Computing, Culture, and Society

The Computing, Culture and Society (CCS) research group

converges around a common concern for the issues that emerge at the intersection of technological innovation and social, political, cultural, economic phenomena. From artificial intelligence and social media, gaming, domestic and workplace applications, rich data and Big Data, to mobile platforms, computing technologies are a constant presence in our lives. We are interested in how these technologies modulate existing structures of power, domination, oppression, and inequity.

A highly interdisciplinary group, we draw on multidisciplinary backgrounds and a wide range of methods in their work, including case study, design, ethnographic, experimental, historical, survey, and visual methods.

Learn more about CCS

Track Guide

Primary Track Faculty

Profile for Nathan Ensmenger

Ph.D. History & Sociology of Science
Research areas: Artificial intelligence, computing, culture and society, proactive health informatics, health informatics.

Profile for Christena Nippert-Eng

Ph.D. Sociology
Research areas: Computing, culture and society, cognitive sociology, everyday life, privacy, identity, home and work, ethnography, human-centered computing, user-centered design, animal-computer interaction.

Profile for John Paolillo

Ph.D. Linguistics
Research areas: Computing, culture and society, social media, social network analysis, semantics of human-computer interaction, quantitative and linguistic methods, complex networks and systems.

Profile for Selma Sabanovic

Ph.D. Science & Technology Studies
Research areas: Computing, culture and society, intelligent interactive systems, human-robot interaction, social robotics, science and technology studies, cognitive science, healthcare robotics, cross-cultural studies of technology, robots in organizations and communities.


A student must successfully complete ninety (90) credit hours of graduate-level course work. The specific track requirements are listed below.

Required Courses

All required courses provided by faculty in the Computing, Culture and Society track, including I609 and I709, are open to and welcome students from other tracks and programs.

  • Informatics Core Requirements (6 cr.)
    • INFO I501 Introduction to Informatics (3 cr.)
    • INFO I502 Human-Centered Research Methods in Informatics (3 cr.)
  • Seminar Requirements (6 cr.)
    • INFO I609 Seminar I in Informatics (3 cr.)
    • INFO I709 Seminar II in Informatics (3 cr.)

NOTE: A student must take I609 and/or I709.

These two courses are offered jointly, once every year. Students in the CCS track must take two of these courses with different topics, one as I609, the other as I709. The majority of the students in these courses are from the CCS track, but students from other tracks and programs frequently take them.

  • Research Rotation Requirement (6 cr.)
    • INFO I790 Informatics Research Rotation (3 cr.)

NOTE: A student must complete two rotations of I790. A third rotation will not count for course credit.

  • Theory and Methodology (12 cr.)

NOTE: These courses must be appropriate for a Ph.D. in Informatics.

  • Minor (6-15 cr.)

NOTE: A student must complete an internal or external minor approved by the University Graduate School and the School. If a student selects an individualized minor, prior to taking courses, the University Graduate School must approve the proposed minor course list. There is no typical minor; however, students have pursued minors in Methods of Inquiry, African Studies, Latin American Studies, and Gender Studies.

  • Electives (12-30 cr.)

NOTE: A student must have all electives approved by the student's advisor and the Director of Informatics Graduate Studies prior to enrolling in the course.

  • Thesis Reading and Research (minimum of 21 cr. and a maximum of 30 cr.)
    • INFO I890 Thesis Readings and Research

Optional Courses

  • INFO I505 Social Media Informatics
  • INFO I502 Human-Centered Methods
  • INFO I440 Human-Robot Interaction
  • INFO I590 Information Systems and Organizational Change
  • INFO I590 Enacting Identity
  • INFO I590 Exercises in Ethnography
  • INFO I590 Privacy, Information and Identity
  • Cultural Perspectives on Science and Technology