1. Is my research interest appropriate for CU-Boulder’s Department of Information Science?

We welcome applications from students with a broad range of interests in information science—from data science to information visualization to studies of online communities and more. The best candidates will be those who can identify interests that might align with the expertise of current faculty members. Our faculty members have expertise in areas such as machine learning, philanthropic informatics, personal informatics, social media, information visualization, law, ethics, digital humanities and crisis informatics.

2. What kinds of backgrounds should students have?

We welcome applications from students with diverse backgrounds and skillsets both technical and non-technical. A degree or background in computing or information science is not required, though prospective students should have a desire to use the tools, concepts and methods of information science. Students in our program will be expected to learn the technical skills required to carry out their research.

3. What are the course and curriculum requirements for the program?

As a new program, the courses and program requirements are still being determined. However, classes planned for our core curriculum include information science theory, research methods (both qualitative and quantitative), design and computational skills. As with any PhD program, students will be encouraged, with the guidance of their advisor, to take courses that will be helpful towards their research, both in and outside of our department. We are fortunate to be located within the College of Media, Communication and Information (CMCI), which includes many communication and media studies classes. We also have close ties with the Department of Computer Science, the ATLAS Institute and the Institute for Cognitive Science.

4. How do I know if I’m a good fit for your program?

If you think this may be the right place for you, then please apply! It is impossible for us to know ahead of time who might end up being a perfect fit for such an interdisciplinary department. However, the best indicator is likely having some interest—either with respect to methods or domains—in common with at least one member of our faculty.

5. How do I know that your program is a good fit for me?

We know that considering a brand new program may be scary! We invite you to check out the strong research track records of our faculty members. Additionally, our chair, Professor Leysia Palen, has graduated a number of strong CU-Boulder PhD students in the fields of human–computer interaction and computer-supported cooperative work. If you are considering multiple programs at CU-Boulder (for example, computer science, ATLAS or communication), we encourage you to apply to all of the programs for which you see a potential overlap with your interests. If you have any specific questions about the Department of Information Science, please feel free to email Professor Casey Fiesler.