use the corresponding form for seminar papers or Master's theses of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Basel. Failure to do so will result in failure of the paper / thesis and may lead to expulsion from the program.



Introduction & research question

The introduction defines the subject of the written work and explains the problem. The topic must be placed in a broader context. Furthermore, a research question is formulated and the terms used in it are clarified. The research question must be precise and clear. The task must be defined and delineated from the bigger picture. The concept of the work must be derived from the research question. The current state of research is used to discuss current interpretations and theories.


The argumentation of the thesis / paper must be logical, consistent and differentiated. A high level of processing and reflection of the material is expected. Different positions and arguments are related to each other and brought into a dialog. The arguments must meet academic requirements.


It is expected that complex issues are processed into a convincing synthesis and that the question can be answered in full. It should be possible to draw good conclusions from the work and further food for thought should be provided.

  • Database design (Prof. Dr. Lukas Rosenthaler)
  • Experimental work with 3D scanners in the DH Lab (Prof. Dr. Peter Fornaro)
  • Digital communication of scientific projects (Dr. Vera Chiquet)
  • Concepts of Digital Citizen Science (Dr. Vera Chiquet)
  • Critical experiments with AI (Dr. Vera Chiquet)
  • Application research of Wikidata with collections and digitized data (Dr. Vera Chiquet)

Seminar paper

The seminar paper is to be written in German or English after consultation with the supervisor. If possible, a seminar paper should be written on a seminar - however, a free seminar paper (learning contract) is also possible. Please also note the information sheet on the assessment of seminar papers and master's theses on this page.

Supervisors are lecturers from the Digital Humanities programme who have at least a doctorate

An overview of the possible supervisors in the DH Lab can be found here.

For exceptions, please contact the Student Advisory Service.

Master thesis

The Master's thesis is to be written in German or English after consultation with the supervisors. The subject in which the Master's thesis is written is designated as the major. The other subject is designated as a minor. Discuss the desired thematic content and the formalities (scope of the thesis, citation, etc.) with your supervisor from the DH Lab.

Information (registration, admission requirements, etc.) on the Master's thesis can be found in the "Master's thesis information sheet". To register, use the "Master's thesis study contract". You can find the current version on the page Documents and leaflets of the Faculty of Phil.Hist

Please also note the information sheet "Assessment of seminar and master's theses" on this page.

The Master's thesis must be supervised by two persons. One of the supervisors must hold a professorship at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Basel (group I or II), the other person must at least hold a doctorate. The second person does not necessarily have to work at the University of Basel (in this case, please consult your supervisor at the University of Basel beforehand).

An overview of the possible supervisors in the DH Lab can be found here: Link


Master exam

1. General information on the Master's examination in the Master's degree program Digital Humanities

This information is to be understood as guidelines. It is necessary to consult with your expert in advance in order to make any necessary changes.

• Exam duration: 60 minutes.

• Agreement on two topics in advance, both will be examined. It is essential to discuss the choice of topic with your expert before registering.

• Topics must be clearly separated from one another.

• The use of documents during the examination is only permitted after consultation with the expert.

• Topics are deliberately kept broad; in-depth discussions of a generally formulated topic are possible. This is indicated by the selection of literature in the bibliography.

• Topics may not overlap with the Master's thesis.

2. Requirements

Bibliography: At least five scientific publications per topic. At least one of the selected titles must be an overview article.

Thesis sheet and examination: Submission of a thesis sheet at least one week before the examination by the candidate (via email). For each topic, 4 theses must be formulated on the thesis sheet.

Assessment criteria: The assessment is based, among other things, on the persuasiveness of the argument presented (or the answer to the question posed); the orientation of the argument to the current state of research and the structuring of the argument.

3. Examples of possible examination topics

Many of the following topics are still very broadly formulated, so they can and should be narrowed down even further. For further ideas, you can consult the personal pages of the possible experts and research their areas of expertise there. You can also check the archive of the course catalog to see what courses they have offered so far.

• History of computers and digitization

  – The internet and its services

  – Popularization of computer technology

  – Displacement processes and the change from analog to digital

• Programming

  – Programming paradigms

  – Standard languages in the world of programming

  – Interpreters and compilers

  – Biased code / cultures of program development

  – APIs

• Data genesis

  – Digital photography

  – Human vision

  – Sampling

  – Computational photography

  – OCR

• Data Formats

  – Media formats

  – Metadata formats

  – Format conversion

  – Data compression

  – Interoperability

  – From tag to graph

  – Data standards

• Data analysis

  – Statistical basics

  – API programming for data extraction

  – Data processing

• Repositories

  – Database systems

  – From the idea to the query

  – OAIS

  – Known digital infrastructures

  – Aggregation vs. hosting

  – Semantic Web technologies

• Interoperability

  – IIIF

  – Metadata exchange formats (Iconclass)

• Culture of the digital

  – Ethics on the web

  – Open data / open access and usability

  – Big Data vs. selection, growth of data piles

• Digital archiving

  – Standards

  – Concepts

  – Methods


Information (registration, admission requirements, etc.) on the Master's examination can be found in the "Master's examination information sheet". To register, use the form "Registration for Master's examination in a subject". You can find the current version on the page Documents and leaflets of the Faculty of Phil.Hist.

The examiners are the lecturers of the subject Digital Humanities who have at least a doctorate.

An overview of the possible examination experts in the DH Lab can be found here: Link


Information video on the start of the Master's degree programme DH (English)

Information video about the final part of the Master's degree programme DH (German)