Digital data and technology are rapidly transforming the modern city. Across the world, cities have embraced “big data,” statistical modeling and visualization, mapping and spatial analysis, and the implementation of apps and sensor systems to track, understand, and improve urban life. This shift, which has included policymakers, practitioners, and private corporations alike, calls for a new generation of experts who can navigate the technical and conceptual challenges presented by the city. The Boston-based School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University effectively trains leaders in both understanding and harnessing big data in urban landscapes.
Only a handful of U.S. universities currently offer degrees in the emerging field of Urban Informatics. Even among these few, Northeastern University’s program stands out for:
All told, these advantages enable students to develop a broad knowledge base and rich professional network. Given the continuous growth in urban data and technology, our students are critical to shaping the future of cities around the globe.
Using data to understand how cities work
The MS in Urban Informatics (MSUI), a STEM eligible program, couples comprehensive data analytics skills with an understanding of the big questions faced by cities in the 21st Century. 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 combine 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.
Consistent with the College of Social Sciences and Humanities commitment to the Experiential Liberal Arts (ELA), our program provides a range of experiential learning opportunities throughout the curriculum, ranging from part-time internships to research projects at the Boston Area Research Initiative and other research centers on campus, and, for some students, full-time professional experience through Northeastern’s signature cooperative education program. These opportunities allow students to apply advanced skills in accessing, managing, analyzing, and communicating insights from large complex, data sets to real-world problems, making them part of the next wave of urban professionals ready to lead in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.
With classes on campus and online, this program provides a uniquely flexible urban informatics degree that can support students in their career goals in a variety of ways.
Students who complete the Urban Informatics course sequence will be able to: