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Computational Social Sciences

Dynamic pricing of rideshare services, automated tutoring systems, and mitigation strategies for disinformation campaigns have one thing in common: they all require combining formal theories from the social sciences with efficient analytics of internet-scale data. This novel computational social science skillset is increasingly in demand to face modern challenges and develop solutions for the future of science, government, and business.  

UC San Diego offers Computational Social Science programs to train students in this exciting, interdisciplinary field at the undergraduate and Master's level. Our CSS training combines coursework in formal models from across social science disciplines with modern computational data analysis techniques. Most important of all, the hands-on curriculum provides substantive and varied practice applying these skillsets to real-world problems. This integrative training prepares the next generation of scientists and practitioners to understand the past, explore the present, and build the future. 

CSS Undergraduate Minor: The seven-course minor is designed for undergraduates who want to strengthen their computational modeling, data visualization and analysis skills to explore issues in the Social Sciences. The minor helps students add a new dimension to a major in a Social Sciences discipline (Anthropology, Cognitive Science, Communication, Economics, Education Studies, Ethnic Studies, Linguistics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, and Urban Studies and Planning). The CSS minor also welcomes majors from all fields, including but not limited to Biology, Data Science, Computer Science and Engineering or Electrical and Computer Engineering, looking to better understand how to apply math, programming, and statistical analysis to Social Science questions. Anyone from any major background who is eager to learn about the intersection of social sciences and computational methods is welcome! 

CSS Masters: This one-year program is designed for those who majored in a social science field and are looking to deepen their knowledge and training in models and algorithms to have greater impact. Beginning with a summer bootcamp that provides a shared foundation in computer skills and core mathematical models, the program also includes foundational courses in inferences from data and machine learning, and flexibility in the elective and capstone work allows students to tailor their work to their interests. Graduates of this program will receive the technical training necessary to collect, structure, and integrate data with formal models in the social sciences to make predictions, develop interventions, and drive policy.

CSS Ph.D. Specialization: This program, for current Ph.D. students within the Division of Social Sciences at UC San Diego, is designed to provide a clear path for accessing training in computational social science, a formal mechanism for recognizing their efforts, and access to a broad network of relevant scholars. Students in the Ph.D. specialization supplement their home department curriculum with participation in a Research Seminar, three courses from a list of electives (at least one of which is outside their home department) and the inclusion of a technical or CSS element in their dissertation.

CSS at UC San Diego 

Computational Social Sciences at UC San Diego brings together an interdisciplinary community spanning the Division of Social Sciences (eleven departments), and students at all levels: undergraduates, master’s students, and Ph.D. students, to create a thriving ecosystem of discovery, training, and impact.

With over fourty scholars and educators affiliated with the suite of CSS programs, students can apply their training across a diversity of domains and tailor their learning to their specific applied interests.