Program Plan

PhD in Societal Computing

The Doctor of Philosophy is a full-time residential program. The PhD is appropriate for candidates who want to become independent academic researchers, for-profit or social entrepreneurs, or applied research leaders in industry. 

Program Structure

Every Year: Students become active participants in ongoing research projects from day 1. We firmly believe that in order to become mature, independent, world class researchers, students must begin acquiring the hands-on skills and knowledge right away.

Years One and Two: Students complete the bulk of their coursework in the first two years, while continuing to spend about half of their time working in a research project with their advisors, and often with other faculty and students.

Year Three: Usually in the third year, students form a thesis committee, chaired by their advisor, that is carefully selected to provide the combination of expertise that can most effectively guide the student through a dissertation. The student selects a thesis topic, and develops a proposal in consultation with the committee, and defends it in a public session. On passing, and completing all course, TA, and skill requirements, the student attains Candidate status.

Year Four or Five: The student completes the dissertation research , writes up the thesis, and defends it publicly. After addressing any concerns and comments the committee may have, all requirements are complete and the student becomes our newest Societal Computing PhD.

Course of Study

The Societal Computing curriculum ensures all students have a solid foundation in computational methods, society and organizations, and policy. At the same time, it retains enough flexibility to enable students to further specialize in areas that are more closely relevant to their research interests.

Students are required to take two (2) semesters of Societal Computing Practicum, four (4) Star Courses, three (3) elective courses, and to serve as a Teaching Assistant for two (2) semesters. For more information on these policies, please refer to the Course Requirements section of the Societal Computing PhD Student Handbook.

The following is an illustration of the courses two different sets of students could take in their first three years:

Sample Schedule 1:

Fall 1 Spring 1
Societal Computing Practicum Societal Computing Practicum
Star Course (any category) Star Course (any category)
   
Fall 2 Spring 2
Star Course (any category) Elective Course
Elective Course TA-ing
   
Fall 3 Spring 3
Star Course (any category) Elective Course
TA-ing  

Sample Schedule 2:

Fall 1 Spring 1
Societal Computing Practicum Societal Computing Practicum
Star Course (any category) Elective Course
Elective Course  
   
Fall 2 Spring 2
Star Course (any category) Star Course (any category)
Elective Course TA-ing
   
Fall 3 Spring 3
Star Course (any category) TA-ing

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