Information Design and Visualization, MFA

The Master of Fine Arts in Information Design and Visualization focuses on the analytical and visual communication of information. Successful graduates are experts in the visual languages of data who produce effective and meaningful visual displays of abstract information. They collaborate with other professionals, researchers, or clients in a variety of fields and settings.

Students have an opportunity to gain an understanding of the principles of translating data and information into visual, material, and dynamic forms and to learn to integrate theoretical, visual, and technical aspects of structuring and representing data to provide a broad range of audiences increased access to socially relevant issues. The curriculum is built upon an established undergraduate program in graphic, information, and interaction design and seeks applicants from diverse fields of study—not just visual communications—who are interested in information visualization and communication of information through visual and analytical means. 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.

Graduates are prepared to work effectively in a dynamic and burgeoning field of practice and research in environments including design firms, research centers, corporations, academic institutions, and government and urban agencies. The program seeks 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.

Fall semester 1 is dedicated to foundations, including an introductory course in information visualization and visual communication, a seminar on the history of visualization, a studio course, and an introduction to programming with d3. Students with strong prior experience in programming can replace the latter course with an elective.

Spring semester 2 is dedicated to the exploration of diverse research topics. In Studio 2 you will create an interactive visualization project; in information design theory, you will obtain theoretical background in design theory and concept mapping; the research methods class will prepare you for the thesis process by introducing you to different research methods; and an open elective will allow you to pick a research theme you are interested in.

Fall semester 3 is dedicated to developing your thesis in theory and practice. All courses in this semester are dedicated to this goal, including the research seminar and the Studio 3 course. Two electives allow you to add competencies related to your thesis topic.

Fall semester 4 is finally all about finalizing the thesis and the thesis exhibition.

Complete all courses and requirements listed below unless otherwise indicated.


Required Courses
ARTG 5100Information Design Studio 1: Principles4
ARTG 5110Information Design History4
ARTG 5120Information Design Research Methods4
ARTG 5130Visual Communication for Information Design4
ARTG 5330Visualization Technologies4
ARTG 6100Information Design Studio 2: Dynamic Mapping and Models4
ARTG 6110Information Design Theory and Critical Thinking4
ARTG 6200Information Design Studio 3: Synthesis4
Open Electives
In consultation with faculty advisor, complete four courses from the following:16
Visual Cognition
Statistics Basics for Designers
Design for Behavior and Experience
Design of Information-Rich Environments
Information Design Mapping Strategies
Special Topics in Design
Collecting, Storing, and Retrieving Data
Introduction to Data Mining/Machine Learning
Introduction to Computational Statistics
ARTG 7100Information Design Thesis Seminar4
ARTG 7990Thesis8

Program Credit/GPA Requirements

60 total semester hours required
Minimum 3.000 GPA required

Year 1
ARTG 51004ARTG 51204
ARTG 51104ARTG 61004
ARTG 51304ARTG 61104
ARTG 53304Open elective4
 16 16
Year 2
ARTG 62004ARTG 79908
ARTG 71004ARTG 7991 Thesis Exhibition
Open elective4Open elective4
Open elective4 
 16 12
Total Hours: 60