Social Computing (SC) specialization

Social computing -- including online communities, social networking, and user contributed content -- is the force behind Web 2.0 applications. SI faculty have invented and analyzed many of the underlying techniques that have powered the rise of social computing, including recommender systems, reputation systems, prediction markets, social network analysis, online communities, and computer-supported cooperative work.

Students specializing in SC learn to analyze online social interactions, both in online communities and in more diffuse social networks. They learn about features of social computing technologies and gain skills in developing social computing applications.

What can I do with a career interest in social computing?

Learn more about Jonathan Brier (MSI '12, SC specialization).

MSI graduates with a SC specialization are inventing new and better ways of capturing and utilizing the resources of the digital age for human benefit. Graduates can expect to find all types of industries hiring candidates with professional social computing skills and knowledge.

Career Industry Areas: Computer hardware/software, Internet search and navigation services, social networking, gaming, entertainment/media, social networking site, government agency, marketing/pr, consumer goods, nonprofits, libraries and cultural institutions

Career Titles: Online community manager, social software developer, social media strategist, product manager, entrepreneur, Web social media editor, corporate blogger, user experience designer, E-marketing associate, product manager, community organizer, management consultant, Web analyst

Employment Outlook: Industry sources indicate a growing need for talented social computing professionals. As the importance of social computing increases the need for graduates with social computing expertise increases as well. Opportunities are opening up in almost every industry, especially in marketing/PR/advertising, entertainment/media, tech start-ups, health care, and consulting.

SC internships

Students gain valuable experience in southeast Michigan and around the globe. Recent internship sites include:

  • MyBuys
  • OkCupid
  • Nokia Research Center
  • University of Michigan (Taubman Health Sciences Library)
  • ForeSee Results
  • Biggs-Gilmore
  • Google
  • Sabre Airline Solutions
  • Yahoo!
  • HUGE
  • IBM (Visual Communications Lab)
  • Accenture, Thailand

MSI-SC employment outcomes

Organizations employing MSI-SC graduates have included:

  • Central Bank of Malaysia (Web Communications)
  • Quicken Loans
  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Microsoft
  • TravelTainment
  • Alaska Airlines (eCommerce Group)
  • Oracle
  • R/GA
  • Troubadour Mobile
  • Yahoo!

SC requirements (current for 2016-2017)

In addition to the specialization requirements below, MSI students must meet all of the degree requirements of the 48-credit MSI program, including foundations, distributions, practical engagement, cognate, and electives.

SC students must complete 12 credits from the following list of courses, plus meet the programming and statistics requirements:

  • SI 529: Online Communities (3)
  • SI 534: Theories of Social Influence  (3)
  • SI 608: Networks (3)
  • SI 618: Data Manipulation and Analysis (3)
  • SI 631: Content Management Systems (1.5)
  • SI 686: User-Generated Content (1.5)
  • SI 689: Social Interaction Experience (3)
  • SI 694: Advanced Project and Social Computing Design (3)

SC students must also fulfill programming and statistics requirements:

3 credits of programming. Complete 3 credits from the following list or request a waiver. SI offers:

  • SI 506: Programming I (3)

Learn more about the programming requirement.

3 credits of statistics. Complete the course below or 3 credits from an approved list, or request a waiver. SI offers:

  • SI 544: Introduction to Statistics and Data Analysis (3)

Learn more about the statistics requirement

Download Tracking and Planning Sheets (login required)

For questions or more information about the SC specialization, current students should contact Academic Advisor Sarah Argiero.  Prospective students should contact our admissions office at