EECS offers a wide variety of programs of study leading to the MS and PhD degrees in Computer Science (CS), Electrical Engineering (EE) and in Computer Engineering (CE). The broad interdisciplinary interests of our faculty means there is a lot of overlap in the three degrees. Below we describe typical areas of focus within computer science, electrical engineering, and computer engineering.

PhD student Darryl HoyStudents will choose one degree area but this choice does not limit their course of study in any way; students will choose courses based on their interests and career goals. Much more detail on each program can be found in the Graduate Study Manual.


Computer Science - CS

Research in Computer Science involves artificial intelligence, including models of memory and reasoning, knowledge representation, natural language understanding, planning, and problem solving; human computer interaction; distributed interactive systems; theoretical computer science, focusing on algorithm design and analysis; "frictionless" proactive context and task-sensitive information retrieval systems; distributed and real-time systems, networks, performance analysis, prediction and scheduling, Internet and grid application development; and computer graphics and human computer interfaces for spatial applications, visualization and computer entertainment.

Our Department has four research groups in computer science: Computing, Algorithms & Applications (CAA), Cognitive Systems (Cogsys), Graphics & Interactive Media (GIM), and Learning Sciences.

The research of those faculty interested in computing, algorithms & applications focuses on algorithms, theory, applications, and software and hardware implementations.  Current research areas include bioinformatics, computational economics and finance, continuous and discrete optimization, database algorithms, formal methods, networking algorithms, security algorithms, self-assembly, and VLSI CAD algorithms.

CAA faculty

Faculty with an interest in cognitive systems conduct research focused on understanding how the mind works (with a computational focus) and on creating systems for education, performance support, and entertainment that exploit principles of cognitive science and artificial intelligence.

Computer Science graduate students may earn a specialization in Cognitive Science by taking six Cognitive Science courses. In addition to broadening the student's area of study and improving one's resume, students also benefit by attending Cognitive Science events and lectures, possible conference travel support, and cross-disciplinary exchange.

More information can be found at the Cognitive Science Program website

CogSys faculty

Graphics & Interactive Media (GIM)

Graphics and interactive media is a field of interest that attracts faculty whose research goal is the interaction of data, information, and images as gathered, processed, and presented by a computational system with humans. 

GIM faculty


Learning Sciences

Several of our CS faculty are involved with and collaborate informally with the School of Education and Social Policy, which offers both the M.A. and Ph.D. in Learning Sciences. Learn more about this program.


Computer Engineering - CE

Research in Computer Engineering includes computer systems, computer architecture, distributed and parallel systems, parallel processing, parallel algorithms, computer networks, hardware software interaction, VLSI design, embedded systems, numerical analysis, systems simulation, robotics, neural networks, switching networks and large-scale systems.

CES faculty


Electrical Engineering - EE

Research in Electrical Engineering includes solid-state devices, quantum electronics, electronic materials, fiber optics, lasers, optical materials, nanophotonics, spintronics, microwave and electromagnetic theory, computational electromagnetics, communication systems and networks, information theory and coding, detection and estimation theory, control and large-scale systems, digital circuits, digital signal processing, image, speech, acoustic, and tactile processing, computer vision and robotics, ultrasonics, and biomedical electronics.

Our Department has two primary research groups in electrical engineering: Signals & Systems (SigSys), and Solid state & photonics (SSP).

Signals & Systems (SigSys)

The signals & systems field of interest broadly covers signals including images and other forms of information and their acquisition, representation, processing, analysis and interpretation, coding, transmission through networks, wireless and other channels, and the control of linear and non-linear dynamic systems.  

SigSys faculty


Solid State & Photonics (SSP)

Faculty interested in solid state & photonics share the main research interests of design, analysis, and proof-of-concept development of solid-state and photonic devices and systems. 

SSP faculty


Evening and weekend degrees offered by Northwestern University

Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT): Integrating IT Principles with Business Acumen

Two Program Options:  Part-Time, Saturday-Only, 2-Year Degree (for working IT professionals), and Full-time, 1-Year Degree, completed in 3 or 4 quarters.  With its 70% technical / 30% business curriculum, MSIT is the only master's program of its kind in the Chicago area. Based in the EECS department at the Northwestern McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, MSIT courses are taught by tenured faculty from the McCormick School, the Northwestern Law School, the Medill Integrated Marketing Communication program, as well as by leading IT professionals from top corporations. MSIT gives IT professionals a cross-functional perspective of information technology and its place in business operations. By learning the engineering principles behind information technology and the business context in which IT decisions are made, our graduates are prepared to implement better IT solutions that reflect the demands of today's evolving marketplace. Details about the MSIT program, including admission and curriculum information, can be obtained by calling the program office at (847) 491-5931, visiting them at 2311 Campus Drive, Suite 1400 or by Email. Learn more about MSIT.

Master of Science in Information Systems - MSIS

Offered by the School of Continuing Studies. Learn more about MSIS.


Full-Time, One-Year Degrees offered by Northwestern University

The Master of Science in Robotics program

The Master of Science in Robotics (MSR) is for engineers who want to work in the rapidly growing field of robotics. Roboticists must possess a depth of knowledge and experience in a broad array of fields. The program is led by outstanding Northwestern faculty in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering, with strong connections to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. It also benefits from synergies in design with the Segal Design Institute and the Farley Center for Entrpreneurship and Innovation.This one-year program is designed to prepare college graduates with an undergraduate education in engineering or computer science for an exciting career in robotics. Learn more about MSR or by Email.