The Northwestern University Robert E. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and School of Communication offer the combined Ph.D. program in Computer Science and Communication, known as the Ph.D. in Technology and Social Behavior.

The study of Technology and Social Behavior involves many disciplines, but until now it has been rare to find graduate training that prepares students to bridge several of those disciplines in the way that is so demanded by both academic and industry research jobs of today. The Northwestern TSB doctoral program recruits students from a variety of backgrounds and gives them rigorous training in Humanities, Social Sciences, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Computer Science methodologies to allow them to understand and participate in technological developments in their broadest possible contexts.

TSB Research Spotlight: "Cobi"

Cobi Cobi, designed by Professor Haoqi Zhang and colleagues, engages an entire academic community in planning a large-scale conference. Program committee members group papers sharing a common theme. Authors mark which other papers they find relevant to their paper. Conference chairs use the web-based, visual scheduling interface that combines community input and constraint-solving intelligence. Conference attendees use the web app to decide where to spend their time during the conference.

see more about this project

Featured Lab: Inclusive Technology Lab

Inclusive Technology Lab Inclusive Technology Lab Professor Anne Marie Piper and her students are designing natural user interfaces to support communication and social interaction for people with disabilities. Her lab is creating new forms of hybrid social media and e-mail to help engage socially isolated older adults. Also in the Inclusive Technology Lab, students are investigating new uses of haptic touch screens to support the needs of children with disabilities.

See more about the Inclusive Technology Lab

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; and designing natural user interfaces for collaboration and learning.

News and Announcements

Welcome new students: We are delighted to welcome the incoming class of TSB PhD students joining us this fall:
Katya Borgos Rodriguez, Maitraye Das, Hanlin Li, Ryan Louie, Nick Vincent, and Yixue Wang.

Congratulations to TSB doctoral student Colin Fitzpatrick, who has joined Facebook as a User Experience Researcher!

NU at CHI: Northwestern faculty and students are authors on 21 papers that will be presented at the upcoming CHI 2017 conference.

NU at CSCW: Northwestern faculty and students authors on 11 papers that will be presented at the upcoming CSCW 2017 conference.

TSB Speaker Series

We are currently putting together the 2017-2018 TSB Speaker Series. Check back soon for updates on our first speaker for the coming Fall quarter. previous & upcoming speakers

Awards and Publications

Congratulations to Professor Anne Marie Piper on receiving a Faculty Early Career Development Award sponsored by the National Science Foundation for her research project on Advancing Online Social Support for Older Adults with Disabilities!

Congratulations to Professor Michael Horn on receiving a Faculty Early Career Development Award sponsored by the National Science Foundation for his research project on Computational Literacy Experiences in Informal Environments!


TSB Student Spotlight

Congratulations to TSB doctoral students, Jim Maddock on recieving the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) award and Sarah D'Angelo on recieving a Google PhD Fellowship in HCI.