Computational Social Science is about developing and applying computational tools to deepen our understanding of long–standing questions in the social sciences, as well as exploring new ones. As suggested by the term itself, the approach is per definition interdisciplinary in terms of requiring foundations in computational methods and social science theory, and it is multidisciplinary in terms of blurring the traditional boundaries between disciplines in the social sciences. Some 30 faculty members from 10 Departments of UC Davis are part of the DE.

The DE CSS allows students with computational and mathematical skills to deepen their understanding of social science theory and it allows students from the social sciences to improve their analytical skills in areas like big data analysis, computer simulations, network analysis, and machine learning. The DE requires at least 4 courses, consisting of one required course and 3 electives, with one elective required from each of the following 3 different categories:

Computational & Mathematical & Statistical Foundation​

These are advanced method courses, including several from Computer Science and Statistics

Social Science Theory and Substance​

These are social science theory courses, including several from areas that have shown to provide questions that lend themselves to computational approaches

Applied Computational Social Science​

These are mainly social science methods courses with a focus on applying computational tools