Interdisciplinary Electives

Build the rich perspective employers want.

Whether you want to acquire non-business knowledge to break into a new industry or fuse your newfound business skills with your undergraduate area of study, you'll prepare for your career with the choice of an interdisciplinary elective.

Our corporate partners have told us that they seek managers with multidimensional backgrounds. These electives will ensure that you graduate with a well-rounded perspective, ready to approach business problems from multiple angles.

You can choose graduate-level coursework from four distinguished Northeastern University colleges:

  • College of Arts, Media, & Design
  • Khoury College of Computer Sciences
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Social Sciences & Humanities

If you decide to concentrate your skillset by taking multiple interdisciplinary electives in one area, you would also have the option to put those credits towards an interdisciplinary concentration to further immersive yourself in your area of interest.

Your next step? Talk with your advisor today about the non-business courses and concentrations that align with your goals and interests that will make the biggest impact for you.

You can choose one of the following:

College of Arts, Media, and Design Courses

Offers an overview and introduction to leadership knowledge areas, tools, and skills sets for the arts and culture sector. Key topics include issues and challenges in the management of arts-oriented organizations, leadership characteristics and techniques for arts and culture teams, balancing organizational priorities with artistic vision and values, board formation and management, audience outreach, and operational practices. Focuses on the administration of people and processes to communicate mission; realize goals; and effectively manage the creative resources, human resources, and financial challenges of nonprofit arts and cultural organizations.

AACE 6000 | 3 Hours

Examines the potential of interfaces as mediators between information and users. Explores iterative prototyping and research methods to analyze patterns of behavior and implications of interface on effective communication. Utilizes observation, empathy, ethnography, and participatory design methods to offer students an opportunity to increase their understanding of audiences' and stakeholders' motivations and expectations. Requires graduate standing or permission of program coordinator or instructor.

ARTG 6310 | 4 Hours

Explores a systems-based perspective on our environment by addressing questions that are fundamental to design practice: What is a system, and what are the different types? How do we observe, analyze, and represent systems? What interactions can we have with systems and what are the different types of interaction? Explores structures and processes for the design of systemic relationships between people, artifacts, environments, and activities. Systems may be physical, virtual, social, or a combination. Through discussion, writing, diagramming, and project exercises, offers students an opportunity to learn principles of systems theory and explore the connection between design methods and systems thinking. Students who do not meet course restrictions may seek permission of instructor or program coordinator.

ARTG 5610 | 4 Hours

Offers students hands-on project development of systems, artifacts, communication, environments, or service offerings with a focus on the unique personal experience of the audience exposed to the project. Experience design is a holistic approach to design that investigates the human experience in specific situations to improve its quality, given an understanding of human goals, needs, and desires. This course provides a context for a cohesive experience through interaction, movement, and understanding, which builds on previous knowledge of audiences and applications. Presents students with design methods and processes for experience design by developing a semester-long project. Offers students an opportunity to develop competency in tools used to create the various elements that create the context for experiences in specific situations and events including interaction, artifact, and environment design. Understanding a design process and knowledge of studio critique practices is recommended.

ARTG 5600 | 4 Hours

Requires students to present their work in design critique sessions to peers, faculty, and guests. Through these critiques, offers students an opportunity to improve their projects based on feedback, learn how to present their work effectively, and articulate design problems in verbal discourse. Can only be taken in conjunction with ARTG 5150.

ARTG 5151 | 1 Hour

Examines the relationships between content and context through mapping methods. Emphasizes the impact of geographic information systems, evolving technologies, community mapping tools, globalization, and delivery systems. Undergraduate students may seek permission of instructor.

ARTG 6330 | 4 Hours

Examines various theoretical models of information visualization and delivery systems. Evaluates the concepts and effectiveness of the models through discussions and writing activities. Students who do not meet course prerequisites or restrictions may seek permission of program coordinator or instructor.

ARTG 6110 | 4 Hours

Introduces information visualization from theoretical and practical perspectives. Defines the information visualization domain and advances principles and methods for the effective visual representation of data. Contextualizes the field from a historical perspective. Presents the perceptual and cognitive tasks enabled by visualizations. Studies an extensive range of visualization models. Illustrates good and bad practices in visualization with real-world examples. Introduces concepts in computer programming in an information visualization context.

ARTG 5150 | 3 Hours

Examines theoretical foundations, concepts, and methods of visual notational systems used in the effective analysis and communication of existing experiences and in the envisioning of conditions for future experiences. Notational systems are sets of graphic signs and codes that denote or prescribe specific actions, forces, operations, events, or performances that occur over time. Students engage with concepts and models through readings, discussion, case study analyses, and speculative design projects. Evaluates the role that notational systems play in documenting, analyzing, and understanding the human goals, actions, behaviors, and perceptions key to experience and assesses their value in designing for agency and new experiences. Students who do not meet course restrictions may seek permission of instructor or program coordinator.

ARTG 5620 | 4 Hours

Explores tools, technologies, and processes to create prototypes of artifacts, environments, and interactive systems for experience design projects. Offers students the opportunity to learn, use, experiment with, and test prototypes using a wide range of state-of-the-art prototyping technologies to further their understanding of multiple strategies and techniques of prototyping for experience design. Tools and techniques change over time but typically include laser cutting, 3D printing, CNC machining, electronics prototyping, augmented reality, machine tools and 2D forming, fast prototyping, and hand tools.

ARTG 5640 | 4 Hours

Introduces programming languages that allow computational analysis and digital delivery of dynamic information. Examines implications of environmental and personal sensor data sources, mobile collection and analysis of data, real-time networked data sets, and social use of shared data visualization tools. Students who do not meet course restrictions may seek permission of instructor or program coordinator. May be repeated once.

ARTG 5330 | 4 Hours

Khoury College of Computer Sciences Courses

Focuses on the fundamental programming skills required in the bioinformatics industry. Focuses on Python and R as the main programming language used. Topics include string operations, file manipulation, regular expressions, object-oriented programming, data structures, testing, program design, and implementation. Includes substantial out-of-classroom assignments.

BINF 6200 | 4 Hours

Offers the first semester of a two-semester sequence on the use of computers in bioinformatics research. Offers students an opportunity to work with current methods and computational algorithms used in contemporary sequence analysis. Teaches practical skills necessary to manage and mine the vast biological information being generated and housed in public databases. Emphasizes the use of Python as the primary computer language and requires students to learn and understand basic computer logic and syntax, including an introduction to scalars, arrays, hashes, decision statements, loops, subroutines, references, and regular expressions. A focus on fundamental skills, including the command line interface found in the Linux operating system, is designed to prepare students for second-semester applications.

BINF 6308 | 4 Hours

Designed to build upon the core topics covered in BINF 6308, i.e., use of the computer as a tool for bioinformatics research. Builds upon the Python language fundamentals covered during the first semester but requires students to apply these fundamentals to a semester-long project. The project includes protein family analysis, multiple sequence analysis, phylogeny, and protein structure analysis. Additionally, students have an opportunity to learn to build, load, connect, and query custom MySQL databases, and parse command line flags.

BINF 6309 | 4 Hours

Covers the principles and concepts involved in the development of mammalian and other types of cell culture processes for the manufacturing of biopharmaceutical products such as monoclonal antibodies and recombinant proteins. Topics include protein expression and clone generation, batch and perfusion processes and media development, bioreactor operations and scale-up, and innovations in cell culture processes. Regulatory concepts include quality assurance in a cGMP environment.

BIOT 5631 | 3 Hours

Describes the legal and ethical issues associated with information security including access, use, and dissemination. Emphasizes legal infrastructure relating to information assurance, such as the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and Telecommunications Decency Act, and emerging technologies for management of digital rights. Examines the role of information security in various domains such as healthcare, scientific research, and personal communications such as email. Examines criminal activities such as computer fraud and abuse, desktop forgery, embezzlement, child pornography, computer trespass, and computer piracy.

CY 5240 | 4 Hours

Introduces relational database management systems as a class of software systems. Prepares students to be sophisticated users of database management systems. Covers design theory, query language, and performance/tuning issues. Topics include relational algebra, SQL, stored procedures, user-defined functions, cursors, embedded SQL programs, client-server interfaces, entity-relationship diagrams, normalization, B-trees, concurrency, transactions, database security, constraints, object-relational DBMSs, and specialized engines such as spatial, text, XML conversion, and time series. Includes exercises using a commercial relational or object-relational database management system.

CS 5200 | 4 Hours

Explores the principles of experimental design and statistical analysis. Emphasizes research in the molecular and biological sciences and biotechnology. Topics include probability theory, sampling hypothesis formulation and testing, and parametric and nonparametric statistical methods.

BIOT 6214 | 2 Hours

Introduces the fundamental problems, theories, and algorithms of the artificial intelligence field. Topics include heuristic search and game trees, knowledge representation using predicate calculus, automated deduction and its applications, problem solving and planning, and introduction to machine learning. Required course work includes the creation of working programs that solve problems, reason logically, and/or improve their own performance using techniques presented in the course. Requires experience in Java programming.

CS 5100 | 4 Hours

Provides an interdisciplinary, state-of-the-art introduction to biotechnology. Covers the molecular foundations of biotechnology, molecular microbiology, receptor pharmacology, drug development processes, biotech process development and scale-up, drug approval and regulatory affairs, genomics, microarray analysis, proteomics, computational biology, molecular modeling, analytical biotechnology, and bioterrorism and biotechnology.

BIOT 5120 | 3 Hours

Introduces students to the core tasks in data science, including data collection, storage, tidying, transformation, processing, management, and modeling for the purpose of extracting knowledge from raw observations. Programming is a cross-cutting aspect of the course. Offers students an opportunity to gain experience with data science tasks and tools through short assignments. Includes a term project based on real-world data.

DS 5110 | 4 Hours

Introduces biotechnology students to scientific information management specifically related to the biotechnology field. Covers an introduction to data sciences, its history, and how it is relevant to biotech today. Offers students an opportunity to obtain the background needed to assess and use modern data management capabilities such as “the cloud,” big data, etc. Covers recent developments in origination of data, metadata, data models, data management, and organization and storage of data in biotechnology.

BIOT 5400 | 3 Hours

Exposes students to the business of biotech from scientific discovery startup through its product launch and subsequent organizational and scientific pipeline growth. Topics include scientific discovery, biotech-related funding and organizational structures, regulatory and clinical trial considerations, biotech alliances, patient access, ethics and compliance, and commercialization and growth while meeting unmet patient or consumer needs in this highly regulated industry. Although the focus is on the highest regulated standards in biopharma, the course also touches upon various aspects of other biotechnology domains.

BIOT 5219 | 2 Hours

College of Engineering Courses

Offers students an opportunity to learn how to use visualization tools and techniques for data exploration, knowledge discovery, data storytelling, and decision making in engineering, healthcare operations, manufacturing, and related applications.Covers basics of Python and R for data mining and visualization. Introduces students to static and interactive visualization charts and techniques that reveal information, patterns, interactions, and comparisons by focusing on details such as color encoding, shape selection, spatial layout, and annotation.

IE 6600 | 4 Hours

Introduces data mining concepts and statistics/machine learning techniques for analyzing and discovering knowledge from large data sets that occur in engineering domains such as manufacturing, healthcare, sustainability, and energy. Topics include data reduction, data exploration, data visualization, concept description, mining association rules, classification, prediction, and clustering. Discusses data mining case studies that are drawn from manufacturing, retail, healthcare, biomedical, telecommunication, and other sectors.

IE 5640 | 4 Hours

Explores environmental and economic aspects of different materials used in products throughout the product life cycle. Introduces concepts of industrial ecology, life cycle analysis, and sustainable development. Students work in teams to analyze case studies of specific products fabricated using metals, ceramics, polymers, or paper. These case studies compare cost, energy, and resources used and emissions generated through the mining, refining, manufacture, use, and disposal stages of the product life cycle. Debates issues in legislation (extended product responsibility, recycling mandates, and ecolabeling) and in disposal strategies (landfill, incineration, reuse, and recycling). Discusses difficulties associated with environmental impact assessments and the development of decision analysis tools to weigh the tradeoffs in technical, economic, and environmental performance, and analyzes specific case studies.

ME 5645 | 4 Hours

Seeks to develop in-depth knowledge and experience in prototyping by focusing on engineering processes and instrumentation that are used in different industries. Studies the prototyping cycle, from initial process flow and sketching to prototype development to testing and analysis, with an emphasis on iteration. Analyzes how different kinds of engineering prototypes can address design and user-interface needs vs. functional needs, such as looks-like and works-like prototypes. Offers students an opportunity to obtain operating knowledge of methods including 3D printing, SolidWorks, off-the-shelf hardware-software interfaces, simulation, embedded systems, product testing, prototype analysis, and prototype iteration.

GE 5030 | 4 Hours

Focuses on the main processes needed to develop a complex, high-technology product. Emphasizes the most important techniques and approaches used in a startup environment. Seeks to benefit students of all engineering disciplines including computer science and biomedical, industrial, electrical, mechanical, computer, and chemical engineering. Includes a running practical project in which a new product is designed and executed through a series of small projects for each phase of the product development process. Topics include the product life cycle, new product development processes, project planning and management, new product idea generation, the systems approach to product development, design for manufacturing, market testing and launch, and escalation to manufacturing.

GE 5100 | 4 Hours

Offers topics of interest to the staff member conducting this class for advanced study. May be repeated without limit.

IE 7374 | 4 Hours

College of Social Sciences and Humanities Courses

Discusses artificial intelligence and the host of ethical issues it raises: decisions turned over to machine-learning algorithms can be opaque and unfair; autonomous vehicles promise to increase safety but raise challenges for assigning responsibility for accidents; diffusion of AI is likely to transform the labor market in unpredictable ways; and the data that powers machine-learning algorithms raise questions about privacy and security. In order to realize the benefits of AI while responsibly developing and implementing it, it is necessary to identify the ethical issues at stake and work to resolve them. This course takes up the philosophical and ethical questions essential to this project.

PHIL 5010 | 4 Hours

Offers an intensive study of econometric techniques applied to cross-section, time-series, and panel data. Applies the fundamentals of econometrics to analyzing structural economic models, forecasting, and policy analysis. Computer applications and an empirical research project are an integral part of the course.

ECON 5140 | 4 Hours

Uses basic economic concepts to illuminate the many factors that shape health, healthcare, and the healthcare system in the United States. Examines the role of these concepts in explaining the challenges faced in achieving three core goals of the healthcare system: increasing access, limiting cost, and improving quality. Explores how policy makers, market participants, and others can remedy access, cost, and quality deficiencies. Illustrates how economic concepts can be applied to the study of health and health behaviors.

PHTH 5234 | 3 Hours

Focuses on the conceptual and methodological foundations for evaluating the quality of care of healthcare providers—both individual providers and healthcare organizations. Aimed at students pursuing careers in public health, public policy, healthcare management, and the various health professions in the growing field of quality evaluation and improvement. Also designed to give healthcare providers an appreciation for how they may be evaluated. Examines scientific issues in the measurement of quality of care as well as key quality evaluation methods. Also covers the use of risk adjustment and other methodologies for comparing the quality of healthcare providers. Focuses on mechanisms that assess quality, including licensure, accreditation, and board certification.

PHTH 5232 | 3 Hours

Covers issues of justice and the public good in relation to the creation, collection, storage, analysis, processing, dissemination, and use of information. Discusses theories of justice and human rights, as well as ethical theories such as utilitarianism and principlism. Topics include intellectual and cultural property, freedom of expression, access to information, fair representation, and information privacy. Discusses how to create and use information technologies that promote individual flourishing and the public good while avoiding bias, exploitation, and manipulation.

PHIL 5005 | 4 Hours

Explores the theoretical, political, and philosophical foundations of the obligations that underlie global justice. Theoretical approaches include human rights, human capabilities, cosmopolitanism, particularism, and universalism. Examines nationalism and the particular set of obligations that it generates. Following the theoretical component, the course considers social issues that arise in a global context: (1) the duties to the distant poor, (2) global philanthropy and problems of donee accountability, (3) global health and essential medicines and issues in environmental justice, and (4) issues in international law.

PHIL 5001 | 4 Hours

Questions? Get in touch.