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Academic Programs

College of Social Sciences & Humanities

Urban Informatics

Master’s Degree

The Master of Science in Urban Informatics prepares the new generation of experts to navigate the technical and socioeconomic landscape on which life in the city unfolds, and to confront key social, infrastructural, and environmental challenges facing cities in the 21st century.

This is an innovative program. Only a handful of U.S. universities offer degrees in urban informatics. Northeastern University’s interdisciplinary curriculum, comprehensive data analytics skills, leading faculty, experiential opportunities, and prime location in the National Capital Region distinguish this program.

With classes on campus and online, this is a unique, flexible, and STEM-eligible informatics degree to support your career goals.


Arlington, VA




1 – 2 Years

f-1 visa ELIGIBLE




Program Overview

Digital data and technology are rapidly transforming the modern city. Worldwide, 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—professionals to navigate the technical and conceptual challenges presented by the city and future city planning.

The MS in Urban Informatics prepares you to use data sets, data analytics, and modeling approaches to understand and support city functions and evolving urban structures. You’ll learn about:

  • Topics related to climate change resilience and urban sustainability that help you understand and address the implications of climate change on urban vulnerability and risk.
  • Issues in community and economic development that will provide insight into how communities work and what’s needed to support a thriving society.
  • Current trends in transportation and related infrastructure design, policy, and operations.

You’ll learn to study cities in novel ways using diverse data sets and modeling techniques to understand how cities work, how urban problems arise, and propose innovative and impactful solutions to these real-world problems in ethical and practical ways—anticipating and imagining for the future.

The Northeastern Urban Informatics program is a cutting-edge STEM-eligible program built upon a unique cross-college initiative. It 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 can be used in innovative, meaningful, and ethical ways to tackle key social, infrastructural, and environmental challenges in cities and urban areas.

You will be 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, you will be essential to shaping the future of urban areas around the globe.

We partner and have engagement opportunities with the public and private sectors; city, upper-level, and federal government agencies; consulting firms and industry leaders; community and nonprofit organizations; think tanks; non-government organizations (NGOs); and, the diplomatic corps—access to many of these organizations is only possible in the National Capital Region.

Learn more about the Master of Science in Urban Informatics from the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, housed within the College of Social Sciences and Humanities.

Unique Features
  • Unrivaled experiential learning opportunities. The National Capital Region becomes your classroom to observe and study today’s challenges in conjunction with local agencies, companies, and nonprofits.
  • Students can earn a graduate certificate at no extra cost in these focus areas: public policy analysis, nonprofit sector, philanthropy and social change, and urban studies. 
  • Students may choose a concentration in climate and resilience, communities and economic development, and transportation and infrastructure, or design their own concentration.
  • Unique interdisciplinary approach: The program has a multidisciplinary integration of analytic skills and expert knowledge of contemporary urban policy and theory.
  • Leading faculty: Hear from Dan O’Brien, who has contributed to the tools and ideas at the foundation of urban informatics in the program overview below. 
  • Career-advancing degree: Apply skills learned in the program immediately to real-world social, infrastructural, and environmental challenges through cutting-edge research and capstone projects. Attract employers with an e-portfolio that showcases your accomplishments and professional capabilities in data analytics and informatics in the urban context.
  • Connection with the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs: Be part of Northeastern University’s School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, housed within the College of Social Sciences and Humanities. The school is a hub of innovative, interdisciplinary research dedicated to solving issues in transportation, housing, community development, social and environmental justice, resilience, and sustainability at the local, state, national, and international levels.
Program Objectives

The MS in Urban Informatics requires students to complete 33 total semester hours (35 with optional co-op). The coursework is structured around four interdisciplinary core courses and an additional 16 semester hours focused on urban-specific applications. The curriculum offers methodological rigor, a theoretical framework, and opportunities for applied experiences. 

The UI Core

The four interdisciplinary core courses in data science/analytics are a foundation for the degree. 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 how to use information design and visual analytics to analyze and present results. Students gain a working knowledge of “R,” an open source software for computational statistics, visualization, and graphic presentation.

Students learn about the major categories of urban data, develop specific spatial analytic and mapping skillsets, and apply these skills to urban policy and research questions. Assignments integrate the core course skills with urban data and policy questions. Students also develop a 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

All Students select two elective courses and the one-credit portfolio course which requires the submission of a portfolio with at least three completed projects.

Please refer to the Graduate Catalog for a full curriculum description.

About the Campus

Northeastern aligns education and research with global and regional needs. In Arlington—a hub of technical innovation, security, defense, and policy—we partner with government, industry, and nonprofits to prepare learners for leadership in jobs of the future.

We’re centrally located in the heart of the National Capital Region in Rosslyn, one of Arlington County’s most vibrant neighborhoods at 17th Street North in the Arlington Tower. Our campus features state-of-the-art flexible learning spaces and areas to collaborate, study, network with peers or employers, and host or attend community events. Additionally, the building also includes a rooftop gathering space with stunning views of Arlington, VA, and Washington, DC. The campus is also home to the Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security.

Why Study in Arlington?
  • More than 9,000 Northeastern alumni and family live and work in the National Capital Region.
  • Students benefit from the small-campus setting: smaller class sizes, direct access to professors, and strong connections with their cohort.
  • Programs are structured to build internship placements (co-ops) into your course of study, along with other integrated industry-focused coursework to build a strong professional portfolio.
  • Located in the Arlington Tower, our brand-new facility has a modern and open design with ample student space for classes, socializing, and studying. 

Tuition and Aid





This is an estimate based on the tuition rates for Academic Year 2024–2025 and does not include any fees or other expenses. Some courses and labs have tuition rates that may increase or decrease total tuition. Tuition and fees are subject to revision by the president and Board of Trustees at any time. Find detailed information on tuition and fees from Student Financial Services.

Finance Your Education

We offer a variety of resources, including scholarships and assistantships. Learn more.


For 100+ years, we’ve designed our programs with one thing in mind—your success. Explore the current program requirements and course descriptions, all designed to meet today’s industry needs and must-have skills. 

Experiential Learning

Our experiential learning opportunities are a hallmark of Northeastern’s graduate programs. All Graduate CSSH Master’s programs offer an optional cooperative educational experience (co-op) to eligible students.

Northeastern’s signature co-op ecosystem at the Arlington campus provides qualified master’s students with six-month research and work opportunities at businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, and other organizations in the National Capital Region and across the United States. Graduate students take their work from campus learning spaces, apply it outside the classroom in various environments, and then bring that knowledge and those skills back to our campus learning space during the one-credit Experiential Integration course.

To learn more, interested students should first meet with their program director to determine eligibility and where the co-op experience will fit within the student’s curriculum.

Admission Dates

Applicants must submit the online application and all required admission materials no later than the stated deadlines to be considered for admission. Admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis.


Final deadline for international applicants:June 15
Final deadline for domestic applicants (non-international):August 15
Deadline for special student applicants (non-international only):August 15


Final deadline for international applicants:October 1
Final deadline for domestic applicants (non-international):December 15
Final deadline for Special Student applicants (non-international only):December 15

Additional information for international applicants can be found at the Office of Global Services (OGS). OGS is an active resource to over 20,000 international students and scholars from 147 different nations across the world. They provide the professional expertise and support you need to maintain compliance through immigration, academic, and your employment experiences—helping you remain a valuable member of the Northeastern community.

How to Apply

Learn more about the College of Social Sciences and Humanities’ admissions process and required materials.

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