Technion-Cornell Dual Master’s Degrees in Connective Media
Acquire two leading credentials and an unparalleled skill set while you build new technologies to connect people and reshape our world. Designed with input from Twitter, Facebook, Google, and The New York Times, this first-of-its-kind program from the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute combines the rigor of an Ivy League computer science and engineering program with an innovation lab approach to project-based learning. You’ll also round out your knowledge base to become a better builder and a bigger thinker with coursework on the human and social aspects of technology.
Think, Build, Connect
Build Tech for People
Creating Technology for Humans
Experiment with applied machine learning, computer vision, NLP, blockchain, and more while you build usable connective media applications and systems in rigorous computer science and engineering courses.
Anchor your tech skills with a deeper understanding of behavioral science, psychology, social theory, ethics, and communications studies.
Practice leadership, product design, startup management and other skills on teams with MBA, law, and engineering students in this required component of all Cornell Tech programs.
About the Masters in Information Systems and Applied Information Sciences with a concentration in Connective Media
Connective Media is the computer science-centered study of the ecosystems formed when communication, information, and media converge—and the ways in which these ecosystems change how we behave as a society. This technical, dual-degree program educates a new generation of human-centric software engineers, new product developers, and technical user experience specialists to realize the full utility of connective media and constantly innovate new ways to develop and interact with it.
Our project-based, two-year curriculum centers on computer science and engineering and also draws on the disciplines of sociology, psychology, business, entrepreneurship, and design. The program provides exceptional preparation for myriad career paths in academia, industry, and the public sector that require a profound understanding of the human aspects of technology.
Applied Machine Learning
Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality
Cryptography, Cybersecurity, and Blockchain
Data Mining & Signal Processing
Human-Centered Design and Interaction Design
Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)
Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICTD)
Natural Language Processing (NLP)
Technology, Media & Democracy
Behavioral Research Methods
Communication Ethics, Policy & Law
Human Perception & Cognition
Psychological and Social Aspects of Tech
Remaking the City: Participatory Design
Theory of Language
User Motivation & Persuasion
Challenges of Entrepreneurship
Global Leadership & Multicultural Awareness
Law for Non-Lawyers
Leadership for Digital Transformation
Marketing, Sales & Distribution
Prototyping & Testing
Startup Funding & Pitching
Connective Media Specialization Project
Take a deep dive into a project that explores the very boundary of connective media technology. During this two-semester requirement, you will work closely with Cornell Tech faculty and research staff to conduct research on a specific topic or problem related to connective media and propose a tech solution to address it. Specialization projects take various forms but every project results in tangible, marketable experience and a completed project that will stand out on your resume.
Flexibility & Collaboration
No two Connective Media students are alike, except for one thing: a deeply held belief in the value of human-driven thinking for building new technology. You’ll work in a collaborative setting with smart people experimenting with different disciplines and exploring their own potential. Then, you’ll present your work to experts from the larger New York tech community to test their viability. The freedom to study outside your technical area and the “radical collaboration” you’ll experience with students from every other Cornell Tech degree program will help you build strong ties that will serve you throughout your career.
Mor Naaman is an associate professor of Information Science at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech, where he is the founder of the Connective Media hub, and leads a research group focused on social technologies. Professor Naaman’s Social Technologies Lab has been looking at technologies to support the peer economy by increasing awareness, coordination and trust. Communities in urban environments — and underserved communities in particular — could benefit from the positive economic and social outcomes offered via collaborative consumption services. For example, one project examines how trustworthiness is established in services like Airbnb, and another project uses location data traces to reinvent how people socially interact with their local communities.
Nicola Dell is an Assistant Professor at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech and a member of Cornell’s Information Science Department. Her research interests are in information and communication technologies for development (ICTD), human-computer interaction (HCI) and mobile computing. Nicki’s main focus is on designing, building and evaluating systems that improve the lives of under-served populations in low income regions. To do this, she partners with NGOs and government ministries to create and deploy systems that have a positive impact in the world. Nicki completed her PhD in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington.
Shiri Azenkot is an Assistant Professor at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech, and a field member in the Information Science Department at Cornell University. She is also an affiliate faculty member in the Computer Science Department at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology. Her research interests are in accessibility and interaction on new platforms. She conducts this research with a fantastic group of students who are part of the Enhancing Ability Lab, which she directs. Before arriving at Cornell Tech, Shiri was a PhD student in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington.
Tapan Parikh is an associate professor in the department of Information Science at Cornell Tech. His research group‘s goal is to support young people in developing a critical literacy about the computational infrastructures that surround them and to empower them to become active creators and decision makers within this ecosystem. Current projects include 1) an online mapping tool that supports young people in understanding and advocating for their communities, 2) a collaborative web development environment that allows them to make authentic websites using professional software engineering practices, 3) a web literacy curriculum that helps them understand the implementation and economics of web search, and 4) a digital making tool that helps young people envision and implement 3D mockups of low-cost housing structures.
Q&A on Connective Media with Program Director Mor Naaman
What does the term Connective Media mean to you?
“To me, Connective Media really suggests a new world order where communication, information, and media collapse or converge into one. Successful connective media platforms—such as iOS, Facebook, Reddit, The New York Times, and Uber—merge social science, information science, computer science, and engineering to change not just the way society uses technology, but the very fabric of society itself. Look at Facebook, for instance: is it a communication tool, is it an information tool, is it media? It is changing the way that we behave as a society: the way we act, the way we get information, the way we diffuse information, the way we shape our views and our culture. Connective media devices, apps, and networked systems are an important and increasingly necessary part of how we work, learn, shop, communicate—even drive. Everything has changed and will continue to change because of this convergence.”
How is this program different from a human-computer interaction (HCI) program?
“The requirements of the Connective Media program are much more technical than those of HCI programs. You can finish an HCI program without knowing how to program, but to complete this program you must acquire deep technical skills in computer science and engineering. Students can also take advanced technical courses in areas like machine learning, computer vision, and natural language processing that are not available in most HCI programs.”
What makes this program the first of its kind?
“Many new computer science-based programs touch a domain like public health or industrial design or human-computer interaction (HCI), but they don’t go into the technical depth that this programs does. This program gives students a breadth of knowledge in a domain, the social aspect of computing, and also challenges students to go deeper into technology and advanced computer science areas such as applied machine learning, data mining, signal processing, natural language processing (NLP), computer vision, cryptography, cybersecurity, and blockchain, among others.”
What’s an example of how I could apply what I learn in the program?
“Recently, a Connective Media graduate that went to work at Twitter got in touch. He sent me a direct message on Twitter excitedly, saying, ‘Today we used something in our product that we learned in your course.’ I said, ‘What is it?’ He said, ‘It’s the strength of weak ties theory by Granovetter.’ This is dating back to the 1970s when Granovetter first articulated this social theory, which we covered in class. The graduate used the theory for the (very well-known) social media company they work for while developing a machine learning algorithm to rank social content. At the highest levels of technology, it’s not uncommon to encounter sophisticated thinking like this and it gave me satisfaction to know we’re preparing leaders who can think this way.”
What kinds of careers do Connective Media graduates enter?
“We’ve had students go on to take engineering roles, data science, product roles, and even design roles in companies, startups, and others. Our career management services are bar none and will really work hard to help you find a role that matches your interests and talents. Our students end up as interns, then full time employees, in companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, eBay, Bloomberg, and other companies large and small. The degree definitely opens doors, though you might have to explain a bit what the title means! It can be a conversation starter.”
What can I expect to walk away with when I complete the program?
“Part of what makes this degree more exciting is the project work and teamwork that happens throughout your time here. Every semester essentially, you’ll have one significant project that you’re working on, whether it’s a project for Studio in the first semester or the Specialization Project in semesters two and three or the Startup Studio project in semester four. When these all align, which happens often but not always, you will have a very strong portfolio that allows you to become a real expert in a certain area.”
Cornell Tech offers best-in-class career management services to set you up for success after graduation. Recent Connective Media graduates work for companies such as Airbnb, Amazon, Apple, Digg, Google, Facebook, The New York Times, Verizon, and others. Learn about placement rates, student startup ventures, and more.
HCI & Social Computing Faculty Research
Particular areas of research of the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Social Computing faculty at Cornell Tech include accessibility, technology in under-resourced communities, computer science education, mobile health, Information and Communication Technologies and Development (ICTD), Computer-supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), and social computing.
Connect to NYC
With its central location in New York City, Cornell Tech students benefit from exceptional access to leaders from the tech sector. Housed within Google’s offices for its first three years, the program also has close ties to Amazon, Verizon, CNN, The New York Times, Facebook, Bloomberg, Qualcomm, and many others. Industry experts mentor specialization projects, provide summer internships, and sometimes even serve on advisory boards of student startups.
As the academic home of the Connective Media program, the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute promotes radical experimentation with novel research, academic programs, and entrepreneurial initiatives. Founded as a joint academic venture between Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the Jacobs Institute fosters digital science and technology innovation without the constraints of a traditional university environment.
Who Should Apply?
The Technion-Cornell Dual Master’s Degrees in Connective Media is open to ambitious students who have a fascination with people-driven technologies and a strong entrepreneurial spirit. While formal academic backgrounds in science or engineering are preferred, they are not required. We will take into account personal or professional experience in mathematics, economics, physical sciences, or other quantitative disciplines. Essentially, your application should demonstrate somehow that you will be able to successfully complete the computer science component of the curriculum, as well as your interest in the human and social aspects of it.
The tech industry has articulated a real need for students with a Connective Media background. They want people who understand not just how to build better systems or write better code but people who also are deeply engaged with how their work will affect the user experience.”
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