The Experience Design program embraces research-driven design thinking for entrepreneurship and innovation, preparing students to be vital contributors and leaders of professional experience design teams where technological innovation intersects with design.
“The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.” — Steve Jobs
Experience Design is a holistic and integrative approach to design that focuses on the quality of the human experience in concrete situations. It employs investigation, analysis, creativity, and technology as tools to understand human goals, needs, and desires and to mediate the human experience. The Experience Design program at Northeastern University embraces research-driven design thinking for entrepreneurship and innovation, focusing on important global challenges of today. For example, in the context of healthcare, an experience designer does not focus on the design of any one technology product, information system, or physical space. Instead the designer is charged with understanding and improving the overall sequence of events and interactions that impact the patient before and during a hospital stay as well as through follow-up care.
Northeastern’s College of Arts, Media, and Design (CAMD) offers three Experience Design graduate program options to best suit the unique goals and aspirations of individual learners: the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Experience Design (2 years, 60 credits), the Master of Science (MS) in Experience Design (1 year, 32 credits) and the Certificate in Experience Design (1 year, 16 credits). All three move beyond design thinking to produce outcomes that demonstrate the value of human-centered research and design methods. They draw on findings from a range of professional and scholarly disciplines (including business, psychology, human-computer interaction, engineering, and cybernetics) to understand and shape specific situations – that extend across many industries and aspects of life: healthcare, public service, travel, education, entertainment, shopping, dining, and the nature of work itself.
Through examining how people behave in a real context in relation to the constructed world and emerging technologies, CAMD’s graduate degrees in Experience Design allow working professionals or graduates from design and other disciplines (such as architecture, business, engineering, communications, computer science, healthcare, humanities, and the social sciences) to gain knowledge and experience in the design competencies needed to address societal challenges. To accomplish these goals, students will learn how to invoke cooperation, collaboration, and integration across disciplines and practices.
We prepare students to be vital contributors and leaders of professional experience design teams where technological innovation intersects with design. Graduates will be able to analyze how people undergo real-world situations, enabling them to enrich experience by orchestrating new design-driven relationships. They will be equipped with the skills to identify shortcomings as well as opportunities for improved engagement between artifacts and systems—virtual or physical—and the humans who encounter them.
The Graduate Certificate in Experience Design offers a four-course curriculum that introduces fundamental to advanced design processes, and allows individual specialization through the selection of an elective. The certificate is intended for practitioners and students who wish to acquire competencies in Experience Design to complement their skills and address their professional needs. For recent graduates, this certificate is a perfect introduction to the field, which may be a portal into taking a full master’s degree. For mid-career and current graduate students, earning this certificate is a way to specialize within the field. Embedded in the CAMD graduate course offerings, students in the certificate program will have the opportunity to join CAMD graduate students from diverse disciplines for a range of events, exhibitions, guest lectures and workshops.
- The Graduate Certificate in Experience Design can be completed in as little as two semesters
- Experience Design is applicable to a variety of fields and industries including healthcare, technology, services, travel, education, entertainment, shopping, dining, and more; making this certificate relevant to many different careers
Additional Experience Design Programs
- Master of Science in Experience Design: The Master of Science in Experience Design offers a two-semester long graduate experience that combines theory and project based practice and results in a professional degree. The program delivers a strong graduate credential to complement a student’s prior degree(s) and prepares them to be professional Experience Designers able to collaborate effectively in this dynamic and burgeoning field of research and practice. Graduates are prepared to work in design agencies, design-related and design-driven industries and public institutions. The program develops professionals skilled in design principles and practices needed to thrive in an evolving interdisciplinary field. Embedded in the CAMD graduate course offerings, MS Experience Design students will have the opportunity to join CAMD graduate students from diverse disciplines for a range of events, exhibitions, guest lectures and workshops.
- Master of Fine Arts in Experience Design: The MFA in Experience Design offers a two-year graduate experience that combines theory and studio based practice and results in a terminal degree. Students will engage in and complete this program with a studio based Experience Design graduate thesis and a thesis exhibition. Graduates are prepared to continue onward to advanced academic or professional tracks as Experience Designers. They will able to collaborate effectively in this dynamic and burgeoning field of research and practice, ready to succeed in design agencies, design-related and design-driven industries, research institutions, public institutions, PhD programs and academic careers. The program intends to produce professionals skilled in design principles and practices needed to assume leadership roles in an evolving interdisciplinary field. Embedded in the CAMD graduate course offerings, MFA Experience Design students will have their own studio space and are part of a lively cohort of graduate students in related fields who intersect around vibrant events, exhibitions, guest lectures and workshops. Applicants are welcome with past experience in the design domain but also in related fields such as architecture, business, engineering, computer science, communications, and others.
Final deadline for international applicants
Final deadline for domestic applicants
- Personal Statement
- One letter of recommendation
- Work samples or Portfolio (recommended)
- Learn more about our admissions process from the College of Arts, Media and Design
EXPERIENCE DESIGN, GRADUATE CERTIFICATE
Complete 4 semester hours of 5000 to 6000 level course work in the following subject area: ARTG
Northeastern's signature experiential learning model combines academics with professional practice to help students acquire relevant, real-world skills they can apply to their desired industry. Each program offers its own unique experiential learning opportunities, but they might include:
- Full-Time Co-op Opportunities — Students on co-op work in a paid position in their field of study for three to six months.
- In-Class Case Studies — Professors integrate case studies and exercises into the classroom to bring a real-world perspective and relevance to what they’re teaching.
- Research — Students collaborate with faculty in our more than 30 federally funded research centers, tackling some of the most pressing challenges in health, security, and sustainability.
Our faculty represents a wide cross-section of professional practices and in fields ranging from finance to education to biomedical science to management to the U.S. military. They serve as mentors and advisors, and collaborate alongside students to solve the most pressing global challenges facing established and emerging markets.
By enrolling in Northeastern, you gain access to a network of more than 230,000 alumni and 3,000 employer partners, including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and global NGOs. Our current students and faculty across strategically located regional campuses further foster that lifelong global community of learning and mentoring.
Below is a look at where our Digital Media & Design alumni work, the positions they hold, and the skills they bring to their organization.
Where They Work
What They Do
- Art and Design
- Information Technology
- Media and Communication
What They're Skilled At
- Adobe Creative Suite
- Social Media
- Digital Media
Learn more about Northeastern Alumni on Linkedin.