FAQs about the master's in Digital Curation

What is digital curation?

Digital curation is lifecycle management of durable digital content. This includes the selection, preservation, maintenance, collection, and archiving of digital assets. Successful digital curation safeguards data authenticity and integrity, and mitigates digital obsolescence, keeping files and information accessible to users indefinitely.

Digital curators develop and implement policies to ensure that data and other digital assets remain FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable).

How long does it take to complete this degree?

Students can complete the degree in as little as 18-months on a full-time schedule, but most students take courses part-time while they are working, which allows completion of the program in two to four years.

How much does it cost to complete this degree?

The master’s degree in Digital Curation & Management is a 31-credit hour program. For North Carolina residents, 2020/21 tuition was $917 per credit hour with $23.97 in fees. For non-NC residents, 2020/21 tuition was $1,836 per credit hour.

For current tuition and fees, visit the UNC-Chapel Hill Cashier’s Office website. In the estimated tuition and fees document, scroll down to the “Off-Campus Programs” page and look for the PSM in Digital Curation.

How does online learning work? Do I have to log-in at a certain time for classes?

Different online programs use different formats. The master’s degree in Digital Curation & Management offers asynchronous learning. You can log-in at anytime day or night to access course texts, recorded lectures, and other materials. However, most courses require weekly contributions to online discussion forums and completion of various assignments by deadlines set throughout the semester.

Is digital curation the same as digital asset management?

Digital curation encompasses digital asset management, data curation, digital preservation, and electronic records management.

These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, though specific terms may be more recognized in certain fields or industries. For instance, healthcare professionals are more likely to discuss electronic health records (EHR) management, whereas scientists will more often refer to data curation or management.

The master’s program in Digital Curation & Management at Carolina can help you learn the vocabulary and ontologies needed to communicate with various constituencies within your organization, as well as with other curation professionals.

What are the differences between digital curation and data science or data analytics?

Data science and data analytics professionals work to extract insights and meaning from data. Digital curation experts make sure that data is authentic, secure, and accessible. They engineer the digital scaffolding necessary for data-driven research and innovation.

Digital curation also expands beyond just data to all files that are stored in digital format, from photos and videos to formulas and patents.

What is a Professional Science Master’s degree?

A Professional Science Master’s (PSM) program is designed for students who want to develop expertise in a specific area, while also acquiring valuable business skills.

PSM degrees are sometimes referred to as Master of Professional Science (MPS) degrees, non-thesis or non-research master’s degrees. They do not offer preparation for PhD-level studies.

While PSM students may conduct original research as part of their capstone projects, PSM programs emphasize knowledge proficiency and professional competencies. PSM students graduate ready to apply what they have learned in the workforce at a wide range business, government, and nonprofit organizations.

Why is this program being offered through the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS)?

SILS is home to some of the foremost digital curation and preservation experts in the world, most notably Digital Curation & Management Program Director Helen Tibbo and Professor Cal Lee, who has pioneered preservation policies and standards for “born digital” materials.

SILS faculty are also internationally recognized thought leaders in information retrieval and organization, text data mining, machine learning, task-based search, and large-scale data management.

Our faculty have designed online courses that incorporate their research expertise and classroom teaching experience, offering a curriculum that can prepare you for both the current and future challenges of digital curation.  

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