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A unique interdisciplinary post-graduate programme at the intersection of information technology and social sciences for students from diverse disciplinary background

Click here for the M.Sc. (Digital Society) Admissions page
 

ABOUT THE PROGRAMME

With the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) permeating and shaping every sphere of our public and personal experience, we find ourselves in an increasingly digital society. If ICTs have opened up immense possibilities for economic and social change, they also raise many questions.  

  • How transformative will these changes be?
  • Will they be equitable and sustainable in addition to enhancing efficiency?
  • Will they amplify existing social divides and create new ones in the process?

Answering these questions calls for better insights into the emerging digital ecosystem. It demands interdisciplinary skills combining an appreciation of technological possibilities along with a nuanced understanding of the economic, political, and socio-cultural context. But, more often than not, well-intentioned technologists and social scientists attempt to answer these questions within the narrow confines of their own disciplines. Consequently, the public, private, and development sectors face a capacity gap in leveraging ICTs for an efficient, equitable and sustainable digital society.  

This impels us to ask: Are we prepared to design for a complex digital society? How should we train those designing, developing, deploying, and managing these technologies? Recognizing the socio-economic potential of ICTs, and the increasing need to train professionals in harnessing this potential, IIIT Bangalore has been offering a unique and innovative full-time 2-year Master’s Programme in Digital Society since 2015.

M.Sc. (Digital Society) programme at IIIT Bangalore aims to develop professionals who have an astute understanding of the digital ecosystem. In the Information Age, digital technologies have opened up immense possibilities for economic and social change that is inclusive and sustainable. Designing and deploying digital technologies, analyzing human-computer interaction or big data entail not just technological expertise but also a nuanced understanding of the social, cultural, and economic aspects of the digital society.

Students of the programme will gain insights into the design of digital technologies, and the policy challenges of deploying such technologies, with a broad-based training that will draw from computer science, engineering, research methods, management, economics and other social sciences, which will equip them with a rigorous understanding of technologies for development and the development of technologies.

Curriculum structure

A two week programme orientation on Technical and Social Science Foundations: This will consist of a series of sessions, including lectures, readings, and audio-visual media to expose students to the foundational logic of the programme and its interdisciplinary underpinnings.

Core Courses and Electives: Specifically designed for a heterogeneous student group to learn about and address various challenges of the digital society, including:  

  • Developing, deploying and managing large-scale digital systems;
  • Designing interfaces for diverse populations;
  • Socio-historical aspects of the “digital”;
  • Policy and regulatory issues in the contemporary digital society;
  • Quantitative and qualitative research methods, tools, and techniques, to examine user needs and outcomes, and to evaluate the impact of ICTs;
  • Technologies such as cloud or mobile platforms, data analytics, social media, human-computer interaction, and spatial-information systems;
  • Domain-specific understanding of the technology-society interface, including issues pertaining to education, governance, gender, identity, poverty, and public health.

Project-based learning: This involves small-group projects to address challenges of the digital society by applying learnings from the courses. 

Thesis/Internship: In the final term, students will be required to either: (a) work on a Master’s thesis to hone their research skills; OR (b) undertake an internship to further sharpen their professional skills by applying the learnings from courses undertaken during the previous terms – this could involve working on a project within their parent organizations.

About the Faculty

Most of the faculty members involved in delivering the various core courses are affiliated to the Information Technology and Society (ITS) research domain and the Centre for Information Technology and Public Policy (CITAPP) at IIIT Bangalore. Faculty members from other research domains, such as Data Sciences and Software Engineering are also actively associated.  

In addition, talks by external experts from the industry, government and academia are also arranged for the students. Students are also encouraged to take up projects in relevant external organizations as a part of their coursework.

 

Course list

A term-wise break-up of the courses is provided below:

Programme Orientation (2 weeks)

  • Technical Foundations (to cover programming and database fundamentals)
  • Social Science Foundations (to cover some fundamental ideas in social science, reading comprehension and writing practice)
     

Semester 1 (18 credits, 5 core courses)

  • Digital components of a connected society (4 credits)
  • Application development, OR, Enterprise software development (2 credits)
  • Qualitative research methods (4 credits)
  • Quantitative data analysis for public policy (4 credits)
  • Technology and society (4 credits)


Semester 2 (16 credits, 4 core courses)

  • Technology in development (4 credits)
  • ICT Policy and regulation (4 credits)
  • Social complexity and systems thinking (4 credits)
  • Human computer interaction (4 credits)


Semester 3 (16 credits, 4 electives)

  • Elective 1-4 (4x4=16 credits)


Semester 4 (16 credits Thesis/Internship)
 

Specialization streams:

The following streams are available for students to specialize in:

1.    Human-centred digital design
2.    Data intensive digital design
3.    Research and policy studies

Students who would like to design products and services are expected to be attracted primarily to streams 1 and 2, whereas those with a research or policy bent might be amenable to stream 3. Core courses will be foundational for all the streams. Moreover, some of the electives will build explicitly on specific core courses.

Some of the electives being offered as a part of the programme include the following: 
•    Advanced qualitative research methods
•    Cyberspace, globalization and location
•    Digital platforms: Technology and business components

•    Digital sociology
•    Dynamics of the Information Technology industry
•    E-governance application design
•    Geographical information systems
•    News literacies in a digital society
•    Quantitative data analysis for public policy
•    Privacy in the digital age
•    Social media communication
•    Techno-economics of networks
•    The Web and the mind

In addition, students of the programme can also select one elective from the list of electives offered by other research domains at IIIT Bangalore (in the areas of computer science; data science; embedded systems design; networking, communications and signal processing; software engineering) as long as they meet the prerequisites.

 

Career opportunities

Career opportunities for M.Sc. (Digital Society) graduates may exist in:

  • Organizations engaged in human-centered computing for product development
  • Development sector organizations interested in ICT-Society interface
  • Government agencies and e-Governance programmes
  • Consulting organizations working with the public and development sectors
  • CSR units of corporates interested in leveraging the digital ecology
  • Corporate research labs and Design organizations
  • International development agencies and Policy think-tanks etc.

After graduation, students of our previous batches have been associated with the following organizations – their roles range from user research, digital product design, technology project management, data analysis, digital marketing and similar others aligned to the objectives of the MSc (Digital Society) programme:

Some of our students also chose to pursue a PhD programme.

For further details and queries, write to the Coordinator, M.Sc. (Digital Society) at: admission-ds@iiitb.ac.in