Carnegie Mellon University

Joint PhD Program in Autonomous & Human Decision Making

The goal of this joint PhD program is to train students in both the technology of AI and also the human behavior contexts in which AI systems are used, with specific focus on decision making. Students will be trained in fundamentals of AI, AI-enabled decision making, fundamentals of human decision and behavioral science, cognitive models of decision making, and societal impact of AI technologies.  We anticipate that students will find placements in academic Computer Science or Cognitive Science departments and in non-academic organizations who seek AI and behavioral decision science expertise.

Before applying to the joint degree:
MLD students must take and pass 5 courses (listed below) prior to joining the joint program.
(MLD students will typically apply in May of their 2nd year)

Three required courses:
10715 Advanced Intro to ML (Fall of first year)
36705 Intermediate Statistics (Fall of first year)
10716 Advanced ML: Theory and Methods (Spring of first year).

Plus two out of the following (from the Social & Decision Sciences (SDS) Department at CMU):
88-702 Behavioral Economics (Spring of first year)
88-703 Human Judgment and Decision Making (Fall of second year)
88-718 Large Scale Social Phenomena (note: not offered every year)

Students applying to the joint degree must identify two mentors, one from MLD and one from SDS.

Students admitted via MLD or SDS must complete three additional courses:
● 10-718 (ML in practice)
● 10-734 Foundation of autonomous decision making under uncertainty (New course)
● 10-XXX/88-XXX Human-AI Complementarity for Decision Making.
These courses could be taken before entry to the program as well.

PhD students are required to be a Teaching Assistant (TA) twice, one TA-ship has to be within MLD and one within SDS. Additionally, students must finish speaking and writing skills requirements.

Dissertation Proposal:
A PhD thesis will be a contribution to the combination of Machine Learning and Social & Decision Sciences. The proposal must be passed by 48 months (mid August, end of the fourth year).

The thesis committee should be assembled by the student and their advisor, and approved by the MLD and SDS PhD Program Director(s). The dissertation committee must contain at least five members, including:
● Two co-chairs, one from MLD and one from SDS.
● At least one external member (usually external to CMU)
● At least one additional MLD Core or Affiliated Faculty member
● At least one additional SDS Regular faculty member

The proposal must be passed at least 6 months (typically, much earlier) before the dissertation
is defended.

For questions send email to: Tom Mitchell or Diane Stidle

Social and Decision Sciences Joint Program Requirements
SDS Requirements

For questions send email to: John Miller

Students interested in this joint PhD degree should apply to the PhD program that best aligns with their research interests (PhD in Machine Learning or Social & Decision Sciences).

Machine Learning PhD online Application

Social & Decision Sciences PhD online Application