M.S. in Urban Informatics

The M.S. in Urban Informatics (MSUI) couples comprehensive data analytics skills with an understanding of the big questions faced by cities in the 21st Century city. This cutting-edge program is built upon a unique cross-college initiative, which offers comprehensive state-of-the-art training in the core skills of data analytics—including quantitative analysis, data mining, machine learning, and data visualization. Urban Informatics students supplement training in these foundational skills with a specialized sequence of courses that address how data and technology are being used to tackle key social, infrastructural, and environmental challenges.



By combining a theoretically informed perspective of cities with advanced skills in accessing, managing, analyzing and communicating insights from large complex, data sets, graduates will be a part of the next wave of urban professionals ready to lead in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Given the continuous growth in urban data and technology, these professionals will be essential to shaping the future of urban areas around the globe.

This program provides a uniquely integrated urban and informatics degree with a substantial experiential education component. The focus throughout is on practical application and students have multiple opportunities to apply what they are learning.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Science in Urban Informatics requires students to complete 32 semester hours. The coursework is structured around four interdisciplinary core courses and an additional 16 semester hours focused on urban-specific applications of core skills. The curriculum is designed to offer methodological rigor, a theoretical framework, and opportunities for applied experiences. The table below lists the courses required for the Master of Science in Urban Informatics including required and degree-specific courses.

The UI Core

The four interdisciplinary core courses in data science/analytics serve as a foundation for the master degree in Urban Informatics. These courses examine how data is collected, stored, and retrieved, how data can be extracted from large datasets, whether they are structured or unstructured, how to analyze information using data mining and machine learning, and finally how to use information design and visual analytics to analyze and present the results. Students leave the core curriculum with a working knowledge of “R,” an open source software for computational statistics, visualization, and graphic presentation.

Students in the Urban Informatics program learn about the major categories of urban data, develop specific spatial analytic and mapping skillsets, and apply these skills to real-world urban policy and research questions. Throughout these courses, assignments will ask students to integrate the core course skills with urban data and policy questions. Students also develop a high-quality professional portfolio that can be presented to future employers.

The six courses beyond the data analytics core include three foundational courses that provide an overview of the field, a theoretical frame, and introductory geographic information systems skills.

Beyond the Core

In addition, students select  two elective courses—one from a list of urban data skills courses and a second from a list of applied urban analytics courses. Finally, all students must take the 1-credit urban informatics portfolio course which requires students to assemble and submit a portfolio of at least three projects completed during their coursework.

MS in Urban Informatics Degree Requirements
Semester Hours
Core Data Analytic Courses (Required, 4 courses, 16 Semester Hours)
PPUA 6301 Introduction to Computational Statistics
4 SH
DS 6020 Collecting, Storing, and Retrieving Data
4 SH
DS 6030 Introduction to Data Mining/ Machine Learning
4 SH
PPUA 6302 Information Design and Visual Analytics
4 SH
Core Urban Informatics Courses (Required, 4 courses 10 Semester Hours)
PPUA 5262 Big Data for Cities
3 SH
PPUA 5266 Urban Theory and Science
3 SH
PPUA 5263 GIS for Urban Policy
3 SH
PPUA          Urban Informatics Portfolio
1 SH
Selective Urban Data Skills (choose 1, 3 Semester Hours)
PPUA 7237 Advanced Spatial Analysis of Urban Systems
3 SH
PPUA 5261 Dynamic Modeling for Environmental Investment and Policy Making
3 SH
Selective Applied Urban Analytics (choose 1, 3 Semester Hours)
PPUA 7673 Capstone
3 SH
PPUA 6266 Research Practicum
3 SH
View course descriptions through the Course Catalog

In total, the Urban Informatics degree requires 32 semester hours.

For additional information, contact:

Information accurate as of Spring 2015. Requirements and policies subject to change. For up-to-date information, contact Louis DaRos or view the official graduate catalogue for a full listing of graduate level courses.