Information Science is a broad discipline, and our students come from a range of backgrounds. Some have computer science degrees, and come prepared to take on information science with a toolkit of computational and data science methods. Some have little to no experience in computing, but have backgrounds in social science or qualitative research. Some come to us with a rich knowledge of domains (e.g., public health, education, or journalism) to which information science research and techniques can be applied. Some come straight out of undergraduate programs, others have already completed graduate degrees, and others have years of professional experience.
Our program is designed to help Ph.D. students tailor their education towards their own research interests and skill sets while developing a shared body of knowledge around methods, computational techniques, theoretical frameworks, and design practices.
Student Voices: Why CU?
"My experience at CU Boulder's information science department has been one of a kind. Not only are the faculty knowledgeable and supportive, they work hard to help the graduate students have a strong professional network. My experience at CU is truly incredible."
"As an international student, my first year was really challenging because of language and culture barriers. My professors encouraged me a lot, which gave me confidence in my research. And other Info students were always happy to answer questions about research and life in Boulder."
"I joined the Visualab to work with Dr. Szafir because I get to exercise my technical muscles (building fun and interactive visualization systems) while at the same time thinking creatively about visualization design and how we can make a positive impact for people in the real world."
Research a mile above ordinary.
You can find out more about the research interests of both our faculty and current PhD students on their profile pages. Examples of research groups led by our faculty include the VisuaLab, the Too Much Information (TMI) Lab, the Philanthropic Informatics Lab, the Creative Communities Group, That Recommender Systems Lab, and the Internet Rules Lab (IRL).
High Impact Publications
Within the first few years of our PhD program, our students have published and presented work in venues such as CHI (human-computer interaction), VIS (information visualization), AAAI (artificial intelligence), CSCW (collaboration & social computing), NAACL (computational linguistics), Ubicomp (ubiquitous computing), AOIR (internet research), and SIGCSE (computer science education).
Recent Student Publications
Funded Research Projects
Across our department, there are many research projects happening at any given point, covering a wide range of domains and methods. Examples of funded projects in our department include research involving building computational tools to help scale qualitative data analysis, computer-mediated communication during crisis, organizational behavior in e-sports teams, research ethics for social computing, real-world machine learning, fairness-aware recommender systems, and humanizing algorithms.
Members of our faculty sometimes seek PhD prospective students with an interest in specific funded projects. Though applicants with any research interest are encouraged, here are some targeted recruitment calls:
Dr. Laura Devendorf is seeking a PhD student who is interested in studying design collaboration and/or building design software tools in close collaboration with artists and engineers to join the Unstable Design Lab. This PhD project is funded by a National Science Foundation CAREER grant entitled "Developing Next-Generation Rapid Prototyping Tools to Catalyze Innovation in Smart Textiles." Much of the work in the Unstable Design Lab explores smart textiles as a context within which to explore equity in innovation, particularly between people who identify as craftspeople or technologists. Students in the lab are artists and technologies and produce open-source software tools as well as publications and artworks that take a critical perspective on design and design futures. For more information, please see our lab website at http://unstable.design.
Dr. Stephen Voida is seeking PhD students who interested in exploring the design of technologies for supporting individuals are managing stress, burnout, and serious mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder. The Too Much Information research lab is developing partnerships in support of these research efforts with the CU Boulder Institute of Cognitive Science, the CU Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, and the BRITE Center at the University of Washington. We are particularly interested in recruiting students with an interest in human-centered software engineering research in support of these initiatives. For more information, please see our lab website at https://tmilab.colorado.edu.
Student Voices: Industry Research Internships
Jordan Wirfs-Brock (Yahoo!)
"During my internship with Yahoo, I got intense hands-on experience with many research methods that I wouldn't have necessarily had the chance to use during the academic year. Experiencing research at the pace of industry expanded my understanding of how to scope my own projects."
Matt Whitlock (Autodesk)
"I think it is important to intern as a PhD student for the opportunity to see research through a different lens--one where emerging technology isn't just a frontier to be explored, but also something that fits into forward-facing business plans."
Aaron Jiang (Facebook)
"My research internship at Facebook really let me see what it’s like to do industry research and work on projects that can impact billions of people and has led to ongoing collaborations. My understanding of industry research from the internship will also help me with industry job interviews."