PhD Program
Personal Health Informatics

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 are guaranteed full tuition scholarship and are supported with stipends or fellowships for the first five years of their program
  • Joint program between the Khoury College of Computer Sciences 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
  • PhD 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.

Application Materials

  • 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
  • GRE Test Scores Optional for 2022-23
  • Proof of English Proficiency for all applicants (from one of the following):
    • Degree earned or in progress at an U.S. institution
    • Degree earned or in progress at an institution where English is the only medium of instruction
    • Official exam scores from either the TOEFL iBT, IELTS, or PTE exam
  • Applicants seeking enrollment prior to the Fall 2023 term should apply through this link.


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.

Applicants are reviewed annually for acceptance to the Fall Term:

  • December 15: Priority deadline

Applicants seeking enrollment prior to the Fall 2023 term should apply at the link under application materials below.

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