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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

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4.8 rating, based on 95 reviews

Start your review of Computational Social Science

  • 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...
  • Profile image for Elham Nazif
    Elham Nazif
    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

    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
    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.

    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
    Overall, a very(!!) interesting field and Prof Hilbert is a great speaker and teacher. I wish, I could take more classes with him.

    Althrough, the course presentation lack of polishing many times, as there are non-cutted out outtakes here and there. Also, the peer-review assignments are questionable for a specilization, which is such niche.

    Nevertheless, I had my fun in the last weeks and learned a lot, thanks!
  • Anonymous
    Thank you, Martin and all the instructors that designed this specialization. I couldn't afford to take the courses otherwise and am glad that you have offered the opportunity to learn all of this online. The specialization had a very interesting content and I enjoyed the assignmens. It's a good introduction to computational social sciences and I hope ty o take it further from here. All best!
  • Hank
    Thank you very much for putting these high quality courses online. Especially, the courses were break down to small pieces so it become easy to understand. Also the courses are not too hard nor too easy. It provides support to the learners to reach the low hanging fruit of computational social science. In general, very inspiring journey for me!
  • Anonymous
    An interesting and managable course for anyone who wants to take the first step into Computational Social Science. There are a number of relatable examples that makes this course easy to digest. The programming labs were interesting and insightful as well. Hoping the lecturer will have an intermediate level CSS course!
  • 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
    Good introduction and overview. The explanation consist of both practical aspects and its associated theories. Glad that I have decided to invest in this course. The lesson improve my understanding of social network behaviors.
  • 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!

  • Anonymous
    I don't usually leave reviews. But there were some incredible insights in this class. The prof conveys what are, at times, relatively complex concepts in very simple terms. Thank you.
  • Anonymous
    The whole course was exceptional, I learned many things and amplified my knowledge about others. The constant critical view of the results and the tools made it more grounded. Love it.
  • Anonymous
    Awesome course ... I would have preferred more practicals but that is just a personal preference. However, i really preferred the introduction to networks and how to build them
  • Anonymous
    Absolutely fantastic course. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about social networks analysis from both a practical and theoretical perspective.
  • Anonymous
    Great course, it was interesting and easy to understand. SNA is a great tool to analyze society and it allows us to look for new ways to improve our world.
  • Anonymous
    Good class. It gave a brief overview of the topic. I appreciated the lab and tests; they were good ways to gauge my comprehension.
  • Anonymous
    This course seems interesting and I love enjoying it very much. Its been my pleasure that I get this opportunity to learn this course.

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