DQ Logo, Digital Intelligence Certificate at Duke University

Digital Intelligence (DQ)

A New Undergraduate Certificate

The Digital Intelligence certificate is a new track within the Science & Society undergraduate certificate program. This new track focuses on providing undergraduate students with foundational understanding of contemporary and emerging computational thinking, such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, web/mobile technologies, databases and software engineering. This training in technology will be coupled with requisite ethical, legal, social, and policy frameworks needed to understand the complexities of technology’s impact on our world. The Digital Intelligence track provides students with a holistic understanding of revolutionary technologies and the responsibility researchers, designers, and regulators bear in ensuring they are built and implemented responsibly.

This certificate track builds on wide-ranging partnerships with other units across Duke. The curricular contents draw from Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, as well as other units spanning Arts & Sciences, Engineering, Public Policy, and Law. The co-curricular contents draw from the Innovation Co-Lab and the +DataScience program. The Capstone experience draws from the Data+ program pioneered by the Rhodes Information Initiative at Duke (iiD) as well as partner programs like Code+, CS+, and Bass Connections. Science & Society and its partners above are key players in Duke’s overall framework for training in computation and its societal implications, with that overarching framework led by the Duke Center for Computational Thinking.

Program Details

The core and four elective areas of the Digital Intelligence certificate track provide a broad examination of computational technology as well as ethics, policy, and communication issues. The capstone provides an opportunity for experiential learning and potential real-world impact. The certificate is targeted to all Duke students.

To complete this certificate track, students will complete the core and capstone requirements (two courses), plus four courses drawn from the following elective areas, with at least one from each of the first three areas. Up to one elective course can be fulfilled instead with 100 hours of co-curricular learning activities (more detail on this below). Below we summarize the program.


SCISOC 256-02

Computation, Ethics, and Policy

This course offers students an introduction to computational artificial intelligence theory and techniques and the corresponding ethical considerations for developing and using these tools.


Elective Area One

Computational Thinking


Elective Area Two

Ethics and Policy


Elective Area Three



Elective Area Four

Computation in Practice

Co-curricular Option


Elective area four can be fulfilled by 100 hours of in-person and/or virtual learning opportunities across four years to dive deeper into relevant areas. Innovation Co-Lab Roots and +DataScience sessions are a primary means of fulfilling these co-curricular learning requirements, but there are many others as well. The hours will be logged to ensure participation.



Computing, Data, and Ethics

The capstone is a seminal course that will be offered to rising and existing fourth-year students upon completing the Core and Elective courses. The course will be designed as an experiential project-based class, whereby student groups engage in either summer-long or semester-long partnerships with real-world clients to examine ethical technology issues with computational thinking. Participation in programs such as Data+, Code+, CS+, and approved Bass Connections projects will satisfy the Capstone course requirement, with a culminating experience of a reflection paper, poster, or presentation that reflects on those experiential programs in the senior year.


Unprecedented access to data, computing, and technology is transforming our world and our concept of a liberal arts education. Regardless of undergraduate discipline, all Duke University students’ futures will be influenced by the interrelationship between computation, data, technology, industry, governments, and society. The proposed Digital Intelligence track within the Science & Society certificate represents Duke’s commitment to interdisciplinary pedagogical frameworks that prepare students for a complex future. Students will access robust, thoughtful, and critical considerations of technology and its implications for individuals and society.

Duke Science and Society and Duke Center for Computational Thinking Logos


Certificate Contacts

Nita Farahany

Dr. Nita Farahany

Director, Duke Science & Society

David Carlson

Dr. David Carlson

DQ Certificate Director

Sarah Rispin-Sedlak, JD Portrait

Sarah Rispin Sedlak, JD

DQ Certificate Director

Anna Hewett

Anna Hewett

DUSA for DQ Certificate

Scott Brummel

Scott “Esko” Brummel

Co-curricular Portfolio Manager