The Computational Social Science Certificate provides an innovative, cutting-edge approach to computational skills valuable to students looking to deepen their research skills or develop a competitive portfolio for industry positions. The certificate is designed to complement the student’s training at the University of Chicago, allowing them to broaden their methodological expertise and apply this across a range of social scientific domains.

Certificate Requirements

All graduate students in degree-granting programs at the University of Chicago can earn the certificate, which will appear on their transcript. To do so, they must complete:

  • Perspectives on Computational Analysis (MACS 30000).
  • Perspectives on Computational Modeling (MACS 30100; or Introduction to Machine Learning - MACS 33002).
  • Computing for the Social Sciences (MACS 30500; or another programming course based in Python or R, such as MACS 30111/30121).
  • An additional elective in computational social science (e.g. any other course with a MACS course listing).
  • Successful presentation at the annual Interdisciplinary Research Symposium (Spring Quarter).

These course requirements can be met in a single year or over several years of study.

A minimum average grade of “B” will be needed for the Certificate to be awarded, following a petition approved by our MA program and by the Dean of Students for the Division of the Social Sciences.

Optional Boot Camps

Students interested in the Certificate are strongly encouraged to take the Computational Math Camp and Computing Fundamentals Boot Camp, which run concurrently for three weeks in early September. The topics to be reviewed in the Computational Math Camp include mathematical notation and functions, linear algebra, calculus, probability theory, statistical inference, and linear regression. Students are assumed to have encountered most of these topics previously, with the camp serving as a refresher. The Computing Fundamentals Boot Camp focuses on introducing fundamental open-source tools for producing reproducible, computational research.

Topics include the basics of Python programming, working on the Linux command line, as well as using Git/GitHub for version control. The camp assumes no prior exposure to these topics and serves as preparation for the first course in the MACSS computing sequences (MACS 30111/30121).

Students are additionally invited to participate in our Computational Social Science Workshop on an occasional basis.

How to Apply

To declare interest in pursuing our certificate, please fill out this form. For more information on the Certificate or the September Boot Camps, please contact Jon Clindaniel.