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Education

Information Technology & Society Ph.D. Emphasis Program

CITS coordinates the optional Information Technology & Society Ph.D. Emphasis program for students enrolled in participating departments at UCSB. The emphasis is a degree supplement that provides multi-disciplinary training for graduate students in participating departments planning dissertations dealing with the societal implications of information technology. To participate, students must gain admission to and be enrolled as a Ph.D. student in one of the following departments at UCSB: Anthropology; Communication; Computer Science; English; Film and Media Studies; Geography, History; Media, Arts & Technology; Political Science; the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, Psychological and Brain Sciences, or Sociology.

Program Overview

The study of technology and society is inherently multi-disciplinary. Most scholars working in this area ground their investigations and claims in a home discipline and methodology, but find themselves of necessity exploring literatures and paradigms from other disciplines as well. In some cases, the tools necessary for understanding problems fully are spread across disciplines, and in others it is simply the case that many scholars have arrived at an examination of the same phenomenon from different directions.

For doctoral students preparing for dissertation work and in progress on dissertations dealing with information technology and society, a systematic introduction to the paradigms and literature relevant to their interests from outside their home department is vital to cutting-edge scholarship. A doctoral emphasis provides the curriculum for approaching these broader intellectual terrains.

A structured introduction to thinking and research from other perspectives has both short- and long-term benefits. In the short run, it can help students frame dissertation questions in novel, creative ways and can give them broader tools for answering them. An official marker or designation of multi-disciplinary training attached to a doctorate in an established discipline is an advantage on the academic job market. Interest in hiring scholars with expertise in information technology and society is clear at many universities.

In the longer term, multi-disciplinary exposure from graduate school can prove very useful to mid-career scholars expanding their networks at universities and moving into positions of administration and campus decision-making, because it provides a basis for understanding the larger workings of the academy. Almost invariably those in positions of responsibility at universities evince an appreciation for multiple approaches to intellectual life.

Why join the emphasis?

The emphasis offers several benefits to participants, including:

  • Helps students frame dissertation research questions in novel, creative ways and can give them broader tools for answering them.
  • Offers an interdisciplinary network of faculty and fellow students who share similar research interests.
  • Social events, a seminar series, and other opportunities are provided for students to discuss and receive feedback on their work
  • Opportunities for funded GSR positions to work in interdisciplinary research teams.
  • CITS Technology & Society Graduate Student Travel Grants program provides funding for graduate students to present their research at academic conferences.
  • An official marker or designation of multi-disciplinary training attached to a doctoral degree in an established discipline is an advantage on the academic job market. Our recent graduates have landed full-time tenure-track, and post-doc positions at major research universities, including, for example New York University, University of Washington, University of Birmingham, Oxford University, and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago.

How can I get more information?

Please contact the Technology & Society PhD Emphasis Director, Prof. Miriam Metzger at metzger@cits.ucsb.edu. Interested students should also subscribe to the CITS student listserv:

 

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