Applied Urban Science and Informatics
Want to change the world?
Start with your city.
As a mission-driven center, NYU’s Center for Urban Science + Progress is focused on making cities more equitable, resilient, accessible, and responsive, and improving quality of life overall.
The MS in Applied Urban Science and Informatics will provide you with the opportunity to take part in this mission by engaging in the interdisciplinary study of urban science and applying technical skills to problems facing cities all over the globe. You will learn to formulate questions about your surroundings, and then how to answer those questions using large data sets.
At CUSP, we aim to ground our academic programming in real-world applications of urban data science. Our graduate students have an excellent chance to tackle such challenges and flex the skills they are developing here, thanks to guidance from our incredible faculty members. I encourage you to apply to this unique program and join a network of passionate alumni who are committed to creating a better future in real time.
Danielle Wright, PhD
Director of Academic Affairs
Make your mark across urban landscapes—with uniquely curated expertise
Like any modern city, urban science is a dynamic, multi-faceted, and highly interconnected field. It brings together the rigor and precision of data science, computer science, and statistics, and combines it with sociological frameworks about economic, community, and personal wellbeing. Using New York City as a living laboratory, CUSP students develop a distinct skillset that blends these perspectives and allows them to see urban environments in a new way.
Required Core (18 credits)
Throughout the core, students develop a balanced understanding of data science, informatics, statistics, probability, urban management, and communication that underpins the rest of their academic experience. Required courses include:
- Introduction to Applied Data Science
- Innovative City Governance OR Civic Analytics and Urban Intelligence
- Principles of Urban Informatics
- Machine Learning for Cities
- Urban Science Intensive I
- Urban Science Intensive II
- Data Governance, Ethics and Privacy (0 credits)
Electives (18 credits)
Through electives, students apply their foundational knowledge to topics such as climate change, disaster risk analysis, public health, sustainability, criminal and social justice, transportation, and more. Past electives offered have included:
- Complex Urban Systems
- Applied Data Science
- Urban Spatial Analytics
- Data Visualization
- Introduction to Python Programming
- Large Scale Data Analysis
Data-Driven Methods for Policy
Students may take up to two courses (6 credits) of non-CUSP electives from other schools across NYU, including but not limited to other Tandon programs, the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Stern School of Business, Wagner School of Public Service, and Tisch School of the Arts.
CUSP students learn to work with data at all stages of the data lifecycle from acquisition to visualization. You’ll gain knowledge about cities by using robust and live data in class projects, applied research activities, and partnering with companies and NYC agencies addressing existing urban challenges.
During the 6-credit Urban Science Intensive sequence, you will work with a city agency, an industry partner, entrepreneurs, or faculty researchers to address a specific research question and unlock the potential of big data to make global cities better.
Global Data Dive
Participate in our annual Data Dive, an optional immersion program in one of the leading smart cities around the world: London. This week-long hackathon infuses a global perspective into the ability to link data science with the public good.
Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP)
Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) are multi-year, multidisciplinary projects that emphasize innovative and research-active education. Each VIP team has large-scale and multi-faceted objectives in research, design, entrepreneurship, and/or community outreach & service. All NYU students are welcome to apply and enroll in a VIP course.
Fall 2022 Cohort
CUSP welcomes students from a wide variety of educational backgrounds. The charts above represent the degrees earned and majors studied by the Fall 2022 cohort. If your field of study does not fit into these categories, that’s okay! We look for students who demonstrate quantitative skills and a passion for urban-relate topics. If you have questions about your qualifications, feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn what our recent students have been working on:
“I think, for solving complex problems in cities we always need different perspectives and varied contributions… CUSP at NYU has provided me the platform to interact with brilliant minds from different areas of expertise which is the key to breakthrough.“
“Human life and the environment cannot be separated–we must find the balance between the two. And I believe that green infrastructures, technologies, and renewable energy is the way to make it happen. “
“Data can play a role in discovering patterns and understanding that they’re happening in the first place. Identifying and naming the problem can be a really powerful first step to spreading awareness.”
Employers are increasingly looking for data scientists and analytics experts to unlock the potential of their data. CUSP prepares students for careers helping organizations make more informed business decisions using data. Our alumni can be found at leading city agencies as well as firms in consulting services, financial services, technology, and a host of other professional companies, in positions ranging from data scientist to management and leadership roles.
Students are able to seek individual assistance in exploring internship and employment opportunities and guidance for their individual job search efforts through both Tandon Career Services and NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development. Entrepreneurial-minded students will also have unique access to NYU’s incubators, the New York City venture capital community, and experts in starting and growing tech companies.
* Job placement rate based on reported employment and educational outcomes from the class of 2021. Average starting salary based on reported outcomes from the class of 2020.
Our graduates have gone on to internships and full-time careers at:
Boston City Hall
Booz Allen Hamilton
California Data Collective
McKinsey & Company
NYC Housing Authority
NYC Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics
NYC Transit Authority
The World Bank
Check out what our recent alumni are up to:
Dana Chermesh Reshef
Founder & CEO, inCitu
“As an architect, I was just a small part of that realm, but when you talk about urban renewal, you’re not just talking about buildings: you’re talking about history, money, politics, grassroots activism, and a lot more.”
Software Engineer Lead Replica HQ
“I started to understand that there was a role for software engineers in this area–and an important one. I realized that I am passionate about smart cities and urban computing, and finding a path where I can apply software engineering to work on meaningful problems.”
Operations Manager, Uber
“CUSP really pushed me out of my comfort zone. I became a lot more socially conscientious during and after the program… I worked in policy advocacy and it made me a lot more professional in my role, and made me understand how minorities felt in light of the attacks that occurred against them.”
Your academic and professional experience should demonstrate rigorous academic training and a passion for problem-solving in an urban context. We look for students from ALL disciplines who would like to apply quantitative skills to pressing social issues. We recommend that applicants have some familiarity with:
Basic programming (Python and R)
Statistics and probability
Geographic information systems and
Basic computer science