This fall, Northeastern will begin offering the nation’s first interdisciplinary doctoral program in network science, an emerging field that researches the underlying complexity that governs all systems—be they comprised of atoms in a molecule or people using social media to communicate across the globe.
“As the first university in the nation to offer this degree, our world-leading research program in network science will allow us to train the next generation of leaders in this increasingly important field,” said Stephen W. Director, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.
Northeastern will begin recruiting the doctoral program’s first class of students this fall. The program will be housed in and overseen by the College of Science and will be offered through a collaborative effort with several other Northeastern colleges including the Bouvé College of Health Sciences, the College of Computer and Information Science, and the College of Social Sciences and Humanities.
“Most disciplines, from physics to sociology and health sciences, are confronted from complex networks,” said Albert-László Barabási, Distinguished University Professor at Northeastern, where he directs the Center for Complex Network Research and holds appointments in the Department of Physics and College of Computer and Information Science. “This new PhD program is not only about furthering the discipline of network science. It is also about training experts, who can enrich their respective discipline, helping their colleagues to deal with the complex systems they need to confront. It is a pioneering program that truly embodies interdisciplinary thinking.”
Alessandro Vespignani is one of the program’s leading faculty members and is the Sternberg Family Distinguished Professor, holding joint appointments in the College of Science, the College of Computer and Information Sciences, and the Bouvé College of Health Sciences. He explained that until now, “existing programs and organizations only indirectly train students in network science. Students may be involved in research projects using the tools of network science, but they are not being formally trained in academic programs focused on it.”