Return to: USC Viterbi School of Engineering
Program Director: Cyrus Shahabi, PhD
Program Co-Director: Michael Cody, PhD
Program Associate Director: Craig Knoblock, PhD
The Master of Communication Informatics is a cross-disciplinary joint degree program offered by the Viterbi School of Engineering and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Students must be admitted by both schools.
Students explore several of the most interesting technological phenomena impacting communication today, including online communities, social media and user-generated content, Crowdsourcing, Big Data and data analytics, virtual and augmented reality, data mining and others. The goal is to educate students who are proficient users of these technologies, and who also possess the analytical and problem-solving skills to expand and improve on existing technologies, and to help define a roadmap for the communication technologies of the future. Students work on projects where the fields of communication and engineering naturally converge, namely in the engineering of communication (e.g. the design and construction of mobile apps, online networks, social media tools, the use of technology in journalism, etc.) and the communication of engineering (e.g. public relations, public awareness, and public engagement of topics relating to science and technology).
There are many career opportunities for students completing the Master of Communication Informatics degree. Traditional media outlets ranging from newspapers to network/cable news are hungry for individuals who understand the new technology-enabled social communication paradigms and can help translate this knowledge into new products. An example is the coverage of natural disasters, where it is difficult for media to get on the ground, but where social media allows victims to relay experiences and provide accounts of these situations. How to collect, manage, distribute and capitalize from this news source is a major challenge in current media.
There are also careers within these emerging communication platforms. Many technology companies realize the value in employing experts who understand the human factors aspects of their products. Communication is now so vital to the function of many products that success and failure are often determined by how well communication is performed, and how seamlessly it integrates into existing platforms. In the corporate world, the need to understand and capitalize on social media is pervasive, and the unique expertise this degree provides leaves graduates well positioned to become leaders in the space. Finally, as technology becomes ubiquitous in society, the role of the informed commentator has become very important in formal and informal formats. There is need for individuals who understand the basics of communication and have enough technology knowledge to provide analysis at a meaningful level to the public.
Requirements for completion (32 units minimum)