Technology and Social Behavior (TSB) is a joint Ph.D. program in Computer Science and Communication that draws on Northwestern's strong support for interdisciplinary research, benefits from talented faculty who contribute to a tradition of collaboration, and attracts unique students who are eager for academic experiences that cross traditional departmental boundaries.

Our students come from a variety of backgrounds and receive rigorous training in human-computer interaction, drawing on computer science and social sciences methodologies. The combined degree benefits students by providing: training in a diverse set of quantitative and qualitative methods, experience designing and implementing new technologies, practice incorporating the results of empirical research into these technologies, and preparation for the widest range of academic and industrial jobs.

TSB Research Spotlight: "Empowering Female Agents of Change"

Emily Harburg, TSB Ph.D. student and co-founder of Brave Initiatives, has been working with a group of Northwestern students and alumni to build programs that increase female participation in large-scale design projects. Their programs introduces female high school students to design thinking, coding, and leadership training that are used on real-world projects. Participants then use these skills for projects in areas like health, education, and social infrasturcture.

Featured Lab: MU Collective

MU Collective The MU (Midwest Uncertainty) Collective, lead by Professor Jessica Hullman, explores how data visualization and other tools can best support uncertainty communication and cognition. Researchers in the MU Collective develop novel ways for people to use visualizations to convey complex data and uncertainty information in ways that people can understand, such as new visualization techniques, interaction paradigms, authoring systems, and models of cognition.

See more about Prof. Hullman's MU Collective

TSB Research Examples

Life on Earth: Professor Michael Horn and collaborators created Life on Earth to teach the public about evolution and the history of life through interactive visualizations and collaborative games on multi-touch displays.
See more here.

SocialEQ: Professor Bryan Pardo's research group has developed a new tool that learns the meaning of adjectives describing sound from people on the web. Try it out here.

We are also examining the digital divide from sociological, policy and engineering perspectives; exploring ways to use crowd-sourcing and crowd-funding to support creativity and innovation; developing new ways to mine cultural diversity and develop culturally-aware technologies; studying and designing new technologies for health; and designing natural user interfaces for collaboration, learning, and accessibility.

News and Announcements

NU at CSCW: Northwestern faculty and students are authors on 15 papers that will be presented at the CSCW 2018 conference.

We are accepting applications for admission to the TSB program for Fall 2019. Please see the Admissions page for more information.

Welcome new students: We are delighted to welcome Jack Bandy, Henry Dambanemuya, Kapil Garg, Abir Saha, Nicole Tilly, and Dongping Zhang as our newest TSB students!

Congratulations to TSB doctoral students Colin Fitzpatrick, who has joined Facebook as a User Experience Researcher, Robin Brewer who is a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan's School of Information, and Pei-Yi Kuo who is an Assistant Professor at National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan.

NU at CHI: Northwestern faculty and students were authors on 18 papers that were presented at the CHI 2018 conference, 3 of which won Best Paper Awards.

TSB Speaker Series

Nithya Sambasivan

Our next speaker will be Nithya Sambasivan, Google. She will be presenting her talk "Towards Gender Equity Online in the Global South" on November 1 at 4pm.

The TSB Distinguished Colloquium take place on Thursdays @ 4pm. Check out our list of previous and upcoming speakers for the 2018-2019 series.

Awards and Publications

Congratulations to Prof. Anne Marie Piper and Prof. Matthew Easterday on their recent tenure promotions!


TSB Student Spotlight

Congratulations to TSB students: Sarah D'Angelo on receiving a Google Fellowship, Marlon Twyman on receiving the Donald H. and Carolyn E. Ecroyd Fellowship, Yixue Wang on receiving a Data Science Fellowship, and Jim Maddock and Emily Wang on receiving NSF fellowships!