So you want to get a Ph.D. in Information Science?

The Ph.D. in Information Science at CU Boulder is for students who want to not only imagine what today’s technology makes possible, but to invent new things society can do with technology. Whether conducting empirical investigations of existing technologies and cultures or designing and building new systems and approaches, students will work in an interdisciplinary, collaborative environment to address real problems and create an impact on our society.  

Our research program is exceptionally strong in human-computer interaction, data science, and social and collaborative computing, and our faculty expertise covers a broad range of areas including information visualization, machine learning, technology ethics, health informatics, education and learning, and more!



You belong here.

At CU, students are as important as the problems they solve.

Diverse Students

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?

Brianna Dym

"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."

Janghee Cho

“Our department has a very inclusive culture. I’m always encouraged to bring my unique perspective and experiences to our community. And my colleagues all have diverse backgrounds, which is really helpful as I am exploring research areas.”

Mikhaila Friske

"I love the community. The grad students have a range of backgrounds from Computer Science to Anthropology to English. Everyone can offer a unique perspective while being really supportive of your interests."



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
  • Brianna Dym and Casey Fiesler. "Ethical and Privacy Considerations for Research Using Online Fandom Data." Transformative Works and Cultures, 2020. 
  • Mikhaila Friske, Shanel Wu, and Laura Devendorf. “Entangling the Roles of Maker and Interpreter in Interpersonal Data Narratives: Explorations in Yarn and Sound.” Proceedings of the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (IDC), 2020. 
  • Natalie Garrett, Nathan Beard, and Casey Fiesler. "More Than 'If Time Allows': The Role of Ethics in AI Education." Proceedings of the ACM Conference on AI, Ethics and Society (AIES), 2020. 
  • Anthony T Pinter, Jacob M Paul, Jessie Smith, and Jed R Brubaker. "P4KxSpotify: A Dataset of Pitchfork Music Reviews and Spotify Musical Features." Proceedings of the AAAI International Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM)
  • Morgan Klaus Scheuerman, Jacob M. Paul, and Jed R. Brubaker. "How We’ve Taught Algorithms to See Identity: Constructing Race and Gender in Image Databases for Facial Analysis." Proc. ACM Human-Computer Interaction, CSCW, 2020.
  • Nasim Sonboli, Farzad Eskandanian, Robin Burke, Weiwen Liu, and Bamshad Mobasher. "Opportunistic Multi-aspect Fairness through Personalized Re-ranking." Proceedings of the ACM Conference on User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization (UMAP), 2020. 
  • Jordan Wirfs-Brock and Katie Quehl. "Giving Voice to Silent Data: Designing with Personal Music Listening History." Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), 2020. 
  • Junnan Yu and Ricarose Roque. “Considering Parents in Coding Kit Design: Understanding Parents' Perspectives and Roles.” Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), 2020. 
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.


Core Research Areas


Information Visualization

Data Science & Analytics

Ethics & Policy

Design and Human-Computer Interaction


Social Computing

CU Research in the News

Disaster recovery

CU Boulder Scientists Using Social Media To Help Disaster Rescue Efforts

Palen interviewed by CBS4 about her team's research on emergency response. Read more
Cannabis data lacking, but machine learning could help fill the gap

Cannabis data lacking, but machine learning could help fill the gap

CU Boulder Today covers a new paper in PLOS ONE from Professor Brian Keegan and... Read more

Your Tweets Are Somehow Worthy Of Scientific Study

Paul and Fiesler's work featured by FiveThirtyEight. Read more

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."

Morgan Klaus Scheuerman (Google)

"Interning with Google's Ethical AI team I experienced what academic research looks like in an industry environment. I got to dig deep on issues of ethics and transparency in machine learning, and collaborate with some of the most admired researchers in the field."

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."