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Certificate in Documentary Literary Studies

Certificate in Documentary Literary Studies

The Department of English offers a certificate in Documentary Literary Studies in its M.A. programs in order to further instruct students in the importance of book history and to enhance students' success in post-M.A. education and employment. The program instructs students in basic archival techniques for processing and handling a variety of types of documents and artifacts held in museums, rare book libraries, and special collections as well as standard formal apparatuses used in preparing editions, referencing, and cataloging. Students are trained in electronic technologies for online archiving, finding aids, retrieval, and presentation. In addition, students receive some instruction in virtual technologies and software technologies.

Certification requirements include coursework, an internship course (ENLS 7920), and an individual portfolio developed under the direction of a faculty mentor. The completion of the internship and individual portfolio earns a total of three credit hours, while a positive evaluation of the portfolio earns certification. The certificate program begins in the spring Bibliography and Research Methods course. During the final year of the M.A. program, each student pursuing the certificate serves as an intern in an approved collection on campus, whenever possible one that is relevant to the student’s own interests, such as the Amistad Research Center, the Hogan Jazz Archive, the Howard-Tilton Library special collections division, the Newcomb Art Museum, and others. The student then develops a portfolio that reflects her or his training and internship to demonstrate proficiency in the certification area. Portfolios are evaluated by the Certification Committee with the assistance of staff and faculty from special collections at Tulane.

**Note: Each interested student will choose a faculty member in the English Department to direct his/her project. Ideally, this faculty mentor should be in a research field that aligns with or complements the student’s archival interests. Students will find a faculty mentor for their projects during the spring semester before their final year in the program.


  1. Bibliography and Research Methods (ENLS 7050). This course includes a unit on archival studies and electronic technologies as well as editorial and bibliographic practices.
  2. Individual Certificate Portfolio.
  3. Internship (ENLS 7920): Students work for 3-5 hours per week for one semester in one of the major collections at Tulane University as archival/curatorial/exhibition/digitization assistants. Collections include the Amistad Research Center, Nadine Vorhoff Library, the Hogan Jazz Archive, the Louisiana Collection, the Newcomb Art Museum, and the Rare Book library. The aim of the internship is to give students hands-on experience with the handling, cataloguing, and curating of archives and the role that electronic technologies increasingly play in these activities.
  4. Final awarding of the certificate depends upon an evaluation of the certificate portfolio, by a committee consisting of the Director of the Certificate Program, Director of the Graduate Studies, and Faculty Mentor.
  5. Students interested in pursuing the certificate should contact The Director of the DLS Certificate Program, Professor Melissa Bailes.


Guidelines for DLS Faculty Mentors

As a faculty mentor, you’ll want to:
1) discuss with the student a general idea of the sort of portfolio project that you both might like to see come out of her/his archival experience,
2) help him/her arrange to have an internship in the chosen archive for 3-5 hours/week in the fall, and
3) mentor/direct the student’s portfolio project and final paper that s/he will put together in the spring (past projects have included transcriptions of manuscript letters, including editorial notes and commentary; putting together finding aids for materials within the collections; planning for, and potentially the displaying of, an exhibition of a particular genre or set of materials with which the student engaged during her internship, etc).