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University of California, Davis

Computational Social Science

University of California, Davis via Coursera Specialization


For more information please view the Computational Social Science Trailer Digital technology has not only revolutionized society, but also the way we can study it. Currently, this is taken advantage of by the most valuable companies in Silicon Valley, the most powerful governmental agencies, and the most influential social movements. What they have in common is that they use computational tools to understand, and ultimately influence human behavior and social dynamics. An increasing part of human interaction leaves a massive digital footprint behind. Studying it allows us to gain unprecedented insights into what society is and how it works, including its intricate social networks that had long been obscure. Computational power allows us to detect hidden patterns through analytical tools like machine learning and to natural language processing. Finally, computer simulations enable us to explore hypothetical situations that may not even exist in reality, but that we would like to exist: a better world. This specialization serves as a multidisciplinary, multi-perspective, and multi-method guide on how to better understand society and human behavior with modern research tools. This specialization gives you easy access to some of the exciting new possibilities of how to study society and human behavior. It is the first online specialization collectively taught by Professors from all 10 University of California campuses.


Course 1: Computational Social Science Methods
- Offered by University of California, Davis. This course gives you an overview of the current opportunities and the omnipresent reach of ... Enroll for free.

Course 2: Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and Ethics
- Offered by University of California, Davis. This course gives you context and first-hand experience with the two major catalyzers of the ... Enroll for free.

Course 3: Social Network Analysis
- Offered by University of California, Davis. This course is designed to quite literally ‘make a science’ out of something at the heart of ... Enroll for free.

Course 4: Computer Simulations
- Offered by University of California, Davis. Big data and artificial intelligence get most of the press about computational social science, ... Enroll for free.

Course 5: Computational Social Science Capstone Project
- Offered by University of California, Davis. CONGRATULATIONS! Not only did you accomplish to finish our intellectual tour de force, but, by ... Enroll for free.


Taught by

Martin Hilbert


4.8 rating, based on 105 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Computational Social Science

  • Great introductory course on Computational Social Science, a fairly new and exciting feel of Social Science.

    Martin Hilbert gives a great overview of the computational techniques and social theories that Computational Social Scientists use in their work, from empirical to the analytical, and from theories to simulation.

    The course length is sweet, and the material given isn't difficult to understand, although it requires some basic familiarity with maths and using computers.

    This course should be taken by anyone who is interested in the field of Computational Social Science.
  • Anonymous
    The course is interesting for students, who didn’t learn social networks. It provides an opportunity to get acquainted with the basics of building, studying and predicting the development of various social networks. Contains a practical exercise using the Webscraper module and the Gephi program (so it is advisable that you have the opportunity to do this work on a PC).
  • Profile image for Minjoo Lee
    Minjoo Lee

    Minjoo Lee completed this course, spending 10 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    This course exceeded my expectations tremendously! I was able to learn from professors from every UC campus which gave me expertise knowledge in every area. When I signed up for the course I immediately understood that this course is perfect for people...
  • Anonymous
    The course is very well explained and the assignments can get you in the right way for remembering and practicing. I would suggest a vocabulary as in other courses (with definitions of jargon) and some feedback on the broader path toward a CSS career/skills.
  • Anonymous
    The professor was GREAT! He explained everything pretty easily in order to make everyone understand the material. The course itself is really interesting and it's deffinetly going to help me in my bachelor degree.
  • Anonymous
    This couse is useful and will work in future for my better self. It has helped me finding my course much better and has helped me in developing myself from better to best and it is quite good and well being.
  • Anonymous
    Very fun and informative course in general. Each course built upon each other well and the capstone project did a great job of tying in the work from all previous courses.
  • Anonymous
    I am a student who is interested in studying about social networks and people's behaviours. This course gave me a headstart onto the necessary basics and the tools.
  • Profile image for Luciana S. Moraes Sardeiro
    Luciana S. Moraes Sardeiro
    I am very pleased to have taken this course. I was able to learn with theoretical and practical support. The teaching of the teachers is also excellent.
  • Anonymous
    Great Course learned alot about web scrapping videos, using the Gephi software, Natural Language Processing and the Capstone end project was excellent.
  • Anonymous
    This was the best MOOC specialization I have taken. I would be the first to sign up for a deeper dive or 201 of any or all of the topics presented.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I took this course through UC cross enrollment 2 years ago . The course content was very up-to-date, and included guest lectures from professors from a very wide range of disciplines, so it would be interesting to students regardless of their majors. Despite not being a student in the social sciences (my majors are in humanities and arts,) this class has equipped me with a lot of basic digital literacy (e.g, present issues of privacy with photo filter apps, epidemic modeling) that has been helpful in everyday life. I hope Prof. Hilbert can make more of his classes available.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Having taken this course as an undergraduate, I can honestly say that this course effectively simplified complex concepts through practical projects. Computational Social Science might seem 'scary' at first, but Dr. Hilbert managed to provide diverse content, superb guidance, and enough flexibility to be creative to make the learning experience sufficiently challenging and extremely rewarding. Whether you're taking this course as first-timer or seasoned researcher, one can narrow or expand their interests while maintaining a comprehensive learning experience.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This is an excellent course for beginners just learning about computational social sciences, or for those looking to brush up on their knowledge. The course is nicely laid out, with each section featuring an interactive lab relating to social network analysis, that helps you apply what you have learned in a fun, effective way. I highly recommend this course to anyone interested in careers involving social network analysis or human behavior.
  • Anonymous
    I consider the course is very useful, I hope I can learn deeper knowledge about complex network with more mathematical fashion.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This class taught me so much. The most valuable part I found, unfortunately is during this recent pandemic. I found that after taking this class my understanding of the developing social transmission was increased. The assignments helped me understand the graphics being used, because we created similar basic ones in this class.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Each of the courses in the specialization was very rich in content. It has been very interesting to learn the application and interdependence of every aspect covered in this specialization.

    More importantly, Prof. Hilbert is very engaging, very well versed with this specialization and lastly..very hilarious! He makes an otherwise tough specialization very enjoyable!

  • Profile image for Cici QIU
    Cici QIU
    Although as interesting as it can be, there are several other things to be done.
    First, there are no courses talking about massive online experiments, which is an essential part of computational communication research.
    Secondly, the course only touches the surface of the CSS, and lacks systemic introduction of each methods.

    The advantages are:
    Broaden your views and imaginations about computational methods application in journalism and communication researches.
    Secondly, it is very practical, as learners are prepared with many hands-on projects to get a taste of what is like to do CSS and CCS researches.
  • Anonymous
    This was a well organized and structured specialization that had a good mix of hand on exercises and knowledge quizzes. The collaboration across campuses and the variety of professors was a plus. Access to various tools like Gephi and netlogo was another strength of the course.
    I thought some courses, particularly social networks, could have used a 1-2 page pdf cheat sheet to the main definitions and concepts of the course.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    It would be better if instructor speak more formal.
    As learner with English as a second language, prefer meaningful sentences with clear pronunciation!

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