Network Science: Theory, Methods, and Applications

Course Convener: Vicki Hertzberg, Rollins School of Public Health

The idea behind the University Course is that faculty and students from all schools in a university should come together to learn about and discuss an issue of common concern. This practice not only creates intellectual community but also enacts a sense of common purpose across the diverse communities that make up Emory. The focus of this University Course is to examine the science behind and the application of complex networks in natural, biomedical, public health, and social sciences.

Over the last two decades there has been an explosion in the use of networks to describe a variety of phenomena from molecular activity to global networks; including modeling areas as disparate as Greek archaeology to NCAA football and almost everything in between. In addition, network scientists are rapidly compiling new insights about networks themselves, for instance, showing commonalities of patterns of networks working at levels from global (transportation networks) to that of organizations (corporate networks) to that of people (social networks) to the cellular and molecular levels (protein networks).

Network science is a vast and rich topic, and thus we cannot hope to plumb its full depth in one semester. We aim to deal with topics of immediate interest to a team of Emory faculty who are using the tools of this discipline in their current research programs. Students will have the opportunity to explore areas of particular interest to them in their research projects.

Course Structure

  1. The course will meet on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:15-5:45pm in a Monday P-53 Grace Crum Rollins Building & Wednesday 1034 Grace Crum Rollins Building.
  2. Each of the 10-15 Emory faculty members representing a college or department will lead one class session during the semester, and their attendance at other substantive class meetings will be optional. The course conveners, Dr. Vicki Hertzberg, will attend each class session throughout the semester.
  3. Students will be asked to work both individually and in groups, with the latter made up of students from diverse disciplines as much as possible. Grades will be calculated on a 4.0 scale and adjusted if necessary to reflect the grading practices in each student's school or department.
  4. Graduate students will be assigned supplementary work beyond that required of undergraduate participants.


The course will be supervised by Dr. Vicki Hertzberg. A draft list of module topics and presenters is as follows: Graph Theory and Numerical Methods for Networks by Benzi, Gould, and Grigni; Physical and Spatial Aspects of Networks by Boettcher and L.Waller; Network Backbone of Organizational and Social Relationships by Prietula and Franzosi; Network Applications in Environmental Studies by Kitron and Vazquez-Prodopec; Networks in Political Science and Economics by Capra and Davis; Biomedical Applications of Networks by Lowery-North, Pulendran, and E. Waller; and Network Perspectives in Public Health by Cooper, DiClemente, and Sterk.

Course Syllabus