The certificate in Urban Computing certificate trains students in the latest methods in analyzing massive datasets to study key issues concerning urban populations. This is a specialized certificate that accompanies either the Masters or Ph.D. you will complete in your field through other coursework.

Program Details

  • Learn to model cities, develop large-scale statistical models, and use data mining and visualization technologies to pose and answer questions.
  • Work in blended project teams with people from a variety of disciplines.
  • Participate in ongoing projects at partnering departments and research institutes.
  • Compete in big data analytics challenges and other hands-on activities.

The curriculum emphasizes ethical and societal issues for practicing responsible data science. It teaches data science theory through applied topics such as public health, sustainable use of limited energy resources, emergency preparedness, and societal stability — issues that will become more critical as the world becomes increasingly urbanized and better connected.

The Urban Computing program takes advantage of the National Capital Region’s living laboratory model to explore collaborations with regional industries, local city governments, and local health departments through internships, practicums, data challenges, and hackathons.


The certificate program is funded by a five-year grant from the National Science Foundation’s Research Traineeship Program, which encourages bold, new, potentially transformative, and scalable models for STEM graduate education training. The grant will support 18 trainees with an NSF stipend and additional trainees without stipend.

“Projections show that by the year 2030, six out of every 10 people in the world will live in a city. As cities become more wired and networked, big data analytics methods hold great promise for addressing urban issues.”

Naren Ramakrishnan
Director of the Sanghani Center

Faculty and Teaching

Faculty in the Sanghani Center and beyond teach courses in the UrbComp program. They bring expertise in not just the foundations of urban computing but also access to sponsored research projects solving cutting-edge problems in epidemiology, sustainability, social science, and transportation.

Meet Our Faculty

Naren Ramakrishnan

Naren Ramakrishnan
Director of the Sanghani Center

What's Next?

Contact Us

Wanawsha Shalaby
Program Coordinator

Email Wanawsha

Visit Us

Come see us at one of our four locations.

Schedule a Visit

How to Apply

Apply through the Virginia Tech Graduate School to participate in this certificate program.

Application Process