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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 115 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.
  • It gave bird eye view on several of the topics lab work was little improved than previous courses in the specialization
  • Anonymous
    Awesome class! I took it as a UCD student to fill my units in my senior year, turned out I believe this may be one of the best classes to take as a freshman/transfer just yet! Very good intro to different topics in CSS and introduce different possible applications to AI, no coding/math background required for this course, but of course it can lead to very coding/math-intense course if you find it interesting enough to do it for a living. A bit time-consuming for a filler class, but strongly recommended who wants to take a sneak peak in the AI world.

    Bonus: the professor is German, so his German humor is a bit of a highlight. It's the kind of joke that you want to laugh but it's hard to laugh, I loved it.
  • Profile image for Babita Kathayat
    Babita Kathayat
    In this course I learned how social networks evolve, how can we analyse the social network . This learning can be utilised to understand the process of how information be it new knowledge, rumours, fake news spreads in a network. I find this course helpful in applying in social sciences research. I also learned data wrangling that is scrapping data from websites and analyses how they are linked in gephi software. I recommend it for its utility in data analysis in research.
  • Anonymous
    Very good overview of social network analysis. I learned a lot, and look forward to taking more classes on this topic.

    A word of warning though: The hands-on project for this course requires a computer that will run Gephi. It will not work on a phone or tablet. This should be listed in the course requirements.
  • Anonymous
    This was a very helpful lab and course I think i will be using tools like Gephi to my work as it can help with the networking analysis of how our business operates. I did fine all the practical labs more useful and easy to understand than the methodologies and theory aspect but that's just me.
  • Anonymous
    I feel there should be a mind map towards the start of every module and towards the end, and a mind map for the whole course placing the concepts and tools discussed, so that it is easy to recall and place concepts in their right place in the conceptual hierarchy
  • Anonymous
    I think is a perfect course for beginners in the subject. You learn to creat an adjacency matrix and to manage gephi, which was my overall goal. The level of the content and the classes was high, and the professor is awesome.
  • Anonymous
    Great course to get started with Network Analysis. Good introduction into Gephi (social network analysis software).
    Would be good to get same introduction in Netlogo as well.
  • Minali Banerjee

    Minali Banerjee completed this course.

    It was a very good course.

    Now, I am trying to fit this SNA into the betwork of Universities, communities, Governmenta and how they can work for some social good.
  • Anonymous
    Wonderful, very illuminating. So much valuable information to understand our society. I just wonder how this can become a job...
  • Anonymous
    The objectives were clear and the exposition synthetic but complete. I strongly recommend this course.
  • 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 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!

  • 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!
  • Anonymous
    I consider the course is very useful, I hope I can learn deeper knowledge about complex network with more mathematical fashion.
  • 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...

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