Research Opportunities

Northeastern University’s College of College of Computer and Information Science (CCIS) has an excellent and growing research group in data science. In the DATA Lab, we focus on research problems in data management, data mining, data analysis, and machine learning, areas that are foundational to data science, with particular emphasis on scalability of algorithms to large data and inventing novel ways of interacting with data. Our group is led by Profs Mirek Riedewald, Wolfgang Gatterbauer, and Renée J. Miller who is joining Northeastern as a University Distinguished Professor. We are actively recruiting new faculty to join the DATA Lab.

Our growing group is part of a strong team of more than 60 tenured and tenure-track CCIS faculty with several related groups in areas such as network science, information retrieval, probabilistic AI, applied data science, distributed machine learning, NLP, theory, pattern recognition, visualization, and applied and interdisciplinary mathematics. The college is expanding rapidly and is highly ranked  among top computer science schools in terms of publications at selective venues (see e.g., or Our community deeply values diversity, equity, and inclusion which we believe to be important for achieving excellence.


PhD program (yearly deadline: Dec 15)

The DATA Lab currently has multiple open and funded PhD positions focused on scalable approaches for managing and innovating with data. We are particularly interested in students with strong foundations in one or more of the following: data management, algorithms, data structures, logic, theory, statistics, optimization, probabilistic AI, and machine learning. Solid English speaking and writing skills are very important (TOEFL > 100). Three letters of reference and good GRE scores (Verbal > 150, Quant > 160, AW > 3.5) are required. Familiarity with the process of performing research is helpful. The yearly deadline for our PhD program in computer science  is Dec 15th. To make sure we  see your application in the  graduate school application system, make sure you (1) mention faculty names in your statement of purpose and (2) enter “databases” / “data science” as one of your areas of interest. Notice that hyperlinks in submitted PDF may break, please spell out the URLs.

Contacting us: If you are a strong applicant, don’t wait for the official application deadline of Dec 15; contact us any time to start a conversation about joining our team! To explore such PhD research opportunities in our group please email us at with:

  • Your CV
  • In no more than 2 paragraphs describe your research interests. Why do you want to pursue a PhD? What do you hope to achieve? How does your interest match the interests in our group?
  • Please read a paper from one of our group members. Identify a weakness of the work (for example, an assumption that limits the impact of the solution) and how you might approach fixing it. Or, identify a problem left open by the work and how you might approach or solve this problem. Please be brief, but precise and innovative!
  • If you already published your work in a peer-reviewed venue, include a link (or attachment). Sending us a link to an impressive GitHub profile is a big asset. If you have none of these, include an example independent project report or thesis. This will help us gauge your ability to coherently formulate problems and explain solutions.

General observations about pursuing a PhD: Working with us on your PhD will prepare you for independent and collaborative research. The research process is very different from attending class and writing exams. We found that students who are familiar with research before starting their PhDs are far more likely to be happy and successful PhD students. However, we also welcome students with unusual or different life experience that has led them to in an unconventional way to want to be a top research scientist. Here are a few helpful links:

  • Everything I wanted to know about C.S. graduate school at the beginning but didn’t learn until later. Azuma. 1997-2017 (website)
  • Applying to PhD Programs in Computer Science. Harchol-Balter (pdf)


Research opportunities for current Northeastern students

If you are already enrolled at Northeastern, just stop by or contact us at

  • PhD  students looking for an advisor or who want to explore new research opportunities.
  • Master  students interested in project courses or a research-oriented thesis (leading to a publication).
  • Undergraduate  students interested in project courses, co-op, or summer research.

For project and reading courses, the typical workload is equivalent to 4 credits. We usually have a variety of project options, ranging from implementation of distributed algorithms to algorithm design and more theoretical studies.

When you contact us, please include the same information about your background as listed above under PhD program (CV, your research interests, your discussion of one of our papers that interests you and why, your GitHub or similar web profile). We will respond if we see a fit between your background and interests, and our research focus.


Self-funded research internships

We do not provide any funded research internships for students who are not currently enrolled at Northeastern. We very rarely work with self-funded interns. In case you are self-funded and would like to work with us during a visit, please email us at with the same information as listed above for students interested in the PhD program.