Prospective Students

The Human-Computer Interaction Institute invites applications for PhD studies in social computing, an emphasis within the PhD program in Human-Computer Interaction. The HCII faculty have a long history of successful research in computer-supported cooperative work, computer-mediated communication, and the social impact of technology. They successfully model interaction patterns in a variety of social media and online communities—from health support groups to World of Warcraft and Facebook—and apply theories from the social sciences to understand and improve social computing systems. They design processes for small and large groups of people to work and play more effectively with each other.

Current research topics include:

  • Social impact of computing
  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Computer-supported cooperative work
  • Computer-supported collaborative learning
  • Virtual teams and team building
  • Team science
  • Understanding social processes through language analysis
  • Social processes of design
  • Coordination in globally distributed organizations
  • Social visualization and social sense-making
  • Large-scale data analysis using machine learning, social network analysis and natural language processing
  • Designing from social theory
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Communities including Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, World of Warcraft, Open-Source Software (OSS), online health support groups, and more.

The HCII PhD program is highly interdisciplinary, and offers opportunities to work across the boundaries of design, technology, and behavioral sciences. Students focused on social computing can take courses in a variety of departments as part of their course requirements, and take advantage of the many connections that exist across the CMU campus and at the University of Pittsburgh. Our faculty members collaborate with many colleagues across campus (including, among others, the Language Technologies Institute, the Machine Learning Department, the Organizational Behavior group within Tepper Business School, the Department of Social and Decision Sciences, and the Heinz College) and researchers from the Psychology department and the Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh. They also collaborate with colleagues from the MIT, University of Minnesota, and the University of Michigan through NSF projects focused on promoting the success of online communities through theoretically motivated design interventions.

For more information on the kinds of courses available to students interested in social computing, visit the social computing courses.