Latest news and projects from our program



“Understanding precedes action.”

– Richard Saul Wurman, Distinguished Professor of the Practice in Information Design

The first MFA program entirely dedicated to Information Design and Visualization trains students in harnessing visual languages to support discovery and communicate information across a range of socially relevant issues.

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 hotspot for information design and data visualization.

Graduates will be professional information designers 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.

We seek applicants from diverse backgrounds who are interested in exploring data, visual and auditory design, perception and creative inquiry. Both practicing professionals and recent undergraduates in fields such as architecture, graphic design, journalism, business, the humanities and sciences are welcome to apply.


The degree of Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Information Design and Visualization comprises of 60 semester hours and two academic years of residency. A thesis project and an accompanying written thesis are expected. The program offers studio courses, lectures and seminars in design, strategy, theory, research methodologies, and historical and cultural literacy.

Year 1, Fall Semester

Year 1, Spring Semester

Year 2, Fall Semester

Year 2, Spring Semester

Information Design Electives



Department Chair

Nathan Felde, Professor, MS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Design


Thomas Starr, MFA, Yale University, Graphic Design

Associate Professors

Kristian Kloeckl, PhD, University of Venice, Design Sciences

Ann McDonald, MFA, Yale University, Experience Design

M. Isabel Meirelles, MFA, Massachusetts College of Art,  Information Design

Distinguished Professor of the Practice

Richard Saul Wurman,  B. Arch, M. Arch, University of Pennsylvania, Design

Practice Professor of the Practice

Hugh Dubberly, MFA, Yale University, Graphic Design

Assistant Professors

William Kaizen, PhD, Columbia University, Art History

Dietmar Offenhuber, PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Urban Planning

Alessandra Renzi, PhD, University of Toronto Humanities, Social Sciences & Social Justice Education

Gloria Sutton, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles, Art History

Senior Lecturer

Doug Scott, MFA, Yale University, Graphic Design

Part-time Faculty

Janos Stone, MFA, Boston University, Design

Siqi Zhu, Master of Urban Planning, Harvard University, Urban Design and Technology


Swissnex Boston

Philips Color Kinetics

Center for Complex Network Research

NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks at Northeastern University

Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy

Digital Archives, Snell Library at Northeastern University 

Computational Social Science (Professor David Lazer)

Student Work


Prof. Douglas Scott, Studio 1 Review


Prof. Thomas Starr, Introduction to Visual Communication


.vote – student project in collaboration with Philips Color Kinetics

Beijing Air Quality, interactive, Vivian Sung, 2014

Beijing Air Quality, interactive, Vivian Sun, 2014

Gather App paper prototype, A. Treni, R Greig, M. Kuo

Gather App paper prototype, A. Treni, R Greig, M. Kuo

Gather App paper prototype, A. Treni, R Greig, M. Kuo

Gather App paper prototype, A. Treni, R Greig, M. Kuo

San Francisco Tides, Danielle Morimoto, 2014, undergrad

San Francisco Tides, Danielle Morimoto, 2014, undergrad

Aviation Accidents, Lee Hodson, 2014, undergraduate

Aviation Accidents, Lee Hodson, 2014, undergraduate

The Birth of Modern Dane Poster by Laura Upham

The Birth of Modern Dance Poster by Laura Upham, 2010, undergraduate

No Future: A history of west coast punk by Ryan Fleming

No Future: A history of west coast punk by Ryan Fleming, 2010, undergraduate

Media Hours Poster by Geneva Cegelis

Media Hours Poster by Geneva Cegelis, 2010, undergraduate

process book, Skye Moret

Process book, Skye Moret

Process Book, Skye Moret

Process Book, Skye Moret

Admissions + Portfolio

To apply, please use Northeastern’s online application portal.

You are also required to submit a portfolio via Slideroom, an online portfolio submission service.

The application portfolio requires a maximum of 20 individual images of recent original work. Your portfolio should demonstrate your design experience and include work that represents your interest in Information Design and Visualization. The portfolio typically includes:

  • Visualization projects, Infographics, maps, diagrams, charts
  • Creative work from Art, Graphic Design, Architecture, Journalism, Photography, or Film
  • Research projects (choose an appropriate visual representation)
  • Ideas, sketches and prototypes
  • Professional projects, websites or interactive applications

Provide authorship information, year, title and other relevant information (such as course name, instructor) for each project.

Visit the College of Arts, Media and Design’s Graduate Web site for detailed Admissions information and financial resources.