Wednesday, November 12, 2014

New graduate offering at UM: Data Journalism and Visualization

I'm happy to announce that the School of Communication at the University of Miami is launching a new Data Journalism and Visualization track within our MFA in Interactive Media. It will begin in the Fall of 2015. Applications will likely be open very soon after it receives all required official approvals, so stay tuned.

UPDATE (DECEMBER 20, 2014): There's a story at PBS Mediashift with many more details about the new track.

Here is some basic information about the proposed offering:

What is this new track?
It's the product of a collaboration between our departments of Cinema and Interactive Media, Journalism and Media Management, and Geography. The track has a strong focus on visualization and infographics design, technology, visual journalism and storytelling, mapping, and also on analysis and research. It is flexible enough to let you build your own menu of classes, as you'll see below.

What degree will I get?
After four semesters you will get an MFA in Interactive Media with a specialization in Data Journalism and Visualization. An MFA is a terminal degree.

Additionally, students who use a certain number of their electives to take courses at UM's Geography department may also get a Certificate in Geospatial Technology. 

Who will be my advisor?
I will, in most cases, but you'll also have the support of the head of the Interactive Media program, prof. Kim Grinfeder, the head of the Journalism graduate program, prof. Rich Beckman, and of the rest of the faculty. See who we are here and here.

What courses will I take?
You can see the schedule of classes below. Descriptions of most of these (and of the other tracks of the MFA) can be found here.

CMP 541 Tech Trends
CMP 540 Programming for Designers
CMP 543 Intro to Systems: Designing for Interactivity
CVJ 522 Data Visualization

SEMESTER 2 (Spring)
CVJ 521 Seminar in Visual Storytelling
GEG 580 Introductory Quantitative Methods for Geographical Analysis (Statistics)
CNJ 614 Media Law and Ethics Seminar

CMP 730 CoLab
CMP 713 UX Research Methods
CMP 593 Dynamic Data (databases)

SEMESTER 4 (Spring)

You can use electives to take any graduate course in the School of Communication (like my 3D design one,) in the Certificate of Geospatial Technology, or in other departments. Electives will let you specialize even further in the areas you're interested in, with the guidance of advisors and other faculty members. Besides, there will be plenty of external opportunities for learning, such as the partnerships we are developing with several companies.

You can see other visualization-related courses in UM's Visualization website.

What if I have more questions?
Visit the MFA's FAQ. You can also contact me or prof. Grinfeder.

Additional links
MFA in Interactive Media
Department of Journalism
School of Communication
Certificate in Geospatial Technology
Department of Geography


  1. Sounds like a one-of-kind program. I take it this is a residential program, though, with no online option. Correct? If so, I'd appreciate your thoughts about which schools offer web-based classes that cover the material and disciplines in this MFA. Thank you

  2. Hi there, I have exactly the same question! Are there online courses you would like to recommend?

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