Students are typically drawn to the program from two particular populations: those with an undergraduate degree in a social science discipline who want to learn how to deal with digital data and big data — a pure social scientist who might not have computational training.
The second population are computer scientists or statisticians who are coming in for a better sense of the social scientific landscape: They might be doing things that involve natural language processing or working with blockchains, for example. They recognize that there are clear social scientific considerations that go into how they build these programs, but they lack the training in this field. The program helps them understand the social scientific implications of the research.
Many new data science programs focus on analysis and visualization, whereas what differentiates UChicago’s program is its grounding in social science theory.
Our master’s degree is designed to prepare students to become the next generation of researchers in computational social science. The majority have gone on to excellent professional opportunities, and a smaller number have elected to pursue advanced PhD work in the social sciences.
You can see our recent professional placement results here. MACSS is listed as a STEM designated degree by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for the purposes of the STEM OPT extension allowing eligible students to apply. However, approval for STEM OPT is at the discretion of U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services.