Project by Kate Terrado
Course: Design for Behavior and Experience, Instructor: Kristian Kloeckl
The student project investigates projection technologies on window facades to engage travelers with site specific information.

“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 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.

The MFA in Experience Design is a 2-year, 60-credit hour program.  Students complete 11 required courses and 4 electives.

Term 1

ARTG 5600 Experience Design Studio 1—Personal and Individual

ARTG 5620 Notational Systems for Experience

ARTG 5630 Design Research Methods

ARTG 5610 Design Systems

4 CH

4 CH

4 CH

4 CH

Term 2

ARTG 6600 Experience Design Studio 2—Group and Interpersonal

ARTG 6310 Design for Behavior and Experience

ARTG 5640 Prototyping for Experience Design

Elective

4 CH

4 CH

4 CH

4 CH

Term 3

ARTG 6700 Experience Design Studio 3—Community and Organization

ARTG 7600 Experience Design Thesis Seminar

Elective

Elective 

4 CH

4 CH

4 CH

4 CH

Term 4

ARTG 7990 Thesis Document

ARTG 7991 Thesis Exhibition

Elective

4 CH

4 CH

4 CH

Total

60 CH

Students may choose electives from the Experience Design, Information Design and Visualization, or Interdisciplinary Arts graduate program offerings or other relevant electives from across the university in consultation with the Experience Design program coordinator.

Sample Elective Courses:

 

ARTD 5001 Art, Context, Action 1

4 CH

ARTG 5310 Visual Cognition

4 CH

ARTG 5320 Statistics Basics for Designers

4 CH

ARTG 5330 Visualization Technologies

4 CH

ARTG 5650 Entrepreneurial Strategy for Designers

4 CH

ARTG 6320 Design of Information-Rich Environments

4 CH

ARTG 6330 Information Design Mapping Strategies

4 CH

Course Descriptions

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.

The MS in Experience Design is a 1-year, 32-credit hour program.  Students complete six required courses and two electives.

Term 1

ARTG 5600 Experience Design Studio 1—Personal and Individual

ARTG 5620 Notational Systems for Experience

ARTG 5630 Design Research Methods

ARTG 5610 Design Systems

4 CH

4 CH

4 CH

4 CH

Term 2

ARTG 6600 Experience Design Studio 2—Group and Interpersonal

ARTG 6310 Design for Behavior and Experience

Elective

Elective

4 CH

4 CH

4 CH

4 CH

Total

32 CH

Students may choose from the following list of technology/scientific-focused electives or select other relevant electives from across the university in consultation with the Experience Design program coordinator.

ARTG 5310 Visual Cognition

4 CH

ARTG 5320 Statistics Basics for Designers

4 CH

ARTG 5330 Visualization Technologies

4 CH

ARTG 5640 Prototyping for Experience Design

4 CH

ARTG 5650 Entrepreneurial Strategy for Designers

4 CH

Course Descriptions

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 is a 1-year, 16 credit hour program.  Students complete three required courses and one elective.

Course Plan:

ARTG 5620 Notational Systems for Experience

4 CH

ARTG 5610 Design Systems

4 CH

ARTG 6310 Design for Behavior and Experience

4 CH

Elective

4 CH

Sample Elective Courses:

ARTG 5120 Information Design Research Methods

4 CH

ARTG 5310 Visual Cognition

4 CH

ARTG 5330 Visualization Technologies

4 CH

ARTG 5600 Experience Design Studio 1

4 CH

ARTG 6110 Information Design Theory and Critical Thinking

4 CH

ARTG 6320 Design of Information-Rich Environments

4 CH

ARTG 6330 Information Design Mapping Strategies

4 CH

Course Decriptions

Faculty

Professors

Nathan Felde

Nathan Felde, MS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Design

Associate Professors

Kristian Kloeckl, PhD, University of Venice, Design Sciences

Ann McDonald

Ann McDonald, MFA, Yale University, Experience Design

Mark Sivak, PhD, Northeastern University, Interdisciplinary Engineering

Assistant Professors

Miso Kim, PhD, Carnegie Mellon University, Design

Admissions

Please visit the CAMD Graduate Studies website for detailed admission information including a listing of required application materials and answers to frequently asked questions.