Information Design and Strategy

Interdisciplinary Studies Certificate Program

This interdisciplinary program prepares students to step into a cross-functional or leadership role by developing a deep and holistic understanding of today’s sophisticated digital media. The program is particularly useful for people in creative fields who want a stronger grounding in business strategy, so that they can expand their career opportunities and make a larger impact on their organizations. The strong theoretical framework of the program and its focus on fundamental concepts makes the degree applicable to many diverse fields and types of organizations — business, the arts, government, healthcare, and education, to name a few — regardless of changes in technology.

Applicants must possess a graduate degree in order to be considered for this program.

The application for this program will be available in mid-May. You can contact the admissions advising team directly for additional information about the program or the admission process.



About the Information Design and Strategy Interdisciplinary Studies Certificate Program

Information Design and Strategy Certificate Course Schedule

The Information Design and Strategy Certificate Course Schedule page provides you with detailed information on the program's offerings.

Information Design and Strategy Certificate Faculty

You can find a full listing of our instructors in this certificate program on the Information Design and Strategy Faculty page.

Admission for the Information Design and Strategy Certificate Program

Applicants to this certificate program must hold a graduate degree from an accredited U.S. college, university or its foreign equivalent. Three to five years of professional experience in the related field is recommended but not required.

A list of admission requirements can be found on the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study Admission page.

Information Design and Strategy Certificate Tuition

Tuition costs can vary for each of our programs. For the most up-to-date information on financial obligations, please visit our Information Design and Strategy Certificate Tuition page.

Information Design and Strategy Certificate Registration Information

Our Advanced Graduate Certificate Registration Information page outlines important dates and deadlines as well as the process for adding and dropping courses.

Information Design and Strategy Certificate Courses

To earn a certificate, students must successfully complete any four courses from the Information Design and Strategy graduate curriculum.

Please note that courses completed in the certificate program cannot be transferred to the corresponding graduate degree.

This certificate program can only be completed online. Visit the Course Schedule page to view course offerings in upcoming quarters.

Choose any four courses:


IDS 401-DL User-Centered Design

The User-Centered Design course gives students hands-on experience with the latest design frameworks and methodologies that focus on the end user. Students will learn how a user focused design process can be used to solve the most challenging problems facing businesses and organizations today. Students will be introduced to the latest trends in design thinking, the importance of iterative design frameworks, researching user needs, prototyping, collaboration and critical feedback.

IDS 403-DL Effective Communication

When we add ourselves to the professional world as a writer, an artist, or a technician (or myriad other professions), we find ourselves deep in the culture of organizations. We have to learn how to communicate in these environments and with people who often communicate quite differently than we do. In order to be efficient in our communication, we must be aware of our own communication strengths and weaknesses. We consciously and unconsciously are determining the audience we are communicating with, in order to tailor our message for effectiveness. In this day and age, digital communication plays an important and necessary role, as well. In this course, we will review and evaluate the above ideas so that students will learn how to communicate their fundamental ideas productively from developing to writing to delivering specifications, reports, and presentations. We will examine collaboration, rhetoric, and storytelling in a professional context to assist in meeting our course goals.

IDS 405-DL User Research

Students will learn how to conduct quantitative and qualitative research of user behavior to inform the design, development, and ongoing maintenance of digital assets. The course will give students hands-on experience with the key tools of usability testing, including prototyping, interviewing, site surveys, and site analytics.

IDS 407-DL Information and Content Strategy

This course will explore how to plan and consistently execute content that supports an organization's goals. Students will learn how to develop a content strategy, conduct a qualitative content audit, develop controlled vocabularies and lexicons, and choose the right medium (text, image, video, social interaction) for their message.

IDS 409 Data Science, Management, and Business Strategy

In this course, students will explore the foundational pillars for the Information Design and Strategy program. The course will coalesce techniques for using data to inform design & strategy within the business or professional setting. Through hands-on assignments and activities, students will gain best practices and walkway with a toolbox of knowledge to succeed in the real world. This course is highly recommended to be taken as a first or early course in the MS IDS program.

IDS 411-DL Information Design and Architecture

Students will explore how to effectively design, organize, retrieve, and use information. Our goal will be to create structures that support the organization's content strategy and facilitate user understanding and navigation. Topics will include semantic analysis, content hierarchy, metadata, and search engine optimization. Students will also learn how to analyze, design, and implement service oriented architecture (SOA) solutions.

IDS 413-DL Visual Communication

Digital media rely on imagery and layout to communicate important and complex messages to its users. In this course, students will learn how cognitive science, cartography, human-computer interactions, design, and typography affect the ways that we perceive and interpret visual messages. Students will also learn techniques for identifying good visual design.

IDS 422-DL Introduction to Learning Theory

Effective instructional design begins with an understanding of the learning process. In this course, students will learn behaviorist, cognitive, constructivist, and social learning theories, and their relationship to instructional practices and course design. Factors that influence learning, such as learning styles, motivation, and engagement, are also explored.

IDS 423-DL Instructional Design

Students learn the foundational principles and elements of instructional systems, from analysis through evaluation. They will explore commonly-used instructional design models and learn how to apply them in an education or training environment. Students will practice incorporating sound instructional strategies into the design and development of prototypes in real-world instructional settings.

IDS 425-DL Learning Environment Design

This course is an introduction to the ideas, principles, and techniques used in educational media or systems, focusing on both the theoretical and practical aspects of design. The process of design will be guided by various design frameworks, and informed by current research on the design and study of learning environments. Students will learn how to assess interactive learning models and solutions. They will also learn how various technologies can affect the behavioral, cognitive, and social dimensions of learning.

IDS 426-DL Educational Technology

This course is an overview of the field of educational technology: highlighting current issues and the use of technology to meet goals in educational settings, workplace needs, and/or professional development goals. Students will identify and synthesize research of an educational technology tool; students will showcase current and emerging educational technologies.

IDS 432-DL Storytelling and Technical Writing

In this graduate advanced writing workshop, students of information design and strategy will explore the use of hybrid and technical craft in writing to communicate their sensory, emotional, and practical know how through the use of experimental creative writing assignments and information design writing projects that will prepare them for the marketplace. Students will also study comprehensive texts in hybrid writing and storytelling, and engage in collective discussions of weekly reading topics while producing assignments that evolve from visual and informational experiences which are related to the field. At its heart, this course requires readings, instructions, and practice that give graduate students insight into storytelling and technical writing methods to help awaken present-day content creation and management processes.

IDS 433 Social Media and Content Curation

This course will help professional writers effectively implement a social media strategy. It provides a detailed overview of each of the major social networking websites and how consumers and businesses use them. Students will also learn how to effectively identify, select, and share the best and most relevant online content for their audience.

IDS 435-DL Persuasion and Strategic Communication

Acts of persuasion influence us in all aspects of our lives. This course will examine the different ways in which we observe and use persuasion in the communication we have with our families and friends, our workplace, and the general public. How effective are we? How are we affected by persuasion? We will explore how we use communication strategically to facilitate persuasion, both in thought and in action. We will look at the foundations and ethics of persuasion, including how we process persuasion, as well as how digital media affects the use of persuasion. In addition, we will explore various mediums and modes of persuasion through a variety of written and creative projects. The course will culminate in an overall assessment of how persuasion impacts us, as individuals and as a society, in a project that reflects influence in the workplace. Students should identify and apply their professional and personal life experiences to the course materials, as well as have a working understanding of communication and writing.

IDS 452-DL Intro to Data and Analytics

This course will introduce students to the appropriate uses of analytics and its limitations and define how to approach the various stakeholders within an organization with analytic information. Included will be a review of the ethical, regulatory, and compliance issues related to a given business problem and/or solution. Time will be spent interpreting performance-based organizational issues while concurrently identifying solutions for these same performance-based organizational issues. In addition, time will be spent identifying best practices to plan for engaging, implementing, and sustaining organizational change.

Prerequisites: Students should have a basic understanding of Microsoft Excel.

IDS 453-DL Techniques of Analytics

Students learn to apply statistical techniques to the processing and interpretation of data from various industries and disciplines. This course introduces statistical models as they are used in predictive analytics. It addresses issues of statistical model specification and model selection, as well as best practices in developing models for management.

IDS 455-DL Visualization of Data and Text

This course entails learning by doing - working with data and text, utilizing models of text and data, working within an open-source programming environment, and building interactive visualizations for the web. It reviews the psychology of human perception and cognition and best practices in visualization and web design. Assignments involve reviewing and developing interactive visualizations of text, time series, networks, and maps. This is a project-based course with individual and team assignments.

IDS 462 Experience Design

Experience Design is a quickly-evolving field where skilled information designers can make a huge impact. By understanding the people and contexts involved, Experience Designers craft pathways to user-success that also achieve business goals. Students in this course will learn theories and methodologies for designing or improving digital and hybrid experiences. They will map complex experiences in visual and narrative formats and learn to evaluate and refine the individual interactions that comprise them. The course provides flexible, human-centered, techniques that are applicable to the design and evaluation of web, mobile, desktop, physical, and XR experiences across industries.

Prerequisites: IDS 401-DL and IDS 405-DL

IDS 464 Interface Design

Digital interfaces can be found just about everywhere in our world today, and they play crucial roles across business, government, industry, and beyond. Interface Designers apply visual design, information design, information architecture, human psychology, and artistic flair to create digital interfaces that are safe, enjoyable and, most of all, effective. By understanding the places interfaces are used and the people who use them, designers make pivotal choices that impact the effectiveness of systems. This course explores tools and techniques for the design and evaluation of digital interfaces across industries. Students are exposed to a variety of design tools, though the course focuses more on theory and strategy than software-mastery.

Prerequisites: IDS 401-DL and IDS 405-DL.

IDS 466 Design Systems and Operations

Design-thinking isn't just effective for creating delightful products and services. Design teams themselves can be optimized for performance, quality, and scalability through the application of design systems and operations frameworks. The course explores case studies of how innovative organizations and design teams across industries have successfully scaled their operations while maintaining creativity, innovation, and output. Various design systems are explored and evaluated as students gain the strategic mindset necessary to lead design teams to success in a wide range of fluid and complex organizational settings.

Prerequisites: IDS 401-DL and IDS 405-DL

IDS 481-DL Leadership and Business Strategy for IDS

This course will explore fundamental leadership behaviors coupled with business strategies that enable people to excel in their field, in order to help student-professionals apply these behaviors to careers in IDS. The course will examine leadership styles, the role of vision, integrity and ethics, as well as how to lead organizational change and solve problems, using effective teamwork and organizational strategies.

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