2022-2024 Undergraduate and Graduate Bulletin (with addenda) 
    May 31, 2023  
2022-2024 Undergraduate and Graduate Bulletin (with addenda)

Human-Centered Technology, Innovation & Design Ph.D.

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Degree Requirements and Curriculum

The curriculum for the Ph.D. in Human-Centered Technology, Innovation & Design* Program fosters a research-intensive doctoral education relevant to understanding and shaping the impact of new technologies on a complex and rapidly-changing society and its institutions. We focus on how technology impacts society and culture and how, in turn, society and its institutions respond to those impacts. This includes the rapidly emerging areas of integrated design media, human-computer interaction, institutional innovation, data science and urban analytics. Technology, Culture, & Society (TCS) core courses provide a necessary foundation to develop these advanced skills.

Coursework for the Ph.D. in Human-Centered Technology, Innovation & Design expose students to advanced design skills modulated by understanding of the ways in which society and technology deeply influence design and development. Research methods courses help students develop advanced qualitative and quantitative research skills in the social sciences, as a basis for designing, making, and evaluating new technologies in the service of society. Thematic elective courses help students gain in-depth knowledge in a focused thematic area related to designing and making in domains including Human-Computer Interaction, disability, media, and governance based on grassroots input, as well as a deep intersectional understanding of the interplay between technology, race, class, gender, and ability. Working together, students and doctoral advisers select which courses relate to the student’s course of study in the Program.

Students are required to complete 75 credits, including 51 credits from the course work and 24 credits from the dissertation.

1. Research Methods Courses: 9 Credits

2. Elective Courses: 15 Credits

Students will have the opportunity to hone their specialization through selecting courses relevant to their research interests. Students should consult with their research advisor and select 5 appropriate courses.

  • Can be in any subfield(s)
  • Courses may be taken at Tandon or any school of NYU, except the School of Professional Studies. Courses taken outside of Tandon must be graded and not taken as pass/fail.

3. Doctoral Seminar (12 Credits)

Students are required to take four 3-credit doctoral seminar courses to provide strong research background required for doctoral studies. These four research seminars should be completed before taking the comprehensive exam.

DM-GY Doctoral Seminar in Technology, Culture and Society

4. Independent Research Project: 15 Credits

Students will build their research experience through independent study courses where they will conduct research under a faculty member. Students must complete at least 15 credits of this course before registering for their dissertation, and enroll with at least two different TCS faculty.

5. Doctoral Dissertation: 24 credits

The dissertation is evaluated in two parts: Proposal Defense and Final Defense. For details, contact the Ph.D. HTID Program academic director.

6. Comprehensive Examinations

Students must successfully pass two comprehensive examinations before starting the dissertation.

  • Part One: This examination includes material covered in the methodology courses. It can be taken after completing 30 graduate credits.
  • Part Two: This examination includes material from the thematic elective and associated thematic research courses, doctoral seminars and research methods courses. It can be taken after completing required course work.

Students can take both examinations together. Results are provided within one month of the examination. Students have only two chances to pass each examination, and we recommend they start during the end of their 2nd year.

7. Research training and interaction with faculty

Students are expected to work actively with one or more faculty each year, and focus on completing research. Students are strongly encouraged to present research in progress once a year and work towards publishable papers, usually with a faculty as co-author.

Every student participates in formal research seminars with departmental faculty and visitors.

8. Advising and evaluating

The HTID doctoral program faculty director advises all first-year doctoral students. During their first year students have many opportunities to get to know the research interests of all departmental faculty. By the beginning of the second year, students have selected an intermediary adviser who will guide them through the comprehensive exam process and up to the thesis stage. By the middle of the third year students will have selected a thesis adviser. Each year every student submits a statement of intellectual progress to their adviser.

All faculty meet to review the progress of all students in a day-long meeting each year. At this time, the student’s intellectual progress is reviewed and plans for the following year are considered. The results of this review include a formal letter to the student assessing the previous year’s work and offering guidance for the following year’s work.

9. Prerequisites

All Ph.D. HTID students need a fundamental knowledge of probability and statistics. Students without such a background must take MG-GY 5050 Probability and Managerial Statistics . Students without any background in professional writing and communications must take JW-GY 6003 Introduction to Technical Communication  or


Students who have a master’s degree or who are transferring from other institutions (or other departments within Tandon) are admitted based on the same qualification standards that apply to new students. For each required M.S. or Ph.D. level course, if students have taken a similar course, they may transfer credits for the course. However, students still have to take and pass both qualifying exams. A minimum of 30 credits, including all dissertation credit, must be taken at Tandon. No dissertation credits from other institutions can be transferred.

All students must take the required coursework as assigned and follow the stipulated curriculum. The course work must be finished within the first three years and the dissertation thesis within the next three years, so all students complete the doctorate within six years.

Total Credits for Ph.D. HTID Program: 75

* Formerly known as the Ph.D. in Technology, Culture, & Society

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