Carnegie Mellon University

Empowering Innovation, Impacting Society

The past decade has seen a tremendous increase in both the breadth and the complexity of computational systems society has come to rely on. This increase in turn is giving rise to a number of new and challenging societal, management and policy issues, which themselves often call for new technological innovations. Examples include privacy rights management, data privacy, electronic market mechanisms and automated negotiation, dynamic network modeling, online dispute resolution, and platform-based product ecosytems.

Attacking these new problems requires profound understanding of computation and the interplay between the managerial, personal and policy networks in which technology operates. Current degree programs in traditional disciplines such as computer science, policy and management fail to provide the kind of multi-disciplinary curriculum needed to train tomorrow’s leaders in these emerging areas. Today’s demand for integrated expertise far exceeds supply; and as it continues to grow, it becomes increasingly important to offer a PhD program that fills the void.

Learn more about the Societal Computing program in this short video

While computer science researchers are increasingly asked to address or integrate social, economic or legal dimensions into the emerging technologies they develop, traditional doctoral programs continue to emphasize computation as a standalone discipline and ignore its many social, economic, and policy ramifications. In contrast, the PhD program in Societal Computing is a computer science based cross-disciplinary program that aims to train computer scientists to understand the bigger picture in which computation operates and to create technology from this broader vantage point.​

Our goal is to prepare students to be leading researchers in this burgeoning field. The program provides students with in-depth training not just in computation but also in the fundamentals of looking at networks of people and organizations, and at their integration into management, law, and policy. The PhD program in Societal Computing builds on a multi-disciplinary team of world-class faculty to expose students to traditional tenets of computer science interwoven with interdisciplinary coursework, hands-on applications, and cutting-edge research.​