The PhD in Personal Health Informatics at Northeastern University prepares students to lead research and development of new person- and patient-facing technologies that will transform healthcare delivery within the U.S. and around the world.
The program combines a strong foundation in human-computer interface technology and experimental design in health sciences with a research program focused on exploring how technology designed with a patient- or person-facing perspective might transform healthcare delivery. It brings together students who have a strong health science background and a desire to develop innovative technologies with students who have strong technical backgrounds and a passion for using technology for disruptive innovation in the health care industry.
In addition to focusing on technology to support healthcare, wellness, and coping with chronic conditions, the program provides a strong foundation in health science and experimental methodology in the health sciences, with practical experience gained during the program by immersion in one or more of Boston’s outstanding medical research institutions. Highly trained professionals with the skills and knowledge and experience to lead transdisciplinary teams in the design and validation of new health technologies are increasingly in demand in academia, industry, government, and non-profit public health organizations.
- Admitted PhD students receive full tuition scholarship and are supported with stipends or fellowships for the entire duration of their program
- Joint program between Computer and Information Science and the Bouvé College of Health Sciences
- Unique program perspective focusing on consumer/patient facing technologies
- Program faculty are working on projects in consumer informatics, clinical informatics, behavioral informatics, and assistive technologies
- Ph.D. students must complete and defend a dissertation that involves original research in personal health informatics
- The program focuses on Personal Health Informatics studying the healthcare system and wellness systems and supporting technologies from the patient or consumer perspective. The emphasis is on technologies that can be proven to enhance care in medical and non-medical settings, throughout all life stages and for sick, well, and specially-challenged populations of people.
- The program includes a usability evaluation practicum requirement, where all students are immersed in a healthcare context studying needs from the patient’s and consumer’s perspective and develop skills in ethnography and design.
- The program immerses all students in a one-year transdisciplinary experiential learning team project course, where core concepts are put into practice to prepare students for independent research that spans technical and health domains.
Personal Health Informatics stands to play a key role in the future of medicine. Many health systems worldwide today are focused on “sickcare,” rather than prevention and wellness. They are costly and slow to adapt to changing needs and demographics, and they are under enormous financial strain. In developing countries, large populations are served with few caregivers and often with limited resources and communication systems. Interest in consumer- and patient-facing interfaces is exploding, with industry and academia taking advantage of advances in consumer-electronics to develop novel health technologies using the Internet (e.g., personal health records), mobile devices, advanced sensors, and sophisticated computing techniques such as pattern recognition, machine learning, data mining, dialogue understanding, and advanced visualization. Northeastern’s PHI program will educate researchers who will lead this emerging industry and transform the way healthcare is delivered and wellness is managed in the U.S and worldwide.
Applicants must submit the online application and all required admission materials no later than the stated deadlines to be considered for admission. Admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis.
February 1: Priority deadline
June 15: International applicants
August 15: Non-international applicants
August 25: Special Student applicants (non-international only)
October 1: International applicants
December 1: Non-international applicants
December 15: Special Student applicants (non-international only)
- Online application and fee
- Unofficial undergraduate/graduate transcripts (you can submit official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended at the time of admission)
- Statement of purpose that should include career goals and expected outcomes and benefits from the program
- Recent professional resume listing detailed position responsibilities
- Three confidential letters of recommendation
- Official GRE General Test scores
- Official TOEFL examination scores (international students only)
Program Design and Development
Methods and Statistics
Complete 6 to 8 semester hours in HINF.
Note: Please see faculty advisor for other acceptable elective courses.
Complete the following (repeatable) course twice:
Co-op makes the Northeastern graduate education richer and more meaningful. It provides Master’s students with up to twelve months of professional experience that helps them develop the knowledge, awareness, perspective, and confidence to develop rich careers. In addition to the esteemed faculty, many students enroll in the Master’s programs largely because of the successful Co-op Program.
Graduate students typically have an experiential work opportunity following their second semester. This could be a 6-8 month co-op or a 3-4 month summer internship. Those who initially experience co-op may have the opportunity to seek an internship for the following summer, or vice versa.
Student participation in experiential education provides enhanced:
- Maturity, responsibility, and self-knowledge
- Technical expertise
- Occupational information
- Job seeking and job success skills
- Networking opportunities with those in desired career paths
Northeastern’s Co-op Program is based on a unique educational strategy which recognizes that classroom learning only provides some of the skills students will need to succeed in their professional lives. Our administration, faculty and staff are dedicated to the university’s mission to “educate students for a life of fulfillment and accomplishment.” Co-op is closely integrated with our course curriculum and our advising system. The team of Graduate Co-op Faculty within the College of Computer and Information Science provides support for students in preparing for and succeeding on their co-ops.
These multiple connections make co-op at Northeastern an avenue to intellectual and personal growth: adding depth to classroom studies, providing exposure to career paths and opportunities, and developing in students a deeper understanding that leads to success in today’s world.
Our faculty represents a wide cross-section of professional practices and in fields ranging from finance to education to biomedical science to management to the U.S. military. They serve as mentors and advisors, and collaborate alongside students to solve the most pressing global challenges facing established and emerging markets.
By enrolling in Northeastern, you gain access to a network of more than 230,000 alumni and 3,000 employer partners, including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and global NGOs. Our current students and faculty across strategically located regional campuses further foster that lifelong global community of learning and mentoring.
Below is a look at where our Computing & IT alumni work, the positions they hold, and the skills they bring to their organization.
Where They Work
- Dell EMC
What They Do
- Information Technology
- Business Development
- Program and Project Management
What They're Skilled At
- Software Development
Learn more about Northeastern Alumni on Linkedin.