Information Design and Data Visualization, MFA

The first Master of Fine Arts program entirely dedicated to information design and visualization is designed to train students in harnessing visual languages to support discovery and communicate information across a range of socially relevant issues. Successful graduates will be professional information designers and data visualization experts able to collaborate effectively in this dynamic and burgeoning field of practice and research. They will be prepared to work in design agencies, research institutions, companies, and public institutions. The program intends to produce professionals skilled in design principles and practices needed to assume leadership roles in an evolving interdisciplinary field. Students will also be well-positioned to pursue PhDs and academic careers. Our students have the unique advantage of studying at a major research university known for interdisciplinary collaboration located in Boston—a global center for technology, science, and education and a hot spot for information design and data visualization. 

Students have an opportunity to gain an understanding of translating data and information into visual languages and to learn to integrate theoretical, visual, and technical aspects of visualizations that engage a broad range of audiences. The curriculum is built upon an established undergraduate program in graphic, information, and interaction design and seeks applicants from diverse fields of study who are interested in exploring data, visual and auditory design, perception, and creative inquiry. Practicing professionals and recent undergraduates in a variety of fields (architecture, graphic design, journalism, communications, business, the humanities, and sciences) who desire a fluency in information design should apply.

To learn more visit Visualization and Information Design and Visualization portals. 

Complete all courses and requirements listed below unless otherwise indicated.

Core Requirements

ARTG 5100Information Design Studio 1: Principles4
ARTG 6100Information Design Studio 2: Dynamic Mapping and Models4
ARTG 6200Information Design Studio 3: Synthesis4
Theory and Research Methods
ARTG 5310Visual Cognition4
ARTG 5320Statistics Basics for Designers4
ARTG 5330Visualization Technologies 1: Fundamentals4
ARTG 6110Information Design Theory and Critical Thinking4
Design and History
ARTG 5110Information Design History4
ARTG 5130Visual Communication for Information Design4
ARTG 7100Thesis Seminar for Design4
ARTG 7990Thesis8


In consultation with faculty adviser, complete three courses from the following (one of the electives can be chosen from all Northeastern graduate courses): 12
Research Methods for Design
Information Visualization Principles and Practices
and Information Design Critique Seminar
Visual Cognition
Statistics Basics for Designers
Notational Systems for Experience
Visualization Technologies 2: Advanced Practices
Prototyping for Experience Design
Design for Behavior and Experience
Design of Information-Rich Environments
Information Design Mapping Strategies
Special Topics in Design
Special Topics in Art and Design Studio
Telling Your Story with Data

Program Credit/GPA Requirements

60 total semester hours required
Minimum 3.000 GPA required

Sample Two Years, One Optional Co-op Plan of Study

Year 1
FallHoursSpringHoursSummer Full SemesterHours
ARTG 51004ARTG 53104
Co-op or vacation
ARTG 51304ARTG 53204 
ARTG 53304ARTG 61004 
Elective4ARTG 61104 
 16 16 0
Year 2
ARTG 62004ARTG 79908 
ARTG 71004Elective4 
ARTG 51104  
 16 12 
Total Hours: 60