No prior experience required.
About this Specialization
Applied Learning Project
While no formal requisites are necessary to join this course, at the end you will web-scrape 'Big Data' from the web, execute a social network analysis ('SNA'), find hidden patterns with machine learning ('ML') and natural language processing ('NLP'), and create agent-based computer models ('ABM') to explore what might happen if we would change certain things in society.
No prior experience required.
University of California, Davis
UC Davis, one of the nation’s top-ranked research universities, is a global leader in agriculture, veterinary medicine, sustainability, environmental and biological sciences, and technology. With four colleges and six professional schools, UC Davis and its students and alumni are known for their academic excellence, meaningful public service and profound international impact.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the refund policy?
If you subscribed, you get a 7-day free trial during which you can cancel at no penalty. After that, we don’t give refunds, but you can cancel your subscription at any time. See our full refund policy.
Can I just enroll in a single course?
Yes! To get started, click the course card that interests you and enroll. You can enroll and complete the course to earn a shareable certificate, or you can audit it to view the course materials for free. When you subscribe to a course that is part of a Specialization, you’re automatically subscribed to the full Specialization. Visit your learner dashboard to track your progress.
Is financial aid available?
Yes, Coursera provides financial aid to learners who cannot afford the fee. Apply for it by clicking on the Financial Aid link beneath the "Enroll" button on the left. You'll be prompted to complete an application and will be notified if you are approved. You'll need to complete this step for each course in the Specialization, including the Capstone Project. Learn more.
Can I take the course for free?
When you enroll in the course, you get access to all of the courses in the Specialization, and you earn a certificate when you complete the work. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free. If you cannot afford the fee, you can apply for financial aid.
Is this course really 100% online? Do I need to attend any classes in person?
This course is completely online, so there’s no need to show up to a classroom in person. You can access your lectures, readings and assignments anytime and anywhere via the web or your mobile device.
How long does it take to complete the Specialization?
This Specialization can take anyone 3-5 months to complete.
What background knowledge is necessary?
No background knowledge is necessary to work through this Specialization.
Do I need to take the courses in a specific order?
We highly encourage you complete the courses in the order specified as they do build on one another.
Will I earn university credit for completing the Specialization?
No, this specialization does not offer University credit.
Since this a collective effort from all UC campuses, who teaches it?
This Specialization is the result of a collective effort with contributions from Professors from all 10 campuses of the University of California. It is coordinated by Martin Hilbert, from UC Davis, and counts with lectures from:
3) UC Irvine: Lisa Pearl, Prof. Cognitive Sciences.
4) UC Los Angeles: PJ Lamberson, Assistant Prof. Communication Studies.
5) UC Merced: Paul Smaldino, Prof. Cognitive and Information Sciences.
6) UC Riverside: Christian Shelton, Prof. Computer Science.
7) UC San Diego: James Fowler, Prof. Global Public Health and Political Science.
8) UC San Francisco: Maria Glymour, Associate Prof. School of Medicine, Social Epidemiology & Biostatistics.
9) UC Santa Barbara: René Weber, Prof. Dpt. of Communication & Media Neuroscience Lab (with Frederic Hopp).
10) UC Santa Cruz: Marilyn Walker, Prof. Computer Science, Director, Computational Media.
What do students say AFTER COMPLETION?
"Highly enjoyable and most importantly, giving me exceptionally important skills to fulfill my job requirements at a new position in Munich. You may be interested to know the impact of your course on salary and in my case, the knowledge and certification gained adds about another Euro 20.000 on the annual salary (taking it to about Euro 120.000 p.a.)."
· "My overall impression of this was: I can't wait to use this for other stuff!!"
· "Best course I have taken. I wish more online courses structured like this would be offered."
· "The fact that these tools are so easily usable and attainable is incredible in my mind. Not only do we have access to them like we have access to things like Facebook and Twitter, but they're FREE."
· "I had previously attempted to learn Python but gave up because I thought that I wasn't capable of learning it, as I was so intimidated. Taking your course opened my eyes, not only regarding how useful it would be in my fields of study, but also by showing me that it's not so scary after all. I am now planning on spending my summer working on a Python project, and I am confident that I can do so. I also plan on taking more CS-centric courses in the future."
· "I absolutely think that these tools could be used in my future jobs, or even as a personal reflection. If you scrape and analyze the comments/reactions that your business gets on Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, etc., what does their language use say about how they interact with your brand — or what your brand brings out in them?"
· "Wow, this is cool and fun stuff. Even though I may not pursue anything social-science related in the near future, it is still nice to learn and get to experience all of these tools that computational social science offers and benefits in all kinds of careers and fields of study."
· "I did my MA in Social Work in India. I am trying to make a come-back in my field after a long career break. I had been hearing Big Data and Data Science everywhere and wondered if there is a link between these and Social Sciences. This specialization gave me needed answers and is helping me to gain very useful skills... Thank you so much for bringing this specialization. You are a very good instructor and made these courses are a smooth sail."
· "My career aspiration is to be a digital marketing expert. These computational tools have enormous implications for the field."
· "I particularly enjoyed the web-scraping for some reason. It feels very advanced although its very easy. ...It seems to be a very fast and efficient way of grabbing data."
· "I enjoyed playing around with machine learning! ...It was also amazing to me how quickly it was able to grasp and learn our input in seconds. It makes me wonder how much more technology will advance in these next few years... It's scary but fascinating."
· "The most interesting aspect was the fact that these tools are all free and online. In the past, only researchers at well-funded universities had access to programs like the ones we used in all of our labs. But now, even someone without much technical knowledge on complex software can use these tools."
· "I am so surprised that these tools are available to anyone through a simple download, and even more so that they are very user friendly and easy to learn how to navigate. I plan on starting a clothing line company in the future and I think it will be really helpful for me to be able to analyze so much online data."
· "As an Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning major, I was fascinated to learn that there is a feasible way to simulate policy implementation and impact multiple times within a short span of time."
· "UCCSS has allowed me to feel more confident in my abilities with a computer and to better understand companies like Facebook or Twitter. ...these tools really are powerful but also dangerous. ...It allows powerful individuals to manipulate ideas."
· "Throughout the course, the content was challenging, but when it was finally applied to the labs at the end of each module, it was really rewarding to see everything play out. It was even more rewarding when it made sense too! ... I'm really glad I took this course! It was definitely a challenge, but I'm glad I got to experience and learn about so many topics I never knew even existed."
· "It was fun seeing the results of the code that I made, and I never thought that I would be doing something like this in my life. The results also showed me what the society would look like.... Social network analysis and web scraping could be the tools that I use in my future job as all the internship that I'm looking now all related to social media or digital media."
· "I really really loved that this class let me learn hands-on and gave me experience with tools that have real world application and combine STEM & social science. I think that a lot of these tools are useful far beyond homework activities."
More questions? Visit the Learner Help Center.