Skip to main content

PhD Research

PhD students at Segal work in the Design Cluster, an interdisciplinary doctoral cluster program jointly sponsored by Segal, the McCormick School of Engineering, and The Graduate School at Northwestern.

This multi-school cluster brings together dynamic faculty from the Segal Research Faculty Council with PhD students from a variety of disciplines.

Design Cluster Overview

The Design Cluster is not a degree program. Doctoral students participate in the Segal Design Cluster through their faculty advisers and receive PhD degrees from their home department. Those interested in pursuing a PhD degree need to apply to the PhD programs with whom their faculty adviser is affiliated.

In the Design Cluster, PhD students do the following:

The Design Cluster also organizes social events, seminar series, and research symposium featuring Northwestern faculty and students and researchers from other institutions and industry.


The Design Cluster is led by the following individuals:


The cluster’s interdisciplinary curriculum covers three core areas:

  1. Human-centered design
  2. Computational thinking and computational design
  3. Design skills and methods

Learn more about the Design Cluster curriculum

Who Should Apply?

Students interested in joining the Segal Design Cluster should apply to join upon their arrival on campus. In the past, doctoral students in the following doctoral programs have actively participated: Technology and Social Behavior, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Learning Science, and Theater and Drama. However, we are open to all scholars interested in design.

Learn how to apply to the Design Cluster

Contact Us

If you have additional questions about the Segal Design Cluster, please fill out the form below or contact Liz Gerber, the director of the Segal Design Cluster, at or 847-467-1221.

Fill out this online form.

Back to top