About - History

Liz Linder Photography

In the early 1980s, Northeastern University created the nation’s first college dedicated to the field of computer science. More than 30 years of inspiration and innovation later, the College of Computer and Information Science remains a national leader in education and research.

1979–1981

Northeastern University tasks a blue ribbon panel of educators and experts—including industry leaders from Bell Lab, UC-Berkeley, MIT, and DEC—with developing a strategy to advance education and research in the emerging field of computer science.

1982

Northeastern establishes the College of Computer Science (CCS), naming director of Academic Computer Services Paul Kalaghan its first dean. The college opens its doors in Knowles-Volpe Hall (now the Knowles Center) with just eleven faculty members, most from the College of Arts and Sciences Mathematics Department, and 335 freshmen.

1984

The college begins phasing in graduate degree programs, starting with a Master of Science in computer science. The college boasts 27 full-time faculty members and about 800 enrolled freshmen.

1985

CCS moves to the former Botolph building, the oldest structure on Northeastern’s campus, which is refurbished and reopened as the David and Margaret Fitzgerald Cullinane Hall. The building is named for the parents of alumnus and trustee John Cullinane, an early pioneer in the database industry who gave generously to support the renovations.

1987

The college begins offering a PhD in computer science.

1988

Paul Kalaghan moves into the provost’s office and Alan Selman is named acting dean of CCS.

1990

Cynthia Brown is named Dean of the college.

1994

Larry Finkelstein is named Dean of the college.

1999

The college offers a second major option for students by launching the Bachelor of Science in information science.

2001

The college’s strong emphasis on interdisciplinary education begins through the introduction of three combined majors with the College of Science (formerly the College of Arts and Sciences), followed later by the D’Amore-McKim School of Business (formerly the College of Business).

2002

The name of the college changes to the College of Computer and Information Science (CCIS) to reflect the increased focus on information as a foundation of the computing discipline.

2004

The college moves into West Village H.

2005

The West Village H building wins the Harleston Parker Medal from the Boston Society of Architects for the Boston area’s best new building. It beats out MIT’s Stata Center for Computer Science, which was completed in the same year.

The multidisciplinary Institute of Information Assurance (IIA) is created as part of Northeastern’s commitment to advancing cybersecurity through research and education.

2008

The National Security Agency (NSA) and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recognizes the CCIS Information Assurance program as a National Center of Academic Excellence in information assurance research.

2011

Northeastern opens a satellite campus in Charlotte, NC, offering a Master of Science in Health Informatics and a Master of Science in Information Assurance.

2012

The NSA designates Northeastern as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations, one of only four universities nationwide to earn this esteemed distinction in the newly launched program, which is part of President Barack Obama’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education.

2013

Northeastern opens a satellite campus in Seattle, WA, offering 15 graduate degree programs ranging from cybersecurity and computer science to health informatics and engineering.

CCIS, along with other Northeastern colleges, begins the nation’s first interdisciplinary doctoral program in network science.

2014

Carla Brodley is named Dean of CCIS.

2015

Ian Gorton is named Director of Computer Science Programs at Northeastern Seattle.

Network Science Institute launches at our 177 Huntington location, bringing together an interdisciplinary team of renowned scholars from across the university to discover and inspire new ways to measure, model, and predict meaningful interactions in social, physical, biological, and technological systems.