Program Coordinator

Ann McDonald,

Design is the practice-based discipline raising important questions about—and providing significant answers to—how we live. Designers are needed when we don’t know what is needed. Designers propose alternative futures and create new choices using design principles and processes to create, compose and construct meaning in diverse knowledge fields. We provide broad understanding of the principles and systems of perception, action and communication. We offer concentrations in the design practices of graphic and information design, interaction design and experience design.

Graphic design makes messages and meaning using visual form and the integration of text and image. It often has a persuasive intention and uses rules of visual composition, form and pattern to enable storytelling or create attention and an ambience for consideration. Information design focuses on visualizing concepts and data to enhance human understanding of complex and vital knowledge. Interaction design focuses on the creation of navigable interfaces and systems that allow audiences to achieve meaningful goals, connecting people to people and people to information and environments. Experience design is a holistic systems approach to human and natural environments for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It seeks to improve the various human contexts in which we eat, sleep, travel, work, play, operate, recuperate, cooperate and enjoy life. As intensive studio programs, these curricula balance design history and theory with studio projects in dynamic, static, virtual and actual media. As active participants in the interpretation and production of information and experience, you have the opportunity to integrate many facets of your university liberal arts education.

This major is offered as BFA in Design with concentration in Graphic and Information Design, BFA in Design with concentration in Interaction Design, BFA in Design with concentration in Experience Design.

Co-op Divisions are YA and ZA.

CAMD Advising strongly recommends that you start the process by meeting with a faculty mentor  in your new major to talk about your interests and goals for the major to make sure it’s the right choice for you.   Once you’re ready to make the change, then it’s time to schedule an appointment with your new Academic Advisor to make the change official and start planning for your next semester and beyond.

Current students are required to refer to their degree audit through myNeu or Northeastern University Undergraduate Catalog for requirements. 

Any prerequisites should be taken before registering for 2000 level courses and above.


Design general learning outcomes

  1. Apply iterative design processes to create, revise, evaluate, and develop effective prototypes and innovative solutions.
  2. Engage human-centered design research methods and systems thinking to identify and understand values, goals, motivations of intended audiences as a mode of inquiry, question framing and guide to action.
  3. Develop a high level of craft and technical skills in a relevant range of media and tools and effectively weigh applicability for intended audiences and outcomes.
  4. Develop and realize intent, concept and content with awareness of context and consequence.
  5. Implement visual patterns incorporating text, image, diagram including temporal and spatial representations to recognize, categorize, and articulate significant form and meaning
  6. Employ and embody ethical practices, team and cross-disciplinary collaboration, and effective communication and presentation skills.
  7. Apply relevant communication theories and principles and appreciate the pervasive and long-term impact of design decisions on people and societies.

Graphic and Information Design concentration learning outcomes

  1. Integrate verbal and visual content in a way that is complementary, not redundant, to construct complex visual/verbal messages.
  2. Utilize information and nomenclature systems, organizational grids, hierarchy, and sequence to offer audiences access to complex topics and sense making.
  3. Discern the ethical implications of subjective vs. objective design, and demonstrate ability to construct content along the persuasive/informative continuum according to the needs of an audience, expectations of a client, or self-initiative.


Cara McGrath, AMD '15

Cara McGrath, AMD ’15

Natasha Taylor, AMD'12

Natasha Taylor, AMD’12


Molly Wiggins, AMD’10


Kate Drago, AMD'10

Kate Drago, AMD’10

Masato Nakada, AMD’06





Cara McGrath, AMD’15

When it comes to graphic design, Cara McGrath AMD’15 enjoys working on projects that focus on social causes. McGrath’s courses have allowed her to apply her graphic design skills to a variety of issues, ranging from drinking and driving prevention to the importance of exercise in a child’s daily routine. In Fall 2015, McGrath was able to enroll in a course she had been looking forward to taking for two years: Information Design. The course, which is taught by Professor Tom Starr, gave her the opportunity to work on a project about college campus sexual assault statistics, a project that opened her eyes to “the good that graphic design can do for raising awareness about social issues and campaigns.”

McGrath’s skills have not only been useful in the classroom, but in the extracurricular setting as well. She serves as the co-creative director for Woof Magazine on campus, where she is responsible for leading a team of designers and photographers in conceptualizing articles and piecing together printed issues of the magazine. McGrath has also lent her writing skills to Tastemakers Magazine and found that tools she learned in her courses, such as layout design, have proved to be invaluable to these magazines.

McGrath’s educational experiences have helped her to land two fantastic co-ops. Her first, as a web design intern at America’s Test Kitchen, allowed her to work with a small team of designers on website redesign and Photoshop projects. Her second co-op, which she will begin in January 2015, is at dunnhumby, a company where she will work on a combination of digital and print projects. When asked what advice she has for students interested in graphic design she says, “Keep an open mind. Try to enroll yourselves in classes taught by a variety of different professors to get a variety of viewpoints. Everybody has different opinions on design principles, so you should try to hear them all.”

By Connor Doherty and Nicholas Marini