Big Data in Boston and Beyond
The Boston-based School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University is one of only a handful of U.S. universities currently offer degrees in the emerging field of Urban Informatics. Even among these few, our program stands out for:
- Its leading faculty who have contributed to the tools and ideas that form the basis of Urban Informatics;
- The interdisciplinary integration of analytic skills with over a century of deep knowledge on urban policy and theory;
- Unique experiential opportunities, thanks to the Boston Area Research Initiative and other centers at the School, that treat greater Boston as a classroom where students can study and help solve real-world problems in conjunction with local agencies, companies, and nonprofits.
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. Given the continuous growth in urban data and technology, our students are critical to shaping the future of cities around the globe.
For additional information, contact Brianna Freeman.
Using Big 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 in conjunction with areas of domain expertise.
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, 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.
Students can also partake in full-time professional experiences 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.
Type of Program